Author: Property Soul

To live a long life for properties

Do you know there are at least 3 scenarios that you need to stay healthy and live a reasonably long life for the sake of properties? Scenario 1: When you need to pay a 35-year mortgage. Scenario 2: When you buy your property at a historically-high price. Scenario 3: When you are really into property investment. Scenario 1: If you have a 35-year mortgage According to a survey by Department of Statistics in 2016, the median age at first marriage for Singapore guys is 30.3. Our culture equates tying the knot with applying for a flat. Assuming that you...

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The 7 deadly sins of Singapore property buyers

I was recently invited to speak at the Investors Exchange organized by BIGScribe – a half-day seminar offering retail investors useful investment advice and concepts from successful investors. I could have chosen the title “7 Common Mistakes of Singapore Property Buyers”. But no one likes to admit that they have made a mistake. So I call it “7 Deadly Sins” instead to highlight the sinful “temptations” faced by many property buyers. Sin #1: The “worship” of properties Singapore is a property-crazy nation and Singaporeans are property-obsessed. What is the Singapore dream? Firstly, apply for an HDB or BTO flat....

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The day I bought my first private property

In the evening of 30 June 1998, I arrived in Singapore alone with a luggage of personal belongings and some cash equivalent to S$600. In a few days’ time, I would start a job paying S$4,000 a month. I was grateful to find employment in the midst of the Asian Financial Crisis. The next morning I went to POSB to open a savings account. After I deposited all my S$600, I was told that I should go to a foreign bank that I had an account in my hometown in order to send money home every month to my...

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3-3-5 rule now endorsed by the CPF Board

It is official. CPF Board just endorsed Property Soul’s 3-3-5 rule. The statutory board recently published an article “How to use the 3-3-5 rule to consider if you can afford your new home” in its “Are You Ready?” portal. “Are You Ready?” is an initiative by the CPF Board to educate Singaporeans on how to plan for major financial decisions at different stages of their life cycle – from starting work, getting married, buying a house to planning for retirement. The article also comes with an infographic using guidelines from the 3-3-5 affordability test for home buyers to calculate...

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Chinese developers: Who exactly are they?

Since the start of the year, cash-rich property developers from mainland China have been actively participating in Government Land Sales (GLS) tenders. Aiming to expand their footprint in Singapore, they have set new records in bidding prices for residential sites. This is no doubt a big windfall for the government. But not for local developers who may be involuntarily priced out of their hometown by the better-off counterparts from China. Facing thin margins and depleting land bank, they may have to explore the collective sale market or venture abroad for greener pastures. Aggressive globalization of Chinese developers On the...

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En bloc sale – the good, the bad and the ugly

Spring Grove is the latest condominium jumping on the en bloc sale bandwagon. Almost every week, there is an announcement of a new privatized HUDC estate or old project putting up for sale. Recent candidates joining the collective sale craze include Braddell View, Pine Grove, Changi Garden, Amber Park, Jervois Gardens, Florence Regency and Normanton Park. Developers are simply spoiled for choice! Collective sale hopefuls are probably inspired by the recent successful deal at Tampines Court. The ex-HUDC deal managed to be closed at S$970 million after two failed attempts in the past. This is no doubt a heartwarming...

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What we can learn from cockroaches to survive the next crisis

Typhoon Hato lashed Southern China two weeks ago. Hong Kong and Macau were struck head-on with strong winds and heavy rain. A widely-shared youtube video of Macau showed thousands of cockroaches getting out of their underground hiding places and crawling one after the other over a sea wall. It was a well-coordinated effort to march to higher grounds to flee from possible flooding caused by the tropical cyclone. Response to natural disasters: cockroaches versus humans It is impressive to see how cockroaches can prepare an advance contingency plan when there’s a perceived danger ahead. They manage to escape to...

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3 lessons I learned from National Day Rally 2017

Did you watch the 2017 National Day Rally last Sunday evening? No, our Prime Minister didn’t mention the master plan or the property market. Nor did he cover any schedule to relax the cooling measures. As expected, there’s no mention of MRT either. He only talked about e-payments, diabetes and pre-school education. Tay Kah Poh, Executive Director & Head of Residential Services at Knight Frank, told me this recently: “In Singapore, there are only 3 things that people really care: education, wealth and health. And we talk about them all the time.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Education,...

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3 lessons I learned from National Day Rally 2017

Did you watch the 2017 National Day Rally last Sunday evening? No, our Prime Minister didn’t mention the master plan or the property market. Nor did he cover any schedule to relax the cooling measures. As expected, there’s no mention of MRT either. He only talked about e-payments, diabetes and pre-school education. Tay Kah Poh, Executive Director & Head of Residential Services at Knight Frank, told me this recently: “In Singapore, there are only 3 things that people really care: education, wealth and health. And we talk about them all the time.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Education,...

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Recovery? What recovery?

Property news from the media can be very confusing these days. Headlines of articles on a single day can be totally contradictory to each other. On Monday August 14, Business Times had an article “Analysts upbeat on property, tech after Q2’s mixed earnings”. Flip the Straits Times on the same day and there’s a headline “More firms closing amid tough economy”. Such inconsistencies make readers wonder: Is the recovery of the real estate industry independent of the economic slowdown? Should we be upbeat about the property market regardless of the tough business environment? An unanimous media support for market recovery Newspaper articles that...

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Why you need to learn about defects before getting your new home

Buying a home is an indispensable part of the Singapore dream. After you placed the deposit, followed the progressive payments, signed up for a 30-year housing loan, and finally collected the key to your new home, a big surprise is awaiting for you – the bare unit is totally different from the showflat you can recall. Wait, there are more surprises on the way. You inspect the walls, the ceilings, the floors, the windows, the doors and the kitchen/bathroom fittings. You know that something is wrong. But you just don’t know where and can’t tell how. You know that...

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Why housing affordability is more than your salary

Dollars and Sense recently published a blog post titled “Here’s the salary you need to earn to afford these homes in Singapore”. The writer of the article has the good intention to show readers what type of housing they can afford based on their monthly salary. However, income is only part of the whole picture when it comes to deciding whether you can pay up for a property. Housing affordability is not all about income When you apply for a housing loan, banks usually ask for your latest payslips, account statement, tax assessment, CPF contribution history, etc. The banks...

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MAS makes commentators look foolish again

Last Thursday, Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ravi Menon mentioned at the annual report media conference that it is “not time yet to ease the cooling measures”, “they remain necessary” and “easing the measures now would send a wrong signal”. 10 Sorry, cooling measures are to stay Menon cited two reasons for the decision: 1) Good pick-up of recent project launches under low interest rate environment; and 2) Increased tightening of property buying restrictions in other countries. Menon emphasized that “property prices should be aligned with broader income trends in the economy and the government will not...

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Speaking at Investors Exchange on July 29

am one of the seven financial investment writers or bloggers invited to speak at Investors Exchange 2017 on July 29. The half-day Investors Exchange seminars are organized by BIGScribe with the objective to offer small retail investors useful investment advice and concepts from successful investors. The event is running for the 4th time. Every time the seats are sold out well before the event date. Early bird discount of S$49 is available till Saturday (July 8). Act fast! Event: Investors Exchange 2017 Date: July 29, 2017 (Sat) 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Venue: DBS Auditorium, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, Level...

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4 traits of millennial homebuyers and how they impact properties

Still remember my previous blog post “3 disruptive trends that will forever change the property industry”? There is a fourth trend on millennial homebuyers. Millennials (not the yellow color “minions” in the Despicable Me movie) are also known as Generation Y. They are referred to those who are born between 1982 and 2004 (or between 13 to 35 years old). Every serious industry stakeholder who cares about the future of the property industry must spend some time understand about millennials. Because this group will soon become the cornerstone of our society and the main supporter of our economy. As...

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