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Koh Brothers’ net profit soars 138% in Q2

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 16th August 2014 in Blog
The Montana perspective 2
Image: Koh Brothers Development project The Montana.

Koh Brothers Group’s net profit jumped 138 percent from $4.8 million in Q2 2013 to $11.5 million in Q2 2014.

The record profit was on the back of higher group revenue mainly due to its real estate division which contributed higher sales in Q2 2014 and H1 2014, said Francis Koh, Managing Director and Group CEO of Koh Brothers.

Group revenue comprises sales of products, services rendered, property development and rental income, as well as construction contract revenue.

In Q2 2014, an increase in sales, mainly from its real estate division – Koh Brothers Development, lifted group revenue by seven percent to $109.5 million.

Whilst share of results from associated companies recorded a profit of $103,000 in Q2 2014, share of results from joint ventures had a loss of $1.6 million. The latter was mainly due to lower contribution from a property currently undertaking an asset enhancement exercise and initial setup cost for a residential project.

Looking ahead, Koh said, “The construction sector is experiencing a tight labour market and there are more stringent regulatory controls. However, the brighter side of it is that more construction demand is expected to be generated from the public sector. For the residential property market, with the various property cooling measures still in place, we expect prices to further moderate this year.”

The group’s various business lines include real estate development, construction, building materials, and environmental engineering.

credits: propertyguru

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92 households took up the Silver Housing Bonus scheme

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 16th August 2014 in Blog

92 household silver scheme

HDB revealed 92 households have benefitted from its Silver Housing Bonus scheme since it was introduced in February 2013, reported the media.

Among those who benefitted is Choy Mui Leng. The 66-year old retired nurse tapped on the scheme by selling her four-room flat in Sengkang, and purchasing a three-room unit in Punggol.

“When you are getting old, it is very comfortable to stay in a small apartment, easy to manage,” she said.

Using $68,000 from the sale proceeds, she topped up the CPF Retirement Accounts for her husband and herself, while keeping the remaining $200,000.

Lower-income elderly can get up to $20,000 cash bonus per household if they use part of the proceeds to top up their CPF Retirement account in order to receive a monthly income for life.

However, Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah, who is Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and Environment, believes that the CPF component of the scheme makes it less attractive to some elderly since part of their earnings will be used to top up their CPF Retirement Accounts to meet the Minimum Sum.

“Most of the Singaporeans I still find that, they would rather change a bigger flat to a studio apartment and they want to take the one big lump sum, so that they can keep the money,” she noted.

“A lot of parents – they prefer to have cash for themselves so they don’t have to depend on their children or burden their children. So if we can build more studio apartments near MRT stations, near amenities, in the same housing estate. I would think that will be popular,” added Lee.

credits: propertyguru

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36% of young Singaporeans have no savings

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 16th August 2014 in Blog

36percent singaporeans no savings

A number of Singaporeans within the age of 20 to 35 years old have zero savings, revealed a survey by as reported in the media.

According to the report, 36 percent of the respondents have no savings, while a quarter have put aside less than $6,000 for rainy days. In comparison, those in their parents’ age bracket have an average savings of $60,000.

“These are shocking figures,” said Mark Hall at the Singapore-based financial portal.

“There’s so little money going into investment or savings that some people are finding themselves rapidly up to their necks when they hit troubled times.” Without a contingency fund, some may even lose their homes if they become unemployed.

“The current generation are seemingly living for the day and spending their money rather than putting some aside for when it might be needed. This is endemic of what’s rapidly becoming known as the ‘renting generation’, who would rather not save money for a mortgage, pension or even for emergencies,” he explained.

In fact, 80 percent of the people surveyed had spent money they could have saved for a housing loan deposit, and about 33 percent are planning to purchase a residential property instead of renting.

In terms of expenses, the average Singaporean graduate spends 40 percent of their wage on rent, while another nine percent goes to student loan repayments.

credits:  propertyguru

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TDSR makes older property measures redundant: Experts

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 14th August 2014 in Blog

TDSR makes older measures redundant


SINGAPORE — With the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework proving effective in keeping housing prices in check, some of the property cooling measures introduced over the past five years may have become redundant, said real estate experts yesterday.

At a discussion at the annual National Real Estate Congress, panellists highlighted the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) — imposed in February 2010 and subsequently expanded — and the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) — introduced in 2011 and raised in January last year — as measures the Government could review.

“I think nobody questions the reason behind the TDSR, but with it being in place for slightly more than a year now, I think it’s time for the Government to start looking at whether some of the earlier measures have become redundant because we have a pretty effective TDSR,” said Mr Dennis Yeo, managing director of property consultancy Colliers.

ERA key executive officer Eugene Lim shared this sentiment, saying the cooling measures may be an “overkill” now that speculative activity has been curbed.

Figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed that sub-sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of all sale transactions in the second quarter of this year, lower than the 4.6 per cent recorded in the first quarter.

“The sub-sales number is actually very low across all types of properties, so there is very limited speculation. It could be an opportune time to review the measures aimed at tackling speculative buying and selling, which is essentially the SSD. Is it necessary anymore at this stage?” Mr Lim said.

However, Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo of the National University of Singapore’s Department of Real Estate said the cooling measures continued to act to prevent the formation of a property bubble, a view shared by fellow panellist Seah Seng Choon, executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore.

“We don’t want to see a bubble forming. So, it’s good that the Government wants to slow things down to make sure it doesn’t go out of control and eventually burst, which would cause everyone to suffer, including the genuine buyers. So, it’s important that the measures are in place to ensure financial prudence is maintained,” said Mr Seah.

He said the cooling measures paled in comparison with some of those in the region.“The measures here are rather mild compared with, perhaps, Australia, where foreigners are not allowed to buy resale properties … So, I think genuine buyers should not be too affected by the measures. The measures are not to stop people from buying properties,” Mr Seah said.

Still, as more Singaporeans aspire to not only own a home to live in, but also have a second property for investment, it is perhaps timely to lower or remove the ABSD for local buyers, Mr Lim said. “The ABSD is needed to prevent foreigners from buying and driving up prices. But since the TDSR is already preventing locals from over-gearing, I don’t think tweaking the ABSD for local buyers will cause prices to shoot up again. Developers also have a lot of stock to clear,” he added.

credits: today online

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Tweaks to property cooling measures worth exploring, say industry players

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 13th August 2014 in Blog

tweaks to property cooling measures

SINGAPORE — While real estate industry practitioners understand the Government’s intention in keeping the property cooling measures intact, it is still worth reviewing the curbs as some may have become “redundant” given how effective the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) has been in keeping prices in check.

That was the takeaway from a discussion at the annual National Real Estate Congress today (Aug 12), where the panelists singled out the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) as measures worth reviewing.

“No one questions the implementation of TDSR, but it has been in place for a year now, I think the Government should look at the earlier measures and review whether there’s any redundancy,” said Mr Dennis Yeo, managing director of property consultancy Colliers, who was one of the panelists.

ERA’s key executive officer Eugene Lim singled out the SSD as a measure that has become unnecessary given that speculative activity in the local property market has declined.

The panelists also suggested that ABSD for local buyers be either lowered or removed to allow Singaporeans to own their second properties.

“Since TDSR is already preventing people from over-gearing, I don’t think tweaking ABSD for local buyers will cause prices to shoot up again. Developers also have a lot of stock to clear, so prices can’t shoot up,” said Mr Lim.

credits: today online

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Pinnacle of HDB flat resales soon?

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 13th August 2014 in Blog

Pinnacles @ Duxton

The first flat from premier Housing Board project Pinnacle@Dux- ton has hit the market, with its owner obtaining special permission from the authorities to sell the unit.

The four-room flat, with a floor area of 90 sq m and located “above the 20th floor”, has been on the market for about a month. But it has already had more than 50 viewings, said Mr Bruce Ang, one of two agents marketing the unit. He said that several “verbal offers” have been received, the highest being $830,000.

The unit is being sold despite the owner not having lived in the unit for five years, which is a legal requirement known as the minimum occupation period (MOP).

Most Pinnacle@Duxton home owners will meet this MOP in December.

But the HDB has allowed the early resale of the unit “with a short deviation from MOP, after considering the flat owners’ circumstances”, said a spokesman.

A Straits Times check showed there were at least eight other units listed on various property websites. All but one – a five- roomer – are four-room flats.

An agent behind a listing of a 38th-storey four-roomer, Mr Benjamin Tan, said that the owner is “not in a rush to sell”, but simply sounding out the market.

Comprising 1,848 units in seven 50-storey blocks, the project in Tanjong Pagar faced overwhelming response at its launch in 2004.

Its four- and five-roomers have long been expected to fetch high resale prices, with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan himself saying in 2012 that when the Pinnacle@Duxton flats hit the market, “there will be many millionaires there”.

In 2004, new four-room flats there cost $289,200 to $380,900. Its five-room flats were priced from $345,100 to $439,400.

Though the resale market has been cooling over the past year, large flats in prime locations are still fetching high prices. Two four-roomers in nearby Tanjong Pagar Plaza went for $730,000 in June and $710,000 in March.

Six five-roomers have been sold in nearby Cantonment Close so far this year, all going for above $800,000.

PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor expects the Pinnacle@Duxton flats to fetch handsome prices in the resale market. “I will not be surprised if people even pay $1 million for a four-room flat there. It’s an iconic building in a really good, central location.”

But R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng pointed out that the ongoing cooling measures would make it difficult to achieve benchmark prices. “Prices for five-room flats are unlikely to go beyond $850,000, as the mortgage servicing ratio cap is expected to restrain excessively large loans,” he said. “Resale competition from other sellers in the locality will also drive prices down.”

But that has not stopped agents from aggressively hawking their services to residents there. Pinnacle@Duxton residents said property agents have been going door-to-door and calling them at home, particularly in the last few months. Namecards and fliers offering to help sell their flats have also been left in letterboxes and at individual units, said residents.

But for many of them, selling is the furthest thing on their minds. “We are not planning to sell. It’s difficult to find such a central location elsewhere. We can easily jog or cycle to Marina Bay,” said offshore diver Muhd Shaifullah Latif, 30, who lives in a 28th-floor four-room flat with his wife.

Many are also reluctant to uproot because of their children. “My kids go to school in this area, so moving would (disrupt) their schooling,” said housewife and mother-of-two Joanne Lee, 34, who lives in a five-roomer there.

Credits: The Straits Times 

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