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AU Stockland accused of leaving buyers in lurch

Property Here - Friday, May 10, 2013

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STOCKLAND has been accused of selling properties in Reedy Creek on the Gold Coast without telling buyers about the quarry Boral is proposing for land next door.

The allegations, relating to The Observatory estate, were contained in the social impact statement which was prepared by a Brisbane consulting company and is part of the Environmental Impact Statement Boral has submitted to the Queensland Government.

The SIS, which became public recently and was three years in the making, exposes the anger and frustration some Observatory residents have expressed about Stockland sales staff.

"They felt that Stockland knew about the quarry proposed, but did not tell them, when they sold them the land,'' the authors reported.

They went on to say that Stockland staff told them they had been abused by residents.

"Residents come in every day. They are very aggressive. They paid top dollar for their properties and they believe that is going to be devalued,'' the authors reported.

A Stockland spokesman told the Bulletin that the majority of potential buyers who visited The Observatory sales office were "well aware of the proposed quarry''.

"We have had frequent conversations with many prospective buyers over the last couple of years on the proposed quarry, and refer them to the relevant fact sheets from Boral,'' he said.

The SIS goes on to say potential buyers were relying on getting information from the developer about the proposed quarry because standard property searches showed no sign of the project and instead described the land next to The Observatory as adjacent to a green belt.

REIQ figures show the median house price in Reedy Creek plunged $65,750, or 10 per cent, in the three years to March 2012, while across the Gold Coast generally the median house price dropped just 5.5 per cent.

RE/MAX Regency Robina agent Nicole Carter said yesterday she was regularly asked about the quarry when marketing properties in The Observatory.

"The No. 1 thing people want to know is if it (the quarry) is going ahead,'' she said.

"I have a two-page information document from Stockland that I give them with frequently asked questions and answers.''

She said she was finding it harder to sell property in The Observatory.

According to the SIS, Stockland staff estimate blocks that would normally sell for $300,000 would need to be discounted 50 per cent to be sold now.

Property lawyer Tim O'Dwyer said yesterday some residents of The Observatory might have a case against Stockland.

"It is an offence under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act to wilfully conceal a material fact in the course of selling property,'' he said.

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