Singapore – My Country, My Home

Note, this is meant to be a Singaporean confession, so as professional as it can be, a lot of Singlish is injected into my musings.

Remember the times when history classes in Secondary School was a chore with a huge thick purple textbook talking about pre-Singapore throughout the Malayan history through World War 2 and finally independence of the country. And I was in shorts then still singing ‘Majulah Singapura’ every morning in the basketball courts of my school every morning. The 50 cents bee hoon with curry sauce from the canteen aunty and the 30 cents grass jelly drink (sorry, but I don’t know how much canteen food costs now lol) always perks up my recess even though the teachers could be relentlessly boring in the class, scaring us with homework and assignments.

How much Singapore has transformed so far since then!

The Transformations, as far as I could remember..

The transport system has came under fire by many since it gets congested very easily these days. I would reckon that the population is really growing but do you remember there were the only two color routes namely the Red and the Green line? Now with so many short cuts that you could take, it starts to become as confusing as when you are in Japan taking their train. Before EZ-link, I remember there was these tickets that could bend like Beckham (silver thin cards, was it red for students? and purple for seniors?). Continue reading “Singapore – My Country, My Home”

Redefining Luxury in Reflections at Keppel Bay

Click to expand the full view

It has been three months since the first key has been distributed to the first owner at Reflections at Keppel Bay. The SRI5000 Reflections Team had the chance to move a number of apartments and checked out the views of what this unique development has to offer. One word to sum up the views of the premium tower units.


Reflections at Keppel truly offers waterfront living in which no other parts of Singapore can offer. You have a great bay view with one of the best yacht club in Asia (Keppel Marina) and a clear unblocked view of the sea, with hint of our neighbor Indonesia right behind. Where else on the main island would you be able to have serene and charming paranomic views of both artificial and natural water scape without major roads in front of you? Absolutely nowhere. Continue reading “Redefining Luxury in Reflections at Keppel Bay”

Singapore Snaps Out of Technical Recession, New Homes Up 9.4% in June.

With Singapore climbs out of technical recession with 20.4 growth percent in Q2 this 2009, the government has also raised its growth forecast for the months to come. With much credits to the government and her people, Singapore is the first Asean country to move out of a technical recession.

Will we continue to fair much better? It seems there’s still much life in our daily lives, trades and walks of live in our own country hasn’t been much affected by claims of the worst recession in years, no doubt we’re in good hands.

Primary New Home Sales Up 9.4% in June

1,825 homes were sold in June, tiding over the figures of May by 9.4%

The fuel mostly came from 8@Woodleigh in Potong Pasir which attributes to 330 units of the sale. The median price sold was at $804 psf. Other residential projects which added the numbers were Martin Place Residence, Nathan Residences, One Devonshire and Vista Residences.

Foreign Investors Back?

Foreign buyers are slowly creeping back into the country as the high-end luxury segment seems to be moving as well. Two units were sold recently at Nassim Park Residences by its developer at above $3,000 per square foot (psf), one of them at $3,813 psf.

In the sub-sale market, a caveat has surfaced for a 37th floor unit at The Orchard Residences at about $3,550 psf last month.

Caveats have also been lodged for transactions of three units at The Ardmore Park at $2,375-$2,513 psf, and for a sub-sale deal at Marina Bay Residences at $2,200 psf in June.

A Possible Start of Another Bubble?

With Singapore snapping out of technical recession in the second quarter, observers said this may inject more confidence in the property sector.

The figures are definitely going to be affected from end of August to mid September onwards because of Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival (20th August – 18th September), but should the momentum continue to swing forward after the period, it could possibly be a strong rally.

Singapore Real Estate Market Is Moving

Singapore Real Estate Market Moving Again?
Singapore Real Estate Market Moving Again?
Yes, it’s moving. Whether or not its based on good sentiments of our United States counterparts or foundations there seems to be a lot of movements in the market now with buyers shopping more often than not for the past 3 weeks.

In the Market

As a Realtor in the market, things are moving unexpectedly towards the upside with projects that I’ve dealt with. Owners are holding back to accept cheques from my fellow colleagues as their expectation might have change with the recent rally of stock prices in Singapore Stock Exchange.

It happened right in front of me, the one time my buyer offers for a particular resale unit in City Square Residences and was rejected, the next day it got sold. And it didn’t happen just once. The one day that one of my buyer wanted to match the expectation of a sub-sale unit, the owner has sold it the night before hitting a considerable good target price for this market.

Developers are Adjusting Prices

Double Bay Residences in Simei by UOL & Kheng Leong
Double Bay Residences in Simei by UOL & Kheng Leong

Property Giant Far East Organisation has been quietly adjusting its prices for their new projects like the Mi Casa condo in Choa Chu Kang, The Lakeshore in Jurong, Hillview Regency in Bukit Batok, Floridian at Bukit Timah Road (non-premium units), and Vida at Peck Hay Road.

UOL and Kheng Leong have adjusted their price units slightly higher for the better units at Double Bay Residences.

Bukit Sembawang have also nudged its price of The Verdure higher after the initial launch.

CDL’s hotcake, The Arte have also seen a little price hike on their units as their sales take momentum.

Developers are moving in tandem together to show the market that the price is picking up with the clear buying momentum that the buyers are coming back.

End of the Bottom?

I’m sure if you ask any of the ethical agents out there, they’ll tell you they’re unsure. I wouldn’t know whether the market direction is heading towards the north or the south, but its edging more towards the upside for the moment because of buying momentum.

Again, buying a Singapore property at this time would be safe since we’re still at a bottom curve, whether is it or not if its heading for a correction towards the down or upside. One thing, the property market cycle is getting shorter and shorter as compared to the 7 years guideline we hear from gurus previously.

For people who’re buying for their own stay (and to make some capital gains at the end to move out), this is still a good time to start looking and locking in with the low bank interest rates.

And for home owners or investors who’re taking the chance to exit the market, this would probably be your best golden opportunity to do so, unless you’re betting again that the market is moving towards your favor.

Punggol 21 – The Charming Waterfront Living of Singapore

How Punggol Marina looks like 2 years back, photo credits to elkin, Clubsnap
How Punggol Marina looks like 2 years back, photo credits to elkin, Clubsnap

How a short period of time has changed a place so tremendously.

Nicholas and I used to wakeboard regularly at Punggol Marina 2 years back with WakeTime and we knew there were development plans to close the channel where we used to ride. It was for quite sometime the announcement before the Police Coast Guards started to become serious and kept chasing our boats away. Since then, Nicholas and I stopped riding for awhile because of work commitment and wakeboard activities has moved to Seletar waters. Sad.

I caught up with a friend for a drink at the Marina yesterday. Gone was the smooth buttery flat channel which was totally dammed up with some sort of a station. Guess this has got to do with the plans that URA/HDB has laid out for Punggol 21 which was mentioned in 1996, and still reinforced in the recently gazetted Master Plan 2008.

High Quality HDB Flats in Punggol

Night view of Punggol Estate. Photo credits: Missy - verysporty, Flickr
Night view of Punggol Estate. Photo credits: Missy - verysporty, Flickr

Since 1996’s released plan by the government to develop Punggol, the estate has been on its track with its vision on building high quality HDB Flats, LRT and MRT lines to populate the area. And with the introduction of Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), residences here have improved road network to shorten the time span to travel to the city.

Design-and-Built and Design-plus flats were being offered then and we can see resale market is floating with movements of Punggol flats. The price has since been climbing steadily since 2005.

Punggol also has a strongly knitted community amongst residences. New happenings in Punggol? Things to take note such as watching out for hustlers or even having new community activities? Check out

A Future Sports Complex, a Club House and a Reservoir

A new SAFRA clubhouse integrating a sports complex will be built in Punggol Central for the future convenience of dwelling residents. Coming 2010, we’ll have a new Punggol Reservoir. The new reservoir banks will feature unique plantations and more sports complex for Sengkang residents. The most catchy feature would be its fruit themed floating man-made wetland, which will become a habitat for fishes and birds.

Artiste Impression of Punggol Reservoir and Wetland from URA
Artiste Impression of Punggol Reservoir and Wetland from URA

2010’s Punggol Point and Punggol East

With the gazetted URA Master Plan 2008, a brand new waterfront promenade project awarded to LOOK Architects (The same award winning architect house whom brought you the iconic Alexandra Arch) will be ready in 2010 for residents of Punggol and Sengkang. A 4.2km waterway will connect Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon together, with promenades on both sides running through Punggol Town.

Artiste Impression of Future Punggol Town Centre from URA
Artiste Impression of Future Punggol Town Centre from URA

Imagine water activities such as kayaking and waterfront dining at Punggol Point. This will definitely enhance the ‘Play’ mission of URA’s and improve the lifestyle living of the residents. You can read more about promenade details here.

Will Punggol 21 be Singapore’s answer to Venice? It’s a big statement, but give it sometime I’m sure it’ll still be impressive ;)

*Updated June 2013 – New Punggol Ecopolitan EC Opens for Registration!

Property Agents – Ethics Please

image credit: arboltsef

The Case

Awhile ago I was with my client who has give me exclusive to market her place in Sunny Palms (D15 – Telok Kurau) and also to find and secure her a new place.

She was mentioning about this rogue agent (name not mentioned) who actually has an expatriate couple who might be interested in the place;

The agent mentioned to my home owner his interest to go directly to her and advised her how to go about nullifying my exclusive by writing in to Knight Frank. Fortunately my client is very responsible to me and told him that unless he’s able to fetch even higher price to pay the both of us, else undercutting is totally out of scope.

Well, this happens from time to time with the cut throat business’s risks that we have to bear.

Which Reminds Me of Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!

There’s a chapter in Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching on Competition means prepare to be your best which damns people like these and yet it reminds me to be always at my best while I’m at my job.

Principle 27 of Cha Ching (abstract from Jeffrey Gitomer’s Book)

1) Going over the competition

The ideal way to win. It assumes that you take the high ground. It doesn’t mean sit back and wait. It means rise above in such a way that the competition has to respond or lose. Here are a few “over” ways: e-zine, seminars, and referrals. Building value by building profit. Earn testimonials and using them to get “over” again.

2) Ignore competition

I go for “best”, not “beat.” It’s a better, cleaner win.

Do I always win? No. But I always feel I should have. And I have a self confidence that keeps me ready for the next opportunity. I wake up the next day and go to work sharpening my skills.

Ethics Please

While I work on my code of conduct and bringing the best to my customers, it still fumes me a little with such scum being in our industry.

Play fair if you’re in this for the long run, else we’re sure to cross each others path one day and should you need any help, I’m sure it will backfire with one or another fellow agent some days.

Singapore Government Regulating Real Estate Agents Soon

I think this is unevitable, especially with many criticisms and suggestions coming from the public in the recent months after the case of two unethical agents flipping their marketing unit without taking care of the principle’s interest.

Whenever discussions and complains come directly at the press especially ST Forums, the statutory boards will be acting quickly on them, which is a good thing. Recently MND Minister Mah Bow Tan and Senior Minister of State for Finance Lim Hwee Hua has mentioned to Parliament on the review of unscrupulous agents.

Now what will the government come out with to regulate Realtors? Will they work closely with SAEA or IEA? Will CEHA be compulsory?

Before they really come out with something firm, I’d wish they have a talk with most major agencies on what should be enforced to still encourage room for the growth and healthy competition for the real estate market in Singapore.

Times are changing, and with regulatories stepping up to clean up the industry, only creame of the crop will be standing and giving their best to the customers they serve.

Rest assure things will happen really soon for Realtors in Singapore. A good thing isn’t it?

No More Heading to the Gym in the Morning

Especially during the peak hours. I didn’t know it’s so serious until I kicked off the car to head towards Mount Faber SAFRA to fully utilise the EnergyOne membership I have. Being health conscious in Singapore isn’t easy, especially when it starts off with the travelling to sweat.

The Journey

First gantry, $1.00 towards PIE (PIE after Kallang Bahru on Woodsville Flyover), that’s fine *accelerates.

Second gantry $3.50 towards CTE (PIE into CTE). $3.50!? I know people who crosses ERP on daily charges of up to almost $20.00 a day for a stretch and sympathize with them, but you’ll have to experience it real-time to feel the pain.


Track your ERP Spendings

Sign up for Motorpay to keep track of your ERP spendings and to avoid spending on $10.00 administrative fees of insufficient cashcard fund.

Do your planning before you head out if you’re always on the road.Or better still, gym at 7am to avoid the ERP charges.

Will Licencing All Singapore Real Estate Agents Ease Your Mind?

I was reading the article on Sunday Times today with regards to ‘Licence All Agents, Says Experts‘. It really sets me pondering on whether an accredition of all local property realtors in Singapore is going to help the situation of having unethical fellow mates weeded out;

After all, this would be an industry which has no boundaries in terms of its potential income yield, depending on how hardworking and street smart the realtor is.

Government Stepping In To Regulate Real Estate Industry a Boon or a Foe?

With the government stepping in to regulate this industry, that means there won’t be a freeplay or freedom which Realtors are enjoying now. I can’t think of any current job industries apart from the medical/ lawyer industries which require would-be doctors and lawyers to acquire a certain amount of academics before being able to practice their profession. If regulated, I would foresee older Realtors without proper education qualifications to be strike off from practicing their trades which would be really uncompassionate.

At the present moment, Singapore Realtors are not required to have any kind of academics; Basic 3 O’levels passes would suffice in almost all the Realty agencies. As long as you have a good basic command of English and understand the contract terms, you could be an agent.

The pro side of having a regulated industry would be systematic approaches in future real estate deals; again it doesn’t and probably won’t weed out totally of unethical agents.

I understand that both SAEA and IEA have their own set of rules for their accredited agents with a few strike rules and they’re out.

The Clash of IEA and SAEA

There has been always the clash of two titans of Singapore’s Real Estate groups on wanting to be the leader of regulating the industry, namely SAEA and the IEA, with both coming out their own accredition standards like CES (Common Examination for Salesperson) for SAEA and CEHA (Common Examination for Housing Agents) for IEA.

If the government would to step in and regulate the industry, who would it appoint to be the sole organisation to come out with the accredition? I for sure wouldn’t be bothered unless the Government or my agency supports me to get one of the accredition to show to my clients that I am accredited.

Bottom Line

I have passed my CEHA. So what does it do for me? As a Realtor, the reason why I did the tests was for more knowledge and to cover and learn as much as I can, and not for additional tagline advertising.

Whatever that would and must be delivered as a Realtor must be delivered from the heart. Being responsible for your actions, fair and just practices are all necessary in any industries, not just Real Estate. I would think the current law system in Singapore would suffice to protect unjust actions from buyers/ sellers or bad agents and we wouldn’t need the Government to step in to gung-ho the Singapore realtor’s realm.

I don’t think regulating the whole industry would be in any much help weed out all unfair or unscrupulous practices of the industry, but if the day comes, we’ll just have to get ready.