Retirement Home? Or End of Retirement?

The Hilford Condominium was touted and marketed as Singapore’s first retirement village. All 281 apartments with a leasehold Tenure of 60 years was sold out on its first day of sale.
The project, marketed as a “retirement resort” has an implied purpose that was meant for active seniors with elderly-friendly facilities and commercial space set aside for health care and elder care.
However, we have seen buyers – both young and old, jumping into this latest concept of “shorter leases” with a “specific theme” which was supposedly meant for a specific group of people (the elderly), for the very wrong of reasons but at the expense of those who genuinely believe that they can live their remaining years with ease and stress free.
These are my thoughts:
1. Retirement homes, or at least the meaning of it, implies that it has to be first of all affortable. Would you consider the price reasonable being having only a 60 year tenure on it? The premium may be cheap mainly because the units are small. But does it on the psf basis?
2. Is there a resale market? Once the property is completed, the property would be left with about 55 years. Assumming these elderly stays for 4 years (to avoid ABSD) and sells the unit on the fifth, who then can afford to buy these units without being able to utilise their CPF (unless CPF changes it’s rules). How about the financing issue?
3. Property prices are always subject to demand and supply. If demand drops and supply increases (more retirement villages), then where exactly is the resale prices heading towards?
4. If there is a pressing need for cash due to unforeseen circumstances and the elderly have to sell their retirement homes, would they then be forced to sell cheap and/or even at a loss?
5. Who is there to ensure that retail trades which are meant for elderly care be realized? Will there be a control on trade mix?
6. Who controls the rental? If rental increases, this will inevitably translate into higher cost to consumers – the elderly.
7. How about the maintenance? Have the elderly been advised on the maintenance fees which will inevitably be increased over time. What happens if there is a major repair/ upgrades and the residents are required to “top-up” for any shortfalls?
Thus, why are there no safety measures in placed to clarify on these potential pit falls? Any developer terming any developement which carries certain implied purpose, should exercise greater care and considerations, especially those that can affect the well being of specific groups who may be more vulnerable.
The above is purely base on personal opinion and carries no malicious intention or kind.

Coming Soon to Singapore: Relief for Home Buyers, Renters

A flood of new homes is headed toward Singapore and it will carry with it a buyer’s market, analysts say.

Developers in Singapore are already offering discounts and freebies such as furniture vouchers and will probably give away more expensive “toys”–maybe even cars–as new properties begin hitting the market in force, says Chris Comer, CEO of Castlewood Group, developer of Nikki Beach properties in Asia.

Comer is a Singapore resident with global experience, including in Dubai, where he worked during the boom and bust of the past decade. He said the downturn could hit Singapore within the next 12 months, and “you’ll start to see properties resold for less than they paid for them” as investors try to cash out, he said.

“It’s going to be a renters’ market here for a very long time,” he said.

Not everyone sees a bubble bursting with such force, but other analysts are warning about the coming supply and declines in prices and rents.

The Case of the Falling COV: A Step towards Affordability?

Recent findings released by the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) drew much attention to Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) premiums for Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats, with reports stating that overall COVs across all HDB property types have been experiencing a declining trend. In fact, this downward spiral has been said to be so persistent that by the start of September 2013, COVs are said to have fallen to a 4 year low.

In a country where property continues to stir public debate, it is hardly surprising that word about falling COV prices would spread into daily conversations. After all, COVs are by nature often deemed to be an unfair negotiation tactic employed by property sellers for a quick profit, causing much furore amongst those wishing to purchase their first home or to upgrade.

Sentiments towards COVs worsened when news broke of a number of resale flats with COVs exceeding $100,000 were transacted, resulting in many clamouring for the government to take action, with the more vocal ones demanding for the system  to be scrapped altogether. Such reactions against the payment of what most define to be “ridiculously high” costs on top of a HDB unit’s market valuation put into the spotlight recurring concerns of public housing affordability, acutely felt by young couples and families trying to find a suitable place to call home.


Such is the case in Toa Payoh. Long considered to be one of the early bastions of affordable public housing in Singapore since the1960s, today it has earned the reputation of being one of the most expensive districts to buy into with a number of flats commanding COV values over $100,000. For the buyer, this translates to him having to fork out almost or more than 2 ½ times more cash upfront to purchase a same-sized flat which he can find cheaper elsewhere. An even more startling fact is that in comparison to other fluctuating indices such as the Certificate of Entitlements (COEs) for cars, COVs for these choice units in Toa Payoh consistently rank ahead (given that COEs for all car categories are between $66,000 and $83,000 in Q2 2013).

Strategise yourself in TDSR framework

Following the latest measure to set best practices among banks in Singapore, many property observers have adjusted their outlook for the property market in view of TDSR framework.

To recap, the main highlights of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework are:

1) All Guarantors have to be mortgagor.

2) In the case of joint application, loan tenure is derived from the subjection of income weighted average age from the age at the end of loan tenure.

3) HDB Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) still applies at 30 percent.

4) Liability calculation for home loan instalment is at 3.5 percent.


There are many career options in life and become a real estate agent is one of those. You may have heard of those million dollar realtors but it is important to understand that they are the exception not the norm – although you can earn a great salary when starting out. The money is not the only benefit. There are plenty of benefits to becoming a realtor in Singapore but there are downsides to consider at the same time.