- June 1, 2015: Vol. 9, Number 6

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Off-plan property trades: Underhanded profit-making or a clever strategy?

by Charles Fletcher

It is common practice for large residential units in the United Kingdom to be marketed “off-plan” to the overseas market. Typically, buyers from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Middle East and Russia welcome this approach. It is not unusual for flats to be sold sometimes before construction has completed and in some cases even before construction has started.

Occasionally, a flat may, in fact, be purchased in the early stages of the development by an opportunist buyer and then re-sold to an onward purchaser for an increased amount; all in advance of the completion of the project. This is currently happening at the regeneration of Battersea Power Station on the River Thames in south London.

There is a temptation to brand this tactic of profit-making as underhand or even market manipulation and exploitation, but it is totally legal. The question is: who are the losers in this?

Answer: well… nobody, actually.

The developer — developers are

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