Author: Property Soul

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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Why unemployment is the real killer in the property game

Last Wednesday Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point rate hike as the industry has expected. This is the second approved raise by the central bank this year. There will still be a third round most likely in September. Why rate hike is not a big concern But who cares about the raise of a quarter point? Banks don’t need any excuse to raise interest rate. Mortgage payers may already be used to the banks sending them occasional mail on revised interest rates and increased installments, which are made effective next month, immediately, or backdated a month ago. How we wish...

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3 disruptive trends that will forever change the property industry

Two months ago at SMART Expo, I spoke about ‘5 Disruptive Trends That Are Changing the Singapore Property Industry’. In my presentation, I shared with the audience how digital technologies like Big Data, Fintech, Virtual Reality and Smart Homes are reshaping the Singapore property market, while highlighting the emergence of the DIY generation. Let me recap 3 of the disruptive trends that will forever change our real estate industry. Trend #1 Every buyer will be an ‘Informed Buyer’. I mentioned in my book No B.S. Guide to Property Investment that the real estate industry is an imperfect market. Homebuyers and property...

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Useful tips to unmask the wolves’ sheep clothing

Another property investment company A2A Capital was being put on the investor alert list by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The company marketed a land-banking scheme with investment in the United States and Canada that promised attractive returns of 134 percent or potentially 3 times the initial investment over 10 years. When the Singapore investors did not receive the promised payout, they filed police reports against A2A. It was discovered that the property firm has a paid-up capital of only $100 when it set up in 2009. And its office has already moved from Raffles Place in Singapore...

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Are Singapore developers forced to walk a tightrope?

Government Land Sales for residential sites in Singapore just crossed the S$1 billion mark. A 99-year leasehold site in Queenstown Stirling Road was sold at a top bid of S$1.003 billion. (Read article in Bloomberg.) The winning consortium is China’s Nanshan Group and Logan Property (a Chinese developer listed in Hong Kong). Nanshan has been eyeing at the Singapore property market for long. In the past 12 months, it participated in 8 of 11 tenders in Singapore’s land auctions. What is the role of the government? In Singapore, land use is regulated by Singapore Land Authority and Urban Redevelopment...

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It’s not bottoming-out. It’s dead cat bounce.

How do I know home buying sentiments have improved? Answer: When I receive more email asking me which units to buy in a new project than email regretting buying at new launches. If property purchase sentiments are weak, there is a reverse in the number of messages from both sides. Very accurate. No need to conduct any survey. Now is the perfect time to launch There is usually a 3-month time lag between the performance of the stock market and the property market. It’s because it takes around 12 weeks to complete a property transaction. The Straits Times Index...

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