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More than 1,600 owners of government-built condominiums filed a 15.5 billion yen suit Tuesday against the Housing and Urban Development Corp. over the major discounts it offered new buyers last year.

The 1,622 plaintiffs, residents of 25 complexes in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Ibaraki prefectures, filed the damages suit against the housing corporation at the Tokyo District Court.

Jin Matsushita, 62, representing the plaintiffs, said the governmental corporation cut prices by about 12 percent to 30 percent last August to expedite sales of the unsold condos, although it had promised early buyers that it would not offer discounts later.

List prices were in fact unlawfully high, considering the corporation is prohibited by law from pursuing profits, said Matsushita, the owner of a condo in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture. Most of the plaintiffs purchased their condos between 1993 and 1995 when the bubble economy had already burst.

While the prices of privately built condos had dropped about 30 percent compared with the bubble period, those of condos built by the housing corporation had soared about 26 percent.

Although the average space of corporation condos was larger than others, the unit price was 10 million yen to 20 million yen higher than those built by private companies.


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