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A young couple has been forced to watched their unfinished dream home rot before their eyes after their builder abandoned it for a year before finally going bust this week.

Eliza Burke, 27, and partner Jai Green, 31, have put their wedding and plans to have a second child on hold since signing a $360,000 contract with Brisbane-based Pantha Homes in December 2020.

More than two years later, they’re still no closer to moving into the four bedroom, two bathroom home in the coastal suburb of Newport, north of Brisbane.

The family has spent their life savings on legal fees and experts to try and salvage the disaster. 

They are already $120,000 out of pocket – and expect that will to soar to more than $150,000 even after they are bailed out by state construction industry insurance.

Eliza Burke, 27, and partner Jai Green, 31, have put their wedding and second child on hold since signing a $360,000 contract with Pantha Homes in December 2020

Eliza Burke, 27, and partner Jai Green, 31, have put their wedding and second child on hold since signing a $360,000 contract with Pantha Homes in December 2020

This was the dream home Eliza Burke and Jai Green commissioned Pantha Homes to build

This was the dream home Eliza Burke and Jai Green commissioned Pantha Homes to build

More than two years later, this rotting frame is what they have been left with at the site in Newport, north of Brisbane

More than two years later, this rotting frame is what they have been left with at the site in Newport, north of Brisbane

In another blow, the final price of the couple’s home is now set to top $550,000 because of rising costs since they first signed the contract – which they may not even be able to afford.

‘We’re first time home owners,’ Ms Burke said. 

‘We don’t even know if we’ll be able to get a mortgage for that amount yet. 

‘We don’t know if we’ll be able live in the house once it is built. It’s an absolute nightmare.’

Eliza was pregnant when they signed the contract with Pantha – but she now expects their son Atlas, two, will be ready to start school if they move in at Christmas 2024.

‘We had originally planned for one of the rooms to be his nursery – but we’re not going to need that any more,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

The couple has faced mounting bills since signing with Pantha Homes which is now being wound up by liquidators after 18 years in business.

They had to wait almost a year after putting down their $80,000 deposit before the slab was laid in October 2021 and it was another four months until the frame was erected in February 2022.

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But since then, all work has stopped and they say the wooden frame is rotten with mould while the laminate is now peeling off, and weeds are growing out of the slab.

‘Last year we had over $50,00 in the bank – now we’re down to our last $1,000,’ Mr Green, an Afghanistan war veteran who left the armed services after nine years and now works as a carpenter.

‘We’ve had to spend all that on legal fees and experts testing the mould to prove to Pantha that the wood is rotting.

‘The whole frame is going to have to be torn down and replaced once work finally restarts.’

He said they had been given a litany of excuses by company bosses when they questioned the lack of work on the site.

‘I’m a carpenter by trade myself and I realise it’s a tough environment so we tried to be understanding – but they then just took us for granted,’ Mr Green said.

‘They said they couldn’t find tradesmen and that there were delays in engineering.  They obviously tried to blame all the weather events.

‘They blamed the war in Russia, even though the Russia and Ukraine war trade restrictions were put in after the date they claimed was affected by it.

‘They even tried to say the home was in a swamp which was causing the mould – it’s a coastal wetland, and the median house price is $1.3million. It’s not a swamp!

‘They’ve tried every excuse under the sun.’ 

In a further hit, the family is now battling the tough rental market after Mr Green left the ADF and lost his defence-supplied home while waiting for their house to be built. 

‘We just weren’t expecting to have to pay this level of rent waiting for work to be completed,’ Ms Burke said.

‘And we weren’t expecting to be paying interest-only on our loan and double interest rates and all of that sort of thing for this lengthy period of time.’

All work has stopped at the site a year ago and they say the wooden frame is rotten with mould while the laminate is now peeling off, and weeds are growing out of the slab

All work has stopped at the site a year ago and they say the wooden frame is rotten with mould while the laminate is now peeling off, and weeds are growing out of the slab

Pantha Homes faced a devastating slump from 48 developments worth $13.6 million in projects in 2020/21 to just 11 projects worth $4.1million over the past two years

Pantha Homes faced a devastating slump from 48 developments worth $13.6 million in projects in 2020/21 to just 11 projects worth $4.1million over the past two years

The couple has been in touch with several other families facing similar problems since finding out Pantha had gone bust this week. 

‘For us, it was actually a relief and we can now move on,’ Ms Burke said. 

‘We have our claim in with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission insurance.

‘But there are others who have been waiting for more than three years for their home to be built – and the QBCC insurance cover runs out after two years.

‘It’s terrible for them. These poor people will be left with absolutely nothing.’ 

Mr Green added: ‘As a carpenter, we wanted to support a small family-owned company which was local.

‘We thought they would have more care in building the home.

‘Unfortunately it’s been a very poor choice. If we could change it, we would – but we can’t.’

Pantha Homes has faced a huge slide from 48 developments worth $13.6million in projects in 2020/21 to just 11 projects worth $4.1million over the past two years.

Liquidator Roland Robson is still investigating the scale of any possible losses and the extent of unfinished builds.

The company has since scrapped its Facebook page but its website still promotes its building projects. The firm’s main phone number now plays a recorded message saying the company is closed. 

Australia’s struggling construction industry

Metricon:   

The firm are facing a similar fate after reports emerged skyrocketing prices of materials saw the company warn staff it’s ‘crunch time’.

WIth more than 2,500 employees and an estimated 4,000 projects in the works, a Metricon collapse would have huge rammifications for a lot of homeowners.

Acting CEO Peter Langfelder denied they are facing any issues of insolvency and maintained Metricon remains a viable business. 

‘There is simply no basis to these rumours. Metricon is a strong viable business without any solvency problem,’ he said.

‘The biggest challenge Australia faces is to get more homes built for more Australian families and as the biggest home builder in the country we are the ones to deliver.

‘We are dealing with ‘business as usual’ issues sensitively because of Mario’s sudden and untimely death. 

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Metricon is meeting with government officials for showdown talks over its future.

Privium:

The company poured $3million into a Gold Coast cryptocurrency and more than half a million to a Christian charity in a last ditch effort before it went under.

Privium group, a conglomerate of companies best known for home building, went into liquidation in December, with a report conducted into their finances finding they had likely been trading while insolvent.

Hundreds of properties have been left unfinished due to Privium going bust, with founder and CEO Rob Harder saying they are ‘deeply sorry’.

Privium, which is based in Brisbane and includes property developer Impact Homes, has built houses in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The pandemic hurt the group’s business, with building sites shut down around the country but particularly in Victoria due to the state’s lengthy lockdown in 2020. 

Administrators, however, believe it was a series of investments that were responsible for its downfall rather than Covid, citing the $3million crypto punt. 

It turned the cash into Bartercard dollars which were then converted in Qoin coin, a Gold Coast-based currency.

They also noted a $530,000 donation to Christian charity Love Your World, who counts Privium founder Mr Harder’s wife Rachel as one of its directors.

The sum was paid over four payments in 2021, while a special dividend of $50,000 was also paid to Love Your World in 2019.

These payments could also be in breach of directors duties. 

Next

The Sydney-based company went under in April, blaming the pandemic, rising material costs and even the floods for its demise.

Next, which specialises in affordable housing for aged care and students, collapsed owing $5million to creditors including $400,000 to employees.

It’s biggest project, a $35million student apartment complex in Kensington, next to UNSW, is now in doubt.

Condev:

The Gold Coast firm collapsed in January, a month before ProBuild, with  $1billion in projects on Queensland’s waterfront in the works.

Condev founders Steve and Tracy Marais unsuccessfully attempted to achieve a $25million bailout from developers, with Mrs Marais saying he believed other firms would suffer the same fate.

They have been forced to abandon a series of brand new developments including a new complex on the Cannes Waterfront in Surfers Paradise.    

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