Three in five BTO applicants invited to book flat proceeded to do so

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Three in five BTO applicants who were invited to book a flat in a Built-To-Order (BTO) exercise proceeded to do so

The Minister for National Development responded to a parliamentary question said that three in five BTO applicants who were invited to book a flat in a Built-To-Order (BTO) exercise proceeded to do so.

BTO applicantsThe Minister was responding to a parliamentary question on BTO applicants which asked:

“In determining the number of queue numbers to be issued to BTO flat applicants, what is the multiplier used in relation to the number of BTO flats for sale in the non-mature and mature estates respectively; what has been the take-up rate for these applicants in 2016-2018 as compared to that in 2013-2015; and whether the Ministry will review the BTO application process to allow those who have been given a queue number to drop out sooner so as to expedite the flat selection process.”

In responding to the question on BTO applicants, the Minister said:

“For all flats offered in BTO exercises, HDB shortlists applicants up to 300% of the flat supply.

In both 2013-2015 and 2016-2018, about three in five applicants who were invited to book a flat in a BTO exercise proceeded to do so.

Shortlisted flat applicants are invited to book a flat in sequence of their balloted queue positions. They may request HDB to cancel their applications at any time. Generally, applicants are more likely to drop out nearer their flat booking appointment, or during the appointment itself, when their preferred flats are no longer available. At that point, it would be too late to advance the appointments of subsequent applicants as we will not be able to give them sufficient notice.

Shortlisted flat applicants may continue to apply for a flat in another sales exercise as long as they have yet to book a flat. This ensures that they will not miss out on applying for a flat in another sales launch, if there are flats they are interested in, even while waiting for their booking appointment from an earlier sales exercise.”

In another parliamentary answer, the Minister said that first-timer BTO flat applicants will not get additional ballot chances confirmed the Minister for National Development in Parliament on Nov 4. He was responding to an MP who asked:

“How effective has the current grant of an additional ballot chance for each failed attempt by a first-timer in securing a BTO flat been; and whether HDB will review and consider alternatives such as the improvement of chances by multiples of 20% for each attempt so that the applicants will have almost guaranteed success after more than three attempts.”

In responding to the question, the Minister said that first-timer BTO applicants are given two ballot chances when HDB shortlists flat applicants to book a flat. first-timer BTO flat applicants who have been unsuccessful in two attempts for BTO flats in the non-mature estates will be given an additional ballot chance at their subsequent application for a BTO flat in the non-mature estates.

The Minister assured that as a result, in recent years, virtually all first-timer BTO applicants have been successful within their first three tries for a BTO flat in the non-mature estates.

The Minister said that his ministry will continue to review and update its policies where necessary to ensure that new HDB flats remain accessible to all first-timer BTO flat applicants.

First-timer BTO flat applicants can look out for this month’s BTO launch provides a number of options for Singaporean homeowners in estates like Tengah, Ang Mo Kio and Tampines. Check out what we think of each of these BTO launches in November 2019 BTO.

First-timer BTO flat applicants should check out our home loan comparison tool here to find the best home loan deal in town.

For Singaporeans, the first home is usually a HDB flat as it is heavily subsidized and offer good returns when it is on the resale market after 5 years. If you are aiming to buy a private property in singapore and would like to understand more, you will probably need to do more research.

Otherwise, here are some things to note when buying a new flat:

Schemes to ease cash flow woes of elderly

Check if you are eligible for the Deferred Down-payment Scheme (DDS), where flat owners aged 55 years and above who right-size to a 2-room flexi or 3-room uncompleted flat may defer the down payment on their new flat until key collection according to HDB. This will ease cash flow issues for the elderly who do not have to worry about making the down-payment for the flat upfront.

Another scheme is the Temporary Loan Scheme (TLS) where flat buyers who are waiting for proceeds from the sale of their flat and do not take a home loan for their new flat can take up this loan.

Non-mature towns offer higher chance of success and lower pricing

If you need a flat urgently, go for non-mature towns as you would have a higher chance of success as the number of units offered is higher and you may also be eligible for a grant such as the Special Housing Grant.

The SBF flats are located across 11 non-mature towns and 14 mature towns/estates while BTO flats are located in non-mature estates of Woodlands and Yishun and mature estates of Bidadari (Toa Payoh) and Geylang.

Prices of flats in non-mature towns are also generally priced lower. For instance, the selling price (excluding grant) of a 3-room BTO flat in a non mature town starts from $145,000 and from $328,000 for that in a mature town.

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New regional aggregator site launched by List SIR to cater to new demands

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Author: Ravi Philemon

New regional aggregator site launched by List Sotheby’s International Realty (List SIR) to cater to demands of new consumers

The number of people using the internet has been growing over the years. In today’s increasingly connected world, businesses are rapidly changing to meet the demands to the new consumer.

Spurred by an ever-changing digital landscape and new consumption patterns, List Sotheby’s International Realty (List SIR) has launched a new regional aggregator site – www.lsirglobal.com would bring hundreds of property listings from across six countries and territories under one roof.

new regional aggregator siteAs part of the company’s on-going strategy to develop new digital marketing platforms and property technology (or Prop Tech) tools, List SIR has developed an entire ecosystem to see through the entire customer journey in real estate. The fully integrated new regional aggregator site utilises digital technology to create, replicate and deliver content across multiple platforms.

The new regional aggregator site includes a central property listing system named Global Listing Aggregation Management or GLAM system, which encompasses an end-to-end journey of a property listing and vastly improved the efficiency of the company.

In addition, the system enables List SIR to do data analysis to better understand the consumers through various user touch points, thereby increasing interaction, engagement and conversion rates. In later phases, the system will be able to make personalised recommendations based on its learnings.

Digital marketing has always been a key differentiator of List SIR. The Singapore office, for instance, has won a 5 Star award in the Best Real Estate Agency Website category at the prestigious Asia Pacific Property Awards 2019-2020 for its website www.listsothebysrealty.sg.

Recognising that Asia has seen the biggest increase in ultra-high-net worth individuals, List SIR sees the new regional aggregator site as a gateway to investors looking for opportunities in the region. The user can find properties in all the cities that List SIR has presence in, ultimately drawing a connection to the dream home through the story of each property.

The design and placements of web elements are incorporated thoughtfully in the new regional aggregator site to improve user experiences. Besides enjoying the convenience of finding properties from the various cities, users can also use the search function of the website to make their quest for their dream home more efficient. Visitors can do searches via cities, types of real estate such as landed properties and luxury apartments as well as price range.

Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage officer at iCompareLoan, said, “the real estate industry is rapidly changing, and customers expect better experiences and turn-around-time when they purchase a property. This  new regional aggregator site by List SIR is a drive towards innovation for the benefit of customers.”

In keeping up with proptech revolution that is exploding everywhere, property agents “must upgrade or die”, said Mr Ho. He noted that many property agencies struggle to keep up with all the regulatory changes in the industry, as well as the changing financial calculations for acquiring a property. He urged property agents to master the basics in property financing, refinancing, taxation and CPF.

Mr Ho said that iCompareLoan.com runs a full 2 – 3 days course on how property agents can produce such reports for their customers. He added that the trademarked course teaches Property Agents how to generate complicated Financial calculations using –  Home Loan Report (TM) – in 3 mins flat. This helps Property agents to close deals faster and serve customers more professionally.

Proptech is technology and real estate coming together to propel the real estate industry forward. The proptech ecosystem is flourishing now in many parts of the world, thanks in large part to ample venture capital, community efforts in local tech hubs, and an increasing realisation that there is a real need for innovation in the sector.

Proptech will have an impact on traditional business operating models. Whether this impact turns out to be positive or negative depends largely on how real estate players will use them to their advantage. These technologies are however still a long way away from replacing human judgment, touch, and ability to react to dynamic changes, which are all critical to the decision-making process.

A recent research report by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) said, “proptech will be used to drive tenant experience. A smart building can drive operational performance but it can also enhance human experience. Without tenants, a building as an asset will perform poorly, regardless of how operationally efficient it may be, or the amount of capital growth targeted. This change is already being recognised, with tenant experience a top-three driver. As operational efficiency increasingly comes under control, we expect the next wave of proptech to focus on satisfying the future needs of the occupier, wherever and however they choose to work.”

C&W added that the overarching opportunity in proptech adoption is to generate data-driven reporting more quickly, which in turn will facilitate more insightful decision making. Doing this will link the building to the corporate occupier and ultimately to the asset’s financial performance in a clearer, more systematic way.

“Surprisingly, respondents told us there is comparatively little concern around security, privacy or the complexity of the task at hand. Undoubtedly data encryption and storage have become increasingly secure, though data breaches remain a regular part of the media cycle.

“Lesser concerns on security risk may result from the perceived lack of value in the data to potential hackers. However, we argue the focus should be on securing access to a building’s management system rather than the actual data it logs.”

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Internet Data Center project partnership forged between Gaw Capital Partners and Centrin Data

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners announced today that a fund under its management has formed a joint-venture partnership with Centrin Data, an Internet Data Center (IDC) developer and operator, to acquire, develop and operate a portfolio of hyper-scale Internet Data Center projects in China.

Gaw Capital will provide expertise in investment underwriting and transaction structuring, project development and management, project financing, corporate governance and capital markets to support future operations, while Centrin Data will focus on site sourcing, Internet Data Center design, leasing, operation and financing of the data center, as well as customer service for clients, including government entities, conglomerates and internet companies.

Humbert Pang, Managing Principal and Head of China for Gaw Capital Partners, said, “Gaw Capital Partners is extremely pleased to form a JV partnership with Centrin Data, one of the first and most successful data center operators in China. We strive to build a robust data center platform that services the needs of businesses and the wider public, combining Centrin’s reputation and experience in the sector with Gaw Capital’s expertise in real estate investing in China.”

“We are delighted to be investing in this exceptional investment opportunity, given that China’s total internet traffic growth rate is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years due to the launch of 5G. The launch of the new data center fund reflects our confidence in data center assets in China. High barriers to entry and demand-supply imbalance makes IDCs near tier-1 cities a very scarce asset. In China, there is an abundant supply of data centers in relatively remote areas, but most of the demand comes from tier-1 and tier-2 cities along China’s eastern coastal line. Geographical demand and supply imbalance make IDCs near tier-1 cities a valuable asset with stable rental income.”

The first seed project is the Huaqiao Project located in Kunshan, Jiangsu, which is in close proximity to Shanghai – 40km away from Shanghai city center.

Internet Data Center

The data centre in Huaqiao (Image credit: Gaw Capital Partners)

This Internet Data Center project is directly linked to Shanghai’s ‘National Level’ internet exchange point, which enables superior network connectivity with low latency time.

The project consists of two phases with a GFA of 300,000 sqm in total. Phase I is currently occupied by a top-tier internet company with 6,400 data center racks available. In Phase II, no less than 25,600 racks will be offered to the potential customers upon its completion in the early 2020s.

Centrin Data is an industry-leading Internet Data Center infrastructure provider of integrated IT services, with over 14 years of experience in China’s internet and data services sector. It has established a long-term strategic relationship with relevant government authorities, suppliers and clients, and has strong capabilities in terms of securing the most valuable resources and electricity for IDC development and operation.

Currently, Centrin Data has four Internet Data Center projects under management in Beijing; Huaqiao, Jiangsu Province; Wuhan, Hubei Province; and Yantai, Shandong Province, which collectively host more than 20,000 operational data center racks with a further 55,000 racks under construction in the pipeline. Most of the existing data centers are leased to government services, as well as companies in the TMT, banking and insurance sectors.

Gaw Capital is raising an “IDC Fund”, which will target investment opportunities in China’s Internet Data Center assets. The launch of this new fund reflects increasing investor demand for data center assets in China, thanks to technological advancements in 5G communications, 4K transmission, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence. There is an ever-growing amount of data traffic that is driving demand for data centers to consolidate servers, store data and manage network support.

Christina Gaw, Managing Principal and Head of Capital Markets for Gaw Capital Partners, said, “We see significant opportunities in the IDC sector, which is fast becoming a major theme in China as the country deepens its embrace of advanced technology. We sincerely thank our investors for the support and confidence they have given us to growing this platform.”

Gaw Capital has over 13 years of experience investing in and turning around commercial properties in Greater China, including Hong Kong. The firm successfully transformed and repositioned properties such as Sky Bridge HQ, a mixed-use project located in the heart of Linkong Economic Park, Ocean Towers, a 25-storey Grade A office building strategically located in People’s Square and four premium Grade A office buildings (Block A, B, C, & D) at Shanghai MixC, 1799 Wuzhong Road in Shanghai.

In recent years, the firm also purchased 29 local Hong Kong shopping malls from Link REIT, which it intends to reposition and revitalize into attractive hubs of community life. Gaw Capital has also successfully developed a sizable logistic platform, medical-asset backed platform, mini-storage platform, premium outlet malls and education-related platform in recent years to help support the growth and management of these assets.

Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage consultant at iCompareLoan, said: “the joint venture agreement for the internet data centre makes good business sense.  As Centrin Data has over 14 years of experience in China’s internet and data services sector, the risks of investment are also lower.”

A recent research by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) said that North America is the largest co-location data centre by market size at US$17.2 billion currently but the Asia Pacific region is expected to take over the top position by as early as 2021. The total market size for Asia Pacific co-location data centres is forecast to be around US$28 billion by 2024, 20 per cent higher than the US$23.4 billion market size of North America.

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SPH REIT to acquire 50% stake interest in Adelaide shopping centre

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Author: Ravi Philemon

SPH REIT Management Pte Ltd said that in its capacity as the manager of SPH REIT, it is pleased to announce that Marion Sub Trust (which is wholly owned by SPH REIT) has today entered into a Sale of Land Contract with an unrelated third party, Lendlease Real Estate Investments Limited to acquire a direct 50.0% interest in the Westfield Marion Shopping Centre for a purchase consideration of A$670.0 million (approximately S$636.5 million).

The Acquisition is expected to be completed by end 2019. Moelis Australia Funds Management Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Moelis Australia Limited (“Moelis Australia”), has been appointed as investment manager for the Marion Sub Trust.

Scentre Group Limited (“Scentre Group”) is the current co-owner of Westfield Marion and will be SPH REIT’s joint venture partner post completion of the acquisition. Scentre Group is the largest Australian Retail REIT, owning and operating Westfield in Australia and New Zealand with interests in 41 Living Centres, encompassing approximately 11,500 outlets and total assets under management of A$54.6 billion.

Westfield Marion is the largest and the only super regional shopping centre in South Australia, with approximately 1.5 million sq ft of Gross Lettable Area (“GLA”). The freehold property which sits on a land parcel of approximately 2.5 million sq ft, is strategically located approximately 10.0 kilometres south west of Adelaide’s Central Business District “CBD”).

With its large offerings and well segmented precincts of entertainment, fresh food, and dining, Westfield Marion is able to attract a footfall of 13.5 million annual visitors. Westfield Marion boasts a healthy occupancy of 99.3% (by GLA) and a well-distributed Weighted Average Lease Expiry (“WALE”) of 6.7 years (by GLA) and 4.2 years (by income), supported by a high quality tenant base including leading national retailers like David Jones, Myer, Harris Scarfe, Target, Kmart, Big W, Bunnings Warehouse, Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Events.

Westfield Marion is located in a highly accessible location which is bound by three major thoroughfares and arterial roads in Diagonal Road, Sturt Road and Morphett Road, extending greater access to shoppers beyond its usual catchment. Westfield Marion is also located next to the Oaklands Train Station, connecting it with Adelaide’s CBD and the southern coastline via multiple train lines.

Acquisition in line with the strategy of SPH REIT

“We are very pleased to welcome SPH REIT as our joint venture partner at Westfield Marion,” said Scentre Group Chief Executive Officer Peter Allen. “Westfield Marion is the market leading Living Centre in South Australia with long-term development potential. With the confirmation of SPH REIT as our JV partner, we look forward to progressing plans for the next stage of the centre’s development.”

The Acquisition is in line with SPH REIT’s strategy of acquiring retail properties in Asia Pacific that complement its existing portfolio of quality assets. It will provide unit holders of SPH REIT with regular and stable distributions, sustainable long-term growth in distributable income and distribution per unit, while maintaining an appropriate capital structure.

SPH REIT

Image credit: Westfield Marion FB

Ms Susan Leng Mee Yin, Chief Executive Officer of SPH REIT Management Ltd., as manager of SPH REIT, said, “The Acquisition deepens SPH REIT’s presence in the Australian market and follows on from our first asset acquisition of Figtree Grove Shopping Centre in December 2018. The Acquisition will enhance the sustainability and resilience of SPH REIT’s returns to unitholders through the increased geographic diversity, larger freehold land tenure, and longer underlying leases with embedded rental growth potential.

This transaction and our co-ownership with Scentre Group marks another significant milestone in expanding our presence in a country and sector with growth prospects. We are pleased with this opportunity to partner Scentre Group, the premier developer and operator of Westfield Shopping Centres in Australia, as well as to strengthen our existing relationship with Moelis Australia.”

SPH Reit’s sponsor, Singapore Press Holdings, publishes several mainstream newspapers in Singapore including The Straits Times and Business Times.

A recent report by OCBC said that as its media business in FY19 was a drag on results, and with a weak macro backdrop likely to continue to weigh on its advertisement revenue moving forward, it is relying more on property for income diversification.

The report noted that SPH has made some strides in media business with its digital push and income diversification strategy, as shown by its latest acquisition of UK student accommodation assets, but its Singapore residential property exposure in Bidadari still remains a source of potential headwind.

In its investment summary OCBC said:

Under expectations – SPH’s FY19 results came in below our expectations. The group’s operating revenue was down 2.4% YoY to S$959.3m, bolstered by revenue contribution from its Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) portfolio, SPH REIT’s Figtree Grove and Rail Mall, which helped to offset declines in its media revenue.

The group’s newspaper ad revenue YoY decline has increased from 12.4% in FY18 to 13.9% in FY19, owing to notable weakness in the Classified segment. PATMI was down 23.4% YoY to S$213.2m, due largely to the lack of investment income, following the previous divestment of the group’s Treasury & Investment portfolio. Adjusting for exceptional and one-off items, core PATMI came in at S$155.2m, comprising 96.5% of our full-year forecast. The group has declared a final and special DPS of 5.5 S-cents and 1S-cents, bringing the full-year DPS to 12 S-cents.

Relying on property moving forward – SPH has also announced that it will be looking to streamline its media sales capabilities, with around 5% reduction in staff numbers across the Media Group. We expect modest net cost savings in FY20, given that the group will be incurring ~S$8m in retrenchment cost in 1QFY20. Moving forward, we believe the group will continue to be on the lookout for more PBSA assets, building on its portfolio AUM of more than S$600m though we note that cap rates for such assets in the UK have been compressing.

The group has also partnered a Japanese asset manager to set up a fund focusing on aged care and healthcare assets in Japan; SPH will be contributing up to S$50m in seed equity. Separately, we note that Woodleigh Residences is 20% sold as at 31 Aug, with an ASP of ~S$1.9k psf. In our view, the group’s media business outlook remains challenging, and we believe it is still too early to call the bottom on this segment. We roll forward our valuations and reduce our FV slightly from S$2.29 to S$2.28.”

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3 common lies property agents tell you

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https://i0.wp.com/www.propertysoul.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-heading.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Author: Property Soul

Last month, a PropNex agent was fined S$30,000 and suspended for 12 months by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) for being unprofessional and unethical in a property transaction (The Straits Times, Oct 21). The agent in question was found to be telling lies and faking offers and counter-offers in order to pocket a higher… [read more]

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Riverside Piazza to be put up for collective sale at $198 million

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Author: Ravi Philemon

The purchase of Riverside Piazza will be a rare opportunity to create a signature hotel near vibrant entertainment and lifestyle hub, Clarke Quay as well as the Chinatown heritage district

Colliers International on Nov 4 announced that The Riverside Piazza at 11 Keng Cheow Street near Clarke Quay will be put up for collective sale via tender for $198 million on 5 November 2019.

The $198 million reserve price works out to a land rate of $2,602 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), inclusive of the estimated differential premium to convert to hotel use at the existing balance land tenure of approximately 72 years. The site in prime District 1 – which spans 2,940.4 square metres (approximately 31,650 square feet) in size – has a leasehold tenure of 99 years with effect from 2 October 1992.

According to the Master Plan 2014, the site is zoned Commercial and Residential with a plot ratio of 2.8. The site has a maximum Gross Floor Area of 8,260 sq m (approximately 88,910 sq ft). Following the submission of an outline application, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said it is supportive of alternative development options for the site, including hotel development.

Strategically located on the fringe of the central business district (CBD) and a stone’s throw from the vibrant Clarke Quay entertainment hub and the heritage district of Chinatown, the site is well-suited to be redeveloped into a signature hotel property, amid the bright outlook for the tourism sector in Singapore and the region.

Tang Wei Leng, Managing Director at Colliers International, said, “Prime development sites do not come up very often, especially near the Singapore River which has played an important role as a lifeline for generations of people in the country’s storied past. This site presents a unique opportunity to create a contemporary riverfront hotel in an area thriving with activity, buzzing nightlife, and rich history. We believe the excellent site attributes should appeal to developers who are looking to tap growing opportunities in the hospitality real estate sector.”

The site is situated in an amenity-rich area with a wide range of retail, recreation and relaxation options. These amenities include the Fort Canning Country Club, Fort Canning Park, Clarke Quay, Clarke Quay Central, Liang Court, Havelock II, and Chinatown Point. It is also a 9-minute drive to the famed Orchard Road Shopping Belt, Singapore’s premier shopping street that boasts luxury retail brands and world-renowned international cuisines.

The Riverside Piazza sits on a regular-shaped plot with prominent dual frontage along Merchant Road and Keng Cheow Street. It is well-served by public transport being near three MRT stations: Clarke Quay station on the North East Line (NEL); Fort Canning station on the Downtown Line (DTL); as well as Chinatown interchange station which connects the NEL and DTL. The site also enjoys easy access to the CBD and other parts of Singapore via major roads and the Central Expressway.

Most importantly, the areas surrounding the site are being revitalised, starting with the nearby State Court Towers which is set to open in 2020. When completed, the State Court Towers will be the tallest government building in Singapore and will reportedly provide spaces for law firms, tech companies, academics, and students. This is expected to inject more buzz as businesses and the legal fraternity converge on the area.

Being in close proximity to the lively Clarke Quay, the new State Court Towers, and the busy CBD, The Riverside Piazza has the potential to become a nexus of activity, which will further energise the commercial and community life in the city.

Meanwhile, the Singapore River area has been earmarked for further rejuvenation by the URA, with enhancements including better pedestrian connectivity. In particular, The Riverside Piazza site looks set to benefit from an initiative – unveiled in the Draft Master Plan 2019 – to link Pearl’s Hill City Park to Fort Canning Park via a park connector. This will likely increase pedestrian traffic and further enliven the location, creating a placemaking opportunity for the area around the Singapore River.

Currently, The Riverside Piazza comprises 40 apartments and 24 commercial shops, with sizes ranging from 58 sq m to 333 sq m (approximately 624 sq ft to 3,584 sq ft). Depending on the size of their property, each owner could stand to receive between $2.23 million and $9.47 million from the successful sale of the development.

Wendy Tan Siew Cheng, Chairman of The Riverside Piazza Collective Sale Committee, said, “This is our first attempt at collective sale and we are hopeful of garnering a positive response for the tender owing to the site’s attractive location near the Singapore River, Chinatown, and the CBD. We believe the redevelopment of The Riverside Piazza could help to further transform the area, alongside ongoing placemaking efforts to revamp riverfront offerings.”

The collective sale tender for The Riverside Piazza will close at 3pm on 19 December 2019.

The vibrant en bloc sale market was checked with the introduction of the property cooling measures introduced by the Government in July last year. The Government said the property cooling measures were necessary to check sharp increase in prices, which could run ahead of economic fundamentals and raise the risk of a destabilising correction later, especially with rising interest rates and the strong pipeline of housing supply.

Some observers said that the en bloc sales market will be dampened by the cooling measures. As developers become wary of end-demand and are hurt by the 5 per cent non-remittable Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) on land purchase, it is expected to have an impact on their offer prices.

Before the introduction of the property cooling measures, overall private property prices rose across most market segments, with the largest price surge seen in the Core Central Region (5.5%) and Outside of Central Region (5.6%).

As developers’ existing stock continues to diminish and supply of completed homes remain low, many projects especially those in the CCR have raised prices of their unsold units, some by even double-digits this year. Private residential market continued to gain traction with individual re-sellers have also seized the opportunity of increasing their asking prices in light of the more positive market sentiment fueled by the recent collective sales frenzy.

The higher launch prices at some new projects have however slowed the buying momentum in the primary market and sales volume has dipped considerably quarter-on-quarter. While overall sales had slipped quarter-on-quarter, it rose marginally on a year-on-year basis.

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Home buying process can be much simpler with mortgage broker’s help

Click on Home buying process can be much simpler with mortgage broker’s help
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Author: Ravi Philemon

The house buying process need not be a tedious and time consuming activity if you have the help of a trusted mortgage broker

By: Phoenix Lee/

1. MORTGAGE BROKER TEACH YOU HOW TO BUY

The husee buying process – from application, liaising with lawyers, compiling the documentation, and finally disbursement – can be a tedious, time consuming process.

Good mortgage brokers guide you through this process and teach you how to buy so that you don’t stress yourself out.

2. THEY ARE NOT TIED TO PARTICULAR LENDERS AND PRODUCTS

In Singapore, where we have a good number of local and foreign financial institutions, the choice of a lender and its packages can be mind boggling. In your house buying process, imagine having to compare over hundreds of different loan packages and wondering which is best for you. Even if you are a specialist in finance, it is not so straight forward as there are quite a few variables.

Most of the time, your property agent would also refer a contact at a bank to you. The point is, does the property agent know which bank package is good for you? Do they know how to calculate your loan affordability and interest costs? Do the property agents have the supporting home loan reports to assist you to find the right home loan packages and layout the facts for you?

This is where the mortgage broker comes in. Without any partiality, the mortgage broker can compare a range of products and lenders. This will help you save time and money, avoid confusion, and improve your chances of getting approved, as well.

house buying process

A quick view of how a mortgage broker can help you save money.

3. SERVICES ARE USUALLY FREE

You heard right – the services of the mortgage brokers are usually free. That is, unless you have a complex situation or if you are only borrowing a small amount.

In case you are wondering why it is free to the borrower, it is because the lenders will pay the mortgage broker a distribution fee upon successful disbursement of loan.

iCompareloan also has tools such as the home loan comparison system, which compiles all the available loans that meet your search query, when you input the loan quantum, duration, housing type and whether the property is  completed or under construction.

A simple property buyer home loan report can help you a lot in the house buying process.

4. YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM THEIR EXPERIENCE

Mortgage brokers usually have many years of experience in the credit and finance industry.  This means they know how to get your application approved and how to get you the best home loan which fits your situation.

5. THEY CAN SPEED UP YOUR APPLICATION

Good mortgage brokers usually have very good relationships with lenders. This is good news for those who need their loans approved and disbursed with as little delay as possible, so that they can enjoy their new homes sooner. In most cases, the application turnaround time can be 2 – 3 days faster than going directly to the bank.

6. HOUSE BUYING PROCESS IS COMPLEX – GOOD MORTGAGE BROKERS MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU

A good mortgage broker will keep you updated on each stage of your home loan application until the loan is disbursed. They will liaise with the different parties like property agents, conveyancers and valuers, to make the process seamless and stress-free.

7. THEY SPECIALISE IN DIFFERENT TYPES OF LOANS

Borrowers with complex needs often get dismissed as ‘bad borrowers’. That’s because most banks do not have the skills to handle complex or the special requirements of the home buyers. A good mortgage broker, however, understands.

From property investing, to construction loans, to commercial properties, to bad credit loans, to unusual employment situation, to non-resident loans and non-traditional properties, there are many different types of loans. It actually makes good sense for someone who is looking to invest or someone with complex needs and goals, to use the services of a mortgage broker.

Engaging mortgage brokers is an excellent option especially  if you don’t know much about the best home loans or the house buying process.

8. THEY CAN HELP YOU MAKE YOUR MORTGAGE WORK FOR YOU

The best home loans often come with different features which fit your unique financial needs. And from home loan with a redraw facility to interest-offset mortgage accounts, there are many different types of home loans with varying features which can help you better manage your mortgage over the long term. A good mortgage broker would be able to analyse your unique situation and recommend which home loan features are best for you.

In summary, engaging a mortgage broker can help you save time and money and ease the house buying process of shopping for a home loan.

Besides using a mortgage broker, you should also use a mortgage calculator to estimate the payment on a new mortgage, but it can be used for other purposes, too. Here are some alternative uses for a mortgage calculator.

For starters, you can read up more to have some basic understanding about house buying process or about how a mortgage broker can help you. You may also want to find out about housing refinancing in Singapore. 

There is also a significant difference between a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage. The former allows a borrower to “lock in” a permanent rate, whereas the interest rate on the latter could go up in the future. Always remember to check with your current lender about repricing — your existing relationship could allow you to realize big savings in terms of both time and money. You should find out more about the differences between fixed and floating rates.

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Hidden loan costs – 10 tips to avoid paying more for your business loans

Click on Hidden loan costs – 10 tips to avoid paying more for your business loans
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Author: Ravi Philemon

You may not be able to avoid hidden loan costs if you don’t read the fine print

By: Phoenix Lee/

Let’s face it: getting approved for a business loan is exciting. But in your excitement, don’t forget to read the fine print.

Many lenders have hidden loan costs, including annual fees, bank charges, closing costs, commissions, and balloon payments. So stay focused and clear-minded during the loan process.

Here are some tips on avoiding hidden loan costs that can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, over the life of your loan.

hidden loan costs1. Do your homework. You’ve probably spent substantial time researching the viability of your business concept; likewise, employ the same careful consideration when looking for a loan. Consult with an independent loan specialists to check for complaints against a particular lender, and ask for recommendations and referrals to reputable lenders from family, friends and colleagues.

2. Ask lots of questions. Borrowing money for your business is a serious decision. Ask as many questions as you need to, to feel comfortable with the loan terms and conditions. Make sure you understand your annual percentage rate, the amount of your monthly payments, and how long you will pay them.

3. Have a lawyer or other expert review your loan documents. This is especially important if you are inexperienced in the loan process. If a lender attempts to talk you out of having someone look over the documents, proceed with extreme caution.

4. Take your time if you want to avoid hidden loan costs. Don’t rush into a loan agreement with the first lender who approves you. Shop around and compare interest rates and costs, just as you would with any other important shopping decision.

5. Read every word in the loan agreement before you sign. During the loan process, consider every piece of paper you sign as a binding contract. Never sign anything that you haven’t read in its entirety and do not, under any circumstances, sign a blank document or a document with empty lines that could be filled in later.

6. Avoid loans with balloon payments. While they may seem reasonable now, loans with balloon payments may come back to haunt you later. Balloon payments may be acceptable in very limited circumstances, but they are usually bad news for small businesses.

7. To avoid hidden loan costs, always choose a loan with positive amortization. If you choose a non-amortizing loan, you will find your loan balance getting bigger each month instead of smaller.

8. Beware of high prepayment penalties. If all goes according to plan, your business will soon be flourishing, and you may have the funds to pay down your loan more quickly. But if your loan agreement contains a prepayment penalty clause, you may end up paying significantly more than the original loan amount. Some lenders will include prepayment penalties to prevent you from refinancing a high-interest loan.

9. Know your complete financial picture and credit score. Before you fill out a loan application, gather your personal financial statements and credit reports from credit reporting agencies. Once you have a solid understanding of your credit risk, you stand a better chance of getting the best interest rate and not becoming prey to abusive lenders who may try to steer you toward a higher-cost loan.

10. Refinance with care. Before you refinance to a lower interest rate, find out exactly what fees and other charges will be assessed. Some unscrupulous lenders offer deceptively low initial rates and hit you with big fees after you sign the loan agreement.

Financial institutions will carefully assess the risk of dealing with you before suggesting refinancing solutions. Before you venture out and choose your lender for refinancing solutions, be sure you clearly understand their expectations.

Any financial institution will want to verify that your company is well managed. Being profitable is one thing, but ensuring that you have the team in place to sustain growth is another. Start by demonstrating that your team members are competent and well-qualified to do the job. Before seeking business refinancing solutions, it would help to prove your successful track record by communicating past achievements and the soundness of your plans.

Before applying for refinancing solutions, you will need to gather key information and required business documents to support your application. The requirements will vary greatly depending on the type and amount of credit, from basic information for a credit card to full financials for a major term loan.

It is important for the business owners to have a clear understanding of their financial situation and objectives – keeping them in mind in order to acquire the best refinancing loan for them. Business owners with good credit can get special deals on their closing costs from various lenders. In these cases, getting the best refinancing loan may make sense as it helps them to achieve lower interest rates.

Achieving better credit scores is another great reason to get the best refinancing loan. If business owner’s credit score has gotten better because mortgage payments have been made on time, the owner may be able to take advantage of that improved credit by refinancing into a loan with lower interest rates decreased payments.

If the owner has paid off a car, inherited a sum of money, or received a bonus at work, if the owner is planning to own their home into retirement, refinancing down from a 25-year loan to a 20 or a 15 year loan may be a good move financially. The payments will rise, but the extra money can be used to cover the difference.

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Mortgage calculator can help you save substantial money

Click on Mortgage calculator can help you save substantial money
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Author: Ravi Philemon

Most people use a mortgage calculator to estimate the payment on a new mortgage, but it can be used for other purposes, too. Here are some alternative uses for a mortgage calculator.

By: Hitesh Khan/

1. Use a mortgage calculator when you are planning to pay off your mortgage early

By the time a 25-year fixed-rate mortgage is paid off, the typical mortgage holder will have made total interest payments significantly larger than the original principal on the loan. Some mortgage calculators have “Extra payments” functionality which helps you to find out how you can shorten your term and net big savings by paying extra money toward your loan’s principal each month, every year or even just one time.

Some interest rate Sensitivity calculator, for example, helps you to compare the Principal against Yearly Interest Rates and Term of Loan.

mortgage calculator2. Use a mortgage calculator to decide if an ARM is worth the risk

The lower initial interest rate of an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, can be tempting. But while an ARM may be appropriate for some borrowers, others may find that the lower initial interest rate won’t cut their monthly payments as much as they think.

There is also a significant difference between a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage. The former allows a borrower to “lock in” a permanent rate, whereas the interest rate on the latter could go up in the future. Always remember to check with your current lender about repricing — your existing relationship could allow you to realize big savings in terms of both time and money.

Housing Payment Calculator for example, allows you to compare the Loan Amount against Yearly Loan Interest Rate, Term of Loan year(s), Annual Property Tax, and Annual Property Insurance.

Worst home loan: How to Find one

3. Use a mortgage calculator to find out how much Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) you would have to pay

The property curbs introduced by the Government in July last year saw the Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates for Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) purchasing their second and subsequent residential property were raised by 5 per cent for all individuals and 10 per cent for entities. The Loan-To-Value (LTV) limits were also tightened by 5 per cent for all housing loans granted by financial institutions.

Some Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) Calculator for example, shows you how much of this tax you have to pay based on your nationality, currently owned properties and property price.

Remember — All Mortgages Are Not Created Equal

Don’t make the mistake of choosing a mortgage based only on its stated annual percentage rate (APR), because there are a variety of other important variables to consider, such as:

The term of the mortgage — This describes the amount of time it will take you to pay off the loan’s principal and interest. Although short-term mortgages typically offer lower interest rates than long-term mortgages, they usually involve higher monthly payments. On the other hand, they can result in significantly reduced interest costs over time.

The variability of the interest rate — There are two basic types of mortgages: those with “fixed” (i.e., unchanging) interest rates and those with variable rates, which can change after a predetermined amount of time has passed, such as one year or five years. While an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) usually offers a lower introductory rate than a fixed-rate mortgage with a comparable term, the ARM’s rate could jump in the future if interest rates rise. If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, it may make sense to opt for the predictability and security of a fixed rate, whereas an ARM might make sense if you plan to sell before its rate is allowed to go up. Also keep in mind that interest rates have hovered near historical lows in recent years and are more likely to increase than decrease over time.

Mortgage Broker Singapore – Should I use one?

Finally, before making that home loan decision, keep in mind that your current lender may make it easier and cheaper to reprice than another lender who would require you to refinance. That’s because your current lender is likely to have all of your important financial information on hand already, which reduces the time and resources necessary to process your application.

But don’t let that be your only consideration. To make a well-informed, confident decision you’ll need to shop around, crunch the numbers, and ask plenty of questions. And to crunch numbers effectively, you would need to use a mortgage calculator.

If you are you seeking new mortgage loans for your refinancing needs, besides a mortgage calculator, mortgage brokers are your best bet, because they can set you up on a path that can get you a home loan in a quick and seamless manner.

Alternatively you can read more about the Best Home Loans in Singapore before deciding.  Most brokers have close links with the best lenders in town and can help you compare Singapore home loans and settle for a package that best suits your home purchase needs.

Whether you are looking for a new home loan or refinance, mortgage brokers can help you get everything right from calculating mortgage repayment, comparing interest rates all through to securing the loan. And the good thing is that all their services are free of charge. So it’s all worth it to secure a loan through them. Some mortgage brokers can also help you to speak to their trusted panel of property agents.

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Home hunting may become that much easier with loan qualification

Click on Home hunting may become that much easier with loan qualification
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Author: Ravi Philemon

Home loan qualification makes home hunting process that much simpler, especially for first time home buyers.

By: Phoenix Lee/

There’s a lot of talk about home loan qualification by mortgage brokers and real estate agents. There is a difference between loan pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification, which in today’s marketplace is usually done by mortgage brokers, means working with the buyer to determine how much they can afford and which loans are the most likely to be available to them.

Home loan qualification can save a buyer time and money, and can even be a bargaining tool with a seller, however, it is not the same as loan “pre-approval”. The mortgage broker can often get the buyer a pre-qualification letter. Pre-approval means that the lender has definitely committed to lending the buyer money once the house itself is approved. Since it is a much stronger pledge, it is a much more valuable negotiating tool.

Only a lender can give pre-approval, but your mortgage broker may be able to push through pre-approval from underwriters with as little as a phone call. So when you hear someone talking about “pre-approval” make sure that it is lender pre-approval.

Mortgage Myths

Surveys indicate that a large number of potential home buyers count themselves out of the market because of widely-held myths about home financing. Some of the most popular myths include:

  • home buyers need large down payments (more than is actually the case);
  • the loan process works against younger people with insufficient upfront capital to be used for down payment;
  • owning a home is more expensive than renting one; and
  • with the higher Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Loan-To-Value (LTV) checks, the chances of getting a mortgage are almost impossible.

Many qualified home hunting people looking for loan qualification, are were unaware of special programs designed especially to make a home affordable to them.

Several surveys have found that many people view the mortgage process as “difficult, stressful, and incomprehensible.” The home loan industry is always looking for new ways to dispel these myths because lenders want more business, not less. The alternatives to traditional 20% down, thirty-year fixed mortgages is astonishing. Mortgage brokers are experienced in explaining today’s financing and debunking the myths.

For those home hunting, if you have found the perfect home in an area that you like, but are finding the perfect financing has become elusive;  If after you completed the application process, your lender has turned you down, and you are upset; Can anything be done to turn around this setback?

It depends on why home hunters were turned down and why they are not approved for home loan qualification.

Mortgage Broker Singapore – Should I use one?

For those home hunting, if your income is too low to satisfy one mortgage company, there might be another company with more liberal qualifying guidelines. If you have had credit problems, some lenders may be more willing than others to help you clear them up in a manner that satisfies their underwriters.

If your loan runs into problems, sit down with a mortgage broker to investigate the possibility of using a different lender. The first company may be able to “assign” the package to a competitor, enabling you to use your same credit report and appraisal. You will need the cooperation of your sellers, too. While loan rejections are disappointing, they can have happy endings.

home hunting

A quick view of how a mortgage broker can help you save money.

When shopping for home loan qualification, there is no harm in asking lenders or brokers if they can give better terms than the original ones they quoted or than those you have found elsewhere.

A home loan often involves many fees, such as loan origination or underwriting fees, broker fees, and closing costs. Every lender or broker should be able to give you an estimate of its fees. Many of these fees are negotiable. Some fees are paid when you apply for a loan, and others are paid at closing. In some cases, you can borrow the money needed to pay these fees, but doing so will increase your loan amount and total costs.

Mortgage refinance online applications, does it trump in-person submissions?

Once you are satisfied with the terms you have negotiated, you may want to obtain a written lock-in from the lender or broker. The lock-in should include the rate that you have agreed upon, the period the lock-in lasts, and the number of points to be paid. A fee may be charged for locking in the loan rate.

This fee may be refundable at closing. Lock-ins can protect you from rate increases while your loan is being processed; if rates fall, however, you could end up with a less-favorable rate. If that happens, try to negotiate a compromise with the lender or broker.

Everyone home hunting should look for good mortgage brokers because if you are ensure of funds availability for purchase, the mortgage consultants can set you up on a path that can get you a home loan in a quick and seamless manner.

Good mortgage brokers have close links with the best lenders in town and can help you compare Singapore home loans and settle for a package that best suits your home or commercial purchase needs.

Whether you are looking for a new home loan or to refinance your existing one, a mortgage broker can help you get everything right from calculating mortgage repayment, comparing interest rates all through to securing the best home loans in Singapore. And the good thing is that all their services are free of charge.

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