Thomson View condo has failed in its fourth attempt to launch a collective sale - just the latest in a growing list of projects that have been unable to secure the requisite 80 per cent approval rate to kick-start a sale.
The 255-unit estate in Upper Thomson Road had raised the reserve price three times in the past year to $938 million, but still garnered backing from only 76 per cent of owners.
This resulted in the sale agreement lapsing on Sept 24, said collective sale committee chairman Tan Kin Lian yesterday.
Thomson View comprises 200 apartments, 54 townhouses and one shop unit on a 540,314 sq ft site.
Townhouse owners would have received around $5.5 million, and apartment owners between $2.6 million and $3.7 million, if the sale had gone through, said Mr Tan, a former chief executive of NTUC Income.
Some owners did not seem bothered about potentially missing out on a bumper payout.
One resident who wanted to be known only as Mrs Lai said that she was not too upset about the failed attempt.
"I supported the en bloc because the price was pretty attractive," noted Mrs Lai, who is in her 40s and married with two children.
"I really love this place. The house is spacious - 2,000 sq ft. It's hard to find a space that big."
The stamp duty payable proved a deterrent for some owners, said Mr Tan, while a number also resisted because they did not agree with the apportionment method.
"Others liked living at Thomson View," he added.
But for Mrs Lai, even though she would have had to pay the sellers' stamp duty because she has lived in the estate for only two years, "the projected gains were more than enough to cover it and pay for a new home".
Mr Tan believes the biggest challenge was that owners who signed the sale agreement would have been liable to contribute towards legal costs if the sale were to be challenged in court again.
Many of them became "wiser" after they were hit by large legal bills incurred in the last attempt to sell en bloc, in 2013, he added.
Back then, a proposed $590 million collective sale was voided after the High Court found that former marketing agent HSR International Realtors had offered incentive payments to four owners to get them to sign the sale agreement.
It was earlier reported that 215 unit owners at Thomson View had agreed to the collective sale in 2013, and their legal costs had been in the six-figure range.
Mr Tan noted yesterday: "Why should legal fees for an unsuccessful sale be borne only by the signing owners?
"That encourages some owners to become free riders, meaning they want others to be signing owners because they don't want to incur legal fees themselves if the sale gets challenged in court again."
Mr Tan suggested that a fairer approach would be for the collective sale agreement to state "that in the event of a successful sale, a certain percentage of the total sales proceeds, not exceeding 0.5 per cent, may be set aside to be distributed among the signing owners for the risk that they have taken".