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RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Consumer watchdog warns against overseas property purchases

The number of complaints lodged at the council more than doubled in 2017.

As the number of complaints on overseas property purchases lodged against the city’s consumer watchdog more than doubled to 35 cases in 2017, the Consumer Council warned Hong Kongers of the high level of risk associated with foreign investments.

According to a press release, these complaints largely revolved on the agent’s failure to complete the development put on sale as well as refusing to disclose the property’s insufficient valuation.

There were also certain recorded cases of refusing refund even though the terms of the contract differed from the agent’s descriptions. 

“Consumers are strongly advised to be wary of the considerable risks in buying property abroad. Construction work of real estate development is always subject to variables and contingencies. As the formal sales and purchase agreements are signed between the buyers and the overseas developers, the Hong Kong laws may not be applicable,” the authority said in a statement. 

The Consumer Council cautioned consumers to first ascertain if the agent is a supervised licence holder and as an extra measure, consult a lawyer for a professional opinion.

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