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SG EcoHouse refutes get rich quick claims

Property Here - Monday, June 10, 2013

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By Andrew Batt:

EcoHouse, the developer behind what was Singapore’s most successful property investment in 2012, has reacted strongly to defend claims in a weekend newspaper article which cast doubt on the viability of its business.

More than 1,500 Singapore-based investors are among thousands around the world who have invested in the company’s social housing property investment opportunities in Brazil.

An article published by Business Times headlined ‘Beware Get Rich Quick Schemes’ questioned whether the EcoHouse investment opportunity is too good to be true. The company, which opened offices at Suntec Tower to serve its Singapore investors earlier this year, has reacted quickly and strongly to the claims. 

Anthony Armstrong-Emery, Chief Executive Officer of EcoHouse, speaking exclusively to PropertyGuru, said: “Our investor proposition is clearly not too good to be true. We are not in breach of a single client contract in Singapore, or indeed elsewhere.” 

He added: “This investment is true, and is made possible by some unique determining factors in the niche of social housing in Brazil whereby construction is affordable, build times are fast, profits are strong, demand significantly exceeds supply and therefore investor returns are deliverable.”

EcoHouse was not contacted for comment for the original article, and an angry Armstrong-Emery added: “The article implies by saying this that an investment with EcoHouse is risky. Whilst there is risk with any investment we have proved and are proving that the risk is very low with EcoHouse and refute the implication that the EcoHouse investment is very risky. The language overall implies that investors are lured into some sort of trap.”

EcoHouse investors were promised returns on 20 percent on their investments without currency risk - something that was also questioned within the article.

Armstrong-Emery said: “By including this suggestion in the article they are seeding further doubt in the reader that the investment is legitimate. We refute that there is a significant currency risk, particularly as the money is drawn down quickly as the units are built quickly.”

He also welcomed the suggestion that property investors conduct proper due diligence prior to investing. 

“I agree. This is why I encourage investors to spend time with us in our offices and also to visit Brazil. EcoHouse an open door policy, and one of our core aims is to be as transparent as possible. We openly share bank statements, letters from the government, sales reports, costings and much more, with our investors to establish a level of trust that we believe to be unique. 

“EcoHouse runs fortnightly events where clients can meet us, and that’s in addition to one-to-one meetings. We also run investor trips to Brazil. The journalist could have asked more about this had they contacted us. We are very transparent and public about our willingness to spend time with the client explaining their investment.”

EcoHouse was contacting all of its Singapore-based investors by email this morning, providing them with detailed answers to the allegations and suggestions made in the newspaper article, and also in recent online forums.

Picture caption: More than 1,500 Singapore-based investors have invested in EcoHouse. Earlier this year the company celebrated the opening of its offices at Suntec Tower in Singapore with a series of events.

Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email andrew@allproperty.com.sg