Palm Springs investors face millions in losses
Posted by 7starsdubai on April 1, 2008
original published: Arabianbusiness.com
Devastated investors in Damac Properties’ axed development on the Palm Jebel Ali are facing millions of dirhams in losses, one of the project’s investors has told ArabianBusiness.com.
The Dubai-based developer recently cancelled the much-delayed Palm Springs project five years after launch, citing “redevelopment of the plots”.
The developer has offered investors compensation of 6% annual interest on the original purchase price and the option of transferring their investment to another project with a 15% discount
Many buyers have snapped up Palm Springs units on the secondary market, meaning off an investor and not directly from the developer, paying up to a 50% premium on the original purchase price.Prior to the cancellation of the project, Palm Springs units were estimated to be worth more than double the original purchase price, according to investors.Investors are now threatening to take Damac to court if it does not reverse its decision and continue with construction.Nearly 60 UK-based investors in the project have formed a group to take on Damac, giving the developer until April 11 to reverse its decision or face legal action.London-based investor Karl Brown told ArabianBusiness.com members of the group were facing average losses on their investment ranging between 300,000-600,000 dirhams ($81,000-$163,000), depending on when they purchased their unit.Brown said he bought his Palm Springs apartment on resale in March 2006 for 1.5 million dirhams and believes the property is now valued at more than 2.2 million dirhams.However, he will only receive the original purchase price, estimated at about 1.1 million dirhams, plus 6% interest for each of the five years since the project’s launch.Brown said Damac had told him it was not the developer’s contractual obligation to refund money that was paid on resales.Brown said UK investors’ losses were compounded by the rising value of the British pound against the dirham.Many investors purchased their units when the exchange rate was 6.4 dirhams to the pound, while the exchange rate is now around 7.3 dirhams to the pound, he said.Brown said the group, the Palm Spring Investors Group, was appealing to Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) and Nakheel, master developer of the Palm Jebel Ali, for assistance with the dispute.Damac was not immediately available for comment, but in a statement issued earlier the developer said it understood the situation was serious and unfortunate, but that it was “completely outside Damac Properties control”.“Due to redevelopment of the plots, the building forming the Palm Springs development cannot be situated on the re-allocated plot and as a result, the Palm Springs project has been cancelled, Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president of corporate communications at Damac Holding, said in the statement.“Damac is committed to its customers and in view of this cancellation, Damac Properties will provide customers an opportunity to release the investment made at Palm Springs and transfer the monies to any other project in the Damac Properties portfolio at a discounted price 15% below current market.”The 25-storey Palm Springs project had originally been planned for completion by late 2007, and buyers were already angry over repeated delays, contractual issues and complaints of poor customer service by Damac.
These are the kind of Developer that Distroy the Market Confidence
Posted by Sam Wahib, Dubai, UAE on 1 April 2008 at 17:47 UAE time
It is amazing to see the effort and amount that Damac spends on ADVERTISING…. while they do NOT spend enough effort on delivering on their promises. Other than 2 buildings in Dubai Marina, I’m not aware any othe project that was delivered out of the 50+ project they sold….In addition, and not a single Damac project has been delayed less than one year. I can not imagine a project that was supposed to be completed in 2007, just gets cancelled NOW (after the completion date). These investor must have paid in 2004, now they will just get 6% interest while they could have got 200% to 300% return if they would have invested these sums in any other project in Dubai When you deal with such developer you should look carefully at the contract, and make sure that you are covered with proper compensation should this happen to you
Posted by Ilyas, London on 1 April 2008 at 17:00 UAE timeNo one apart from Damac is really in the wrong here, Lee talks about who should be sued, the only ones who have gone back on anything are Damac. The have been given a Plot by Nakheel, but they will obviouly get a lot more money by selling it afresh then re designing and leaving it with the original investors. I think most people cant grasp the simple con that is being carried out here – Nakheel have redesigned but have delivered on there side of giving plots – Damac want to make more money by selling at new prices so are trying t cancel peoples contracts. One thing about unavoidable delays but completely cancelling investors contracts and offering 6% per annum so then can then sell at 300% of the orginal price that is a con………..
Damac and the fun and games
Posted by Mike H on 1 April 2008 at 16:53 UAE time
Damac have been selling off plan now for 5 years. They must surely have sold 60 plus developments. In that period they have handed over 2 buildings if my memory serves me. It seems to me that its all about taking in the cash that they can and skirting around the deliverables with excuses like this. Before the escrow was introduced what was happening to all that money?Hmmm interesting. I wonder how their developments in Egypt and Jordan are faring. Maybe Palm Springs is financing those.
Palm Springs Mess
Posted by Lee, Dubai, UAE on 1 April 2008 at 15:18 UAE time
Wow! Lots of opinions on this one!!! I feel for the investors, end users, speculators, etc. who will not be receiving their property. And for those who were secondary buyers, well, these buyers could lose big time depending on the premiums they paid. But who should be sued or held accountable? -Should Damac sue Nakheel as one of the Palm Springs investors suggested? I guess they could but then Damac would never receive another plot in any Nakheel development ever again. I would be surprised if any Middle East master developers would ever want to work with Damac. Is Damac going to risk that??? I don’t think so. -And who is to say when Nakheel told Damac? I think we need Nakheel to “clear the air” and come forward with the facts on this plot and their communications/dealings with Damac.-Should previous owner’s be sued for their premiums? Who is to say they were not “tipped off” to problems and told to sell by Damac executives? I bought a property in JLT and a year later one of the representatives told me how late the project would be and that the finishes were going to be rubbish. He recommended I sell if I could which I did. If you think buyers are not gettings “tips” for when to buy or sell in this market you are being naive.Is anyone really surprised this happened? If anything I am surprised it took this long for it to happen. Developers are buying plots and less than a year later they are selling flats off plan, sometimes before master developer’s complete the infrastructure works. This was bound to happen. My wife and I bought a flat in 2005 only to have the building completely redesigned in 2006. We ended up with a flat on a lower floor because that was all that was left for us. I knew then the whole real estate game in Dubai was going to be risky until the government introduced laws to regulate the “monkey business”. But at the end of the day, this is still the wild frontier. There may be Escrow accounts, but where are the penalties for projects handed over 1, 2 or 3 years late? Who knows how this will turn out…..but I am going to sit back and watch the entertainment!
The Damac fiasco
Posted by Plam Springs Investor, UK on 1 April 2008 at 14:05 UAE time
“As stated before in this thread; sit back and watch and enjoy.” KieranWhat about the first rule of good government, of regulating the real estate industry? I’m sure you wouldn’t be sitting back and enjoying things if your local Wimpy builder did the same to you if they felt their profit margin had become too small to make it worthwhile to deliver the property you had purchased several years ago….”The Dubai Real Estate is like a gambling table, you speculate & invest. The chances of making it big is high but if you lose, you do not blame the casino, you blame your self.” The ThinkerYou have a very poor opinion of Dubai – simply a huge gambling place billing itself as being run along Islamic principles. The Sheikh of Dubai paints a very different picture of Dubai…”Don’t you people who speculate on a value of something that is not happening see that you too pump up the bubble a little too much, and are really helping the same developers whom you want to sue now?”You do not seem to understand the simple fact that Damac have renegaded on the contracts given to investors not because of any property bubble, but SIMPLY TO STEAL MONEY THAT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO INVESTORS. It is not as if they do not have money to pay compensation at current market rates, or do not have a plot on the Palm Jebel Ali to build the Palm Springs project.
Posted by theshadow, Dubai, UAE on 1 April 2008 at 13:51 UAE time
It may not be criminal but it’s shady as you can imagine. Not only DAMAC are to blame though, the real estate industry here is equally guilty of distorting reality in their efforts to get people to buy buy buy.I just don’t see how this works though – surely if a developer announces a development and offers it for sale they’re obligated to deliver the project as advertised? If not, that says a lot about the maturity of the real estate industry here and the type of people it has attracted. I’d rather spend my hard-earned money elsewhere on something solid instead of a coloured, computer rendered bubble that might burst at any given moment for no valid reason. It really is ludicrous.
Posted by Ilyas, London on 1 April 2008 at 12:18 UAE time
Some people dont seem to understand what this is about. Nothing to do with volatile markets, because if the value had gone down that is something the Investors understand, nothing to do with workmanship, oversupply blah blah. Damac have used investors money to buy the plot, and then when the price goes through the roof they want to renege on the their committments and sell it for more.People posting on here talking about falling markets and all the rest this simply is nothing to do with the issue, investors paid for something on Palm Jebel Ali and thats what they should get. Not some shoddy excuse about a redesign.AND if the price had collapsed ofcourse Damac would then have said to the investors to buy in a redesigned palm springs, just so happens they have seen an opportunity to make more money buy selling them afresh.
First Rule of Investment
Posted by Kieran, London, UK on 1 April 2008 at 10:57 UAE time
Only fools think that high returns are not the reward for high risks…These investors can persue this claim but they need to risk having the world know they were either gullible enough to think this was a guaranteed return or thought they were party to some nefarious deal whereby their returns were guaranteed unless, of course, DAMAC or their agents gave them assurances that there would be a massive return, thereby, through that assurance, underwriting the risk.However, that may well indeed be the case. UAE sales agents (and there are so many of them these days) with their hyperbolic talk about massive returns and guaranteed investments may be advised to have their lawyers double check their publicity material and make sure their staff are trained well or this lawsuit and future ones could start to cascade down the property-boom feeding chain eating the weak.The authorities have recently, and rather belatedly, been taking steps to regulate these sales and are to be applauded for that but, unfortunately, a lot of things were said and done pre-regulation, that might come back to haunt the market.That coupled with the fact that there is a huge amount of property just now coming to completetion so the builders must be praying that their new owners are too ill educated or naiive to spot the shoddy workmanship and poor finishing prevalent in the region and launch a tidal wave of warranty claims for repairs and bringing properties up to the standard portrayed in the sales publicity. There is no evidence to suggest that most of the developers actually have the kind of solid, cash, foundations and secured credit lines to survive any major turbulence in this market, let alone to go paying out compensation back to burnt investors or aggrieved owners.Caveat Emptor and nowhere is this truer than buying “off plan”.As stated before in this thread; sit back and watch and enjoy.
Who’s to blame?
Posted by The Thinker, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 1 April 2008 at 10:31 UAE time
Well, who is to be blamed, is it DAMAC who just promotes but never forces a investor to buy or is it the investors pouring in millions without seeing a brick on ground. There a very true old saying, ‘SEEING IS BELIEVING’ & there is a counter line that says that only the risk takers reach the top (but for the risk takers, it can be rewarding or a dive in the dump while the believers would have lost a good opportunity if it was really good later).The Dubai Real Estate is like a gambling table, you speculate & invest. The chances of making it big is high but if you loose, you do not blame the casino, you blame your self. After all, before & after investing, you believed in speculation (until DAMAC’s announcement) and took a very strategic decision.
Palm Springs mess
Posted by George, Dubai, UAE on 1 April 2008 at 09:45 UAE time
Well …If Nakheel redesigned the plots, then Damac should have either informed the investors in time, or sue/ask for compensation/alternative plot(s) of the same properties from Nakheel now. While I can feel sorry for the original investors, the ones asking for the compensation of the secondary sales are obviously not entitled to any refund beyond the original price and any interest that the developer is accepting. Their risk – as long as they thought that the value is going up, they kept quiet, right? – and their loss. They would be happy if the project went through and they had 100% returns on the investment.And, I really fail to see how a flat that is never going to be built can be valued, let alone worth millions??? Don’t you people who speculate on a value of something that is not happening see that you too pump up the bubble a little too much, and are really helping the same developers whom you want to sue now? Compound greed … great!Let’s kick back and watch … the game is on …
Posted by stuart mayhead, Abu Dhabi, UAE on 1 April 2008 at 08:17 UAE time
So is this going to be when they judge the bubble to have burst? Or is it just a leak….
Damac’s action tantmount to
“Damac said it understood the situation was serious and unfortunate, but that it was “completely outside Damac Properties control”.”What a load of codswallop. Damac has known about the re-design of the Palm Jebel Ali for ages, and I’m sure Nakheel would have kept them informed of progress in the re-design. It’s astounding for Damac to suggest that it has ‘suddenly’ learned that the original plot will not be delivered, and so has had to cancel the project. Damac seem to think that those who invested in the Palm Springs are a bunch of brainless fools who are not able to see through this LIE.If Damac are not able to honour their contracts for failure to deliver by Nakheel, then they should be suing Nakheel, rather than penalising investors with whose money Damac has had all of these years.It is extremely surprising that the Dubai authorities are not stepping in and investigating Damac, if not on investors behalf, then to safeguard the reputation and of Dubai as a safe place to invest.These latest comments by McLoughlin reveals that Damac’s business ethos is driven by greed, and I applaud Brown and the Palm Springs Investors Group for standing up to Damac’s underhand illegal tactics
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