Monday, 22 October 2012

Our Sg Properties

Brisk condominium sale in Singapore

Demand not hampered by new restriction on home loans in Singapore

Despite new restrictions on the length of home loans that took effect on Saturday, house hunters did not stay away from condominium showflats islandwide. At new launches like Riversails along the Punggol waterfront and Cityscape at Farrer Park, showrooms were packed and agents said that business was brisk.

At a 748-unit development in Bedok South called eCO, for example, at least 20 units were sold on Saturday. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Friday that it was capping the length of a home loan at 35 years.

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Singapore takes new steps to cool housing market

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will restrict the tenure of loans granted by financial institutions for the purchase of residential properties, effective from 6 October.

MAS' move is part of the government's broader aim of avoiding a price bubble and fostering long-term stability in the property market.

The new rules impose an absolute limit of 35 years on the tenure of all loans for residential property. This will apply to loans to both individual and non-individual borrowers, as well as refinancing loans. 

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Latest measures more pre-emptive than cooling

If not viewed in the light of the possibly harmful effects of the US Federal Reserve's third round of quantitative easing (QE3) and other stimulus measures by monetary authorities around the world, the "cooling" measures announced yesterday by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) may be seen as the first attempt at curbing the abnormally robust property buying seen this year.

Private home prices rose 0.5 per cent in the third quarter from the April-June quarter, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority's flash estimate. It may the biggest quarterly rise this year but, really, did we even notice it? We know that prices are already at a high level but can we really tell whether they are higher? Ditto for the 1 per cent rise for homes in the suburbs.

So, price growth is not really a problem now, but it may be in the future - which means the latest measures are more pre-emptive than cooling. 

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UPDATE 1-Singapore takes new steps to cool housing, bank lending

Singapore introduced on Friday measures to prevent a bubble in its housing market and ensure more prudent lending by banks after property prices rose at a faster pace in the third quarter.

Beginning on Saturday, the maximum tenure of all new residential property loans will be capped at 35 years, with loans exceeding 30 years facing significantly tighter loan-to-value limits, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement.

Other measures introduced by the authority, the country's central bank, included a lower loan-to-value ratio for residential property loans taken up by companies and other non-individual borrowers. 

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Singapore tightens home loan rules amid bubble fears

Singapore's central bank on Friday tightened rules on residential property lending amid fears that the city-state's real estate market could be heading into a dangerous bubble.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement it was imposing a maximum tenure of 35 years for new housing loans with effect from Saturday.

"MAS' move is part of the government's broader aim of avoiding a price bubble and fostering long-term stability in the property market," the central bank said.

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What does the recent HDB loan changes mean to Singaporean buyers

HDB prices are still rising despite the slew of cooling measures taken up by the HDB and MAS. Currently, supplies of new flats have been ramp up and an Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty of 3% over the higher-value property have been imposed. These measures however have proven ineffective as the HDB resale prices continue to climb a further 2 percent in the recent quarter-to-quarter report. The latest changes to curb rising property prices is adopted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and it:

1) Limits mortgage loans to a maximum of 35 years
2) Decreases the Loan-to-Value(LTV) ratio for loans exceeding 30 years

The above measures are steps in the right direction but it could spell disastrous if the housing prices do not drop. Singaporean HDB flats buyers will:

a) either need to pay more in cash or CPF for deposits in order to lengthen the borrowing period
b) or pay more in cash or CPF for monthly mortgage loans in order to shorten the borrowing period Full story

  1. Singapore tightens home loan rules - Malaysia Star
  2. Singapore takes new steps to cool housing market - Yahoo! Finance Singapore
  3. Singapore Caps Residential Loan Tenures After Prices Hit Record - BusinessWeek
  4. Latest measures more pre-emptive than cooling — The Malaysian Insider
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Singapore’s Private Home Prices Climb to Record on Sales

Singapore home prices climbed to a record in the third quarter after developers sold more homes, a government report showed.

The island state’s private residential property price index rose 0.5 percent to 208 points in the three months ended Sept. 30, according to preliminary estimates released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority today. The index advanced 0.4 percent in the previous quarter, which was also at a record.

Singapore in September decided to cap the number of homes that can be developed in suburban projects to curb the increasing trend of so-called shoebox apartments that are smaller in size. The government has been attempting to rein in residential property prices since 2009. 

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Singapore Q3 House Prices Rise To Record

Singapore home prices increased to a record in the third quarter, flash estimates published by the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed Monday.

House prices grew 0.5 percent from a quarter ago, following a 0.4 percent rise in the second quarter. The pace of change in prices varied across the different market segments.

Elsewhere, the Housing and Development Board said the resale price index climbed 2 percent sequentially in the third quarter. 

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Singapore Q3 private home prices rise 0.5 pct q/q

Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released preliminary private home price data for the third quarter of 2012 on Monday:

Quarter-on-quarter, percentage price change: Quarter Q3/2012 Q2/2012 Q1/2012 Q4/2011 Q3/2011 Singapore +0.5 +0.4 -0.1 +0.2 +1.3 private home prices

Context: - Prices of non-landed private residential properties rose 0.2 percent in the core central region. Prices in the rest of the central region rose 0.7 percent, while home prices outside the central region rose 1.0 percent, the URA said. - The Housing Development Board (HDB) said separately that resale prices of government-built HDB apartments rose 2.0 percent in the third quarter from the previous three-month period. - The URA flash estimates are based on caveats lodged during the first 10 weeks of the quarter supplemented by information on the number of new units sold by developers. URA will release detailed data towards the end of the month.

Singapore 3Q Private-Home Prices +0.5% on Quarter Vs +0.4% in 2Q

Prices of private homes in Singapore rose to new record highs in the third quarter, mainly because of strong demand in the city-state's suburban areas, preliminary government data showed Monday.

Data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed private residential prices rose 0.5% in the July-September quarter from the previous quarter. Home prices had swung higher in the second quarter, rising 0.4% after easing 0.1% in the January-March period.

Prices of non-landed private residential properties in the core central region rose 0.2% in the third quarter, slowing from a 0.6% rise in the previous quarter. Price growth in the rest of the central region accelerated to 0.7% in the July-September period, from 0.4% in the second quarter. 

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Khaw urges calm after S$1m flat price

Singaporeans should not be upset over reports that a resale flat was sold for S$1 million, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan during a recent dialogue session with grassroots leaders in Sembawang, reported The Straits Times.

Mr Khaw explained that there will always be premium units offering fantastic views that will command very high prices, just like the case of the executive maisonette in Queenstown.

The sale of that unit is still on-going and is expected to hit S$1 million, with a cash-over-valuation (COV) of S$195,000.

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Singapore’s public housing flat prices up 2 pct in Q3

Singapore’s public housing flat resale prices rose by a record 2 percent in the third quarter compared with last quarter, the city-state’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) released its flash estimate on Monday.

It was the fastest rise this year ever since Q3 in 2011. According to earlier official data, the resale prices rose by 1.3 percent in this Q2, following the 0.6 percent climb in Q1.

The HDB has recently further ramped up public housing flat supply by announcing on last Thursday that its government-built new flat supply for this year will be increased by 2,000 units to 27,000, in order to meet housing demand, especially from first- time home buyers. 

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Buying a BTO Flat? It’s All in the Timing!

There’s always a hue and cry about how expensive BTO flats are. They’re great in concept, and it’s easy to justify their price. The problem is, once all the great arguments are done, BTO flats are still pushing the limits of your budget. And don’t expect the sellers to bend over backward; they know just how much they can squeeze out of a sale. Well, the trick to getting one is timing, according to Mr. Propwise: When is the Best Time to Buy a New BTO Flat?

In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about why I thought HDB flats could be made cheaper for first time buyers. Serendipitously, the DBSS debacle occurred shortly after my blog was published and the public outcry over the S$880,000 price tag for a new DBSS flat seemed to reinforce the point that many Singaporeans are presently frustrated at how expensive public housing has become. In view of that, I thought it would be timely for me to write a blog to explore the pricing mechanism for new BTO flats and talk about when would be a good time to buy new flats. 

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Singapore cooling measures rake in half a billion

Cooling measures such as the additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD) have raked in around S$500 million (US$408 million) in tax revenue, according to Asia One. Of the combined cooling measures, the ABSD has contributed the majority of tax revenues, at S$450 million since it was introduced in December last year.

The remaining S$51 million came from the sellers’ stamp duty, which was implemented in 2010, according to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

According to Asia One, around S$261 million of the revenue from the ABSD came from foreigners who are not permanent residents of Singapore (PRs). In the nine months leading to August this year, PRs bought 1,400 homes, making up a quarter of the buyers who have paid the additional tax. 

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Why Some S’poreans Prefer Resale Flats to New Flats

Shopping for resale flats is like shopping for a Mac. Listen as salesmen explain, according to extraterrestrial logic, how it’s “actually not that expensive”. Since our ears are filled with enough bull dung, I’m going come right out and say this: We know when our purchase is over-priced. Okay? There’s no need to spin. We’re not buying because we’re gullible morons, we have our reasons. And in this article, I’ll explore the ones behind buying resale:

In Singapore, everyone has a choice. You want expensive, more expensive, or too expensive?

The biggest attraction of resale flats? They’re in mature estates. These are places like Bedok, where building more flats is about as viable as starting a rice farm in your bathroom.

And mature estates are desirable. By virtue of being older, they have more supermarkets, provision stores, coffee shops, etc. This is different from places like Woodlands, which is a prime location for the next Survivor series. 

HDB flats seem to be priced many times my annual income. How can I afford one?

"HDB offers a wide variety of flat types in both standard and premium designs in various areas across Singapore at different times of the year. You should be able to find a suitable flat priced within your means.

Some measures of housing affordability use the Home Price-Income ratio (HPI), where a figure of 6, for instance, would indicate that the property being purchased is priced at six times the buyer’s current annual income.

There is no international consensus on what figure signifies whether a property is affordable or not. In some leading international cities, such as Hong Kong or London, the HPI could be quite high, with some sources putting the HPI for Hong Kong in the double digits. In other countries, in areas away from centres of population or economic activity, the HPI could be lower. 

PRC new citizen buys million-dollar HDB

Following reports of a Bishan maisonette sold for S$980,000, a resale executive maisonette at Mei Ling Street in Queenstown has topped the record for being the first public housing unit to reach the million-dollar mark, according to The Business Times.

The buyer and seller have already agreed on the price but the first appointment with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has yet to take place, said Lee Sze Teck, Senior Manager for Research and Consultancy at DWG, the agency brokering the deal.

It is understood that the naturalised Singaporean buyer and her China citizen father paid a cash premium of S$195,000 for the unit near Queenstown MRT station. Its size has not been revealed. 

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HUDC flat in Shunfu Road sold at record price

The HUDC estate in Shunfu is undergoing privatisation at the moment

Another new record in the property market surfaced today.

A maisonette along Shunfu Road was sold in July for S$1.28 million to a Singaporean – creating a new record for a HUDC flat.

Introduced in the 1970s, for those in the middle-income bracket who could not afford private property, HUDC flats are well known to be spacious. The government stopped building them in the late 1980s. 

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HDB selling new 3-room flats in Kallang/Whampoa for $795,000?


  1. HDB flat prices rose to record high in Q3
  2. Khaw Boon Wan: Singaporeans should not be upset over HDB flat sold for S$1 million - Property Guru
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Singapore still sizzling hot
Oct 03, 2012 - The price of luxury apartments in Singapore rose two percent q-o-q in Q3.

Singapore’s residential real estate sector is still sizzling hot despite government cooling measures, according to Savills’ Residential Sales Briefing for October.

According to the briefing, July saw 1,946 new homes sales, a rise of 42 percent month-on-month. That puts the total sales figure for the first eight months of 2012 at 15,300 new properties, close to the full-year total of 2011.

August however saw registered 1,421 (or 1,539 units including executive condominiums) new sales. The fall is considered moderate as there was a dearth of new launches and sales are traditionally slowing during the Chinese hungry ghost festival. 

HDB resale prices hit all-time high

October 3rd, 2012

The HDB Resale Price Index (RPI) rose two percent to a new record high of 197.9, according to the housing board’s flash estimates for the third quarter of 2012.

“The HDB resale price index is now at its historical peak as this increase of two percent is the highest in the last four quarters (since 3Q11, when the price index grew by 3.8 percent).

This is somewhat unexpected as the increase came with the onset of a greater supply of BTO (Build-to-Order) flats since 2011 and the moderation of HDB resale prices in the first two quarters of this year,” said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty. 

Analyst: Singapore home prices may shoot up 10% further

October 4th, 2012

Singapore’s residential market remains busy, despite a less than rosy economic forecast with GDP growth trimmed to 2.4 percent this year, according to the latest report from Savills.

Savills noted that the US government’s fresh round of quantitative easing (QE3) will likely push Singapore property prices up further.

“The bulkheads of Singapore’s housing market are still firm, at a time when global economies are being serially depth-charged by crisis after crisis, and we may in fact benefit from QE3,” said Alan Cheong, Director at Savills Research. 

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Singapore New Private-Home Sales Drop 27% on Month in August 

Sales of new private homes in Singapore dropped by 27% in August from the month prior as a lack of new property launches and seasonal factors helped to reverse July's sharp recovery in sales volumes.

But analysts still expect new private-home sales here to scale fresh records this year, helped by capital inflows that are likely to result from fresh stimulus measures launched last week by the U.S. Federal Reserve to support the American economy.

A total of 1,421 new private-residential units were sold in August--the second lowest monthly tally so far this year--compared with a revised 1,946 units in July, data published Monday on the website of the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed. In July, home sales had surged 42% after two months of decline. 

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Tipping point for Singapore property mart? ― Tan Chin Keong 

For the last three years the trend in Singapore’s residential property market has been virtually one-directional Up

Despite the Singapore government’s repeated efforts to cool the market home prices have remained resilient and recently hit new highs

It is not hard to see why Population growth has been on an uptrend there has been a housing shortage for years and borrowing rates are currently low. 

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Rich Chinese buying residency rights in Singapore - report

BBC News, 21 Aug 2012
Porsche-driving Louie Huang lives in Shanghai, having made his money - a lot of money - in property.

He is having a 200-room villa built here and owns properties in at least five other cities around the world.

But while his business interests remain in China, he has also stumped up the sizeable investment needed to buy himself residency rights in Singapore. Full story

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Singapore luxury property the 13th most expensive world-wide

Singapore has the 13th most expensive luxury real estate market in the world, according to The Wealth Report 2012, compiled by Knight Frank.

According to the report, prime property in the lion city can fetch US$25,600 per sqm, or US$3,007 per sqft. Yet these prices do not even represent the peak in Singapore’s luxury markets: the report noted that prices of luxury property have decreased by 4.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011 from the year before. The report attributed the fall party to fears over a property crash in China in 2011.

Price falls were registered in Singapore, Sydney and Shanghai, which were the fastest growers in the previous survey. 

Housing Grants – Do They Really Help Singaporeans?

With reference to Grant for Low-Income Housholds Enhanced, see here and here.

The Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and Enhanced Grant Scheme, introduced in March 2006, is meant to help citizen families with a steady household income to buy their first subsidised HDB flat. Supposedly, the Grant is to reduce the monthly installment for the buyer.

I was a property agent. From what I observed, buyers who took these housing grants will usually sell their flat at a loss with no money coming out from their sale. The longer they wait to sell their flat, the bigger their paper loss from their CPF account. 

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Property Prices in Singapore – The Gordian Knot?

The influx of immigrants which would only fuel demand for property

The Gordian Knot was fabled to be tied by Gordius, the King of ancient kingdom of Phrygia. The knot was an intricate knot that has no ends exposed. It was a knot that was impossible to untie and a prophecy hung over the knot that whoever could untie the Gordian Knot will come “ to rule the world.”

“HDB resale prices rise 2% to record high in Q3” grabbed the headlines of mainstream newspaper recently and has in a way became the Gordian Knot of Singapore – a terribly complicated issue that requires resolution. However the property prices issue seemed to be tricky to resolve.

With the recent reports on million-dollar HDB apartments in the resale markets and the prices of BTOs, the escalation of property prices towards astronomical heights seemed unstoppable. Median Cash-over-valuation has also risen by 12% over the last quarter and that was a good proxy on the strong demand for resale HDB property. The adjustment of prices to sensible affordability is impossible. 

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OPINION: Singaporeans can forget about buying private properties here - Ryan Ong

Yahoo! Finance Singapore, 3 Oct 2012
 I raved about the ABSD (Additional Buyers Stamp Duty) when it was announced. Singapore’s property market is currently overheated by rich foreign investors, who see Singapore as a sort of Switzerland without mountains.

Where do you think all our money comes from? Productivity?

Anyway, the ABSD made foreign buyers pay 10% stamp duty on their property. As it turns out, this hindered the rich to the same degree that a toothpick would hinder an attacking polar bear. H88 has an article on it. Despite having paid half a billion dollars to the government already, foreign buyers won’t stop parking their cash here. They’re still buying, and locals can’t outbid them.

At least BTO flats aren’t directly affected, because foreigners can’t buy them. However, as private property prices soar, more Singaporeans will back down from purchasing condos and resale flats. They’ll go for lower-end properties, and you may get more competition when balloting for BTO flats.

Whatever the case, you might have to abandon your hopes of owning a condo or resale flat for now. Full story

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Affordable Housing

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has a two-fold problem, built more flats and make them more affordable. First one is easy, and suits the appetite of the GDP growth junkies to a T. More flats for sale mean more money in the state coffers – just think of the contribution from the mysterious “reserves” portion of the pricing policy.

The good news is that $75,000 will now actually buy you a brand new flat (cheaper than those affordable $100K units), if you can contend with 35 sq metres in a non-mature estate. That’s HDB nomenclature for an ulu part of the island which may lack certain amenities like schools, supermarkets, clinics, hawker centres, as well as sports and recreational facilities. On the plus side, the relatively remote locations may suit those planning a discreet afternoon tryst with a female IT sales executive. Just imagine, if they deliver on the $60,000 housing grant, a studio flat will cost only $15,000.

Before you rush out to nominate the HDB for a humanitarian award in finally reducing the entry level for basic accommodation, read on.

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Khaw's cooling measures fail as Q3 home prices rose to record high

(RTTNews) - Singapore home prices increased to a record in the third quarter, flash estimates published by the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed Monday.

House prices grew 0.5 percent from a quarter ago, following a 0.4 percent rise in the second quarter. The pace of change in prices varied across the different market segments. 

Elsewhere, the Housing and Development Board said the resale price index climbed 2 percent sequentially in the third quarter. Full story


  1. Singapore Private Home Prices Climbed to Record in Third Quarter - BusinessWeek
  2. Singapore 3Q Private-Home Prices +0.5% on Quarter Vs +0.4% in 2Q - 4-traders
  3. Singapore Q3 private home prices rise 0.5 pct q/q - Reuters UK
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HDB flats didn’t shrink, says Khaw

The government is also watching the trend of 'shoebox units' built by private developers and will step in if need be. 

Contrary to what many people think, the Housing and Development Board has not shrunk the sizes of flats, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said.

Speaking to participants of a forum on Wednesday (2 May), Mr Khaw said the sizes of apartments have remained unchanged for the last 15 years, The Straits Times reported.

The paper said HDB figures show that since the mid-90s, the size of a four-room flat has remained at 90 square metres.

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HDB four-room flat sizes, 1996 to 2011 

Per the Straits Times, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Wednesday that Housing and Development Board flats have not shrunk in recent years, and that flat sizes have remained unchanged for the past 15 years. 

According to the ST: A four-room flat, for instance, has remained at 90 sq m since the mid-90s, HDB figures show. HDB has also said that the amount of living space per person has risen, as the number of people in an average household has dropped. 

The ST reporter, Jessica Cheam, later wrote this on her Facebook page: A few people have asked me if it’s really true that #HDB flats have not shrunk in the past 15 years. And why it doesn’t match a previous report I wrote in Nov last year on the same issue. I’ve doublechecked with HDB and both reports are right – Minister Khaw is accurate in saying the flat size hasn’t changed in the past 15 years because the mid-90s was the last time that HDB changed flat sizes. 

900k for HDB 

Looks like 3 HDB units just got sold at the $900k mark and the psychological barrier of $1m is inching closer. Many analyst give their 2 cents to say it is an exception and unique circumstances, rather than the norm, ya da ya da.

Regardless, it looks set that $1m is probably going to be hit in the next 1-2 years. Wonder if it is fair to become millionaires from government subsidized public housing.

Anyhow, who is going to be the 3 famous people? Huh, what are you talking about? 

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Sayonara Shoeboxes?

In September 4th, 2012 the URA announced new guidelines that will effectively curb the future development of shoebox units, typicallyunits smaller than 500 square feet, in suburban areas. Effective November 4th, 2012, the total number of homes that can be built for non-landed private residential developments outside the Central Area will be capped.

We have previously covered the problems with shoebox homes, looked at their historical profitability, and even examined the issue of shoebox industrial units.

The proliferation of shoebox units became a cause for concern One of the key factors for the government’s concern about shoeboxes is the four-fold increase of the stock of shoebox units from 2,400 units at the end of 2011 to around
11,000 units by 2015. 

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Maintaining a good variety of housing sizes 

From 4 November 2012, the total number of dwelling units that can be built on a development site for non-landed private residential developments outside the Central Area will be capped, when new guidelines issued by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) take effect. 

The new guidelines will discourage new developments consisting predominantly of “shoebox” units outside the Central Area, but at the same time give flexibility to developers to offer a range of homes of different sizes to cater to the needs of various demographic groups and lifestyles.

An increasing number of shoebox units are being built in some new private housing projects. The stock of completed shoebox units will increase more than four-fold from about 2,400 units as at the end of 2011 to about 11,000 units by the end of 2015. This trend has raised some concerns, especially in the suburban areas where larger households and families typically reside, and where the demand for shoebox units remains untested. 

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CapitaLand CEO Calls Shoebox Apartments Inhuman: Southeast Asia

Liew Mun Leong, president and chief executive officer of CapitaLand Ltd. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

Singapore should curb the increasing trend of so-called shoebox apartments because they are “almost inhuman,” CapitaLand Ltd. (CAPL) Chief Executive Officer Liew Mun Leong said.

The government last week said it’s concerned that shoebox apartments are mushrooming in the city-state as private home sales surged to a three-year high with record purchases of units that are smaller than 50 square meters (538 square feet).

“I am dead against shoebox developments,” Liew said in an interview at the downtown Singapore headquarters of Southeast Asia’s biggest developer. “The government should intervene. Singapore’s land is very precious and you are wasting your scarce resources” by building shoebox apartments. 

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Planning For Singapore’s Future
Tweaks in Our SG Housing
Further steps to cool Singapore property market
Housing Woes
Our Sg Public Housing
Our Sg Properties
Affordable Housing
Prices of HDB resale flats rise, but can new HDB flats be cheaper?