Property Update (12 March 2015)


Parliament: Bill introduced to let HDB officers enter flats by force to repair ceiling leaks |

SINGAPORE – Housing Board flat owners may soon have to open their doors to authorised HDB officers, so that these officers can repair ceiling leaks more promptly.

On Thursday, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee introduced a Bill in Parliament to amend the Housing and Development Act to allow this.

The proposed change to the law, if passed, will empower authorised officers to enter any flat at any reasonable time, after giving 24 hours’ notice.

This is to investigate whether any urgent repairs need to be carried out in a flat and to carry out the necessary repairs.

Before entering the premises, the authorised officer must produce proof of his identity, and an authenticated document showing his authority to do so.

If entry has been refused, the premises are unoccupied, or the flat’s owner or occupier are absent, the officer may be granted a warrant to enter forcibly if necessary, the Bill states.

In such cases, the officer is authorised to break open doors or windows to enter the flat, and demolish any obstacles in the way of repair works. Read more here >>


Former homeowners renting HDB flats a ‘worrisome trend’: Maliki Osman |

SINGAPORE: More families entering the public rental system used to be homeowners, and this is a “worrisome trend”, said Minister of State for National Development Maliki Osman in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 11).

Five years ago, these families used to comprise only 52 per cent of public rental applicants, but the proportion is 59 per cent today, Dr Maliki said at the 2015 Committee of Supply debates. Some of them have enjoyed housing subsidies and cashed out more than once, thus rendering them no longer qualified for subsidised HDB flats, he added.

“In a rising property market, or when one is financially strapped, the temptation to sell is a very real one. But my advice – resist the temptation and don’t cash out. Keep your home; protect your nest egg. Life may be harder in the short-run, but it will work out,” Dr Maliki said. Read more here >>


Orchard loses retail shine to heartland |

SINGAPORE : Experts say training and more emphasis on integrating the shopping experience offline and online could help strengthen big-name retailers.

Metro Holdings, which opened a new department store in Centrepoint in the final quarter of last year, said that a “disappointing level of sales resulted in losses being incurred by the new store”.

Department store operator Isetan (Singapore) had earlier reported a net loss of $3.1 million for the year ending Dec 31 on the back of higher rents and slower sales.

Other than Isetan’s new store at Jurong East, sales at its outlets registered lower sales for the year compared with 2013, “due to the challenging and competitive environment”.

Guan Chong, head of the marketing programme at SIM University’s School of Business, added that competition from e-commerce firms and a tighter labour supply have hit profits. Read more here >>


Singapore Budget 2015: New mosque to be built in Tampines North |

SINGAPORE – A new mosque will be built in Tampines North to serve those living in the area and in neighbouring Pasir Ris to meet an expected rise in demand as more new homes are completed.

Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim made this announcement on Thursday, during the debate on the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s budget, adding that the mosque would also cater to those working in industrial estates in the vicinity.

Tampines North, which covers about one-fifth of Tampines, is expected to have 21,000 new homes. Read more here >>


Why expats call this utopia |

Imagine a major metropolis where traffic flows quickly on green highways; where streets are sparkling clean and restoration is nearly as vigilant as sanitation; where four main ethnicities (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian) co-exist in tropical tolerance with a large community of foreigners who live and raise kids without fear of crime or the slightest impolite slight. Parks, museums, art spaces and architectural icons are world class.

There’s a reason — actually a multitude of them — why Singapore ranks high on surveys of places to live and work.

“Singapore is all about convenience,” said Richard Martin, a self-described older expat who works for International Market Assessment. “And it’s a brilliant location to cover Asia.”

But there’s always a downside to every utopia. Singapore’s cost of living keeps rocketing — especially in contrast to neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia­— and ranks as the world’s most expensive city for 2015, according to the latest data by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Recently, resentment against foreigners has surfaced. Out of a population of 5.6 million, 1.32 million are foreign workers, according to a Singapore government statistics for 2014. Recent estimates by the website and others put the number of expats” at around 600,000 — referring to professional and managerial workers who are more skilled, earn much more, are often on employment pass visas.

A new law requires employers to seek local talent for two weeks before offering jobs to outsiders for positions paying under S$12,000 ($8,760) a month, or less. Read more here >>


Asia Property Investment to Moderate, Yet Remain Strong in 2015 |

According to CBRE’s newly published Asia Pacific Investor Intentions Survey 2015, despite a slowing Asian economy, commercial property investing in the region is expected to remain strong in 2015 as appetite for prime core assets rises.

CBRE further reports overall intention to invest in real estate assets remains strong but will moderate from last year. Major markets, China, Japan and Australia, remain the top investment destinations with other mature markets moving up the rankings, as outbound investment intention stays strong. Read more here >>



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