Property Update (30 September 2015)

New rules for developers: Show flats must correctly represent actual units | channelnewsasia.com

Under the new changes, all show units built after Jul 20 are required to accurately represent the units offered for sale. URA says the Controller of Housing will also conduct spot checks to ensure that developers adhere to the rules.

All CPF members will continue to receive at least 2.5 per cent interest on their Ordinary Account, and 4 per cent interest on their Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts from Oct 1 to Dec 31, 2015.

All CPF members will continue to receive at least 2.5 per cent interest on their Ordinary Account, and 4 per cent interest on their Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts from Oct 1 to Dec 31, 2015.

CPF interest rates to remain unchanged | channelnewsasia.com

SINGAPORE: All Central Provident Fund (CPF) members will continue to receive at least 2.5 per cent interest on their Ordinary Account (OA), and 4 per cent interest on their Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts from Oct 1 to Dec 31, the CPF Board said.

The computed OA interest rate – derived from the major local banks’ interest rates from May to July 2015 – worked out to be 0.21 per cent per annum. As this was below the legislated minimum of 2.5 per cent per annum, the OA interest rate will be maintained at the minimum amount, the CPF Board said in a news release on Wednesday (Sep 30). Read more >>

pic-150930-news-02-sgretail

Singapore prime retail rents fall in Q3 to lowest since Q1 2006: DTZ | straitstimes.com

SINGAPORE : Average prime first-storey retail rents fell islandwide by 3.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 4.5 per cent year-on-year to about $30.90 per square foot in the third quarter of this year, DTZ Southeast Asia said on Wednesday (Sept 30).

The average monthly rent recorded in the July-September quarter is the lowest since the first quarter of 2006, said the real estate services firm. It attributed the fall in rents largely to weaker consumer sentiment and slower retail sales. Read more >>

pic-150930-news-03-sgec

No rush for ECs despite rule changes | straitstimes.com

SINGAPORE : Agents were hardly rushed off their feet when the first two executive condominiums (ECs) to be launched after changes to the income ceiling rules hit the market on the weekend.

JBE Holdings sold about 20 per cent of its 525-unit Signature at Yishun, while The Criterion next door received about 200 e-applications for its 505 apartments.

E-applications for The Criterion, being built by City Developments (CDL), opened last Thursday and close on Sunday. Read more >>

banner-wecandoit

School fees for non-Singaporeans to be raised from 2016

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be revising the school fees for students who are non-Singapore Citizens in Government and Government-aided schools from January 2016.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be revising the school fees for students who are non-Singapore Citizens in Government and Government-aided schools from January 2016.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be revising the school fees for students who are Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) and international students (IS) in Government and Government-aided schools from January 2016.

MOE announced the increase in a press release issued on Wednesday (Sep 30), as part of its “periodic review of school fees” and to “further differentiate fees by citizenship”.

Fees will increase by between S$20 to S$60 per month for PR students and by between S$20 to S$150 per month for IS.

School fees for Singapore Citizens remain unchanged.

pic-150930-news-sgschoolfees2

Source : http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/school-fees-for-non/2160018.html

banner-likeusonfacebook

8 secret spots in Singapore that will surprise you

pic-150926-feat-asiaone

By Cara Yap, asiaone.com

Look beyond the soaring skyscrapers and you’ll find the most unexpected pockets of nature, creativity and old world charm in the Little Red Dot.

1. BOLLYWOOD VEGGIESpic-150926-feat-asiaone1

Occupying a sizeable plot of land in the sprawling Kranji countryside is the organic farm bearing pineapples, bananas, starfruits, eggplants and more. Tour the farm, learn about local culinary history at the Food Museum, then tuck into a delicious meal featuring fresh produce at the fabulous farm-to-table Poison Ivy bistro. Don’t miss the Jackfruit Lemak stew, which features chunks of sweet fruit immersed in creamy coconut gravy. You can also learn how to whip up tantalising local dishes at the on-site cooking school. (bollywoodveggies.com)

Watch a video of what goes on at the Kranji countryside at the weekends:

2. DECK pic-150926-feat-asiaone2

Stacked together like Lego bricks in the middle of the city are 19 shipping containers housing two galleries, an artist’s studio and more. Drop by to check out works by local shutterbugs, peruse photography tomes for inspiration at its library, or kick back with a cuppa at an undeniably hip cafe. Keep an eye out for a line-up of exhibitions and events held there during the biennial Singapore International Photography Festival. Its fourth edition was held last November. (www.deck.sg)

3. SAM TAT BUILDINGpic-150926-feat-asiaone3

Beside the Kallang River, in a quiet cul-de-sac, is a nondescript building that resembles restricted government property but is home to Kilo restaurant and ground floor cafe Loysel’s Toy (above). The cafe serves some of the best artisanal coffee in town. Choose your beans and how you want them brewed, whether using a French press or a traditional Syphon. Try their robust Colombian beans for an espresso shot that will give you a swift start to your morning. (66 Kampong Bugis)

4. ANN SIANG HILL PARKpic-150926-feat-asiaone4

The ever-hip Ann Siang area is known for its cool bars and eateries tucked inside heritage shophouses, but not many people have ambled through Ann Siang Hill Park. The lush trail begins at Telok Ayer Green and ends at Club Street, passing by historic landmarks such as Thian Hock Keng temple. Try to spot yellow rain, nutmeg and cinnamon trees along the meandering path. (nparks.gov.sg)

5. BINCHO @ HUA BEEpic-150926-feat-asiaone5

Oh, the joy of contradictions. By day, bowls of mee pok (minced meat noodles) are tossed up in this 70-year-old kopitiam (coffee shop). It happens to be where local indie movie Mee Pok Man was shot. At night, the modest little space in the hipster Tiong Bahru neighbourhood is transformed into an ultra-cool yakitori (grilled skewers) bar. Another surprise awaits in the back of the premises: a fashionably frowzy, dimly-lit cocktail bar that resembles an underground bunker. (bincho.com.sg)

6. WESSEX ESTATEpic-150926-feat-asiaone6

Once home to British officers, this elegant enclave of black and white colonial buildings is where a community of local artists now live, muse and create. You can tour their studios (above) at the annual ArtWalk @ Wessex (the most recent one was in February), or make appointments with individual artists to have a gander around their workspaces at other times. Check out Dick Lim’s detailed works on canvas at d’Art Studio and Joyce Loo’s clay sculptures at JoyClay Studio & Gallery. (Portsdown Road, Tel: 65 8260 6967)

7. LLOYD’S INNpic-150926-feat-asiaone7

There’s a chic hidden oasis in a residential area just a stone’s throw from the bustling Orchard strip. With 34 minimalistic rooms attached to semi-outdoor bathrooms, this boutique hotel, which also has a dipping pool and a garden patio, has a distinct resort-like atmosphere. Its exposed concrete body lends the whole place a raw, organic vibe. Rooms start from S$180 per night. (lloydsinn.com)

8. KAMPONG LORONG BUANGKOKpic-150926-feat-asiaone8

For a taste of life as it was in the ’60s (before the advent of multistorey carparks and air-conditioned malls), head to Singapore’s last surviving kampung (village). Some 20 families live in this sleepy hamlet of zinc-roofed houses connected by dirt paths. Here, chickens roam freely amid gardens lined with chilli, lime and hibiscus plants. Pay a small token to visit some of the rustic homes. (Off Gerald Drive in Yio Chu Kang)

Source : http://travel.asiaone.com/article/news/8-secret-spots-in-singapore-that-will-surprise-you

banner-likeusonfacebook

Should The Government Be Removing Singapore Property Cooling Measures?

pic-150923-feat-moneysmart

By Peter Lin, moneysmart.sg

Say you’re hosting a party and you’re all out of ice and it’s not convenient to head down to a 7-Eleven or a supermarket to buy more. Instead, you put as many containers of water in your freezer as you can and lower the temperature to as far as it can go. Impatient, you keep checking every few minutes to see if the water’s frozen yet. DON’T DO THAT.
Every time you open the freezer to check, you end up stalling the process, and the water will end up taking longer to freeze. You have to be patient. It’s the same thing with Singapore and the property cooling measures introduced over the past two years.

But… the property market has cooled!
No one’s debating that. Singapore’s private home prices have dropped for a seventh consecutive quarter. That means prices have been dropping steadily for almost 2 years – the longest streak since 2002. But they’ve not fallen enough.

Remember, before the cooling measures were introduced, property prices had ballooned 60% over just 3 years. Analysts are saying it prices need to drop further – by about 15%. Currently, prices have only dropped 6.7% since 2013, so there’s still a long way to go.

So, if we can’t remove them, can we at least tweak them?
Well, first we’ll have to see why the cooling measures were implemented in the first place. Only by understanding what they were intended to do can we be objective in suggesting changes. The three measures we’ll be looking at are: Seller’s Stamp Duty, Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty, the Mortgage Servicing Ratio and the Total Debt Servicing Ratio. Let’s go through them one by one.

1. Seller’s Stamp Duty
The Seller’s Stamp Duty, or SSD, was tweaked in January 2011, increasing the penalty of selling a residential property anytime between the first and fourth years of purchase. Right now, the SSD works as follows:

pic-150923-feat-moneysmart1

 

  • Why was it implemented? To discourage speculation and flipping of residential properties.
  • Has it worked? Definitely. The best indicator that speculators are fleeing the Singapore residential property market is the consistent drop in the number of sub-sales. Sub-sales are essentially purchases that happen before a private property is constructed and ready to be occupied. Currently, sub-sales make up about 3.9% of all sales transactions, compared to 9.1% in 2010 and 11.6% in 2009.
  • How should it be tweaked? Ultimately, it depends on whether waiting for 5 years before selling a property would be considered too long a wait. One suggestion would be to reduce the SSD period to only apply to the first three years, but increase the stamp duty rate for the first and second years. This way, it’s clear that only speculators are being penalised, not residents who have the ability to upgrade in a shorter time.

2. Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty
The Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty or ABSD was introduced in December 2011. It penalises the purchase of additional properties by Singaporeans, as well properties purchased by Permanent Residents and foreigners. This is how it currently works:

pic-150923-feat-moneysmart2

  • Why was it implemented? To discourage foreign investors from buying residential properties in Singapore and inflating prices, as well as to discourage Singaporeans from buying multiple properties.
  • Has it worked? Yes. The ABSD continues to significantly reduce the volume of property transactions. Only 495 private homes were sold in August, compared to 1,611 in July.
  • How should it be tweaked? Because the ABSD is mainly supposed to discourage foreign investment, some are calling for the ABSD rates to be relaxed for Singaporeans. However, there’s a danger that any change in the ABSD, even removing the penalties for Singaporeans, would still end up affecting Singaporeans in general.

3. Mortgage Servicing Ratio
The Mortgage Servicing Ratio or MSR was implemented to prevent buyers of HDB flats and Executive Condominiums from purchasing units that were beyond their financial means. It does this by limiting your monthly mortgage repayment to 30% of your monthly income, regardless of whether the loan is from HDB or from the bank.

  • Why was it implemented? To ensure that home buyers and sellers aren’t able to inflate prices of HDB flats and ECs on the resale market. By reducing the loan amount that a potential buyer can access, sellers weren’t able to include high Cash-over-Valuation amounts on their property, because then they’d run out of potential buyers.
  • Has it worked? Yes, but perhaps a bit too well. Together with the Total Debt Servicing Ratio, which we’ll talk about next, it’s essentially restricted home buyers from being able to choose a home from a larger pool of options.
  • How should it be tweaked? With the greater number of flats being launched across the island, increasing the MSR from 30% back to 35% – what it was in 2013, would go a long way in giving more Singaporeans the ability to choose their HDB home. As it is, more Singaporeans are cancelling their flat applications because of the MSR.

4. Total Debt Servicing Ratio
Arguably the most effective cooling measure over the past two years since its implementation, the Total Debt Servicing Ratio or TDSR framework prevents Singaporeans from overextending ourselves financially. We are only allowed to borrow up to 60% of our monthly income, and not just for our home loans, but for all our outstanding loans and debts, including car loans, credit card debt and renovation loans.

  • Why was it implemented? To avoid the kind of property crisis that has happened in other countries, the TDSR prevents Singaporeans from borrowing what they cannot realistically repay. This prevents Singaporeans from getting to too much debt and risk losing their homes.
  • Has it worked? Extremely well. The introduction of the TDSR saw property prices dropping as more and more buyers had their options restricted.
  • How should it be tweaked? The TDSR should definitely be here to stay. Encouraging financial prudence in Singaporeans will go a long way in avoiding the repercussions of debt and bankruptcy. The argument here could be defining what makes up a person’s monthly income. Currently, only 70% of bonuses, commissions, rental and other variable income can be included in monthly income calculations.

Source : http://blog.moneysmart.sg/opinion/should-the-government-be-removing-singapore-property-cooling-measures/

banner-wecandoit

8 Things Real Estate Pros Would NEVER Do to Their Homes

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful
By Brie Dyas, from housebeautiful.com

When they decorate or remodel, they think like a potential buyer.

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful1

1. INSTALL BUILT-INS
If you’ve ever watched “House Hunters,” you might be confused by this one. Doesn’t everyone want built-in shelving?

“Think very carefully about them,” says Jennifer Kjellgren, broker and owner of Intown Expert, a real estate firm in Atlanta. “Are they so specific that a future owner wouldn’t like them? Will they quickly become dated?”

Built-ins can impact the architecture and layout of a room, so Kjellgren suggests trying a less-permanent piece of furniture instead — especially if you know you’re going to sell your home someday.

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful2

2. PICK LOUD CABINETRY
We’ve seen cabinets of all color that pop with personality. But the bolder the choice, the fewer people that will like it. “I’d stay away from any decor that seems quirky or too specific — such as purple countertops or green cabinets,” says Redfin real estate agent Julie Jacobson. Show your personality with funky kitchen accessories, instead. A neutral cabinet backdrop also means new accents change your room’s vibe on a whim.

You might not be keen to take care of hardwoods, but many pros frown upon carpeting. “Stay away from it,” says Redfin real estate agent Alec Traub. He notes that hard floors like wood or even polished concrete are trends that are sticking. Plus, they’re way more versatile: “It’s easy to warm up a living space with an area rug instead,” he says.

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful3

3. CHOOSE WALL-TO-WALL CARPETING
You might not be keen to take care of hardwoods, but many pros frown upon carpeting. “Stay away from it,” says Redfin real estate agent Alec Traub. He notes that hard floors like wood or even polished concrete are trends that are sticking. Plus, they’re way more versatile: “It’s easy to warm up a living space with an area rug instead,” he says.

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful4

4. HANG CUSTOM WINDOW TREATMENTS
Again, you might be the only one who loves your pricey custom choices. Plus, they’ll only work with the windows in your current home, so you can’t take them with you — know matter how much they cost.

“Don’t spend a ton of money on specialized window treatments,” says Ken Wile, a real estate agent with Redfin. “It’s better to have simple, neutral-toned blinds.”

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful5

5. PAINT OVER PANELING
Sure, dark wood panels are no longer on-trend, and they make a room feel heavy. But if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, Chiquita Pittman, a sales associate with RE/MAX Platinum New Jersey, advises that it’s best to leave the paneling alone. Painting is a change that’s just not easily reversed — so let your home’s next owner make that decision.

And if you just can’t live with them, get rid of them. “You are better off refacing and replacing them,” Pittman says.

Do this, and you’ll make selling way more difficult. “Every bedroom is a coveted space that can bump your listing up into the next bracket,” says Monica Ma, director of consumer public relations at Trulia. “Buyers might be looking for two, three, four bedrooms — or more. You might dream of knocking down a wall to create a giant walk-in closet, but unfortunately, most buyers won’t share your fantasy.”

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful6

6. PERMANENTLY CONVERT A BEDROOM
Do this, and you’ll make selling way more difficult. “Every bedroom is a coveted space that can bump your listing up into the next bracket,” says Monica Ma, director of consumer public relations at Trulia. “Buyers might be looking for two, three, four bedrooms — or more. You might dream of knocking down a wall to create a giant walk-in closet, but unfortunately, most buyers won’t share your fantasy.”

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful7

7. ADD A POOL
A personal pool sounds luxurious, but buyers will often only see it in a negative light. “People with small children may be concerned about safety risks, those looking for a low-maintenance yard will not want to deal with the hassle, and pools certainly don’t appeal to buyers on a budget,” says Ma.

pic-150922-feat-housebeautiful8

8. HANG WALLPAPER
Whether patterned, textured, foiled, or solid, wallpaper is often stunning. But alas, it’s also a really personal choice that’s hard to change. And this is true even at the highest end of the real estate market. F. Ron Smith, the founder of luxury real estate firm Partners Trust, wouldn’t even put wallpaper in very specific, small places — like a wine room. “It will not last on the wall, or in style,” he says.

Source : http://www.housebeautiful.com/home-remodeling/renovation/g2605/things-real-estate-pros-would-never-do/

banner-likeusonfacebook