Monday, August 30, 2010

Singapore's Government measures to cool property market on 30 August 2010

1) The Government announced today the following measures to maintain a stable and sustainable property market:

a) Increase the holding period for imposition of Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD) from the current one year to three years.

b) For property buyers who already have one or more outstanding housing loans at the time of the new housing purchase:

i. Increase the minimum cash payment from 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the valuation limit; and

ii. Decrease the Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit for housing loans granted by financial institutions regulated by  MAS to these buyers from the current 80 per cent to 70 per cent.

The measures will take immediate effect on 30 Aug, 2010.

2) The Government's objective is to ensure a stable and sustainable property market where prices move in line with economic fundamentals. The property market is currently very buoyant. While the rate of price increase of private residential properties has moderated in the last three quarters, prices have still increased significantly by 11 per cent in the first half of 2010, and price levels have now exceeded the historical peak in the second quarter of 1996.

3) While Singapore has enjoyed strong economic growth in the first half of 2010, our economic growth is expected to moderate in the second half of the year. There are also still uncertainties in the global economy. Should economic growth falter and the market corrects, property buyers could face capital losses, with implications on their own finances and the economy as a whole.

Moreover, the current low global interest rate environment will not continue indefinitely, and higher interest rates could have severe implications for buyers who have overextended themselves. Therefore, the Government has decided to introduce additional measures now to temper sentiments and encourage greater financial prudence among property purchasers.

4) The Government imposed in February 2010 a seller's stamp duty (SSD) for sellers who buy residential properties on or after 20 Feb 2010 and sell them within a year of purchase.

5) For residential properties bought on or after 30 Aug 2010, SSD will be imposed if these properties are sold within three years of purchase. Specifically, the SSD levied on residential properties will be revised to as follows:

a) Sold within the first year of purchase, ie the property is held for one year or less from its purchase date - The full SSD rate (1 per cent for the first $180,000 of the consideration, 2 per cent for the next $180,000, and 3 per cent for the balance) will be imposed.

b) Sold within the second year of purchase, ie the property is held for more than one year and up to two years - 2/3 of the full SSD rate. c) Sold within the third year of purchase, ie the property is held for more than two years and up to three years - 1/3 of the full SSD rate.

No SSD will be payable by the vendor if the property is sold more than three years after it was bought.

6) The extended SSD will not affect HDB lessees as the required Minimum Occupation Period for HDB flats is at least three years.

7) Iras will be releasing an updated e-tax guide on the circumstances under which SSD will apply and the procedures for paying SSD. The e-tax guide will be available at Taxpayers with enquiries may call Iras at 6351 3697 or 6351 3698.

8) Previously, property buyers have to make cash payment of at least 5 per cent of the valuation limit. With effect from 30 Aug 2010, the cash payment is increased from 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the valuation limit. This measure is applied only to buyers of private residential properties,

Executive Condominiums, HUDC flats and HDB flats (including those under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme, or DBSS flats) who are taking housing loans from financial institutions regulated by MAS and who already have one or more outstanding housing loans at the time of applying for a housing loan for the new property purchase.

9) The LTV limit is lowered from 80 per cent to 70 per cent with effect from 30 Aug 2010 for borrowers who have one or more outstanding housing loans (whether from HDB or a financial institution regulated by MAS) at the time of applying for a housing loan for the new property purchase. Borrowers who do not have any outstanding housing loans continue to have an LTV cap of 80 per cent. These rules apply to housing loans granted by financial institutions for private residential properties, Executive Condominiums, HUDC flats and HDB flats (including DBSS flats).

10) Loans granted by HDB for HDB flats (including DBSS flats) will still have an LTV cap of 90 per cent. HDB loans are offered to eligible first-time flat buyers and second-timers who are right-sizing their flats to meet their housing needs. They are required to utilise all of their CPF Ordinary Account balance before HDB loans will be granted.

Furthermore, those taking a second concessionary HDB loan must use the CPF refund and 50 per cent of the cash proceeds from the sale of their previous flat before they are granted an HDB loan.

This is in line with HDB's home ownership policy of helping eligible buyers, especially first-time buyers, purchase public housing in a financially prudent manner.

11)Financial institutions' lending standards have remained prudent and the asset quality of housing loans has stayed robust, with the non-performing loans ratio at less than 1 per cent as at Q2 2010.

Nonetheless, there are signs that more housing loans are originating at higher LTV bands of above 70 per cent. In line with the objective of ensuring a stable and sustainable property market, lowering the LTV limit sends a clear signal to financial institutions to maintain credit standards, and encourages greater financial prudence among property purchasers already servicing one or more outstanding housing loans.

12) The Government will also continue to ensure that there is adequate supply of housing to meet demand. In the second half 2010 GLS Programme, we have made available sites that can yield about 13,900 private housing units, of which about 8,100 units will be from sites on the Confirmed List.

This is the highest potential supply quantum in the history of the GLS Programme. We will inject an even larger supply of private housing in the first half 2011 GLS Programme, if demand continues to be strong.

13) Apart from the supply from the GLS Programme, there are also 61,800 uncompleted units of private housing from projects in the pipeline as at 2Q20109. Of these, 32,600 units were available or could be made available for sale. These comprised units that had been launched for sale by developers, units that had pre-requisite

14) The Government will continue to monitor the property market closely and will introduce additional measures if required later, to promote a stable and sustainable property market.

More measures to cool the property market

The government has announced several new measures to cool the property market. MND says that there will be an 'increase in the holding period for the imposition of Seller's Stamp Duty from the current one year to three years'. Property buyers who have more than one outstanding loan can only take a 70% loan on their new purchase.

Here's are an excerpt of the press release from MND:

1      The Government announced today the following measures to maintain a stable and sustainable property market:

- Increase the holding period for imposition of Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) from the current one year to three years.

- For property buyers who already have one or more outstanding housing loans at the time of the new housing purchase:

      - Increase the minimum cash payment from 5% to 10% of the valuation limit; and

      - Decrease the Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit for housing loans granted by financial institutions regulated by MAS to these buyers from the current 80% to 70%.

The measures will take immediate effect on 30 August 2010.
Hmm, looks like nothing too drastic. Will it work? Let's look at one crucial stat. Since the initial announcement in 14 September 2009 and 19 February 2010 prices have steadily increased. See chart below:

We think it's quite unlikely prices will fall, maybe it will plateau and even out. Still, stranger things have happened. Guess time will tell.

As posted in by John

DBSS and EC: Eligibility for loans and grants

Lots of us are pretty confused over the new rules regarding HDB's Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS). Do we qualify for this loan, that grant and so on? Is it any different from executive condos (EC)? Here's a quick breakdown of DBSS and ECs rules and requirements.

Changes to the rules
The income ceiling for DBSS has been raised from $8,000 to $10,000. This group will also be eligible for CPF grant. However, HDB loans are only offered to DBSS buyers whose combined income is below $8,000. There are NO changes to rules regarding EC.

Firstly, what's DBSS and what's the difference between EC and DBSS?
DBSS are considered public housing, but designed, built and sold by private developers. Once the development is complete, HDB takes over the administration of the development. More details regarding DBSS here. Example of a DBSS - The Peak @ Toa Payoh. DBSS goes for around $500k-$600k.

EC are private condos with some HDB strings attached, the key string being the minimum occupation period. In short, after the 5th year of occupation the owner can only sell their unit to a Singaporean or a Singapore PR. After the 10th year, anyone including foreigners can buy the unit. More details regarding ECs here. Example of an EC - Bishan Loft. EC goes for around $700k to $800k.

Our combined income is less than $8,000, do we qualify for a HDB loan and/or CPF grant?
DBSS: Yes for HDB loan. Yes for CPF grant.
EC: No HDB loans are given for ECs. Yes for CPF grant of $30,000.

Our combined income is between $8,000 to $10,000, do we qualify for a HDB loan and/or CPF grant?
DBSS: No HDB loan. New rules - YES for CPF grant.
EC: No HDB loan. Yes for CPF grant.

Our combined income is more than $10,000, do we qualify for a HDB loan and/or CPF grant?
DBSS and EC: Sorry, you can't buy DBSS and EC. They are only for incomes of $10k and below.

When will these new rules apply?
They will apply to DBSS projects launched in 2010.

So are there any DBSS projects launched in 2010 so far?
None so far. But look forward to Tampines and Yishun coming your way soon.

Any ECs available in the market?
There will be plenty coming in the next few months. Look out for ones in Sengkang, Buangkok and Yishun.

Sure or not? We need more info!
If you need to know more, simply call the HDB hotline and speak to the customer service officer: 1800 8663 066 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1800 8663 066      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (lines are pretty busy at the moment, but keep at it!)

As posted in by John

PM Lee says cooling measures on the way

Is the party over?

Cooling measures for the private property market are going to be announced, and we suspect Monday is going to be dominated by property related headlines. But the question is - is this going to be the "big one"?

"PM Lee also announced that the government will move to cool the private property market, but did not give details. 'Otherwise you will remember nothing else about my speech,' he said, to laughter from the audience at the University Cultural Centre." -

And if you listen carefully enough, we think you can hear the sound of unexercised "options" being torn up all across Singapore beyond the laughter of the audience.

Already across property discussion boards, wild speculation on what measures are going to be put in place are spreading like wildfire. Some think draconian measures such as "capital gains tax" will be brought back for property while some think it will be another light slap on the wrist.

Among some arguments for "the big one" are:

- Election is surely coming with an A+ report card. Populist measures will take place
- Too many light slaps on wrists already
- PM Lee has spoken.

Anyway, here is the point summary taken from the MND website on the property segment covered in the National Day Rally Speech:


a.         People concerned about housing prices going up

b.         Some blame it on foreigners

            i.          No doubt foreigners and immigrants contribute to housing demand

            ii.         But also broader economic forces at work

                         (1)       In 1H last year property prices fell even though there were many foreigners here

                         (2)       This year, property prices up, and also in China and Hong Kong

c.          We are managing immigration to make sure we do not become too overcrowded

d.         Commitment: will always keep HDB flats within reach of Singaporeans

             i.          Affordable

             ii.         Adequate supply

e.         HDB:

             i.          Building more HDB flats – 16,000 this year, up to 22,000 next year

             ii.         Expediting completion of BTO flats

             iii.        Emphasising home ownership: tightening rules on private property owners buying HDB resale flats

f.          ECs and DBSS:

             i.          “Sandwich group” – couples earning $8,000 to $10,000

             ii.         Presently can buy ECs with a $30,000 CPF grant

             iii.        But anxious of falling in between

                         (1)       Not eligible for HDB

                         (2)       Unable to afford private property

             iv.        Will do more to help them own homes

             v.         Will widen choice beyond ECs, to allow them to buy HDB DBSS flats

                         (1)       With $30,000 grant but no government loan

             vi.        Release more land for ECs and DBSS

g.         Private property:

            i.          Have acted to cool market twice

            ii.         Need to do more

h.         MND will announce details tomorrow

So is this the "big one"? Bigger cash downpayment? Stamp duty? Higher property tax for investment property?

As posted in by Francis

Two sides of the same coin

Where Singaporeans grumbled, Malaysians were figuring how they could benefit from the launch of Singapore’s two casinos and, more crucially, its population expansion plans.

AMONG Singaporeans, life often evolves around one thing – property, especially private ones. For most people, it is a big factor that determines how well or badly they can live in this over-crowded city, so everyone strives to own one as early as possible.

The rationale is simple: This is a small and affluent city, where land is limited and cannot be expanded (beyond some reclamation).

Demand, however, will grow and continue to grow as long as there is economic prosperity and stability.

Singaporeans have regularly bought and sold their homes be­­cause of social mobility, or they flipped them for a quick profit. Often they talk property and breathe it.

A survey some years back found that 53% of Singaporeans had moved homes at least once in the previous 10 years.

Early bird Malaysians who were familiar with this and acted on it last year by buying into the depressed private property market have reason to be cheerful today.

From the bottom, their values have risen by 40%.

The buying spree began in mid-2009 when the city was still mired in recession, led initially by foreigners who made up 70% of the buyers.

Heading the foreign influx were Malaysians, who formed the largest group at 25.1%, followed by Indonesians (18.4%) and mainland Chinese (16%).

Foreign permanent residents (PRs) bought up 20% of public flats on the resale market, again with Malaysians leading the pack.

From early this year, Singaporeans moved in with larger numbers.

What propelled the foreigners to take the plunge during the depressing mid-2009 when locals were sitting on their hands?

“Foresight at a time when it was most needed,” replied a veteran housing agent, who has seen many past storms.

“They held a broader view of things, taking into consideration two things, the launch of the two casinos and more crucially, Singapore’s population expansion plans.”

He said the Malaysian buyers were calculating the future demand for property to house a proposed 6.5 million population.

“While Singaporeans were criticising both policies (the casinos and foreign intake), foreigners were busy calculating how to profit from them,” the agent said.

This is how the housing situation presently stands: With a 5 million population, the city has a total of 1.13 million residences – only a fifth of them being private properties.

The rest, some 885,000 were public apartments which are also in growing demand as more young Singaporeans and PRs jostle for the limited supply.

Singapore has gone from being one of the most depressed housing markets – in 2009, following the global crisis – to one of the fastest rising in the world.

A recent survey by The Economist showed that Singapore has overtaken Hong Kong as the world’s frothiest property market.

It pushed Hong Kong into second place, followed by Australia, South Africa and China, in that order.

The amount of froth is measured by comparing price-to-rent, which indicates its vulnerability; the wider the gap, the more dangerous the market is to a crash.

What it means is that too many properties are over-priced in relation to rent – or worse if they cannot be rented out, then it could signify a bubble is building.

In the Economist’s view, Singapore residential housing is some 20% over-valued after the recent run-up.

This has led some analysts to anticipate a real estate slowdown in the next six to twelve months, but no crash, barring a new global disaster.

People in the industry are, however, more worried about policy risks than they do about any bubble bursting, including the introduction of a capital gains tax or other measures to cool down prices.

In the 45 years since independence, Singapore has been transformed into one of Asia’s richest cities.

The Boston Consulting Group recently said that Singapore had the highest concentration of millionaire households (in US dollars) in the world.

Some 11.4% of families (about 125,000) owned more than US$1mil, and that doesn’t even include properties.

This rising domestic wealth has been steadily moving into the market from early this year. This momentum, helped by a strong economy and low mortgage rates, is keeping the market hot.

“The current demand is driven by Singaporeans upgrading from government housing to the more expensive private property,” one housing representative said.

Are the rising prices a blessing or a bane?

The answer is surprisingly mixed, given that 90% of Singaporeans are owners who benefit from high prices.

For those with investments in land-banks and private properties, these are boom times, turning out more millionaires than ever before.

Landlords can fetch high returns for their investments.

But for Singaporeans who live in their property, the escalating prices mean little except a higher cost of living.

The biggest sufferers are the lower-middle class and the poor, who own no property or have only a low-cost one-room public flat. They’ll have to settle for a further widening of the gap between them and the rich.

Nearly 80% of Singaporeans (and many PRs) live in public flats, whose values have also risen in line with the private sector – making it a major political threat to the government.

The shortage of cheap public housing is one reason why many young Singaporeans who have just started work are putting off marriage.

With more immigrants likely to arrive and over-crowdedness persisting, the prospect of expensive homes on this island will be around for a very long time.

As posted in The Star by Seah Chiang Nee

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Singapore Gets 'Top International Meetings City' Title

SINGAPORE, August 24 (Bernama) -- Singapore has clinched the title of "Top International Meetings City" for the third consecutive year, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA)'s International Meetings Statistics 2009 Report.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said the recognition affirmed the country's standing as a leading business events destination, ahead of 1,653 cities.

STB said the city-state had distinguished itself from the competition which staged events that qualified for inclusion in the UIA's report.

The report also ranked Singapore in second place for "Top International Meetings Country" out of 194 qualifying countries, behind the United States in first place and ahead of France.

Also, for the 26th consecutive year, Singapore remained both the top city and country to hold meetings in Asia.

"The Union of International Associations recognises Singapore as an increasingly strong market leader in international associations meetings," said UIA secretary-general Jacques de Mevius.

Singapore hosted 689 meetings in 2009 that met UIA's qualifying criteria, representing a growth of eight per cent over 2008.

Key examples of these meetings include the Singapore International Energy Week 2009, the Singapore International Water Week 2009, APEC 2009, FDI Annual World Dental Congress 2009, and the 78th Interpol General Assembly 2009.

As posted in Bernama by Zakaria Abdul Wahab

Singapore's commercial properties one of most attractive returns in the world

Singapore's prime commercial properties offer some of the most attractive returns in the world, a new study by property consultancy DTZ said.

The property consultancy launched a set of fair value indices, derived by forecasting the returns commercial property investors can get above government bond yields, over five years across 180 markets, local newspaper The Business Times reported on Friday.

Markets where expected returns exceed required returns would be labelled "hot." The larger the number of hot markets in a region, the higher its index score would be.

Results showed that Singapore was a hot market in the second quarter. The island's industrial property sector came in as the most attractive to invest in. DTZ estimates that industrial assets here were underpriced by some 11 percent.

DTZ believes that office rents in Singapore will register strong growth in the next five years - they could rise 5-10 percent in the second half this year - and this will lead to capital growth.

The Asia-Pacific index had a score of 67, meaning that the region's commercial property market offered relatively better returns, as it outstripped the global score of 62 and beating Europe's 49.

But pickings were richest in the United States, where its index clocked a reading of 89.

As posted in 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Really, say bye bye to that cheap condo

According to a DTZ report, more private home buyers are spending $1m and more on properties. That's another nail in the coffin for the 'cheap' sub-$1m condo. That's pretty obvious going by recent data released by the URA, private home prices are at an all time high. There aren't that many properties selling for under $1m right now.

The DTZ report also found that buyers with HDB addresses who bought units worth $1million and above increased from 36% in Q1 to 43% in Q2. Purchasers with private address also increased from 69% in Q1 to 73% in Q2.

The analysis also found out that buyers from Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India made up a whopping 69% of total transactions by foreigners and PRs in Q2 2010.

Going by the current trend, we are seeing less and less new private homes transacting at $750psf and below. In May, there were 58 such transcations, in June, 41 and last July saw only 31. Check out our Private Residential units launched and sold (by Month) chart above. July also saw one of the highest transactions for mid-end units (light-green) priced from $1,001 to $1,500 psf.

Looks like the time is ripe for launching Executive Condos as demand for affordable will be greater now that prices are at an all time high.

Then again there aren't that many mass market condos around. Perhaps with the launch of NV Residence in Pasir Ris we could see the return of the sub-$1m condo. Stay tuned.

As posted in by Cheryl Han

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Be the envy of all with NV Residences

Pasir Ris will see a new condo very soon, and this is none other than NV Residences. But what does NV stand for? Envy? (We know, bad pun.) Jokes aside, this CDL condo sits just next to Livia, also another 99-year leasehold CDL condo. Details? Find out inside.

This District 18 condo is closer to Pasir Ris MRT compared to Livia. With eight 12 to 15 storey blocks, NV Residences sits on a fairly large plot of land. Will the units be as spacious as Livia's? For that we'll have to look at the floorplans when they launch.

Tenure: 99 year leasehold
District: 18
Developer: City Developments Limited (CDL)
Estimated TOP: 2014
Site Area: ~328,110 sqft
Blocks: 8
Storeys: 12-15
Units: 642 units

Notable Facilities
TWO tennis courts
50m Lap Pool

Unit Breakdown and Typical Sizes (Approximate)
1 BR (495 & 657 sqft) 
x 27
2 BR  (743 & 936 sqft
) x 144
2 + 1 BR (872 – 1,066 sqft) 
x 144
3 BR (1,087 – 1,259 sqft) x 104
3 + 1 (1,184 – 1,464 sqft 
x 145
4 BR (1,453 – 1,658 sqft) x 72
5 BR Penthouses (2,497 sqft) x 6


Image: Note: Site overlay is approximate.

Site Layout

We see two tennis courts!

According to our sources, we are told that a 2BR unit is going for '$6xxk". Assuming $600k for a 2BR, 743 sqft unit, it works out to $807 psf. Assuming $650k for the same size unit - $874psf.

The average price of Livia was approximately $650 psf back in early 2009. A steal if you ask us. Today's URA caveats, however, show a different story. To date, a single unit sold this month went for $804 psf, while from May-July 2010, the average was $769 psf.

Our guess - $850 to $900psf. Remember it's only a guess.

Launch date
When all the Chinese 'hungry ghosts' have gone back to their fiery subterranean abodes, i.e., September 2010.

Stay tuned people.

More artists' impressions below:

Pool area.

Aqua gym.


Garden with Bottle-neck trees (we think!).

As posted in by John

Singapore best global city ranking slips

SINGAPORE -- Singapore slipped a notch in a ranking of the best global cities around the world, but remains among the top rungs.

It is now in eighth place, down from seventh in 2008, when the list was previously done.

New York retained the top spot and was followed by London, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Rounding off the top 10 were Sydney and Seoul.

A total of 65 cities across the globe, with populations of more than one million each, were analysed by the Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine, consulting firm A.T. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The resulting index, out in the magazine's latest issue, measured how much sway a city has over what happens beyond its borders — “its influence on and integration with global markets, culture, and innovation.”

It tallied how a city stacked up on measures such as business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement.

The data collected included the number of Fortune Global 500 companies headquartered there, the size of its capital markets, and the flow of goods through airports and ports. Factors such as the number of think tanks, political organizations and museums were also considered.

Said the magazine: “Taken together, a city's performance on this slate of indicators tells us how worldly — or provincial — it really is.”

It did not give the specifics for why Singapore slipped in the list. But a check showed that Chicago edged itself into sixth place — up from eighth in 2008.

In an article accompanied by a picture of the Marina Bay Sands resort, the magazine noted that one-fifth of the world's cargo passes through Singapore's ports, making the Singapore Strait “a highly strategic passageway, and sometimes bottleneck, for global trade”.

It also cited Singapore when noting the trend of alliances among “agile cities ... reminiscent of that trading and military powerhouse of the late Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League along the Baltic Sea”.

Abu Dhabi and Singapore, it said, have developed into a new commercial axis.

Indeed, bigger is not necessarily better: “The most advantaged city of the future could well turn out to be a much smaller one,” it said, citing Singapore as a “hard-charging up-and-comer.”

“Their efficient, agile economies can outpace lumbering megacities financially, while also maintaining a high quality of life,” it added.

With almost five million residents, Singapore is not top of the list in terms of population — it is ranked 38th on that measure.

“But its GDP is much higher than that of larger cities like Cairo, Lagos, and Manila. Singapore boasts a per capita income of almost US$50,000, one of the highest in the world, roughly the same as America's or Norway's,” the magazine noted.

“With one of the world's three largest ports, a zippy and safe subway system and an impressive skyline, Singapore is easily the cleanest, most efficient big city in all of Asia.”

As posted in The China Post 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another condo up for en bloc

The latest addition to the en bloc bandwagon is a 16-unit freehold walk up apartment along Pasir Panjang, located new the future Haw Par Villa MRT station. The asking price? $26-30 million. This translates to around $600 - 690 psf ppr.

Will it sell? Well, let's take a look their competition. Hit the 'read more' to find out.

Here's the location of the said apartment if you're interested:

This apartment joins the other recent condos up for en blocs:

Perhaps these folks were encouraged by the successful en blocs of these small condos:

With the government releasing so much land and with all these small condos up for sale, looks like developers both big and small are spoilt for choice right now.

As posted in by Cheryl Han 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scale new heights at Twin Peaks at Leonie Hill Road

Orchard Road's latest comes to you via Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE). Twin Peaks at Leonie Hill Road is touted as the first condo in Singapore that comes with fully furnished options. This 99-year leasehold condo has two 36-storey blocks and sits at the edge of Orchard Boulevard.
Owners can choose to combine one-bedroom units with two- or three-bedroom units to enlarge the space. This is especially favourable to those with extended families who want to live together.
Tenure: 99 year Leasehold
Site Area: ~130,982 sqft
Developer: Overseas Union Enterprise
Estimated TOP: end 2014
Units: 462
Blocks: 2
Storeys: 36
Typical Sizes (estimated):
1 BR (549 -571 sqft) x 268
2 BR (1,055 sqft) x 66
3 BR (1,399 - 1,895 sqft) x 128

Notable Facilities:
BBQ/Teppanyaki Pavilion
Art Garden
Laundry room
Sky gym
Gourmet dining suites (what are they exactly? A restaurant? Fancy kitchen you can use?)



We have heard some estimates of $1.5 million and above, but right now it's mostly rumour and hearsay. By comparison, nearby condos Boulevard Vue and Orchard Residences have recorded prices of around $4,000 psf based on URA caveats lodged as of the end of July 2010.

More images and floorplans:

Sky gym

Pool Deck

Site Plan

As posted in by John

Amber Glades, Robin Court and Robin Drive up for en bloc

The latest developments to be put on en bloc sale are Amber Glades, Robin Court and an adjoining bungalow unit at Robin Drive, off Bukit Timah.

The properties at Robin Drive are put up as part of a joint collective sale. Asking price is between the region of $66 million to $74 million, which works out to an average of $1,046- $1,172 psf on potential GFA. It is also possible (pending approval) to buy the state land adjoining Robin Court with an area of 785 sqft, taking the total site to 41,000 sqft.

The site is expected to be a hit with developers since it is located within the vicinity of the future Stevens MRT station. The tender closes on 16 September.

Meanwhile, Amber Glades at Katong is also preparing to undergo an enbloc sale. The asking price for the 40,917 sqft site is $130 million, with each owner standing to pocket $1.4 million to $2.4 million each. The site can be redeveloped into a 2-storey block with 150 units at 840 sqft each, or 84 units at 1,500 sqft.

As posted in by Cheryl Han

Monday, August 23, 2010

Downtown Line station locations revealed

Good news! LTA has announced the new locations for the next phase of the Downtown Line or DTL3. Those in the east will have much to celebrate, less travel time and higher land values! The exact locations aren't online yet, we'll let you know as soon as it does.

Here are the locations (the stations have yet to be named):
  • River Valley
  • Bencoolen
  • Sungei Road
  • Jalan Besar
  • Kallang Bahru
  • Mattar
  • MacPherson (Interchange)
  • Ubi
  • Kaki Bukit
  • Bedok Town Park
  • Bedok Reservoir
  • Tampines West
  • Tampines (Interchange)
  • Tampines East
  • Upper Changi
  • Expo (Interchange)

I'm sure you don't need an expert to tell you that the land values will go up near those new stations. According to experts, COV could hit the 50k mark while prices of HDB and condos could hit 5-20% increases.

As posted in by John

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Naung Court tries hand at enbloc

It has been reported that Naung Court over in Hougang (District 19) is now trying its hand at an en bloc sale.

According to Channel News Asia, indicative prices for the land is between $28 million and $30 million or $650-700 per square foot per plot ratio. Around 45 apartments reaching up to five storeys can be built in replacement.

Built in 1982, the pink and white retro looking apartments are just down the road from Hougang MRT and Hougang Mall. It sticks out as one of the few low-rise apartments in a landed residential neighborhood (with towering HDB blocks in the background of course).You can check out the street view over it's detail page here.

As posted in by  Francis

Thursday, August 19, 2010

July 2010 sees 1544 new private homes sold

According to URA data, a total of 1544 new private homes were sold in July 2010. Compared to last month's sales of 847, it is an 82.3% jump. The good times look to be back! Big hitters in July include The Scala, The Terrene and 368 Thomson.

Looks like the good times are back! Unless most buyers are still the superstitious sort, seeing that it's 'Hungry ghosts' month. Boo!

A quick breakdown of popular units:
  • The Scala at Lorong Chuan - 400 units sold (median price: $1,173 psf)
  • The Terrene at Jln Jurong Kechil - 162 units sold ( median price: $1,248 psf)
  • 368 Thomson along Thomson Rd, near Balestier - all 157 units sold (median price: $1,403 psf)

Most expensive units sold were:
  • A unit at Boulevard Vue - $4,600 psf
  • A unit at The Orchard Residences - $4,099 psf
  • A unit at Skyline@Orchard Boulevard - $3,719 psf
  • 5 units at The Laurels at a median price of - $3,116 psf
As posted in by John

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Advice from three property investment experts

At a recent one-day property intensive preview titled Real Estate Investment Congress, property investment guru Milan Doshi and two of his previous students, Prudence Wong and Nancy Ng, answered interesting questions from the crowd.

Doshi has been investing in both properties and the stock market since the 1990s, and has written two books, How You Can Get Rich From The Property And Stock Markets and How You Can Become A Multi Millionaire Real Estate Investor. At last count, his properties are worth more than RM22 million ($9.43 million).

Wong is a property investor turned property developer. Her first project will be an integrated commercial development called Qube in Shah Alam. Ng is the sales director for that project. Wong and Ng met each other in an Internet seminar and have since been formed a solid friendship and business partnership with each other.

Here are some of their answers from the live forum.

Question: Property prices are going up. Are there still many good deals out there?

Ng: The best investments I made were in the last three to five years. It is still possible to purchase properties that are below market value.

When will the next depression be? I don't know but I will still buy (properties).

If you are a good customer, the bank will usually try to work something out with you should you face some cashflow problems.

Wong: I still buy properties every year. Previously, at one point, I bought properties every month.

Question: Please share the best location for commercial properties.

Wong: For commercial, you must look at the amenities, population and human and car traffic.

If at a location, you can't find parking, the property appreciation will be huge.

I go for locations with more supply than demand. And I also purchase the best lots, which are corner or adjoining units.

Question: What "homework" should I do before investing?

Wong: Before investing, do lots of research.

Before going to the unit, check its value and double check with the agent. Also, check the latest transacted price.

You should know the location, its surroundings and available amenities. Don't stay in the dark and also talk to your potential neighbours. I have more than 1,000 clippings of properties that I have visited before in my filing system.

Doshi: Know who to listen to. Some professionals such as bankers or lawyers, in all good intent, share their advise accordingly, but if they are not an investor, you should not listen to them 100%.

Question: Should I refinance my paid property?

Doshi: Take the longest possible loan with the least possible cash for property investment. Keep refinancing every three to five years.

Ng: One must love to borrow money. By borrowing, you are able to buy a few more properties.

In a few years, the properties will appreciate and then when you refinance, you can buy more properties.

Some people, they have a phobia of borrowing money from the bank. They are not able to sleep at night. If you are such a personality, then please do not refinance.

Question: I bought a freehold double storey link house (DSLH). Initially it was for my own stay. What's your advice? Should I sell or hold the property? Completion is in approximately nine months' time.

Ng: If there is still nine more months, then don't worry first. In nine months also someone can already have a baby.

Worry about it only when it is two to three months away from completion. Monitor the market momentum at that point and decide only then.

Question: I have a limited budget. Should I buy high-end or low cost?

Doshi: A few high-end or many low cost units. You can use the No-Money-Down strategy to buy many medium or low cost units.

If it is a high-end unit, you can go for commercial.

Personally, I would rather not buy a high-end condominium. If a unit is more than RM800,000, at that level the tenant pool is small as there's an oversupply.

In Bangkok, there's more than 100,000 expatriates while Malaysia has about 30,000 to 40,000 expatriates.

Question: How do I avoid from being emotionally attached to a property?

Ng: Think of it like adoption. Adopt the property for three years and then sell it.

Ask yourself, do you need the money. If you sell it, would you buy another better one?

If you are afraid that you can't find a better property, keep it and refinance it. It is advisable to refinance the property with the bank that the loan was taken from, as there would already be a borrowing relationship and you might get a better price.

Doshi: Always buy with the intention to keep or flip (sell). So when the time comes, you are not so emotional. Sometimes, I would not sell unless the price is too good.

Question: Should I resign?

Ng: Do you have seed money when you resign? Acquire the knowledge first.

Wong: In year 2002 to 2004, I was still working. You should get good cashflow before resigning. Employment is good for getting loans. The job is the vehicle for you to get loans for property investment.

Question: I found a a commercial development offers retail guarantee. Is that a good thing?

Doshi: The developer should ideally be the one handling the retail guarantee, and not some small two dollar company. Ask the agent, read the fine lines or check with your lawyer to see who the contract is between.

Ng: If you are a beginner, don't be too ambitious. Zoom in and study a few areas that you are comfortable with. For residential units, you can go to websites. 70 to 80 percent of the information is there. For commercial units, there are limited shops. Read the papers to know what is going on.

Question: How do I evict bad tenants for commercial properties?

Wong: There are two ways - illegal and legal (laughs). To avoid bad tenants for commercial, check the tenants out. Check if the company directors are in any sort of bankruptcy situation, find out the nature of the business and do cross-reference checks.

For me, every three or four months, I send my team to check out the properties to see how the tenant's business is doing. If they default the payment the first time, I will send a notice.

After the third notice, if they still do not pay, I will then cut the water and electricity bill. It is advisable to have a separate utility account for tenants, so that when they do not pay, for example, the electricity, Tenaga chases the tenant, and not you.

As posted in The Star by Sherry Koh

Monday, August 9, 2010

Singapore plans for new wave of immigrants to help economy's growth

Singapore to welcome the highly skilled and qualified as it aims for world's highest growth rate
With the financial crisis a thing of the past, the authorities in Singapore are looking at ways of letting in a fresh wave of immigrants. This year 100,000 foreign workers should be needed to cope with the powerful surge in the city-state's economy, with 18% growth for the first half of the year.

Singapore aims to achieve the world's highest growth rate in 2010: 13% to 15% of GDP. The International Monetary Fund is forecasting 12%.

During an official visit to the United States in mid-July, the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, started to prepare public opinion for another wave of immigrants. This being a sensitive issue at home, he measured his words: "If we don't allow the foreign workers in, you are going to have overheating," he said. "We have to accept that."

The prime minister is understandably cautious, the government having reasserted its determination to end Singapore's dependence on foreign labour in February. Foreigners account for about a third of the city-state's 4.7 million inhabitants, a situation that fuels tension among Singaporeans who are afraid of being sidelined.

In 2009, as Singapore's economy dipped into recession, shrinking by 1.3%, there was a drastic cut in the number of foreign workers and departures exceeded arrivals. But in previous years large numbers of foreigners arrived: 157,000 in 2008 and 144,500 in 2007. Most hold largely unskilled jobs in construction or catering. According to labour minister Lim Swee Say, the 100,000 workers allowed into Singapore this year will need to be better qualified and more productive.

As posted in The Guardian Weekly by Florence Beaugé

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Singapore: The Hottest (Little) Economy in the World

At 267 square miles (New York City is 301 square miles), Singapore is not on most people's minds. But this Asian city-state grew at 18.1% in the first half of 2010, outperforming China, India and Brazil, according to their government statistics.

True, those are much bigger economies. But Singapore's performance is impressive nonetheless, both for it's contra-recession gusto and the fact that it's likely to sustain something close to that heady rate in the second half of the year as well. While the Western world feels the aftershocks of the economic crisis, Goldman Sachs estimates Singapore's 2010 GDP will be 16.5%, a substantial upgrade from their previous forecast of 12%.

What's fueling the hyper growth? The country's government loosened a 40-year-ban on gambling, commissioned two casinos complete with hotel, shopping and restaurant complexes — and a Universal Studios. The first casino opened in January of this year, followed by a second in April. Already, the $10.2 billion initiatives are paying off; the casinos attracted more than 3 million visitors by June. Coupled with a buoyant pharmaceuticals industry and an increase in global financial institutions setting up shop in Singapore, official government estimates put 2010 growth at 13% to 15%.

Even recent sluggish demand in the U.S. and Europe has done little to slow down this Asian powerhouse. "Singapore's labor market is already at close to full employment, which would provide the strongest support for the domestic economy in the face of a worsening external demand outlook," writes Enoch Fung, a Goldman Sachs research analyst, in its latest Singapore Views report. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he expects to add at least 100,000 new foreign workers to the job market this year.

Analysts say the numbers, though high, aren't a huge surprise. "The growth is not entirely unexpected as Singapore took one of the biggest hits among Asian economies during the recession. Singapore is adjusting back from this," says Christian Ketels, professor at Harvard Business School and special adviser to the Asia Competitiveness Institute. Over 2009, Singapore's economy shrank by 2.1%.

Going forward, Singapore's growth will likely slow in 2011 as the world's lethargic recovery finally takes a toll on the small nation's prospects. "Singapore is heavily dependent on U.S. and European trade and we forecast demand to be sluggish in the coming years," says Arpitha Bykere, senior research analyst at Roubini Global. What about Singapore's trade relationship with China? "Many Singaporean exports to China are reprocessed and sent on to the U.S. and Europe. So a sluggish demand in Western economies will be a double whammy to Singapore, next year," she adds.

But Singapore has some secular growth winds at its back that should help offset the global economic drag. First, Singapore is increasingly replacing Western European hubs as the preferred place for private banking. McKinsey's 2010 private banking survey found inflows dropped by 5% in Luxembourg and 1% in Switzerland, last year. The same survey says Singapore and Hong Kong experienced net inflows of 7% in 2009. Last year Singapore was taken off the OECD's "gray list" of countries that don't comply with internationally agreed information exchange standards. Finally, Singapore is growing its own money tree: A Boston Consulting Group study finds that 11.4% of Singaporean households are millionaires, the largest proportion in the world.

Looking ahead, Goldman Sachs estimates that Singapore's 2011 GDP will grow 5.3%. Roubini puts Singapore's 2011 growth at 4.4%. The falloff from 2010's torrid pace may be a blessing, as Singapore is already finding that rapid growth carries its own risks. Inflation was previously forecast to be between 2% and 3% for 2010 by Singapore's trade and industry ministry. This was recently raised to 2.5% to 3.5%.

As posted in by  Ruchika Tulshyan

Friday, August 6, 2010

Singapore invests over US$17 billion in Vietnam

Singapore is among the top five investors in Vietnam, with a total capital of over US$17.3 billion.

Their two-way turnover reached US$9.5 billion last year, helping the island nation become Vietnam’s fifth largest trading partner.

This was announced by Singapore's Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Pong Kok Tian, and President of the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association, Nguyen Thanh Rum, at a ceremony in HCM City on August 5 to mark the 45th anniversary of Singapore’s National Day.

As posted in VOVNews, Vietnam