PHOTO: Australia developer Ralan

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One of Australia’s largest private developers has collapsed amid a severe downturn in the property market that hit sales and pushed up funding costs in the sector. Grant Thornton Australia said on Wednesday that it had been appointed administrator to Ralan Group, which specialises in building, developing and managing residential and commercial property in Sydney and the Gold Coast. It said the group owed about A$500m ($345m) to creditors and had a pipeline of more than 3,000 apartments in the construction or pre-sales phase.  Ralan is developing one of Australia’s largest hotel and apartment projects, the A$1.4bn Ruby Collection on the Gold Coast — a fast-growing region on the country’s east coast that depends to a large extent on foreign buyers.  “In terms of the operating businesses within the [Ralan] Group, it is as far as possible, business as usual. We are working closely with key stakeholders to identify and preserve value for creditors,” said Said Jahani, managing partner, Grant Thornton Australia.