Off the plan buyers told to fork out extra for their home

AN Auckland apartment buyer says it is "outrageous" he is being asked for an extra $50,000 for his place at New Zealand's biggest new multi-unit apartment project and he wants buyers to unite.

Buyers at the $300 million 800-unit Rose Gardens Apartments project at Albany are being asked for more money due to rapidly rising building costs since deposits were sought last year.

The buyer, who did not want to be named, complained to the Herald that he had signed an agreement for a $450,000 place, now costing him $500,000.

"I have purchased a one-bedroom unit in Rose Garden apartment, and was contacted by an agent that the vendor wants to increase the price for the unit. Obviously I'm very peeved off. It's not my fault the project has suffered delays, cost increased and we have no control over the design or programming of the project, yet we are the ones having to pay extra or else," he said.

"The percentage the vendor is asking - 10-15 per cent - is outrageous," he said, complaining that in his opinion, construction costs had not risen that fast.

"It is not uncommon for off-the-plan developers in Asia to employ similar tactics to maximise their profit, especially so in heated property markets where buyers are being held to ransom, but I am very surprised and disappointed the same practice are being used right here in NZ and seemed to be okay/legit.

"Is the Herald aware of any other buyers who may have formed a group ready to take legal action against the vendor for the price hike?" he asked.

Robin Lee, deputy manager of the project, said in September that more money was needed to cover rising construction costs.

"Building costs have gone up significantly. Even if we ask for 15 per cent, the money still doesn't cover construction costs," Lee said two months ago. "Right now, we're just contacting some of the buyers to get feedback."

There are 201 units in stage one of the project, all have been pre-sold and it is those places for which more money might be sought, Lee said then.