June 18, 2007

Collective property sales are not just about money

THE recent rise in property prices has sparked a massive furore to jump on the bandwagon in collective sales. My estate in the East Coast is no exception in this spate of money-making ventures and the experience has left a sour taste in the palate.

While many stand to benefit from such sales where prices are inflated due to demand, those with no alternative housing are left at a loss. Many of the latter fail to acknowledge the difficulties of finding a new house that matches up to the old spacious unit, complete with convenient locality and scenic surroundings, even with the big money one makes from the collective sale. Many of these home owners end up regretting that they ever signed the agreement, some pray the sale will fall through.

Certainly, as a business transaction, the gains are tremendous. However, on hindsight, many realise too late that there are limited options with what settlement they receive, and later, sentimentality sets in. Internal conflicts arise when sales committees fail to deliver essential information to residents, and to some, the coercion into signing almost amounts to forced eviction, since one has little choice when many others have already been lured into the transaction.

People need to realise that while property prices rise to a seller's benefit, they also rise to the dismay of potential buyers. The latter usually include the people who take part in a profit-making collective sale in the first place. Sales committees need to ensure proper consultation and be understanding with residents to prevent internal conflicts. Potential sellers should also do their own research into alternative housing in the event of making a sale, so they will not regret such a major decision in future.

Liana Tang (Miss)