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steve66

Some Comfort At Last

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I've dipped in and out of this forum since it was launched hoping to find some wisdom or knowledge to help me through the property slump. Unfortunately I was looking in the wrong place. I've no idea why so many seem to take delight in their own opinions and the misfortune of others.

I'm a fully signed up TQ purchaser. The deposit was paid and contract signed on day one of the release of apartments. Finally, after two years of uncertainty, I've spoken with the developer, visited the site and viewed my apartment. I also have a valuation for my mortgage company. So here's my story...

I received a letter saying the apartment was nearing completion and i could view it by contacting the developers representative. He was warm and courteous on the telephone and equally civil when I met him on site. I spent around 90 minutes with him viewing show aparments, landscaped gardens, common areas and ongoing development around the complex as well as the apartment I'm contracted to buy. I was very, very impressed. The quality of apartments, lobbys, gardens, etc is excellent. Better than anything I've seen in Belfast before. During my time on site I observed 50+ men and women engaged in various tasks. Work rate and quality of finish is commendable.

The developers representative reported that although valuations were down they were better than forecast. He helpfully directed me to a couple of surveyors who had given some good valuations. I took his advice and contacted one earlier this week. He has valued my apartment only 6% down on the contracted price.

A workforce of 600 have already moved into the new Citibank building across the street. The new £37m public records building is nearing completion and work is underway on the Met college due to be completed for the start of term 2011. TQ is a 30 year project and there appears to be no indication on site of any slowdown.

It's not all good news. A 6% drop in value and reduced loan to value mortgages means it may be difficult for many still to complete but its not the story of pending doom for all that has been preached by many on this forum. Will TQ issue writs? My advice is talk to them. I visited one meeting of the Titanic action group and promptly dropped out when it was clear that no communication had been made with the developer. TQ are very open to dialogue with purchasers and in my experience keen to help where they can.

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You seem to be happy and believe you're getting a fair deal.

Only a 6% drop ?

Factor in another 2-3 years of price reductions. Does it still seem such a good deal ?

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The developers representative reported that although valuations were down they were better than forecast. He helpfully directed me to a couple of surveyors who had given some good valuations. I took his advice and contacted one earlier this week. He has valued my apartment only 6% down on the contracted price.

Out of curiosity have you cthought of contacting any independent surveyors ?

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It's not all good news. A 6% drop in value and reduced loan to value mortgages means it may be difficult for many still to complete but its not the story of pending doom for all that has been preached by many on this forum. Will TQ issue writs? My advice is talk to them. I visited one meeting of the Titanic action group and promptly dropped out when it was clear that no communication had been made with the developer. TQ are very open to dialogue with purchasers and in my experience keen to help where they can.

Steve, you mentioned in an earlier post that you had agreed on a 2 bed at 250k. I assume that the 6% drop in valuation (provided by the developers valuer) values the unit at 235k now ie. 15k short of agreed price. Even so don't you still have to complete at the 250k price rather than the the 6% down valuation of 235k?

I take it that you have contacted your mortgage lender to see what they have valued it at and what you can borrow? Is there much difference between their figure and the 235k (6% reduction) quoted to you by the developers' valuer?

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He has valued my apartment only 6% down on the contracted price.

With 40% drops in the rest of the NI market it's hard to believe that your apartment has fallen in value by so little. But let's not quibble - remember to tell us what they sell for in the open market?

EDIT

Come to think of it - how did the surveyor fix a price on an apartment in an unfinished building with none ever having been resold?

Edited by nemesis

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You seem to be happy and believe you're getting a fair deal.

Only a 6% drop ?

Factor in another 2-3 years of price reductions. Does it still seem such a good deal ?

I didnt say it was a good deal. Im down £15k. But 6% is a long way from 30 and 40% prophesied on HPCF

Based on the gross inaccuracy of many previous prophecies on HPCF I'm afraid any new forecasts such as "2-3 years of price reductions" have been discredited. Stick to the facts...it's not as bad as you make out at TQ :)

Edited by steve66

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Out of curiosity have you cthought of contacting any independent surveyors ?

The surveyors are a well known Belfast based company on the panel of Northern Bank, Bank of Ireland, Progressive, Ulster Bank and First Trust. Sorry to disappoint you :)

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Steve, you mentioned in an earlier post that you had agreed on a 2 bed at 250k. I assume that the 6% drop in valuation (provided by the developers valuer) values the unit at 235k now ie. 15k short of agreed price. Even so don't you still have to complete at the 250k price rather than the the 6% down valuation of 235k?

I take it that you have contacted your mortgage lender to see what they have valued it at and what you can borrow? Is there much difference between their figure and the 235k (6% reduction) quoted to you by the developers' valuer?

Yes im committed to paying £250k. A deal is a deal. £235k is my mortgage companies valuation, they are using the surveyor I obtained the quote from.

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I didnt say it was a good deal. Im down £15k. But 6% is a long way from 30 and 40% prophesied on HPCF

Of course the developer was nice to you, you are going to complete at the asking price, he is likely over the moon that you can still get a mortgage with the lower valuation. But I don't see his attitude as relevent.

Friendly valuations.. so you can get a mortgage, seems a bit of back handers going on there. I would be very wary, the lender will have their own valuer.

As doccyboy says the point of this forum is to discuss house prices, theories, evidence etc, we give our opinions.

It not about having a friendly developer, or a good valuation its about stress and quality of life. If you can afford the mortgage (its not more than 3.5x your salary) and you get into Neg equity, it doesn't matter provided your contract doesn't require you to boost the equity.

There are a few bands in NI that havn't moved much, eg detached in north down, but the evidence is that they will drop eventually.

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With 40% drops in the rest of the NI market it's hard to believe that your apartment has fallen in value by so little. But let's not quibble - remember to tell us what they sell for in the open market?

EDIT

Come to think of it - how did the surveyor fix a price on an apartment in an unfinished building with none ever having been resold?

I asked the surveyor about this as i was clearly surprised by his valuation. He believes that TQ apartments were priced and released before the peak of the market ,and similar apartments in the Bakery for example, were priced much higher. I wont be in a position to tell you what they sell for...mine is not for sale.

The surveyor fixed the price in the same way any surveyor values a new build. The car park, common areas, hallways, lobbys, elevators, and gardens are all finished in core four. The apartments are built and finished to a common standard and several show apartments have been fitted for the purpose of valuation. The surveyor has decided upon a price per square foot and applied that to the other apartments as they are completed. Mortgage lenders have been lending on new build apartments for many years and valuations are accepted from professional surveyors.

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Well Steve, if you bought the flat to live in it, as opposed to an investment, and if you can afford the mortgage, which you obviously can or you wouldn't have bought it in the first place, then what do you care whether it goes up or down in price?

Out of interest, what will the:

a ) Rates bill

b ) Maintenance company bill

be on one of those flats for a year?

Edited by JoeDavola

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I take issue with your statement that you find posters here are unsympathetic on the following counts.

1. This is Housepricecrash where there are posters who have been excluded from the property market because of the rampant house price inflation in NI - this was in part contributed to by the off planners who paid high prices for apartments.

2.This is housepricecrash forum not hugs and kisses MSE for poor people who didn't risk assess one of the major purchases in their lives.

3. One of our members kindly set up a private forum where the unfortunate buyers could exchange details in private and form groups to help each other. He has recently been accused of being a developer out to get them. Some gratitude.

4. No-one forced you to post on HPC in the first place and if you didn't like the response of people who firmly believe that a Contract is a contract and should be completed on then no-one forced you to look at the site again.

If you read through the very long Titanic thread then you will see that the posters there vacillated for ages trying to get themselves organised. On the other hand there is a NI group of posters on another sub forum who are very grateful for the response they received from the moderators on here and have formed a group within a very short time to share information. As moderators we want to help people but at the end of the day you made the decision to buy and you have to take the consequences of that act.

doccyboy

Very defensive doccyboy. If you re-read my post you'll find i was looking for "wisdom or knowldege" not sympathy. As it happens I found none of the above in any great quantity.

1. I'm sorry if I am partly responsible for the house price crash in Northern Ireland. That was never my intention.

2. My valuation was only 6% out remember...in the current climate I'm pleased with the result of my risk assessment.

3. I don't know what that means or how it relates to me. Sorry.

4. You are correct, I'll post where i decide. I believe that a contract is a contract and am delighted that i will be fulfilling mine now that the facts have been established. It's a much better picture than forecast at TQ. I decided to post again to encourage those who stumble across this forum looking for information that will help them.

You've been very helpful thank you. The good news is that the consequences aren't as bad at TQ as anticipated. Lets's hope loads more people can complete and enjoy what appears to be a very very nice development.

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Of course the developer was nice to you, you are going to complete at the asking price, he is likely over the moon that you can still get a mortgage with the lower valuation. But I don't see his attitude as relevent.

Friendly valuations.. so you can get a mortgage, seems a bit of back handers going on there. I would be very wary, the lender will have their own valuer.

As doccyboy says the point of this forum is to discuss house prices, theories, evidence etc, we give our opinions.

It not about having a friendly developer, or a good valuation its about stress and quality of life. If you can afford the mortgage (its not more than 3.5x your salary) and you get into Neg equity, it doesn't matter provided your contract doesn't require you to boost the equity.

There are a few bands in NI that havn't moved much, eg detached in north down, but the evidence is that they will drop eventually.

It seemed quite simple to me...several surveyors had given valuations on TQ apartments by the time I viewed mine. The developer knows the valuations and was able to tell me which companies were most favourable. I contacted my bank and asked would they accept a valuation from the one in question and they said yes he's on our panel. Lenders do not have their own valuers.

Here's some evidence for your discussion.

I can assure you, a friendly developer and good valuation = less stress and a better quality of life.

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Well Steve, if you bought the flat to live in it, as opposed to an investment, and if you can afford the mortgage, which you obviously can or you wouldn't have bought it in the first place, then what do you care whether it goes up or down in price?

Out of interest, what will the:

a ) Rates bill

b ) Maintenance company bill

be on one of those flats for a year?

a.It'll be quite a while before the properties are assessed for rates b. this has to be decided yet

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a.It'll be quite a while before the properties are assessed for rates b. this has to be decided yet

Wow - surprised you bought without knowing these things, but each to their own!

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Wow - surprised you bought without knowing these things, but each to their own!

Im surprised you're surprised. How do you expect rates to be set on buildings that aren't built?

The management fee depends on this and other variables.

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There are many people at their wits end trying to complete on these contracts - perhaps if the developer made known a lender who would be willing to use his valuers then the tension could be eased for these people. I don't expect you to name your lender on a public forum but it would be helpful if the developer could inform the buyers privately about this.

Im having trouble figuring you out doccyboy. You've come over all sympathetic. "it would be helpful if the developer could inform the buyers privately about this"...thats is exactly what the developer is doing! This is the very reason I've posted in the first place. The strength in numbers approach is proving fruitless because no one has spoken to TQ directly. Also, they are trying to pick holes in the contract and build quality. The contract is water tight and the build quality is obvious even to the untrained eye. (I haved a trained eye incidently) In my experience if individuals talk to TQ as i did they'll find them very willing to help.

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steve66. good luck with your purchase. (you may need it)

great to hear your QUARTER OF A MILLION pounds apartment is only 6% down in value (when in the same period northern irish property has lost 40%.)

Kind Regards

Getdoon (a stress-free renter with an ever increasing amount of future deposit money in the bank) Weebobby

Edited by getdoon_weebobby

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Sounds like good news all round then! Banks can lend to the buyers; buyers can complete on their contracts; developer can pay off his loan to the banks. Perfect!

But what about the elephant in the room? Why have prices dropped through the floor everywhere else in NI but the surveyor suggests only a modest 6% drop in TQ? Why do I smell a rat?

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steve66. good luck with your purchase. (you may need it)

great to hear your QUARTER OF A MILLION pounds apartment is only 6% down in value (when in the same period northern irish property has lost 40%.)

Kind Regards

Getdoon (a stress-free renter with an ever increasing amount of future deposit money in the bank) Weebobby

Steve66... I also hope that all works out for you.

However the only way to know the true "value" of the place is, put it on the market and see what your offered, listening to an estate agent who is tasked with selling these things, or anyone else who's industry will suffer when house prices fall is not a reliable guide to its value.

I'd guess if you got any offers at all, it would be a very long way off your "6% down" current guestimate.

spelling as usual

Edited by dieselfreak

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Im surprised you're surprised. How do you expect rates to be set on buildings that aren't built?

The management fee depends on this and other variables.

I would have thought you could have been given at least a close approximation based on the plans for the apartments.

I'm surprised that you see two factors which could potentially cost you an extra couple of thousand pounds a year as being insignificant. It's definatley something I would want to know.

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