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Don’t buy newly built apartments, experts warn

Experts warn Aussies off buying newly-built apartments. Source: Getty

Australians across the nation have been forced out of their homes as apartment complex after apartment complex falls victim to structural and safety defects.

And Aussies should take the hint, Building Confidence report author Bronwyn Weir told Four Corners.

"I wouldn't buy a newly built apartment. No."

"If I was going to be investing in an apartment, I'd buy an older one. It's common sense, isn't it? It's just logical," Weir said.

And Weir would be wary of buying off-the-plan too.

“Buying off the plan is a really tricky proposition at the moment,” she said.

But by five years of age, Weir said major issues with the building should have started to show.

The whopping $6.2 billion problem

Unit owners in Sydney’s Mascot Towers were collectively slapped with a $10 million bill - more than double what they were initially touted to be.

Another building in Sydney’s inner-west was found to be built on a contaminated foundation, which meant owners who bought off-the-plan and hadn’t moved in yet were forced to abandon their new homes.

But they’re not the only ones.

Deakin University and Griffith University found 97 per cent of buildings in New South Wales had at least on defect, with that figure dropping to 74 per cent in Victoria and 71 per cent in Queensland.

Now, the repair bill for those structural and safety defects in buildings Australia-wide could surpass a whopping $6.2 billion, new research warns.

The "conservative" estimate only covers remediation of water leaks, fire safety breaches, structural failure and combustible cladding in units built since 2009, but doesn’t include legal costs, audit schemes, increased insurance premiums or any defected buildings older than 10 years.

The construction union, which commissioned the research, says the cost assessment is staggering.

"Tens of thousands of families, many of whom have purchased their first home, are now stuck with the crippling cost and mental anguish of owning homes that they may not be able to live in, are unsafe and cannot afford to repair," the CFMMEU's Dave Noonan said in a statement on Monday.

Most of the costs related to buildings in NSW, followed by Victoria and Queensland, with flammable cladding the biggest expense.

And cladding issues have claimed their next victim: the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The South Australian State Government is now considering taking legal action against contractor, Lendlease, and architect Woods Bagot, amid concerns flammable cladding could have been sued in the centre’s redevelopment, The ABC reported.

With AAP.

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