What 11 successful people wish they’d known about money in their 20s

By Kathleen Elkins, businessinsider.sg

Even the wealthiest, most successful people are prone to making money mistakes.

Billionaire and investor Mark Cuban misused his credit cards at a young age, while personal finance guru Suze Orman once found herself deep in debt after overspending on fancy clothes and cars.

We asked several successful people what money advice they wish they had been given in their 20s, and drew insight from LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” series, in which top minds share what they wish they had known at 22.

Here’s what they had to say:


Learn to manage your credit cards.

Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur, investor:

“That credit cards are the worst investment that you can make. That the money I save on interest by not having debt is better than any return I could possibly get by investing that money in the stock market. I thought I would be a stock market genius. Until I wasn’t.

I should have paid off my cards every 30 days.


Skills are worth more than a job.

Tim Ferriss, angel investor, best-selling author of “The 4-Hour Workweek“:

“In your 20s, optimize for learning, not earning. Work directly under or with master dealmakers, and acquire skills. This is particularly true for negotiating and hard skills like coding.

“What would you rather have: $20,000 more per year in your 20s, leading to making $100,000 to $200,000 a year in your 30s, or a lower-paying job from 20 to 25 — but one like a real-world MBA you’re paid for — leading to making millions in your 30s?

“It often comes down to prioritizing skill acquisition over immediate post-college earning. McKinsey or Goldman can be seductive, but it’s easy to get trapped in a 20-plus-year path of paying for a bloated lifestyle that is always a bit more expensive than the year before. Serfs can become self-made kings, but consultants tend to remain consultants. The only true job security is a superior skill set.”


You need a plan for your money.

Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, author of “Financially Fearless:

“Not having a financial plan is a plan — just a really bad one! Given what I see as a general lack of personal-finance education, it can be all too easy to wing it with your money.

“I was lucky enough to learn this lesson while still in my 20s, so I had time to put a financial plan into place for myself (and start LearnVest to help people nationwide do the same!).”


Do something you love instead of chasing money.

Blake Mycoskie, founder, chief shoe giver of TOMS:

“In my 20s I wish I knew that the best advice for any person is to follow their passion as opposed to chasing money. I’ve seen time and time again that the people who foster their true passions and true callings are the ones that end up the most successful.

“It’s hard in your 20s not to worry about money, but to focus on making sure you do something you love. Today, I feel like every time I’ve made a decision at TOMS that I’m passionate about and improves someone’s life, the company grows and makes more money.”


Buy high quality.

Kate White, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, author of “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This:

“I was a great saver in my 20s — my dad had persuaded me to save for retirement, which seemed insane at the time, but I’m eternally grateful. But what I didn’t know and wish I had is that it’s so much smarter to buy a few great quality items — in terms of clothes, furniture, accessories — rather than a bunch of cheaper stuff.

“Oh, sometimes you get a great bargain — I have two Pier 1 prints hanging in my living room that look like antiques but cost $25 — but so often cheap stuff is poorly made and falls apart in no time.

“But the right quality goods last forever and are often timeless in design, something I discovered much later when I could afford better things. I wore a Prada dress the other night that I bought 16 years ago and it still looks good. If you can swing it, go for quality and you’ll save in the long run.”


Understand the power of investing.

Kevin Cleary, CEO, Clif Bar & Company:

“In my 20s, I wish I better understood the power of investing. At the time, I had fewer expenses, more free time, and a long investment horizon — it would have been the perfect time to learn about investing.

“While I was disciplined about saving money, I missed the opportunity to leverage my money over the long haul.”


Your company is more important than your role.

Adam Nash, president, CEO of Wealthfront:

“I was fairly fortunate to have been raised with a strong sense of the importance of saving and living below your means.

“However, it wasn’t until later that I learned just how much of your long-term economic success depends on your professional career.

“I’m a huge believer that people in their 20s should seek out opportunities at later-stage, hypergrowth companies. When you think long term, the company you join is far more important in your 20s than the specific compensation or role.”


Money doesn’t make you happy.

Matt Maloney, CEO, GrubHub:

“Money does not define success or happiness. In fact, if you are truly effective at what you enjoy, money usually follows your passion. Passion drives interest, which in turn drives focus and commitment. Both qualities are requirements for success.

“When given a choice between ambiguous paths, choose the course that will bring you the most emotional and intellectual satisfaction — not the most direct path to riches. Don’t be afraid, you can live a very full life earning far less than you think you need.”


Learn to manage the money you have now, no matter how little.

Debbi Fields, founder, Mrs. Fields:

“Looking back now, I know that I would have greatly benefited had I initiated an investment strategy as a young adult. I was so busy trying to save every dollar and living paycheck to paycheck that the idea of wealth creation was never really a consideration.

“Not thinking bigger than my bank account was my error — I could have set up a simulated investment account, joined a club, or learned about the buying and selling of securities.

“The key to managing money and building a nest egg is learning how to manage small amounts and grow them wisely over time. It can start with pocket change and grow beyond anything you imagined! The key word here is ‘imagined’ … You have to add a zero or two to your net worth and direct your attitude and financial strategy toward getting there.”


Spending money to impress other people is a bad idea.

Suze Orman, author, television host, motivational speaker:

“When you are starting out in your 20s, it is natural to think about all that you will have and do once you start making money, and making more money. That gives money way too much power over your life. It’s not about how much you make, but the life that you make with the money you have,” she writes for LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” series.

“I built a successful financial-planning practice and was making more in a month than I used to make in a year. But here was the problem: the more money I made, the more I wanted other people to see how great I was doing, financially speaking.

“I spent so much money — on fancy cars, watches and clothes simply to impress other people — that I got myself heavily into debt. If I were a guest on my CNBC show today, I would have given myself one serious smackdown.

“My finances were a mess, but more importantly, my money was a mess because I was a mess. I had it all wrong — all the things I was spending my money on added nothing to my self-worth.”


Chasing money will cripple your career.

Marc Lore, founder and CEO, Jet.com:

“In banking, the core motivational driver was personal financial gain, cultivating a fiercely competitive environment,” he writes in LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” editorial package.

“Over my six years in finance, I learned to approach my career as an individual sport, where I was judged by the size of my bonus and how quickly I was promoted. One morning I fell to the floor of my office, feeling an electric jolt in my chest as a result of stress. Although it was not a heart attack, the message was clear. I had worked incredibly hard to get to the top but I was there alone — and it was un-fulfilling.

“At 22, I evaluated my first job based on what I could get out of it. But I have since learned that you can achieve much greater success if you focus on what you can give. Ultimately, I have realized that success is not a measure of your salary, title, or degree, but the impact you have others and the collective happiness of the people you touch.”

Source : http://www.businessinsider.sg/successful-people-money-advice-2015-8/



11 IKEA Makeovers That Look Shockingly Luxe


Here’s proof that you can have champagne on a beer budget.


This line of shelves allows you to mix and match cabinets to create different looks.

Lining a wall, a row of these cabinets seriously impresses. This blogger used glass doors on top and solid doors on the bottom, so there’s space above for pretty things and plenty of hiding spots below.


The no-nonsense kitchen island is convenient, if a bit spare.

A fresh coat of gray paint, a chic marble top, and a shiny towel bar makes this kitchen helper as stylish as it is functional.


It might be a little rough around the edges, but you can’t beat the price

A little bit of leather and brass brought character to the piece. (Of course, adding paint and removing the round knobs helped, too.)


Sure, this warm dresser is durable — but it’s also really plain.

A plexiglass-covered core door now sits atop the dresser and a pair of table legs, creating the perfect stylish workspace. The bare dresser got a coordinating upgrade with a fresh coat of paint and new pulls.


This is but one component from this series, which allows you to mix and match pieces to create floating cabinets and standing units. (Previously, it was known as AKURUM.)

New knobs pop against the sleek white doors, but the real star is the black shelf that give the units an unexpected sleekness.


We like this industrial-style light just fine, but it doesn’t provide a luxurious look.

A quick coat of spray paint makes the shades look like vintage copper.


The LED light has a globe silhouette that lends itself well to customization.

This makeover was inspired by Thomas O’Brien’s Hicks pendant light. The black upper, gold trim, and “rivet” detail channel the original quite nicely.


These classic shelving units are the starting point for many makeovers.

A little architectural molding brings a refined sensibility to the shelves. The addition of the rolling ladder furthers the library look.


The simple brackets cover the ends of shelves for a clean look.

Just a little gold spray paint adds a ton of style to the functional accessories.


A slim metal frame, glass shelves and graceful proportions make this series easy to love (and easy to transform).

A coat of primer, gold paint and shellac finish makes the shelves glamorously gleam.


Sadly, the KLAPPSTA series was discontinued. You can find a similar modern spirit in the TULLSTA or MELLBY chairs.

Each was trimmed in a faux welt made from black rope, which beautifully contrasts the cream-colored covers. It’s a small change, but completely changes the chairs.

Source : http://www.housebeautiful.com/home-remodeling/diy-projects/g2422/impressive-ikea-makeovers/


Which Singaporeans Will Benefit The Most From The New Special Housing Grant Changes?


By Peter Lin, moneysmartsg

The way the eligibility for the Special Housing Grant has changed is like the way education in Singapore has changed. In the past, having a diploma or a basic degree would put you on the fast-track in your career. These days, throw a stone in a CBD lunchtime crowd and you’ll hit someone with an MBA. At least.
The same thing is happening to the Special Housing Grant – it’s no longer just for lower-income families. After last night’s National Day Rally, more than two-thirds of Singaporean families will be able to qualify for the Special Housing Grant.

What’s so special about the Special Housing Grant?
The Special Housing Grant is given to first-time home buyers who want to buy a new HDB Build-To-Order flat in a non-mature estate. Only 2-room, 3-room and 4-room flats qualify for this Housing Grant. Depending on your income, you may qualify for a Special Housing Grant between $5,000 and $40,000. Your average monthly household income needs to be $8,500 and below.

How has the Special Housing Grant changed this time?
Before last night’s National Day Rally, you had to be earning an average monthly household income of $6,500 and below if you wanted to enjoy the Special Housing Grant. The maximum Special Housing Grant amount you could get was $20,000. This amount has now doubled to $40,000, and families which earn an average monthly household income of $8,500 and below will enjoy at least $5,000 off their new flat.

This is a huge change from before 2013, when the Special Housing Grant was only for families with an average monthly income of $2,250 and below.

This is how the new amounts for the Special Housing Grant will be distributed.


Who will benefit the most from the new Special Housing Grant?
Anyone eligible to buy a 2-room, 3-room or 4-room HDB BTO flat and is earning $7,000 or less a month now saves an additional $20,000 than before. This means that a household earning $1,500 or less are now eligible for $80,000 in grants.

But families aren’t the only ones to benefit. The income ceiling has been raised for singles too, with those 35-years and above and earning $4,250 or less now eligible for a Grant of at least $2,500.


Compared to before, singles and those applying for a 2-room flat under the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme and the Joint Singles Scheme will now enjoy up to $10,000 more because of the Special Housing Grant.

How much do you have to pay for a HDB flat now?
Let’s look at two possible illustrations:

Ms Nurul and her husband want to buy a 4-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate. The price of the flat is $295,000, and altogether they earn $5,000. This means that their total eligible grants are $45,000 ($20,000 more than before). They save about 15% of their flat purchase.

Mr Teo is single and above 35, and wants to buy a 2-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate. The price of the flat is $90,000 and he earns $3,500. This means the total grant he is eligible for is $10,000. He would not have been eligible for any grants before. As a result, he gets to save about 11% of his flat purchase.

Wait… doesn’t this mean that there’ll be a lot more competition for public housing in Singapore?
Essentially, yes. Not only have the income ceilings been raised, allowing more Singaporeans to apply for HDB flats and ECs, but with the extra Special Housing Grant, more Singaporeans will be willing to buy 2-room, 3-room and 4-room flats.

While it’s great that more Singaporeans are now eligible for public housing, we also hope that HDB ensures that priority is given to those from lower-income families. There’s no point making public housing more affordable if these families can’t get a flat in the first place.

Source : http://blog.moneysmart.sg/property/which-singaporeans-will-benefit-the-most-from-the-new-special-housing-grant-changes/


More Grants For Singaporeans & Raised Income Ceilings


NDR Announcements 2015

On 24 August 2015, the Minister for National Development announced three measures to better meet the housing needs of Singaporeans and help families live together or closer to one another for mutual care and support. They are:

(a) Proximity Housing Grant
(b) Raised income ceilings
(c) Enhancements to Special CPF Housing Grant

Helping extended families to live together or closer to one another
(a) Proximity Housing Grant

A new Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) of $20,000 has been introduced to further help families who want to buy a resale flat, to live with or close to their parents or married child.Eligible singles will also enjoy a PHG of $10,000 if they buy a resale flat with their parents.

This is regardless of the households’ past housing subsidies enjoyed, their income and ownership of private property. The PHG can be enjoyed only once, and both the grant recipients and their parents/ married child, must live with or in the same town/ estate or within 2 km of their parents’ or married child’s home, for at least 5 years.

With the implementation of PHG, the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant will be discontinued.

This new measure will be effective for resale applications received on or after 24 August 2015.

Extending housing subsidies to more Singaporeans
(b) Raised income ceilings

With effect from 24 August 2015, HDB will raise the income ceilings so that more eligible families and singles can buy new HDB flats and resale flats with the CPF Housing Grant, and get an HDB loan at concessionary interest rate.

Category Raised Income Ceiling (per month/ household) Remarks
Citizen families Not more than $12,000
        Can buy with an HDB loan at concessionary interest rate:
        – New HDB flats
        – Resale flats with CPF Housing Grant
          – DBSS flats with CPF Housing Grant
          Can buy:
        – New Executive Condominium units with CPF Housing Grant
Not more than $14,000
          Can buy:
        – New Executive Condominium units
Singles Not more than $6,000
        Can buy with an HDB loan at concessionary interest rate:
          – 2-room BTO or balance flats in non-mature estates
        – Up to 5-room resale flats with Singles Grant
Singles with parents/2 or more singles Not more than $12,000
          Can buy with an HDB loan at concessionary interest rate:
        – Resale flats with Singles Grant
Elderly citizens Not more than $12,000
        Can qualify for the:
          – Lease Buyback Scheme
        – Silver Housing Bonus
More help for buying first home
(c) Enhancements to Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG)
The SHG will be enhanced to further help first-time home buyers in buying their first flat from HDB in the non-mature estates:• The income ceiling for the SHG will be raised from $6,500 to $8,500
• The maximum SHG amount will be doubled from $20,000 to $40,000The SHG for singles who buy a 2-room BTO or balance flat in the non-mature estates, under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSC), will be enhanced:

• The income ceiling for the SHG will be raised from $3,250 to $4,250
• The maximum SHG amount will be doubled from $10,000 to $20,000

With the enhanced SHG, the maximum combined SHG and Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) for new flats will increase from $60,000 to $80,000. This sum may be higher than some lowest priced 2-room BTO flats.

To ensure that flat buyers continue to take ownership of their home purchases, they will be required to make a minimum co-payment of 5% of the selling price using their own CPF and/ or cash savings, if their total grant amount received is more than 95% of the selling price# of the flat that they book.

For flat owners who have received grants of more than $60,000* and have used these grants towards their flat purchase, upon subsequent disposal of the flat, the first $60,000 and accrued interest will be refunded to their CPF Ordinary Account. The grants in excess of the first $60,000 will be refunded to their CPF Special Account/ Retirement Account and Medisave Account.

This new measure will be effective from the September 2015 BTO and Sales of Balance Flats exercise.

Last Updated on 24 Aug 2015


Joint Press Release by MND & HDB : Affordable Homes, Closer Families, Stronger Ties

Date issued : 24 Aug 2015

1 ) Today, the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Housing & Development Board (HDB) introduced three new measures to help more extended families live closer together for mutual care and support, and to make public housing more affordable for more Singaporeans, from lower- to upper-income households. MND and HDB also announced that they are studying a new Fresh Start Housing Scheme to help families with young children staying in public rental flats, who had previously owned a subsidised flat, achieve homeownership again.

I) Helping Extended Families Live Together or Closer By

2 ) Today, MND and HDB introduced a new Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) to further help Singaporeans buy a resale flat, with or near their parents or married child, for mutual care and support. With effect from 24 August 2015, all Singapore citizen families who buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or married child 1 will receive PHG of $20,000. Eligible singles will also enjoy PHG of $10,000 if they buy a resale flat with their parents.

3 ) All Singaporeans are eligible for PHG once, regardless of a) whether they had enjoyed housing subsidies before, including the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant, b) their household income or c) ownership of private property. The grant recipients and their parents or married child must live with or in close proximity to each other for at least 5 years.

4 ) Currently, eligible first-timer families who buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or married child receive the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant of $40,000 ($10,000 more than the basic $30,000 CPF Housing Grant for family). Eligible singles get $20,000 if they buy a resale flat to live with their parents ($5,000 more than the basic $15,000 CPF Housing Grant for singles).

5 ) The new PHG provides additional benefits, compared to the current Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant. First, it doubles the additional grant quantum eligible first-timer families receive if they buy a resale flat with or near their parents or married child from $10,000 to $20,000. The additional grant quantum eligible singles receive is likewise doubled from $5,000 to $10,000. Second, Singaporeans who have enjoyed housing subsidies, have exceeded the income ceiling and/or are private property owners, all of whom did not qualify for the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant previously, will now qualify for the PHG when they buy a resale flat, with or near their parents or married child. With the implementation of PHG, the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant will be discontinued. The basic CPF Housing Grant for Family/Singles and Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) will still be available for those eligible. Please refer to Annex A (PDF 102KB) for a summary of the changes.

6 ) The PHG is the result of a series of Housing Conversations on “Closer Families; Stronger Ties” MND organised in 2014 with Singaporeans at different life stages. It will benefit a wide spectrum of Singaporeans looking to live with or near their parents or married child. These include a) young courting couples who wish to live with or near their parents; b) married couples who bought their first flat far from their parents but now wish to move back closer, especially after they have children and/or their parents are not well; and c) parents who wish to monetise to a resale flat with or near their married child, including those who have enjoyed housing subsidies before and/or are private property owners.

7 ) The new PHG offers more help to more Singaporeans and gives them more options to buy a resale flat with or near their parents or married child, in their own preferred location and time in the HDB resale market. It complements other recent measures to help Singaporeans buy a new HDB flat with or near their parents or married child, including the Married Child Priority Scheme, Multi-Generation Priority Scheme, Senior Priority Scheme and the Three-Generation flats.

II) Raising Income Ceilings
8 ) MND and HDB are committed to helping Singaporeans own a flat, particularly young couples setting up their first homes. With effect from 24 August 2015, MND and HDB will raise the income ceilings for citizen households to buy new flats from the HDB and HDB resale flats with the CPF Housing Grant, from $10,000 to $12,000. MND and HDB will also raise the income ceiling for citizen households to buy new Executive Condominium (EC) units with tiered CPF Housing Grant from $12,000 to $14,000.

9 ) Correspondingly, the income ceilings for single Singaporeans to buy new flats from the HDB or HDB resale flats with CPF Housing Grant will be raised from $5,000 to $6,000. The income ceilings for elderly citizens to qualify for monetisation options, including the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), the Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) and short-lease 2-room Flexi flats, will also be raised from $10,000 to $12,000. Details are at Annexes B1 (PDF 97KB) and B2 (PDF 88KB).

10 ) MND and HDB last raised the income ceiling in 2011, which has benefited more than 21,000 families. Incomes of Singaporeans have risen since then. Increasing the income ceiling will avail more Singaporeans the option of buying a new HDB flat, instead of a resale flat or a private property.

III) Helping Lower and Middle-Income Families Afford Their First Home
11 ) MND and HDB will increase the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) to further help lower-income and middle-income households afford their first home. Specifically,

  • The maximum SHG amount will be doubled from $20,000 to $40,000; and
  • The income ceiling for the SHG will be raised from $6,500 to $8,500.

12 ) With the enhancement, more than two-thirds of Singaporean families can qualify for the SHG, compared to more than half currently. Households earning up to $7,000 will enjoy the full $20,000 increase. These include the median household, who will receive $30,000 of SHG, instead of $10,000 currently.

13 ) Correspondingly, the SHG income ceiling for singles buying a 2-room Build-To-Order (BTO) or balance flat in the non-mature estates, under the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) Scheme will also be raised from $3,250 to $4,250. The maximum grant amount will be doubled from $10,000 to $20,000. Please see Annex C (PDF 95KB) for details.

14 ) Currently, eligible first-timer families buying new flats enjoy up to $60,000 of housing grants. This includes the AHG of up to $40,000 and the SHG of up to $20,000. With the enhanced SHG, the maximum combined AHG and SHG for new flats will be $80,000.

15 ) These are significant enhancements. As an illustration, an eligible first-timer family earning $4,000 a month who buys an average-priced 4-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate will find the flat price drop from $295,000 to $240,000, after grants of $55,000. An eligible first-timer family earning $2,000 a month who buys an average-priced 3-room BTO flat will find the flat price drop from $185,000 to $110,000, after grants of $75,000. An eligible first-timer family earning $1,000 a month who buys an average-priced 2-room BTO flat will find the flat price drop from $110,000 to $30,000, after grants of $80,000.

16 ) With the increase in SHG, if the same family earning $1,000 buys a lower-priced 2-room flat, the total grant amount may exceed 95% of the BTO selling price. In such cases, they will only need to pay 5% of the flat price (e.g. $3,750 for a $75,000 flat) using their CPF or cash; the remaining sum will be fully covered by the grant. Any excess grant amount can be used to pay for optional items, such as flooring, or will go into their CPF Special Account (SA)/ Retirement Account (RA) and Medisave Account (MA).

17 ) If the flat is subsequently sold, the first $60,000 of housing grants will be credited to their CPF Ordinary Account. The additional grants will be credited to their CPF SA and MA; this will better help them with their housing, healthcare and retirement needs in a holistic way.

18 ) The increase in SHG and corresponding adjustments will apply from the September 2015 BTO and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise.

Helping Lower-Income Own a Home Again
19 ) In addition, MND and HDB are studying a Fresh Start Housing Scheme to help families with young children currently in HDB rental flats start afresh with a 2-room flat if they are committed to make the effort. One suggestion is to offer these families a 2-room Flexi flat on shorter lease and with stricter resale conditions. MND and HDB are prepared to consider a new Fresh Start Housing Grant to help them pay for the flat, if the families are prepared to put in the effort to remain in employment and put their children in school. The details are important to ensure that the scheme meets its objective. We will consult the public and work with social service agencies to design a practical and meaningful scheme.

20 ) For enquiries on the various housing measures, the public can contact HDB:

  • Sales/Resale Customer Service Line : 1800-866-3066
  • Branch Service Line : 1800-225-5432

1 In the same town/estate or within 2 km of their parents’ or married child’s home



When will the Singapore market recover?


By Adrian Bishop, opp.today

The eight rounds of government cooling measures have hit Singapore’s property market over the last few years, have certainly taken their toll and the bad news for those in the industry is that things are unlikely to get better soon.

The measures have seen private property sales fell around 50% in June 2015 Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data showed and prime property prices in Singapore have fallen 15% year-on-year, according to the latest Knight Frank Global Prime Global Cities Index, making it the worst performer for the sixth consecutive quarter.

It’s true that for the latest figures published, for July 2015, Singapore home sales reached a two-year high, but almost three-quarters of those were for the competitively-priced High Park Residences project and the general opinion in the industry is August’s figures will be down again.

With an election possibly taking place some time in September, although a date has not yet been confirmed, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan is relieved the property curbs introduced by the government have resulted in a ‘soft landing’ for the once overheated housing market, which was a big issue in the last election. But property professionals are unlikely to be displaying similar emotions.

OPP.Today questioned Excell Chua, Business Development Director at leading Asian website PropertyGuru, about how the sector is likely to recover and how agents and developer sales are being affected.

Question: When do you expect the Singapore market to turn around?

Answer: The Singapore property market is unlikely to have a quick recovery. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) mentioned just last month that it’s too premature to ease the policies. We are probably looking at a period of stagnation for the next two years. Factors dragging the property market include increasing private housing inventory (surpassing the demand), rising vacancy rate, lower GDP growth, slower population growth, slower labour productivity growth and increasing restrictions on foreign talent, among other things.

Question: Is the market losing developers and agents as a result? If so, how many?

Answer: Our market is seeing a growing number of local anbd regional developers expanding their developments businesses abroad. (They either buy sites or have joint venture partners in Malaysia, Australia, UK, US & Thailand). This is because when they develop in Singapore, developers normally make 5% to 10% profit margin, but when they develop abroad their take home profits would average between 25% to 35%. On the other hand, we saw an exodus of over 2,000 property agents leaving major real estate agencies. There were 26,014 agents as of end of 2014, it’s now down by 8% to 23,947 agents as of the first of April this year.

Question: Is this a good thing or a bad thing for buyers?

Answer: It’s a buyers / renters market now so it’s definitely a good thing for the buyers. More property owners or bargain hunters are trying their luck at auctions these days. A recent Colliers International report showed that a total of 378 properties were put on auction during the first half of 2015, an increase of 38.5% from H2 2014’s 273 listings. According to Colliers, the auction rooms this year continued to be jam-packed with some sessions seeing an attendance of over 200 people but sales figures remain moderate as potential buyers prefer to go for private negotiations after auctions. On the other hand, the real estate agency business is not looking positive, recent reports show that only three or four big real estate players in Singapore are making profits this year (there were at least 1,425 registered agencies in Singapore as of 2014).

Question: If more Singaporean investors are looking to overseas property, which countries are they turning to?

Answer: Singaporean investors continue to be attracted to safe haven markets like London, Sydney & New York. There’s also a strong interest for investing in neighbouring countries (or emerging markets) such as Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Tokyo, Cambodia and Vietnam. Their major drivers for investing in overseas properties include: kids are in the universities, diversification of portfolio, second / holiday home, good rental returns & good capital growth.

Question: How long will it take for foreign investors to regain interest in Singapore and what will be the catalyst?

Answer: Since MAS mentioned that it’s too premature to ease the policies… I doubt it if ABSD (Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty) for foreigners will be relaxed anytime soon (at least not next year). Foreign buyers need to pay an ABSD of 15% to buy private properties in Singapore since the government cooling measures were introduced in mid-2013. Foreign investors who plan to make Singapore their home or plan to stay in Singapore for a mid to long term period may not mind absorbing the ABSD fees, in my view. Some foreigners may find buying a Singapore property a viable option (than renting one). Also, most High Net Worth Individuals or Ultra Wealthy Foreign Investors that Singapore tends to attract won’t mind paying for the extra 15% taxes as most of these buyers are buying Singapore properties as their trophy homes. The beauty of investing in Singapore properties is that there is no Capital Gain Tax here, so this is a plus point! Singapore has always attracted world’s billionaires – one of them would be Eduardo Saverin (the former Founder of Facebook) who renounced his US citizenship in 2011 and moved to Singapore.

Source : http://www.opp.today/when-will-the-singapore-market-recover/


5 Common Mistakes Made by Singaporeans in Search of Their Dream Home


By Joanne Poh, moneysmart.sg

So you fell in love with the penthouse’s infinity pool or were bowled over by the sea view from the living room. But before you eagerly hand over the booking fee or deposit, stop right there. There’s nothing worse than sentencing to yourself to a life of home loan repayments only to realise that your dream home is more Headache than Heaven. Here are five common mistakes Singaporeans make when they commit themselves to a home.

Not planning your finances properly
Many people make the mistake of assuming that they can afford to make a property purchase if they’re able to pay the booking fee or option fee. They then panic when they realise they don’t have enough for the full downpayment of 20% of the purchase price, aren’t able to secure a home loan or don’t have enough money for other fees like stamp duties or legal fees. Here are some things you should do before committing to a property.

  • Check that you can afford the downpayment – It sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many Singaporeans end up having to forfeit the option fee because they later realised the downpayment was too much. Note that you can use cash and/or CPF to make the downpayment. Find out more about downpayments elsewhere on MoneySmart.
  • Check loan eligibility – Find out if you’re eligible for a home loan and how much you can borrow before you commit to a property, not after. Check out MoneySmart’s Home Loan Wizard.
  • Check how much you have in your CPF Ordinary account – You can use your CPF funds to pay for the downpayment as well as loan installments. You’ll also need to know how much you can use in CPF funds in order to calculate how much you need to borrow.
  • Get a quotation from a lawyer – You’ll have to factor in the cost of legal fees, which are usually between two and five thousand dollars.
  • Check how much stamp duty you have to pay – Buyer’s Stamp Duty adds up to a hefty sum, but the situation gets really serious if you already own another property and have to pay Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty.

Not checking for existing damage
If you’re buying completed property, there’s really no excuse to not check for existing damage. Most contracts will declare that you’re purchasing the property on an as-is-where-is basis, meaning you accept the property in whatever state and condition you found it in at the time of signing the contract.

This means that if you later discover the walls are encrusted with dog faeces, you have only yourself to blame because you’re supposed to have inspected the property. So when the agent or owner is showing you around, don’t be too dazzled by their spiel about the beautiful view and instead take a long, hard look at the less sexy parts of the property like the following:

  • Check for water leaks, water stains and mould, especially in the bathroom and around water pipes.
  • Check for cracks in the walls, windows, doors and door frames.
  • Check for cracks in the toilets and sink enamel.
  • Check that the toilet flush, showers, taps, water heaters and air con units are working and that there are no leaks.
  • Check that there are no missing tiles.

Not prioritising what’s important to you
That flat might have an awesome balcony and a scenic views over the Singaporean jungles, but if it’s located in an area so ulu you need a helicopter to get to work, you might end up kicking yourself later. Here are some factors you might want to consider.

  • Accessibility – A long commute not only costs you more money but also swallows up many hours each week. While living close to an MRT station might raise property prices, it could be worthwhile paying a bit more to cut your commute.
  • Proximity to affordable amenities – If you want to shop at NTUC rather than Cold Storage, or eat at hawker centres daily, make sure these exist near your new place.
  • Facilities – If you are buying private property and there are any facilities you use regularly such as tennis courts or gyms, factor in the cost of paying for them externally if your property isn’t equipped with them.

Overpaying for non-essential fixtures
If you’re about to purchase private property, there’s a chance that the price of your apartment is going to be inflated by some of the fixtures and facilities on the condo grounds over and above what you have to pay in management fees.

For instance, if your condo has a luxurious interior with a great view or a fancy rooftop jacuzzi, you’ll be charged a premium. Check out the prices of other properties in the area to confirm how much of a premium you’re being charged.

For renters: not fully reading the rental agreement
If you’re renting a place, just finding a nice apartment and bargaining a good price aren’t enough. Make sure you read the rental agreement in detail, or else you might find yourself in for a nasty surprise. In addition, be aware that you can negotiate the terms of the contract before you sign it. So by not going through the contract thoroughly, you’re essentially giving the landlord free reign over what to put into it.

Some things to look out for include whether utilities and wifi are included in the price of the rent, whether there are any rules restricting your use of the property and who’s going to have to pay to fix the toilet if it floods. If you’re clueless on what you should be looking out for on your rental agreement, here’s a breakdown of what to focus on.

Source : http://blog.moneysmart.sg/property/singapore-dream-home-buying-common-mistakes/


Property Update (19 August 2015)

Such apartments are targeted at elderly home-owners who are right-sizing from a larger flat or private property, and they can pay using their sales proceeds, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan says.

Such apartments are targeted at elderly home-owners who are right-sizing from a larger flat or private property, and they can pay using their sales proceeds, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan says.

No HDB loans for senior citizens looking to buy Studio Apartments: Khaw | channelnewsasia.com

SINGAPORE : Studio Apartments are targeted at senior citizens who are looking to “right-size”, so they can purchase the flats with their sales proceeds and there is no need for a housing loan, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 18).

Mr Khaw said this in reply a question by MP Gan Thiam Poh, who asked if HDB will consider offering a HDB loan to senior citizens looking to buy a Studio Apartment. He also asked if personal guarantees can be offered and for loans to be serviced by the seniors’ children.

To this, the minister said HDB does not accept guarantor arrangements in offering housing loans.

“This is for prudence, and to pre-empt disputes between the owner and the guarantor in the event of default on the housing loan,” he said. Read more >>


New private home sales surge in July, thanks to Fernvale project | asiaone.com

SINGAPORE : New private home sales spiked last month owing to a strong showing at one condo launch, but sales numbers are likely to be muted over the next few months.

Developers sold 1,594 new private homes in July, more than four times the 375 homes sold in June.

These were the highest sales posted since June 2013, when 1,806 new private homes were sold.

July’s new launch, High Park Residences in Fernvale Road, was the star performer. It sold 1,169 units at a median price of $989 per sq ft. Read more >>


Asian investors start to desert London property market due to the strong pound | independent.co.uk

LONDON, UK : With its forest of cranes and mushrooming show apartments dangling plutocrat baubles from car lifts to Versace children’s play areas, Battersea remains outwardly the buzzing epicentre of the property boom that has turned London into Britain’s very own Monaco.

But if the rumblings from within a circle of brokers and investors involved in the redevelopment of the south London former power station and the surrounding Nine Elms area are anything to go by, the legions of foreign investors credited – and blamed in equal measure – for driving the capital’s decade-long luxury property boom may finally be getting cold feet.

Sime Darby, one of the major stakeholders in the redevelopment of the 42-acre Battersea site, acknowledged a “softening of interest” in buyers from Malaysia and elsewhere in southeast Asia who had previously been responsible for the spending splurge which saw the area dubbed “Singapore on Thames”. The Malaysia based company insisted that none of its existing sales agreements had been cancelled. Read more >>