Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

April 30, 2008

Buyers, sellers call off collective sale of Finland Gardens

Filed under: 1 — Propertymarketupdates @ 3:11 am

ANOTHER collective sale has fallen through. This time, however, there were smiles all around – a reflection of how sharply sentiment has changed in the property market.

Both the majority sellers at Finland Gardens in Siglap and the intended buyer, Sing Holdings, agreed yesterday it would be best to just let the deal die. And the minority sellers, who were against it from Day One, were thrilled.

The sellers rung the death knell when they halted a High Court appeal yesterday.

They went to court last year to overturn a Strata Titles Board (STB) decision made in November last year.

The STB had thrown out the $49.5 million sale, ruling the deal lacked 80 per cent approval and that the price had not been obtained in good faith.

Sing Holdings initially backed the court appeal but withdrew yesterday its application to intervene in the appeal.

Managing director Lee Sze Hao said Sing Holdings told the sellers late last week that Sing Holdings no longer wanted them to continue with the appeal.

‘The key determining reason for us is the uncertainty of the timing of the sale and market conditions,’ said Mr Lee.

He added that the sale had dragged on for a long time and, considering market uncertainties ahead, it did not make sense to continue waiting.

The Sing Holdings statement said it considered uncertainties over the time needed to procure the order for the sale and market conditions, coupled with the rising costs of construction.

The sellers from 40 units met on Saturday. ‘We agreed to the buyer’s request to call off the deal amicably,’ sales committee chairman Song Koon Poh told The Straits Times. ‘Current market prices for our estate are still favourable… and the long waiting time has worn everyone down.

‘We don’t know how long this will drag on. Assuming the appeal is successful, we will need three months for final completion and another six months to vacate.’

The developer is said to be bearing most of the legal costs.

The minority owners, who fought hard against the sale and won the STB decision last year, were happy that it was over.

The deal for the freehold estate, with 48 units of walk-up flats, is now off. The move comes amid a flat market for private homes, with both buyers and sellers now cautious.

Sing Holdings bought the 98,309 sq ft Finland Gardens for $504 per sq ft on the land area in November 2006, just before prices surged in the first half of last year.

When the estate was launched for sale in July 2006, the owners were hoping for between $50 million and $55 million.

Meanwhile, Sing Holdings has completed the purchase of two collective sale sites – Bellerive and Hillcourt Apartments. Both are at the demolition stage.

Source : Straits Times – 22 Apr 2008

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