Jul 08, 2014

    MAS puts EcoHouse on watchlist

    THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has placed EcoHouse Group - an overseas property development firm which specialises in the construction of investor-funded housing for Brazilian families - on its Investor Alert List (IAL).

    The IAL is a list of unregulated entities that may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorised by MAS.

    Since September 2011, EcoHouse has attracted more than 1,500 local investors, with a total investment sum of S$65.55 million, to its Brazilian property development projects.

    But in March this year, The Business Times reported that some investors here had failed to receive any cash payouts from EcoHouse, despite their investment contracts reaching their maturity dates.

    Based in Natal, Brazil, EcoHouse was founded in Britain in 2009 by Anthony Armstrong Emery after the Brazilian federal government launched a programme to cut Brazil's housing shortage by building millions of low-priced homes for the country's growing middle class.

    According to EcoHouse's website, its community homes are financed by private investors. For a minimum investment of £23,000 (S$46,000) per housing unit, it offered investors a 20 per cent fixed rate of return for a 12-month contract.

    EcoHouse also claims to be one of the few foreign developers to be authorised by the Brazilian government to develop houses for the federal home-building initiative, which qualifies it to receive subsidies and tax incentives. In return, it agrees to offer homes for sale at a pre-agreed, competitive price.