Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Belfast's Titanic Quarter developers taking flats buyers to court

Customers who have failed to complete the purchase of apartments in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter are to face legal action by the developers.

It is understood that Titanic Quarter Ltd, owned by Dublin-based Harcourt Developments, has issued writs against 12 buyers.

The cases are due to be mentioned at the High Court in Belfast next week, one of a number of legal actions centred on property bought at the height of Northern Ireland's housing boom.

Falling property prices have meant some people are unable to get mortgages to cover the cost of flats which were agreed at the height of the boom period.

Last year Barry Gilligan of Big Picture Developments issued writs after buyers failed to meet the deadline to complete purchases of apartments at the Ormeau Bakery development. Similar action was taken by PBN, behind the Woodlands Manor development.

Titanic Quarter Ltd said it had been talking to the customers and had offered incentives, including discounts to the original agreed price, for them to complete the purchases but agreement had not been possible.

Harcourt Developments is controlled by Donegal man Pat Doherty. It holds the development rights for the huge Titanic Quarter site.

According to brochures, the Arc offers “spacious one, two and three bedroom apartment homes” designed “with a focus on style, quality, warmth and security in a modern waterfront environment”.

Property prices have crashed by more than 30% since the peak of the boom, meaning properties are now worth less than the original agreed price.

Banks are reluctant to agree mortgages for the original price of such properties, leaving buyers faced with the prospect of losing large deposits and in some cases, being held liable for the total cost of the apartments as agreed at the height of the boom.

Developers can apply to the courts for what is known as “an order of specific performance”, which obliges the buyer to “perform” their part of the contract.

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