Category Archives: Housing Guide


With a monthly household income of up to $14,000, purchasing a mass market private condominium is not out of the question; whilst those in the lower income bracket can easily take the HDB BTO route. Thus, amid the plentiful choices that a buyer has, why are Executive Condominiums (ECs) still popular in today’s market?

So far in 2016, there has been good and steady demand for ECs. According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), for the first seven months of 2016, 2,697 EC units were sold by developers. This has already surpassed the 2,550 units sold by developers for the whole of 2015.

A Buyer’s Guide to Auction


In addition, some of the best-selling projects this year have been ECs. Wandervale and Treasure Crest were two of the most successful EC launches since 2014. Wandervale, the first EC to launch in 2016, sold some 50 per cent or its 534 units on the opening weekend; whilst in July, Treasure Crest sold some 72 percent of its 504 units on the first weekend. Existing EC projects have also been seeing sustained interest from buyers, with developments such as Bellewaters, The Vales and the Terrace seeing a steady stream of buyers even though they are not new launches.

For most EC buyers, the main appeal of ECs is the condominium address and lifestyle but at a cheaper price. ECs are typically priced $750 to $850 per square foot whilst mass market condominiums within the vicinity are likely to be $1,000 to $1,100 per square foot onwards.

After the minimum occupation period of 5 years, the EC unit can be resold on the secondary market to Singaporean or SPR buyers whilst 10 years after completion, the EC unit can also be sold to foreign purchasers. So, depending on the state of the market at the relevant point in time, the EC buyer already enjoy a larger headroom for capital gain as compared to someone who had bought a mass market condominium unit at around the same time as the EC buyer.

Further, for eligible first-time EC buyers, they have the added advantage of using the CPF Housing Grant of $30,000 to help pay for the purchase price. There are no housing grants available for private condominiums.

The second reason is a practical one. EC buyers are owner-occupiers and they are purchasing the unit to start a family or to house a family.

Majority of EC projects are designed to comprise mainly 3 and 4-bedroom units; with the exception of some that may have a small selection of 1 and 2-bedroom units. Comparatively, a mass market condominium may have more numbers of smaller units than larger units as they also target the investor buyers that prefer a lower price quantum.

The third reason is the living space; and size matters when you have to house a family. Treasure Crest EC’s 3-bedroom units are sized 958 to 1,249 square feet whilst its 4-bedroom units are 1,345 square feet. Comparatively, private condominium’s 3-bedroom units may be about 880 to 1,100 square feet and their 4-bedrooms may not exceed 1,300 square feet.


By – ERA


More seller Selling under Seller’s Stamp Duty

Sellers are letting go of their properties, even if they have to incur seller’s stamp duty. However, they generally wait until the SSD falls to 4% in the fourth year of purchase. Based on the latest revision of the SSD measure, homeowners who purchased their houses on or after Jan 14, 2011 and resold them within four years of the date of purchase are required to pay SSD. The SSD rates vary with the holding period, at 16%, 12%, 8% and 4% within the first, second, third and fourth years from the date of purchase respectively.


Source: URA, The Edge Property

The number of sellers who paid 4% SSD grew from 200 in 2014 to 244 between January and November this year. On the other hand, only 68 sellers let go of their properties within three years of purchase in 2015, when SSD rates were hefty at between 8% and 16% (see table).

There could be several factors behind this. First, sellers might prefer to hold cash or other liquid assets in the current market so they can re-enter the market when property prices bottom.

The number of sellers who paid 4% SSD in 2014 and 2015 had purchased the properties in 2011 and 2012 and most of them netted a profit even after paying the 4% SSD.

Second, sellers who do not wish to hold on to their properties, for financial or other reasons, might do well to offload them now rather than next year, in case prices drop further. Prices of private non-landed homes have fallen an average of 1% a quarter since 3Q2013’s peak. If this trend continues or worsens, sellers might be better off incurring the 4% SSD now instead of waiting another year and risk selling their properties at lower prices as a result of a higher supply in the market.

Third, there are sellers who are forced to let go of their properties because of the soft rental environment and interest rate hikes. These properties might be sold at a loss or within the first three years of purchase. The proportion of unprofitable transactions moves in tandem with the decline in SSD rates, declining from 80% at 16% SSD rate in the first year to 22% at 4% SSD rate in the fourth year and 12% on the fifth year, when SSD is lifted (see chart).

The findings are based on matched URA’s resale and subsale caveats for private non-landed homes as at Nov 24, 2015, with their previous transactions on or after Jan 14, 2011.


Source: URA, The Edge Property


Investors pressured to offload shoebox and large units

Projects with the highest number of resale transactions in the fourth year of purchase were Parc Rosewood, A Treasure Trove and Ripple Bay, with 19, 11 and 10 resale caveats respectively. Interestingly, these caveats involved mostly shoebox units.

Of the 19 resale caveats at Parc Rosewood, 84%, or 16 caveats, were for shoebox units averaging 445 sq ft. Similarly, for Ripple Bay, 90% — or nine of the 10 caveats — were for shoebox units averaging 490 sq ft.

The eagerness to offload shoebox units as soon as SSD fell to 4% in the fourth year could have been motivated by a soft rental market, yield compression and the interest rate hike. In addition, shoebox units in the mass-market continue to face strong competition from HDB flats for tenants. Based on our basket of properties, monthly rents for shoebox units in the mass-market were estimated to have fallen 21%, or more than $500, from $2,552 in 3Q2013 to $2,016 in 3Q2015.

In fact, URA data shows that monthly rents for a 400 to 500 sq ft unit at Parc Rosewood averaged just $1,657 in 3Q2015. Parc Rosewood was completed in 2014. Similar-sized units commanded an average monthly rent of $1,815 in 3Q2014. Over the course of one year, the average rent for shoebox units in the development has fallen 8.7%.

At A Treasure Trove, 58% — or seven of 12 caveats — were for 775 sq ft units, the smallest apartments in the project. Although the project was completed this year, there is evidence of rental decline within the course of just a few months. For example, 700 to 800 sq ft units were let at an average monthly rent of $2,367 in July. Similar units fetched an average monthly rent of $2,230 in October, reflecting a 6% decline over a period of three months.

On a more positive note, all the transactions at Parc Rosewood, A Treasure Trove and Ripple Bay were profitable after accounting for the 4% SSD payable, as the sellers had purchased the properties at attractive prices in 2011.

Larger units are also likely to be the most affected by the interest rate hike and soft rental environment. In dollar terms, Reflections at Keppel Bay accrued the most SSD from Jan 14, 2011, amounting to $1.81 million for seven resale caveats. Four caveats were for units measuring between 1,200 and 2,207 sq ft. The Minton trailed closely with $1.29 million for 18 resale caveats, with an average unit size of 1,159 sq ft.

The highest SSD incurred for a single transaction was for a 3,821 sq ft unit at Four Seasons Park, amounting to $1.14 million in SSD.

At least 18,145 non-landed homes to be freed from SSD in 1H2016

Based on our study, 18,145 non-landed homes will no longer be subject to SSD in 1H2016, as their holding periods cross the four-year mark. Of these, 1,574 units will be located in Core Central Region, 4,164 units in Rest of Central Region and 12,407 units in Outside Central Region. Some of these units could turn out to be value deals, as the owners who are under pressure to sell have weaker bargaining power.

The top three projects with at least 100 shoebox units entering the fifth year of their holding period are Parc Rosewood, Guillemard Edge and Casa Cambio.

*Credit to The Edge Singapore
This article appeared in The Edge Property Pullout, Issue 708 (December 21, 2015) of The Edge Singapore. 
By Esther Hoon, Lin Zhiqin | December 18, 2015 10:43 AM MYT

Keep calm and buy Executive Condominium


Income Ceiling for purchasing of Executive Condominium has been revised from $12000 to $14000, for more info, read HERE

Look no further, contact me @ 98803768 for a non obligation discussion in getting your dream home now.

Click HERE for more Executive Condominium information. 

Keep calm and buy ECSource – HDB

More reason to buy a Resale HDB Flat

KhawHDB and MND have just announced a $20k grant with relatively few restrictions — Proximity Housing Grant (PHG). This will replace the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant.

The PHG grant is to help Singaporeans buy a resale flat, with or near their parents or married child.

Starting immediately, eligible Singaporeans will receive a Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) of S$20,000; eligible singles will get a Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) of S$10,000 if they buy a resale flat with their parents.

Good things about this grant –

  • All Singaporeans are eligible for it once in their lifetime – whether they have enjoyed housing subsidies before ( those whom get higher tie HDB grant before are also eligible YEAH ), regardless what their household income is or whether they own private property
  • This PHG grant has NO income ceiling
Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

HDB Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

Higher Income Ceilings

Also announced in the same press release are changes to the income ceilings for citizen households buying HDB flats (new and resale) and Executive Condominiums (new). The new ceilings are respectively: $12k for HDB flats and $14k for ECs. This means more people are now eligible to buy these HDB housing units. It shows that MND and HDB are committed to helping Singaporeans own a flat, particularly young couples setting up their first homes.

The last raised the income ceiling in 2011

Source – MND, HDB, Today, Asiaone

Avoid the worst time to sell your HDB

Owners planning to sell their Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats would be wise to study the supply situation and avoid certain peak periods which may weaken their bargaining position. These peak seasons may arise when buyers of executive condominium (EC) dispose their existing HDB flats once they receive keys to their new homes. For instance, more than 6,000 EC units are expected to be completed in 2018, putting the year in the alert zone.

Under HDB rule, upgraders must sell their existing HDB flat within six months from the issuance of the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) for the EC. Buyers whose ECs received TOP in 1Q15, for example, would have to sell their existing HDB flat by 3Q15. Such restriction could result in a surge of HDB resale flats entering the market in certain seasons, tipping the market in favour of buyers and putting sellers in a disadvantaged position.

Surveys on certain EC projects showed that such upgraders may account for more than half of new EC buyers. An anticipated 8,800 HDB resale flats therefore could enter the market from now until 4Q19, based on half the 18,083 EC units receiving TOP between 4Q14 and 4Q19. The bulk of these or 3,400 resale flats will come on-stream in 2018, followed by 1,800 units in 2016 (see Table 1 and Figure 1). To put things in perspective, they represent 20% and 11% of total HDB resale volume in 2014 respectively.

Table 1: Estimated TOP dates of EC projects and disposal of HDB flats

Estimated TOP dates of EC projects and disposal of HDB flats

Source: Developers, HDB, URA, The Edge Property

Against this backdrop, sellers might consider putting their units on the market this year instead of 2016 to avoid head-on collision with these upgraders. Another incentive in favour of selling this year would be the clipping of Build-To-Order (BTO) supply from 22,455 units in 2014 to 16,900 in 2015. This could potentially draw buyers back to the resale market and reverse the downtrend in prices. According to latest statistics from HDB, prices of resale flats have declined for seven consecutive quarters for a total of 9.2% from 2Q13’s peak to 1Q15.

Figure 1: Projected supply of HDB resale flats disposed by EC buyers

Projected supply of HDB resale flats disposed by EC buyers

Source: HDB, URA, The Edge Property 

Those looking to sell on a longer time horizon might wish to note several window periods where supply from upgraders would be on a low ebb such as the second half of 2017. Barring any changes in market sentiments, it might be prudent for sellers to err on the side of caution and avoid peak periods that might psychologically empower buyers and put pressure on prices.

The year 2018 will see a strong surge in supply from upgraders of ECs that are currently being marketed such as The Amore,Bellewaters, Bellewoods, Lake Life and The Terrace. Eight more EC projects are expected to be launched this year.

*This article appeared in The Edge Property Pullout of Issue 677 (May 18) of The Edge Singapore.

Almost 5% down in private home prices 2014

8CYPrices of private properties in Singapore fell by 4.79 percent during the first nine months of 2014, compared to an annual increase of 2.1 percent in the same period last year, revealed a report from Global Property Guide.

On a quarterly basis, prices of private units dipped by 0.38 percent in Q3 from the previous three months.

At the same time, residential demand in the city-state is dropping. The report stated that sales of housing units plunged 38.6 percent to 1,465 units in the third quarter from last year, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Singapore’s economy is also slowing, with forecasts of 2.96 percent growth this year, down from 3.9 percent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Of the 10 Asian markets tracked in the report, only Singapore and China saw house prices decline during the year.

Source - Propertyguru

SIBOR and SOR, which one is for you?

SIBOR vs SOR thinkingYou may have heard the terms SIBOR and SOR when you’re looking for a home loan. Most home loans in Singapore are based on one of these two reference rates. It can be confusing to choose between two of them for first time home-buyers.

What Are SIBOR and SOR?

SIBOR (Singapore Interbank Offered Rate) and SOR (Swap Offer Rate) are benchmark rates for commercial and private property prices in Singapore.

SIBOR and SOR based home loans are extremely popular among home buyers due to their transparency and security. Unlike some banks’ IBR (internal board rate) or variable rates, SIBOR and SOR are open to public scrutiny and are determined by the interactions between multiple banks (see next section). It is hence difficult for any individual bank to single-handedly raise the SIBOR or SOR rates.



SIBOR stands for the Singapore Interbank Borrowing Offer Rate . It is the interest rate at which banks and financial institutions in Singapore borrow from each other. Simply put, SIBOR reflects how much it would cost banks to borrow from each other.

SIBOR is administered by the ABS (Association of Banks in Singapore).  Thomson Reuters will compiles the rates from 17 banks on a daily basis.  The compiled rates are then ranked, with those on the upper and lower quartiles eliminated from the list. The remaining rates (which should come from at least eight banks) are averaged to make the day’s SIBOR. The majority of home loan packages in Singapore are based on SIBOR.



SOR rate stands for Swap Offer Rate and is likewise also a form of interbank lending rate. SOR is based on the foreign exchange rate with the US dollar. Basically, it projects what the interest rate would cost if the same amount of money were borrowed in US dollars. With forex as an extra variable in the calculation, swap offer rates (SOR) are typically more  volatile than the Singapore interbank offered rates (SIBOR). Loans pegged to SOR tend to be subjected to higher uncertainty than SIBOR based loans, and can go lower or higher  faster than SIBOR.



SIBOR is determined by the demand and supply of funds between banks in Singapore and is tied to domestic or regional market conditions. Compare to SOR which is more responsive to the American (and hence global) market which subjected to exchange rates and the American money market fluctuation,  SOR is usually more volatile than SIBOR. 

Base on the above conditions, we can say that:

  • SIBOR fluctuates less than SOR
  • Borrowers with bigger risk appetite  may prefer SOR loans as SOR tends to fluctuate more, the fluctuations of SOR can be below SIBOR sometime.
  • Borrowers with less risk appetite  may prefer SIBOR loans as SIBOR loans provides them more stability.



Below is a illustration for SIBOR and SOR rate trend from 2006 to 2014



Source - 

4 common reasons for mismanagement of Rental Property

Just like trading in the stock market is not for everyone, not everyone are good in managing rental properties as well. Dear landlords, does it sounds familiar?

4 common reasons for mismanagement of Rental Property

knowledge1) Lack of knowledge and expertise of the local market.  – This often results in charging rental that are above or below market rates. When you are charging too little, you could be making a monthly loss. While when you charge too much, you could find it tough to find tenants.

Many homeowners and investors take the time to look at national data to make their investment decisions. But in terms of real estate for the individual investor, local data is more relevant than at a national level. Focusing on local data ( transactions within the district of your property ) can also help you to identify niches that are hidden from the masses. It is not surprising to find that the rental you are able to essentially charge with stability is very far off from the national average.

2) no respondFailure to positively respond to tenant requests – Well, stop dreaming !!! It is not realistic for a landlord to collect recurring rental without having to do anything. This is because other than the “behind the scene” tasks which you have to routinely complete, you also have to attend to tenant calls which can come at any time of the day. Some stuff could appear insignificant to you, but it could mean an emergency to a tenant. For example, you might have no fear of lizard. But for some people, the sight of a single lizard can cause them a mental breakdown. Solving tenant issues is your responsibility as a landlord.

If you are not a people person with patience, you could be looking at a miserable career as a landlord managing rental property.

negligence3) Negligence.-  Maintenance issues can snowball to much bigger problems when left unattended. Imagine yourself failing to change the engine oil of your precious car for 3 years. Very soon the engine will break down and you are faced with a bigger problem like overhauling of the whole engine that will cost you a bomb.Now , do you feel the pain?

Common maintenance that you should conduct includes touching up the paint, pests control and checking for leaking pipes and seepage, etc. If you had managed to actually rent out run down apartments, there is also a likelihood that tenants who are willing to put up with these shortcomings to negotiate terms and conditions in their favour. And most likely, your tenant would probably return your property in ” not a very good state ” .

4) Failure to collect rental on a timely manner or take legitimate steps to evict non-paying tenants – Cash flow is the life-blood of operating rental property profitably. Late payments not only causes you cash flow problems, but they can cost you interest charges as well. You are not running a charity here. Allowing 1 week of lateness opens the door for tenants to stretch to 2 weeks, then 3 and 4 and so on. Pretty soon you find that you have effectively forfeited a month’s worth of rental. You cannot let tenants get away with this.


According to the terms and agreement in the lease agreement, there are many legitimate reasons that give you the right as a landlord to evict tenants. When your patience has finally run out due to late payment of monthly rental, your best option could be to start the eviction process as soon as possible. The longer you go without payments, the more losses you make.  It is advisable to keep track of everything so that you have documents that legitimize your actions.

Soft bids for Sengkang sites

Two sites in Sengkang put up for sale under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme have received lower-than-expected bids in yet another sign of a softening private residential market.

The 178,723 sq ft Fernvale Road Parcel A received four bids, with CEL Development and Unique Residence jointly putting in the top bid of S$234.9 million, or around S$438.20 per square foot per plot ratio (psfppr), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data showed after the close of tender on Thursday (Aug 7).

The consortium also submitted the highest bid for the 187,441 sq ft Fernvale Road Parcel B of S$252.1 million, or around S$448.35 psf ppr, in the other tender that also closed yesterday, URA data showed.

Both the top bids fell short of the S$450-to-S$500 psf ppr range that analysts had expected for the 99-year leasehold sites when the tenders were launched in June.

Sengkang Site


Even though Parcel B garnered only three offers, the bids were more competitive than those for Parcel A due to its closer proximity to Thanggam LRT Station, analysts said.

“The bids for Parcel B reflect slightly stronger competition among the participants. The highest price is 7.2 per cent higher than the second participant and 14.3 per cent higher than the third one.

The offered prices for Parcel A vary widely, demonstrating differing views by the developers,” said Ms Christine Li, head of research and consultancy at property agency OrangeTee.

The sites each have a plot ratio of 3 and together can yield about 1,100 private homes. Ms Li estimated the breakeven prices for Parcels A and B at S$886 psf and S$898 psf, respectively. This means the selling prices could start from about S$970 to S$990 psf assuming a 10 per cent profit margin, she added.

“The results suggested that for this GLS exercise, the introduced batched tender system did not prevent market players from bidding for both plots at the same time. Nevertheless, the land prices seem to have been reined in,” she said.




New addition to North-South Line: Canberra Station

canberra MRT

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced that a new MRT station, Canberra, will be added to the North-South Line by 2019.

Canberra station will be located between Sembawang and Yishun stations along Canberra Link, and will serve commuters living in nearby estates such as Sembawang Springs, as well as a mix of upcoming public and private residential developments in the neighbourhood.

 Work on the new elevated MRT station is due to commence in mid-2015. This will be the second MRT station in Singapore to be built on an existing rail line, a fact which imposes unique challenges in terms of working hours and work space.

When the new station opens, residents will no longer have to travel via bus to Sembawang or Yishun MRT stations to access trains.

Residents travelling towards the city centre or Jurong East are also expected to enjoy time savings of up to 10 minutes.

Canberra station has been designed with five entrances linking to new housing estates across Canberra Link.

In addition, an elevated link bridge will be built across Canberra Link, allowing commuters to bypass the station’s concourse level to directly access the city-bound train platform. The new station will also feature covered linkways to bus stops, pick-up and drop-off points as well as bicycle parks.


Source – TODAY

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