Getting Ready for URA Masterplan 2013

I‘m surprised. Everyone that I’ve talked to seem to have forgotten that our priceless URA Master Plan is due for a new gazette this year; From the last update it was done in November 2008, and I hope it should be around the same time that this is happening for this year as well.

Singapore’s Master Plan is updated every 5 year, and with each update comes very important updates that determines the land usage of the country. During 2003, a lot of emphasis was on enhancement on plot ratio around the public transportation stations and for our current 2008 revision, the core was strengthened and determined to decentralize and even out the business hubs around the whole region. The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) is the statutory board which is in charge of gazetting this important plan. You can read more about Master Plan 2008 here.

Should the timeline be similar, you would be expecting URA to be having a Draft soon for public comments and gazette to happen towards the end of the year.

What Should We Expect from Master Plan 2013?

All these are based on assumptions of what has happened for the past years after 2008. Ministry of National Development has already penned down a very lovely eBook on their focus with each individual sectors (basically everywhere. Central, North, South, East and West) and the concentration of improving existing mature townships. Concentration was done especially on the commercial nodes in the country so as to have people working closer to where they are living around the island. Continue reading “Getting Ready for URA Masterplan 2013”

CPF Minimum Sum Adjustment from 1st July 2013

Buying a residential property, or even a second one soon? Take note that CPF minimum sum will be revised upwards to $148,000 for period between 1st July 2013 and 30th June 2014. This is a yearly revision which CPF adjusts for inflation. The Minimum Sum was set at $80,000 in 2003 and will be raised gradually until it reaches $120,000 (in 2003 dollars) in 2015.

These amounts will be adjusted yearly for inflation.

CPF Minimum Sum Observation

More details at CPF website.

So what do you need to take note for property purchase should you use CPF?

If this is the first time you are buying a property, you may choose to use the full sum of your Ordinary Account (OA) as part of your sales proceed towards your first residential property. But should you be buying a second and/or third property onward and should you still decide to use your CPF to pay for your property sales proceed, you are to observe the minimum sum requirements. As of this upcoming adjustment, you are to have at least $74,000 in your Special and/or Ordinary Account before you can use the remaining funds to down pay your next residential property.

Would it be okay if I have 50% of the Minimum Sum (ie. $74,000) in Special Account and I would like to utilize the rest of my Ordinary Account for the next property?

Yes, having the funds in Special Account suffices.

Can I use my CPF funds to downpay investment properties such as Commercial or Industrial ones?

No. As of July 2006, CPF Non-Residential Property Scheme has already been phased out. You can only utilize your CPF account for the sole purpose of purchasing Residential properties only.

Hope this helps in your home purchase planning!

Punggol Ecopolitan Executive Condominium Open for Registration

With the recent heatmap and national discussion about executive condominiums, it is hard not to keep an eye on them. Ecopolitan, a Punggol executive condominium is already open for buyers’ registration. To understand whether are you eligible for a executive condominium purchase, check out this comprehensive guide which is prepared by the Housing Development Board (HDB).

About Qing Jian

Qingjian Realty

Qing Jian Group has been in the construction business since 1952 and has huge exposure in mainland China and increasing its footprint in our local Singapore market and is the winning bidder for the latest Government Land Sales executive condominium plot at Woodlands Avenue 5. Not new to our local scene, the developer local accolades include Natura Loft at Bishan, Waterbay, River Isles, Riversound Residences and the fully sold NiN Residence at Potong Pasir.

Its interesting to note that Qing Jian has 5 executive condominium plots which is an achievement recognition on making its presence felt.

Why Ecopolitan

Look how close you are to the amenities around Punggol.
Look how close you are to the amenities around Punggol.

Ecopolitan is located next to Punggol Green Primary School, walking distance to Punggol MRT Station (about 680m) and the Punggol Bus Interchange (690m). As we understand Singapore Government’s emphasis on Punggol 21 plans, we already know some of the features have already been integrated. The lovely promenade is already up and running. You have loads of interesting activity areas especially unique to Punggol. The new executive condominium owners can also enjoy the Waterway Point megamall which is already under construction as its just walking distance away from their new enclave. Location is the key. Continue reading “Punggol Ecopolitan Executive Condominium Open for Registration”

Professional Service Manual Released by CEA for Estate Agents & Salespersons

If anyone at this point still suspects whether licensed Salesperson in Singapore deserves their fees, they should take a full look at CEA newly released professional service manual released on the 26th of April 2013.

The manual covers many duties and responsibilities of a Salesperson in general and have very comprehensive case scenarios on how a Salesperson could be disciplined. Some snippets on the official introduction of PSM:-

The Practice Guidelines on the PSM aims to promote professionalism and ethical service in the real estate agency industry. It sets out the dos and don’ts to guide real estate salespersons in their work, and the professional practices expected of them. When the PSM is adopted by the industry, consumers will benefit as salespersons are expected to serve their clients in the latter’s interest.

A Work Group, led by CEA, was formed in November 2011 to develop the PSM. The Work Group comprised representatives from the industry associations – The Institute of Estate Agents, Singapore (IEA), the Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies (SAEA) and the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV), estate agencies, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and relevant government agencies such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Housing & Development Board (HDB). The Work roup completed an initial draft of the PSM in September 2012. Further consultations with a wider group of industry stakeholders were carried out subsequently to finalise the PSM.

The practice guidelines in the manual will officially take effect on 1st of January 2014 and is going to be read with reference to the Estate Agents Act.

This is a great piece of work done by CEA as they show that they understood more of our line of business as compared to when they form up 2 years ago. I strongly recommend the public to go through this manual to understand the heavy responsibilities coming from a professional licensed Realtor in Singapore.

[block type=”download”]You can read the Professional Service Manual Practice Guidelines 1/2013 by CEA here.[/block]

UOL Tops Sengkang West Way Government Land Sales Bid

UOL top the bid of the HDB Government Land Sales two days ago amongst 7 other bidders to the plot at $262.1m (about $488.84 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr))

Just right by Punggol Reservoir, this is probably the drawing point for UOL’s new nature enclave residential project in the vicinity.

District 28 seems to have quite a fair bit of sales activity, especially pertaining to first time buyers. H2O Residences (a CDL project) has recently sold over 90% of their units and have also revised their pricing after the winning land bid.

[block type=”download”]View the winning bid details from HDB here[/block]

New Housing Developer Bill Amendments Proposed

As with the recent strong primary sale driven by first time buyers, the Parliament has further re-enhanced and looked at more ways to enforce stricter regimen to the existing Housing Development Act. The last time this was visited was just in February this year. Key notes of changes include:-

Stricter Showroom Construction

Building to scale has already been enforced as to the amendment before, but the bill will require developers to even have all the structural walls to be erected as oppose to having any forms of substitutions (ie, glass or thinner partition) that could mislead buyers.

Ceiling height of the show flat is to be he the same as that approved in the building plan. This bill introduced will empower the Comptroller of Housing to investigate and penalise instances of non-compliance.

Sales Transactions

Developers are now all required to disclose and publish all rebates, discounts and other benefits offered or extended to home-buyers. This also includes any form of reimbursement of any stamp duty or tax granted to home-buyers.

As with disclosures, this would be affecting buyers in terms of their loan applications as well since any rebates or benefits should be factored into the valuation of the sale property.

Comptroller of Housing is also given legal power to collect and publish information on building projects, unit sold and made available for sale by developers. Data collected would be published frequently to aid home-buyer in decision making.

Stricter Enforcements on Developers

Comptroller of Housing has enhancements on their power as well on grounds which they can revoke or suspend a licence.

With all these bill amendments happening, this should reassure home buyers on the transparency of the market. It should at the same time pose some difficulties to some developers as their sales model might have to change.

[block type=”download”]You can read the full speech by Mr. Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of National Development here.[/block]

Singapore Property Loan Tenure Caps at 35 Years

Amidst the heating Singapore market, MAS has released an immediate press release which will take immediate effect from tomorrow,

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will restrict the tenure of loans granted by financial institutions for the purchase of residential properties. MAS’ move is part of the Government’s broader aim of avoiding a price bubble and fostering long term stability in the property market.

2 The maximum tenure of all new residential property loans will be capped at 35 years. In addition, loans exceeding 30 years tenure will face significantly tighter loan-to-value (LTV) limits. This will apply to both private properties and HDB flats. The new rules will take effect from 6 October 2012.

[block type=”download”]Read the official press release from MAS here[/block]

These measures are somewhat expected and mirrored what Hong Kong has done after QE3 was announced by the Feds. Traditionally tenures over 30 years are not too popular, and shouldn’t affect the current property prices. This is especially a good move for home buyers whom might overestimate their affordability as well as investors who tend to stretch the loan tenures in case any volatility will to happen in the market.

Square Foot – A New Contender Tool in Singapore Property Analysis

Squarefoot is relatively new and yet it has been buzzing the Realtor’s arena as the new kid on the block which delivers property data putting itself in the ranks of StreetSine which has a more mature Singapore Realtors’ market share. What makes Square Foot tick?

Interesting Data

Shoebox yo?

Under market watch, you would be able to check out the trends on the shoebox units (definition: units less than 500sqft) in the market which is of interest to many property investors as of late on how they are doing, prior and after the TOP status on their annualized gains. You have interesting details such as returned units in the market, where such data is rarely available. This would give a more accurate forecast of the actual units which is being sold in a primary market as depicting whether the units are fully sold out (whether phases of their marketing is really doing well since you can get a good picture of how many units are returned back) Continue reading “Square Foot – A New Contender Tool in Singapore Property Analysis”

What to Expect for Singapore Real Estate after QE3

If you haven’t read about the news about the US Federal Reserves releasing QE3, announced on the 13th of September a week ago, here’s a short summary coming from Wikipedia,

QE3 was announced on September 13, 2012. In an 11-to-1 vote, the Federal Reserve decided to launch a new $40 billion a month, open-ended, bond purchasing program of agency mortgage-backed securities; to continue until at least mid-2015.[62] According to, this is effectively a stimulus program which allows the Federal Reserve to print $40 billion dollars a month for an unlimited amount of time.[63] Ratings firm Egan-Jones said it believes the Fed’s decision “will hurt the U.S. economy and, by extension, credit quality.” As a result the firm once again slashed the U.S. bond rating bringing it down to AA-. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged concerns about inflation.[64]

Read more about Quantitative Easing, Wikipedia

With QE3, the Feds are going to inject another $40 billion (printed of course) to buy back mortgage securities in the States, to allow Americans to have an improved lives by improving the job data and consumerism from the possible enhanced property market. They are guaranteed on the low-interest rate as well till mid of 2015 (I wonder whether Bernanke will still be chairman by then) Continue reading “What to Expect for Singapore Real Estate after QE3”

6 Essential Singapore Realtor Apps For Your iPhone

As Blackberry loses its market share further and failing to roll out its BB OS10 this year, I’ve mawkishly swapped to the latest iPhone 5 since we are promised by Apple that it should have a better standby battery life and talk time (the main disadvantage of the phone since the battery is integrated).

Geared with the iPhone as the main arsenal to my business, here are my must have apps for work which you might find them useful for you as well:-

1. Streetsine

The best tool ever developed to help agents get the earliest possible information on the local property market real-time. Use this and you look like a pro anytime, anywhere :) I’m on the investor subscription since Streetsine was born and I’m still loving it. Benefits of using this app includes

  • real-time update of property prices
  • location & amenities around 2km vicinity
  • comparative projects around search subject
  • useful listings from fellow Realtors using Streetsine

If you do not deal with commercial properties, you can opt for the Professional version (S$659 annually). If you’d like to use two instance of the app in both your iPad and iPhone, go for the Investor version ($959 annually).

Look out for “Streetsine” in the AppStore.

2. Sugarsync


We can start the Dropbox vs. Sugarsync debacle again, but this is what I use. This great cloud storage offers 5gb free and has solutions for all your smart devices (Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone duh). Sugarsync can be useful when Continue reading “6 Essential Singapore Realtor Apps For Your iPhone”