Author: Property Soul

Three biggest risks buying overseas properties

With the hands of property buyers tied by the TDSR rules, property marketers are making the most of the situation to hold overseas property seminars and exhibitions. I have no intention of selling you any foreign investment opportunity in my blog. Over the years, I have seen too many people who regret buying overseas properties. And their stories show that many buyers do not think carefully before they commit. Let me summarize the top three risks of buying properties in an overseas market: Risk #1: Foreign language and culture • How do the locals, especially your neighbors, see owners...

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A bank employee, a property purchase, and a tragic death

On 18 February 2014, a 33-year-old employee of JPMorgan Chase jumped to his death from the rooftop of the company’s 30-storey office building in Hong Kong. This is already the third suicide in three weeks for the financial institution. In January, a 39-year-old Vice President of Corporate and Investment Banking Technology plunged to his death at the bank’s 33-storey London office. He joined the company since 2004. Earlier this month, the body of a 37-year-old Executive Director of the Global Equities Group in the New York office was found in his suburban home. The Harvard graduate had been working...

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Finding great bargains in a Chinese New Year fair

We were in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year. Four of us stayed in an hotel’s family room overlooking the Victoria Park. The Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair was just across the road. We decided to pay a visit the next morning. The first visit It was the largest flower market in Hong Kong, with 475 stalls occupying six soccer fields. Besides three rows of festive flower stalls, there were five rows of stalls selling Chinese New Year goodies and decorations, horse-themed souvenirs, and toys for all ages. We were overwhelmed by the varieties. But everything looked pricey:...

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How necessary is the exemption of the TDSR rules?

On Monday evening, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) suddenly issued a press release to broaden the existing exemption from the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) rules introduced in June last year. Fine-tuning financing restrictions a norm? Financing restrictions introduced by MAS under the context of prudent borrowing are usually made effective the following day. However, it is not uncommon to see subsequent fine-tuning after the announcement. Motor vehicle loan is a good example: – On 25 February 2013, MAS imposed financing restrictions on car loans that cap maximum loan-to-value to 50 or 60 percent and loan tenure to...

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An interview with the CEO of PropertyGuru

Date: 21 January 2014 Venue: The Grand Hyatt Interviewee: Steve Melhuish, Co-Founder and CEO, PropertyGuru Q&As: PS = Property Soul Steve = Steve Melhuish PS: What do you think about the property market in 2013 and what is going to happen in 2014? Steve: 2013 is an important year with the cooling measures showing their impact on the reduction of transaction volumes in the first half of the year, followed by the softening of prices in the last two quarters. In 2014, with increased supply and declining prices, home buyers and investors will continue to adopt a wait-and-see approach and delay...

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Dealing with repairs in rental properties

I parked my car outside the house. A neighbor accidentally kissed it and damaged the license plate. It was replaced after a week so I drove it to an 8 a.m. meeting on Monday. Unfortunately, I was stuck in the highway for an hour. When I reached the carpark, the agitated vehicle was already complaining with strange noises. It waited till I was on the way back that it finally broke down on the left lane. Three nice guys volunteered to push the grumpy fellow to a side road. But somehow it ended up outside a Singapore Pools outlet....

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Property market in 2013-2014: A watershed year or a transitional setback?

The property market in 2014 starts with a series of bad news from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB). How bad are the numbers? On 2nd January, HDB announced that the HDB Resale Price Index continued to drop in 4th quarter 2013. The 1.3 per cent decline was the worst since eight years ago in 2005. Coincidentally, URA released disappointing estimated figures of private home sales in 4th quarter 2013. Private residential Property Price Index fell 0.8 percent — the first major decline since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009. Even...

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The common traits of banks

If you understand something about banks, you may notice that they have a few common traits: 1. When you least think of them, they contact you most (with cold calls). 2. When you don’t want to see them, they want to reach you (to collect outstanding loan). 3. When you need them the least, they want to lend you the most. 4. When you need them the most, they want to lend you the least. I once received a call from a bank representative. Bank: Is this Ms xxxx? I am calling from xxxx bank. To reward our loyal...

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Is buying properties a saving plan?

When banks and buyers are having their hands tied by the TDSR framework, local developers are stepping up to slash prices for both new and old units. Amid a softening market, property agents are struggling to look for buyers and close the deal. With a changing landscape, those old sales pitches like ‘buy now before prices climb further’, ‘buy properties to beat inflation’, or ‘units with a guaranteed return of x percent’, now seem inadequate to convince buyers that ‘any time is a good time to buy’. The new sales pitch: buying properties for saving A team leader of...

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