07/07/2007 NST PROP TALK By
You probably just missed it,
sleepy heads: 7.07am, 7.7.07. The next time anything this significant comes
around will be in 70 years.
Today's date is so unique many
memorable events have been planned so that they can be easily remembered in
the annals of time.
One is Live Earth, a six-concert
event that will bring more than 100 music artists in front of some two
billion people, in the hope a global movement to solve the world's climate
crisis will be formed.
Today, the new Seven Wonders of
the World will also be announced in Lisbon, Portugal. Among the contenders:
Timbuktu, which during the 12th century was one of the wealthiest places in
the world and the site of humankind's first university; Petra the glittering
capital of Nabataean empire on the edge of the Arabian Desert; and the
Sydney Opera House in Australia, a landmark building that reflects the
continent's love for abstract creativity.
I understand JK Rowling too was
supposed to release her seventh instalment of the Harry Porter series today.
Apparently, she's particularly fond of the number, making it the amount of
players in a Quidditch team and locating Gryffindor Tower's entrance on the
seventh floor at Hogwarts.
On our shores, 070707 would be
especially unforgettable if some long-awaited property measures could be
One that I would have liked to
see is the full-scale implementation of a variant of the Build-Then-Sell
method of housing delivery.
Over the past several weeks,
you'd have read in our pages arguments from both buyers and developers on
this, with the former obviously supporting it adoption and the latter,
preferring the traditional method of Selling Then Building or STB, to
Wisely perhaps, the government
like the silent majority, have sat like spectators on the sidelines. Maybe
it doesn't want to offend either side just yet; maybe it's still studying
the pros and cons.
Whatever the case, I think we've
gone past the point of no return. Acknowledged, the powers-that-be said last
June that it would allow both BTS and STB coexist for two years, after which
it would decide on the best system to use nationwide.
But I think what will - or won't
- be said come June 2008 is purely academic, for with property's game-play
being led by buyers and foreign investors, the traditional way of doing
business - STB - can't possibly survive.
That being the case, we might as
well accept the inevitable and get on with life.
Unless there are quarters
harbouring hopes of wrestling control of the market from the arms of
buyers, the arguments to keep STB alive are academic at best.
Its likely successor, a BTS
variant called 10:90 in which buyers only need to put 10 per cent down when
signing up for a house and pay the balance upon completion, might indeed
kill off smaller developers that don't have the financial strength to build
without using other people's money. And it might throw prices of available
stock into the air until the free market manages to adjust itself.
Unfortunately as these things may be, though, I don't see a route for
A few developers that can't be
bothered with rhetoric have already swung into action by offering
BTS-powered projects, knowing head-banging only causes headaches and has no
Of course, theirs aren't common
and are mainly small niche jobs targeted at the upper echelons who can
afford the luxury of buying a project without any risk. But it's a start.
As it has happened in the past
with trends and styles, as it gathers momentum, BTS will eventually filter
down the rank and file to become accessible by more.
I just wish that time would be