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Providing you with the latest Singapore Property News relating to residential, commercial and industrial properties. We keep you updated with the latest real estate developments and analysis.

When will Singapore Property Prices Drop?

June 15, 2024 0 0

As one of Asia's bustling economic hubs, Singapore's property market is often a topic of intense speculation and interest. Home to a diverse population and a thriving business landscape, the city-state's real estate sector is closely monitored by investors, homeowners, and policymakers alike. Among the many questions that linger in the minds of those vested in the market, one recurrent query persists: When will Singapore property prices drop? While predicting the precise timing of property price fluctuations is akin to forecasting the weather – influenced by a myriad of factors and subject to unexpected changes – there are several key considerations that can shed light on the potential for a downturn in property prices. Economic Conditions: Singapore's property market is closely intertwined with the overall health of its economy. Economic downturns, such as recessions or periods of sluggish growth, often coincide with decreases in property prices. During these times, businesses may scale back operations, leading to reduced demand for commercial space, while individuals may postpone property purchases due to economic uncertainty or job insecurity. Conversely, periods of robust economic growth typically stimulate demand for real estate, exerting upward pressure on prices. Government Policies: Government intervention plays a significant role in shaping Singapore's property market dynamics. Over the years, policymakers have implemented a series of cooling measures aimed at curbing speculation and ensuring sustainable growth. These measures include stamp duties, loan-to-value limits, and additional buyer's stamp duties, which can impact demand and supply dynamics, thereby influencing property prices. Monitoring announcements and adjustments to these policies can provide insights into potential shifts in the market. Market Sentiment: Sentiment within the property market can sway prices in either direction. Positive sentiment, fueled by factors such as optimism about future economic prospects or favorable government policies, can drive up demand and prices. Conversely, negative sentiment, triggered by factors like geopolitical tensions or global economic uncertainty, can dampen buyer confidence and lead to price corrections. Keeping abreast of market sentiment through surveys, industry reports, and expert analyses can help gauge the trajectory of property prices. Supply and Demand Dynamics: The fundamental principles of supply and demand exert a fundamental influence on property prices. A mismatch between supply and demand – such as an oversupply of housing units relative to demand or a sudden surge in demand without sufficient inventory – can lead to price adjustments. Factors such as population growth, immigration policies, and urban development initiatives can influence both supply and demand dynamics, thereby impacting property prices. External Factors: Beyond domestic considerations, external factors can also influence Singapore's property market. Global economic trends, geopolitical developments, and shifts in investor sentiment towards emerging markets can all have ripple effects on property prices. Factors such as interest rate fluctuations, currency movements, and changes in global capital flows can introduce volatility and uncertainty into the market, necessitating a nuanced understanding of global economic dynamics. While these considerations provide valuable insights into the factors that can influence property prices in Singapore, it is essential to acknowledge the inherent unpredictability of the real estate market. Timing the market with precision is notoriously challenging, and attempting to do so carries inherent risks. As such, prospective buyers, sellers, and investors are encouraged to adopt a long-term perspective, conduct thorough research, and seek guidance from reputable industry experts when navigating the complexities of Singapore's property market. By staying informed, remaining vigilant, and exercising prudence, stakeholders can position themselves to make informed decisions in an ever-evolving real estate landscape. Property Rental Prices Drop: Although the rental market has performed well since the pandemic, a slowdown is now evident. The growth rate of the rental index for non-landed properties has been decelerating each quarter since Q3 2022, nearly plateauing with a 0.2% increase in Q3 2023. This deceleration can likely be attributed to the more than doubling of completed private residential units in 2023 compared to the previous year. The surge in supply reduced the demand for rentals among those waiting for their new homes to be finished. In 2024, property analysts anticipate that rents will experience some downward pressure as the gap between supply and demand narrows. However, we expect rental rates to remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. This is due to a considerable number of prospective renters being foreigners who may be reluctant to pay the 60% Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) to purchase property, as well as private homeowners who must observe a 15-month wait-out period before they can buy a resale HDB flat.

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HDB Warns Property Agents Against Unsolicited Contact Through Resale Listing Portal Amid Surge in HFE Applications

June 09, 2024 0 0

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has issued a stern warning to property agents about approaching flat sellers through its resale listing portal to offer their services. This caution comes amid a noticeable increase in the number of agents applying for HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letters. The HFE letter, a crucial document indicating a prospective buyer's eligibility to purchase a flat and access grants and financing options, is now a prerequisite for scheduling viewings of units listed on HDB’s resale flat listing (RFL) service. This service, which was officially launched on May 30, allows owners or their property agents to list homes for sale directly on the Flat Portal, providing a streamlined and currently free platform for resale transactions. HDB has emphasized that property agents who are not appointed by a buyer should not contact sellers through the portal unless they possess an HFE letter.  To curb misuse, HDB has stated it will take firm action against errant property agents. Measures include banning them from the HDB Flat Portal and reporting the matter to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) for further investigation. Additionally, HDB will monitor whether agents applying for HFE letters end up purchasing flats within the nine-month validity period of the letter. Despite these warnings, there has been no reported misuse of the service to the CEA. The council’s spokesman affirmed that property agencies and agents must comply with the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care, failing which they may face disciplinary actions such as fines up to S$100,000 and the suspension or revocation of their licenses. With an upcoming Build-to-Order (BTO) launch in June, there could be genuine cases of agents intending to purchase flats for personal use. Despite reassurances from estate agency executives, there is some concern within the property agent community about the potential for unethical practices. JT Chia, Managing Director of Propertyforsale Pte Ltd, expressed concern about the possibility of some agents exploiting this system, emphasizing the importance of ethical conduct and the significant risks involved in breaching regulations. As the real estate market navigates these changes, HDB’s vigilance and the adherence to ethical standards by property agents will be crucial in maintaining a fair and transparent environment for all parties involved in the resale flat market.

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Why I Want to Be a Property Agent

June 01, 2024 0 0

Choosing a career path is one of the most significant decisions one can make, and for me, the role of a property agent stands out as an appealing and fulfilling choice. My aspiration to become a property agent is driven by a combination of personal interests, professional goals, and the dynamic nature of the real estate industry. Here’s a deeper look into why this career is my chosen path. Andy Chia, an associate division director from ERA Realty, shares why he became a property agent in Singapore.  Passion for Real Estate From an early age, I’ve been fascinated by architecture, design, and the concept of home. The idea of transforming spaces into places where people can live, work, and thrive is incredibly compelling. Real estate is not just about buying and selling properties; it’s about creating environments that shape people’s lives. Being a property agent allows me to be at the forefront of this transformative process, helping clients find their dream homes or ideal investment properties. Interpersonal Skills and Client Interaction One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a property agent is the opportunity to work closely with diverse groups of people. I have always been a people person, and the role of a property agent revolves around building relationships and understanding clients’ needs. Each client is unique, and tailoring my services to meet their specific requirements is both challenging and rewarding. This profession allows me to utilize my communication and negotiation skills to ensure clients have a positive and satisfying experience. The most rewarding part is definitely seeing the joy on my clients' faces when they find the perfect home. It's a significant milestone in their lives, and being able to guide them through that process is incredibly fulfilling. Every successful sale feels like a personal victory. Dynamic and Ever-Changing Environment The real estate industry is known for its dynamic nature. Market trends, economic factors, and societal changes constantly influence property values and client preferences. This ever-changing landscape keeps the job exciting and ensures that no two days are the same. As someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and enjoys continuous learning, the role of a property agent offers the perfect blend of variety and challenge. Financial Rewards and Career Growth A career in real estate can be highly lucrative, especially for those who are dedicated and skilled. Successful property agents have the potential to earn significant commissions, and there is always room for growth. Whether it’s advancing to a senior agent position, opening a personal agency, or expanding into property development, the opportunities are vast. The financial rewards, combined with the potential for personal and professional growth, make this career highly attractive. Helping Clients Achieve Their Dreams There’s immense satisfaction in helping clients find the perfect property. Whether it’s a young couple purchasing their first home, a family upgrading to a larger space, or an investor looking for profitable ventures, being a part of these significant milestones is incredibly fulfilling. The gratitude and joy expressed by clients when they find a property that meets their needs are unparalleled rewards that make the job worthwhile. Flexibility and Independence Being a property agent offers a level of flexibility and independence that is rare in many professions. While it requires hard work and dedication, the ability to manage my schedule and work independently is a major advantage. This autonomy allows me to balance my professional and personal life effectively, ensuring a healthy work-life balance. Conclusion In conclusion, my desire to become a property agent is driven by a combination of passion for real estate, love for client interaction, the dynamic nature of the industry, potential financial rewards, and the satisfaction of helping others achieve their dreams. It is a career that not only aligns with my personal interests and skills but also offers a fulfilling and rewarding professional journey. As I embark on this path, I am excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and look forward to making a positive impact in the real estate industry. Join Andy as a Property Agent Call Andy at 83239888 or WhatsApp him if you are interested to be a property agent and he will provide guidance on related courses and CEA examinations.

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New HDB Flat Portal: Streamlining the Buying and Selling of Resale Flats

May 14, 2024 0 0

Starting May 13, owners of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats and their property agents will have the option to list their homes for sale directly on the HDB Flat Portal. This latest enhancement aims to simplify the flat buying and selling process, providing secure transactions and improved services. Ensuring Genuine Listings To maintain the integrity of the listings, sellers must register an intent to sell before posting their homes on the portal. Buyers, on the other hand, will need an HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter. This letter confirms their eligibility to purchase a flat, receive grants, and access financing options, and is required to schedule viewings. “This will improve user experience and ensure transparency as the resale flat listing service aims to become a trusted listing marketplace for genuine buyers and sellers,” said HDB.  Free of Charge Launch For now, the service is free of charge. Buyers will be able to view listings and initiate transactions with sellers when the service officially launches later in May. Currently, real estate agents can only list properties on major property portals like PropertyGuru which involve fees. Other platforms, such as Propertyforsale, allow homeowners to list for free. Streamlined Listing Process The HDB Flat Portal will auto-fill listing details, including address, flat type, floor area, and floor plan from HDB’s database. Each seller can post only one listing to prevent duplicates. Sellers will receive prompts if their listing price is significantly higher or lower than recent transactions of similar units nearby, helping them make informed pricing decisions and promoting market sustainability. HDB has the authority to remove listings with unrealistic prices or misleading information. They may also seek clarifications from sellers or their agents to ensure market stability. Ensuring Market Stability The government will not tolerate disruptive behaviors by sellers or agents. HDB will collaborate with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) to investigate and take action against professional misconduct. Recently, the Ministry of National Development, HDB, and CEA flagged two HDB flats listed for S$2 million as misleading and unrealistic. A listing for two adjacent five-room flats in Sengkang marketed as a jumbo flat and a five-room flat in Toa Payoh with an unrealistic asking price were highlighted. Comprehensive Services for Buyers To make the HDB Flat Portal a comprehensive platform, the resale flat listing service will integrate financial calculators, loan listing services, and HFE letter information. Buyers can compare resale flat listings with new Build-To-Order flats in terms of price and remaining lease, aiding in more informed decision-making. Seller and Agent Accessibility Sellers or their agents can list homes and conduct resale transactions on a single platform. From May 13, eligible flat sellers will be contacted via email to gain early access to list their homes on the portal. They can also appoint property agents to list on their behalf. Transactions, however, will not be possible during the soft launch period. Industry Collaboration The service was developed with input from the public and industry stakeholders, including real estate agencies and property portals. JT Chia, Managing Director of Propertyforsale, supports the service, stating it helps filter out non-genuine buyers and sellers. This requirement to register intent to sell will curb practices like placing advertisements to "test the market" and eliminate repeated or fake listings by agents fishing for clients. Sellers could save on the two percent commission if they do not engage the service of a property agent to sell their HDB flat, he said. Enhanced Transparency and User Experience To enhance user experience and ensure transparency, the new listing service and its features will be accessible exclusively to buyers with a valid HFE (Housing Financial Eligibility) letter. While any prospective buyer can browse the Housing Development Board's (HDB) listing service, only those with a valid HFE letter will have access to sellers' contact details and the ability to schedule viewing appointments. Similarly, sellers must have a valid Intent to Sell to create a listing for their flats. Each seller is limited to one listing per flat to prevent duplicates, with HDB verifying each listing. These measures ensure that only qualified individuals can use the listing services for buying or selling HDB flats. Both buyers and sellers will receive information such as charts showing monthly transaction volumes and average prices for similar flats in the area over the past six months. An "automatic built-in feature" will notify sellers if their listing price is at least 10 percent higher than the highest transacted price for similar nearby units in the past six months. Conversely, if the listing price is unusually low, a prompt will also be sent. A resale flat listing will remain on its portal as long as the seller has a valid Intent to Sell. Sellers and their agents can deactivate their listing when they grant an Option to Purchase (OTP) to a buyer and reactivate it if the OTP is not exercised. A listing will be automatically deactivated in two scenarios: when a buyer submits a valuation request after obtaining an OTP, or when the complete resale application is received through the HDB Flat Portal.  These features ensure that listings on the portal are current. Prospective buyers can browse listings for current and upcoming new flat launches and resale flats available on the HDB Flat Portal. They can filter search results by location, flat type, or remaining lease. Buyers can also create a customised search profile to receive email alerts for new and resale listings that match their preferences. Each flat listing includes detailed information such as flat attributes, floor plans, photos, recent transaction prices for nearby similar flats, and area amenities. Only buyers with a valid HFE letter can book viewing appointments through the HDB Flat Portal. These buyers can also view personalised payment plans based on their approved housing grant and HDB loan amount, helping them accurately assess if the shortlisted flats fit their budget. For Property Agents Property agents will have access to a personalised dashboard offering an overview of their clients using HDB’s resale listing service. This tool will help agents provide value-added services such as budgeting advice and guidance on the next steps for their clients. Conclusion The new HDB Flat Portal marks a significant step towards a more streamlined and transparent process for buying and selling HDB flats, ensuring genuine transactions and enhancing the overall experience for both buyers and sellers.

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CEA Investigates Misleading Resale Property Listings for Million-Dollar HDB Flats

May 09, 2024 0 0

The recent uproar surrounding two Housing Board (HDB) flat resale listings has sparked an investigation by the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA), under the Ministry of National Development (MND). These listings, each priced at an astonishing S$2 million, have raised eyebrows and ignited discussions across the nation for being deemed "misleading" and "unrealistic" by the authorities. One of the listings is for a 1,258 square feet (sq ft) five-room flat situated in a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project in Toa Payoh. The other is for a 2,400 sq ft "jumbo flat" located in Sengkang, purportedly boasting six bedrooms and four bathrooms. However, the veracity of these claims has come under scrutiny, prompting a joint statement from MND, HDB, and CEA. According to the statement, the listing for the Sengkang flat is misleading as there are no officially recognized "jumbo flats" in the area. Instead, the purported "jumbo flat" is composed of two adjacent five-room flats, which cannot be converted into and sold as a single unit. Additionally, the listed price far exceeds recent transacted prices in the vicinity, rendering it impractical and misleading. There is no Intent to Sell registered with HDB for that Toa Payoh DBSS flat, which means that the seller is not serious in disposing his flat. Because Option to Purchase (OTP) cannot be issued when the Intent to Sell is not approved by HDB. Recent resale transactions within the Anchorvale Link estate, where the Sengkang flat is located, have been significantly lower than the asking price, further highlighting the exorbitant nature of the listing. The investigation has prompted action from CEA, which has brought the matter to the attention of the agent's property agency. Firm action will be taken if any breaches are established. Moreover, the listing for the Toa Payoh flat, which exceeds the highest transacted price in the area by nearly S$500,000, has been flagged as unrealistic by property market experts. The government agencies emphasized the importance of property agencies and agents in upholding the integrity and professionalism of the real estate industry. CEA will scrutinize the information presented by property agents when marketing HDB flats to ensure transparency and protect the interests of prospective buyers. The phenomenon of million-dollar HDB homes has garnered attention, with several listings on property portals asking for S$2 million or more. While such listings may appeal to a niche group with unique preferences and financial means, they represent a small minority of all resale transactions. High Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) The DBSS Toa Payoh flat and the two 5-room flats in Sengkang, as per their current listed prices, will entail substantial cash-over valuation (COV), necessitating full upfront payment in cash. HDB loan and bank home loans is based on the property valuation and not the purchase price. Buyers are advised to check valuation before making an offer to purchase a home.  Timely Invervention To Stop Opportunistic Property Agents JT Chia, Managing Director at Propertyforsale, supported the government's intervention to curb attention-grabbing property listings with unusual high selling prices. Such tactics may distort market expectations and give the false impression of rapidly rising property prices. “Singapore Government want to rein in property prices in an election year,” he said. Despite the allure of million-dollar HDB flats, the majority of first-timer families who purchased new flats or resale units in 2023 had manageable mortgage servicing ratios, indicating their ability to service their monthly HDB loan instalments with minimal cash outlay. In conclusion, the investigation into misleading resale listings for million-dollar HDB flats underscores the need for transparency and accountability in the real estate market. As stakeholders collaborate to ensure fair and accurate representation, prospective buyers are advised to evaluate their options prudently, especially in the current economic climate.

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IRAS Crackdown on 166 Cases of Tax Avoidance in 99-to-1 Stake Property Purchase

May 07, 2024 0 0

In recent years, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has been vigilant in its efforts to curb tax avoidance schemes in the property market. As of April 2024, IRAS has unearthed 166 cases of tax avoidance related to private property purchases, resulting in the potential recovery of around S$60 million in Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and surcharges. These revelations shed light on the prevalence of a particular scheme known as the "99-to-1" arrangement, which some property buyers have utilized to circumvent rightful tax obligations. On May 7, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong addressed the issue, highlighting the "99-to-1" arrangement as a prime example of tax avoidance tactics employed by certain property buyers. This scheme involves buyers manipulating property transactions to reduce the ABSD payable on residential property purchases. Essentially, it entails a scenario where a buyer acquires a mere 1% stake in a property, allowing them to significantly decrease their tax liability. Under this arrangement, the Commissioner of Stamp Duties has the authority to disregard individual transactions and treat them as a single joint purchase. Consequently, IRAS can then recover the appropriate amount of ABSD owed, coupled with a 50% surcharge. This stringent approach underscores Singapore’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of its tax system and ensuring fairness in property transactions. The prevalence of such schemes is concerning, with approximately 0.5% of private residential properties transacted between 2018 and 2021 involving similar purchase arrangements. This trend has prompted authorities to take decisive action to stem the tide of tax evasion in the property sector. Senior Minister of State for Finance Chee Hong Tat emphasized the consequences for agents found complicit in facilitating these arrangements, including financial penalties and suspension of registrations. One of the key indicators of potential tax avoidance is the swift sale of the 1% stake shortly after the initial purchase. By exploiting this loophole, buyers seek to minimize their tax liabilities, often at the expense of the integrity of the tax system. For instance, a buyer purchasing a property valued at S$1 million would ordinarily incur a 20% ABSD. However, by acquiring only a 1% stake in the property, they effectively reduce their ABSD obligation to a mere fraction of the actual amount owed. To address these issues, IRAS remains vigilant in scrutinizing property transactions and identifying instances of tax avoidance. By leveraging data analytics and collaborating with relevant agencies such as the Council for Estate Agencies, IRAS aims to strengthen enforcement efforts and deter individuals from engaging in dubious practices. Ultimately, the crackdown on tax avoidance in Singapore’s property market underscores the government’s commitment to upholding the integrity of its tax regime and fostering a level playing field for all stakeholders. As authorities continue to tighten regulations and enhance oversight, buyers and agents alike must adhere to the principles of transparency and compliance to ensure the sustainability and fairness of the property market ecosystem.

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