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Value of 3 room HDB flats in Toa Payoh declined by as much as 30% in 4 years

Posted by temasektimes on November 1, 2018

The value of 3 room HDB flats in Toa Payoh which are more than 50 years old has declined by as much as 30 percent in the past 4 years!

As a property agent specializing selling HDB flats in Toa Payoh, I can tell you that it is very difficult to find buyers for these aging HDB flats which have undergone upgrading just a few years ago.

Sellers who ask for unrealistic prices for their units, even at bank valuation, usually are unable to sell them. For those who need to offload their flats urgently, they will have to give steep discounts of sometimes more than $50,000 to entice buyers.

For the purpose of comparison, let us use the recent sales transactions of 2 room HDB flats at the same size of 710 square feet at Block 9 Toa Payoh Lorong 7.

Read rest of article here.

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Can I use my CPF or secure a bank loan to buy a 70 year old HDB flat

Posted by temasektimes on October 22, 2018

Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said recently at a dialogue session with young people that Singaporeans who buy a 50-year-old Housing Board (HDB) flat today can expect prices to continue to appreciate over the next 10 years.

“If you buy a 70-year-old flat, there is still appreciation potential especially because this Government is prepared to continue to invest in it through Home Improvement Programme (HIP) II and the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (Vers),” Mr Khaw said.

While it is difficult to ascertain if his statement is true as no HDB flats have reached the 70 year mark yet, we can examine if it is possible to secure a bank loan and to use CPF to purchase the flat.

Read rest of article here.

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Two-faced WP making use of opposition to advance its own selfish interests

Posted by temasektimes on October 6, 2018

In July 2018, former PAP MP Dr Tan Cheng Bock met up with leaders from various opposition parties in Singapore to discuss the prospects of forming an united opposition coalition to challenge the PAP in the next General Election.

The Workers Party, with 6 MPs and 3 NCMPs in Parliament, was conspicuous by its absence though an invitation was sent to them.

How can the opposition in Singapore be united without the Workers Party? It can only be possible once the opposition face the brutal hard truth that WP is NOT part of the opposition, but part of the PAP whose sole purpose is to keep and entrench the PAP in power forever.

WP is shamelessly making use of the opposition to further its own selfish interests and political agenda. It refuses to work with other opposition parties and yet it demands other parties keep away from its “stronghold” in the eastern part of Singapore to avoid third party contests in the name of opposition “unity”.

 

Photo: WP Chief Pritam Singh

 

Based on results of previous elections, the eastern constituencies of Singapore generally enjoy higher opposition support compared to the east. Because WP has “booked” all the good winnable seats, the other opposition parties have no choice but to contest in seats which are more difficult to win. This explains why WP appears to garner more votes compared to SDP and other parties.

Why not WP contest in Jurong GRC led by popular DPM Tharman and see how many votes it can win? If SDP fields an “A” team in East Coast GRC, it will stand a much higher chance of winning it compared to Bukit Timah GRC.

By giving way to WP to allow it contest as and where it wanted to while staying out of a united opposition front, the real opposition parties are restricting their own development and indirectly furthering the narrow political interests of WP instead.

Since Low Thia Khiang took over WP in 2001, WP has never expressed any interest to work with other opposition parties. Low himself admitted as much by saying that WP will “forge its own path.” The present WP Chief Pritam Singh has scoffed at the idea of “opposition unity” too. In fact, he appears more interested to work with the PAP.

During a forum held at the Institute of Policy Studies in the aftermath of the 2011 General Election, Pritam Singh shocked the audience by proclaiming that WP will form a coalition government with the PAP if the latter fails to win a majority in future elections.

The opposition should not regard WP as part of the opposition any more and “give face” to it. The real opposition parties led by SDP should considering contesting in ALL the WP seats in the eastern part of Singapore and gives voters more choice.

Do Singaporeans want a weak, feeble and useless opposition which dare not voice their concerns in Parliament or do they want brave, selfless and principled opposition MPs who dare to speak up and hold the PAP to its words and actions?

WP is now the single biggest stumbling block to real political progress and reform in Singapore. Do we want to continue with the status quo with 10, 20 or even 30 useless WP MPs “wayanging” in Parliament or do we want ONE SINGLE real opposition leader like SDP’s Dr Chee Soon Juan to challenge the PAP?

It is time we wipe the slate clean and start afresh in the next General Election. With 12 NCMPs guaranteed to enter Parliament, Singaporeans should not be afraid to vote out the fake opposition WP and replaced them with real opposition leaders in Parliament. Let us give them five years to see how they perform in Parliament and we can decide whether to continue lending support to them in the next General Election.

After witnessing so many cringe-worthy performance by WP MPs who are worse off even than the PAP backbenchers themselves, we can safely conclude that they are largely ineffectual and make no difference at all in Parliament.

Time is running short. A vote for WP is a vote for PAP! As the late opposition scion Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam said at the inauguration of the Reform Party: Singaporeans should vote for WP and Low Thia Khiang if they want to maintain the status quo. The question for you is: Do you still want the status quo for the next decade?

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Singapore’s PAP has little to fear from Malaysia’s political transition

Posted by temasektimes on October 4, 2018

By: Kai Ostwald and Steven Oliver

Pakatan Harapan’s recent defeat of Malaysia’s long-dominant UMNO-led coalition came as a near universal surprise, not least to the coalitions’ respective leaders Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Razak themselves. While the popularity of UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) had been in a decade-long decline, massive advantages in access to resources and a deeply biased electoral process seemed a sufficient guarantee of continuity.

UMNO’s defeat raises questions about the prospects of a similar transition in neighbouring Singapore, as the two systems bear extensive similarities. In the words of Dan Slater, ‘Malaysia and Singapore have long had authoritarian regimes that looked like no others in the world — except for each other’.

While Singapore’s dominant People’s Action Party (PAP) is free of the major scandals that have plagued UMNO, it has had a series of smaller missteps and is not projecting regime-typical efficiency in its internal leadership transition. UMNO’s unexpected defeat at the hands of an opposition coalition headed by a former UMNO prime minister also appears to have inspired renewed efforts by a number of Singapore’s fragmented and fractious opposition parties to organise a similar coalition.

What does Malaysia’s surprise election mean for Singapore, which must hold an election of its own by early 2021? The answer is relatively little, as despite regime similarities, the PAP relies on substantially different political foundations to build mass support.

The PAP has fostered a political environment in which Singaporean voters focus primarily on valence considerations — in other words, on party trustworthiness, competence and professional qualifications —  rather than on ideology or policy positions. This provides the PAP with several fundamental advantages. Its penetration of Singapore’s high capacity state, for instance, gives it access to a pool of talent for recruitment that is largely unavailable to the opposition. Meanwhile, its position at the helm during Singapore’s half-century of developmental successes allows it to refer to a concrete record that the opposition can counter only with hypotheticals.

Simultaneously, the overwhelming focus on valence politics crowds out discussions of ideological alternatives that are incompatible with the PAP’s platform. The centrality of valence politics, in short, allows the PAP to leverage its comparative advantages over the opposition while limiting its vulnerability to ideational challenges. This presents the opposition with a fundamental dilemma: it is exceedingly difficult to effectively challenge the PAP on valence considerations given the structural advantages held by the dominant party. At the same time, campaigning on ideological or policy-oriented appeals does not resonate with a sufficiently large proportion of the electorate to secure victory at the ballot box.

By contrast, UMNO made ideological and policy issues — primarily in the form of bumiputera (indigenous Malay) privileges — a central part of its platform. This left it vulnerable to parties like the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and Bersatu, which were able to occupy similar policy spaces and disrupt UMNO’s exclusive linkage to relevant voters. The growing irrelevance of UMNO’s peninsular coalition partners undermined efforts to appeal on other policy positions, allowing the former opposition to capture most of the non-bumiputera vote in West Malaysia.

This does not mean that the emphasis on policy stances was absolute. Valence considerations also came into play. The scandals around Najib Razak clearly hurt UMNO’s credibility and pushed many former Barisan Nasional voters away.

But unlike in Singapore, Malaysia’s former opposition also had sufficient credibility to pull voters towards it on valence considerations. This results in part from their considerable governing experience at the state level, as well as the history of significant opposition presence in parliament. The central position of Bersatu — essentially an UMNO-splinter party — in the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition also ensured that a post-transition government would be led by a figure that many Malay voters viewed as trustworthy and competent, as well as likely to maintain some degree of policy continuity.

Predicting elections is an inherently risky endeavour, as Trump, Brexit, and now Malaysia so clearly exemplify. But those political contestations involved relatively thin margins. That is not the case in Singapore, where the PAP maintains a substantial buffer that should remain robust for the foreseeable future. The timeframe for a transformation of political culture sufficient to open space for meaningful competition on positional issues is likely well more than the next election or two, as is the timeframe for building a credible opposition on a scale that could unseat the PAP on valence considerations.

The only clear danger to the PAP’s grasp on power is the erosion of its own credibility. With its fate in its own hands and only its own missteps to fear, it is perhaps not surprising that the PAP has been rather reticent in addressing a range of contentious issues from inequality to housing and social change, as well as in passing the baton to its fourth generation of leaders.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This article was first published on the East Asia Forum.

Kai Ostwald is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy & Global Affairs and the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is also the director of UBC’s Centre for Southeast Asia Research.

Steven Oliver is an assistant professor of political science at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.

This article was based on the authors’ journal article ‘Explaining Elections in Singapore: Dominant Party Resilience and Valence Politics’ published here.

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Why HIP2 and VERS will not transform your depreciating HDB flat into an asset

Posted by temasektimes on September 25, 2018

In a report published by Swiss bank Credit Suisse on 20 September, analysts Louis Chua and Nicholas Teh noted that the much touted Voluntary En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) is not a panacea to the real and pertinent issue of “lease decay”.

Noting that one of the stated aims of the scheme is to spread out redevelopment, the report pointed out that flats with 10 years of lease remaining would theoretically be worth only half of flats with 30 years left.

All HDB flats are owned by the HDB and comes with a 99 year lease. When a buyer buys a flat from HDB or another lessee, he/she signs on a lease agreement to lease the flat from HDB.

From a legal perspective, once the lease runs to zero, the flat automatically reverts back to HDB, the lessor with no compensation offered to the lessee as what happened to the 191 leasehold terrace houses in Geylang which were acquired by the government recently.

When Singaporeans buy a HDB flat, they expect three things:

  1. The value of their flat will appreciate over time and never depreciate.
  2. They are able to sell their flats for a profit years later and use the money either to upgrade or to retire.
  3. They are able to pass their flats as a bequest to their children after they pass on.

This means that if I buy a four room BTO flat in Punggol for $400,000 now, I will expect to sell it for $500,000 or $600,000 in 10 to 20 years time. If I buy a resale five room HDB flat in Toa Payoh for $500,000 now, I must be able to sell it at $700,000 to $1 million many years later. If I do not sell the flat and pass it on to my children after I pass on, they are able to inherit something of substantial value.

Such a future scenario is neither realistic or feasible because by nature of the fact of the limited tenure of HDB flats, their value will start to depreciate from 40 or even 30 years onward.

Read rest of article here.

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Why you should not buy Punggol properties

Posted by temasektimes on September 24, 2018

The government announced this year the masterplan for the 50ha Punggol Digital District  to make Punggol “a hub for key growth sectors of the Digital Economy”.

The recent BTO exercise in Punggol saw an overwhelming number of applications for the 3-room and larger flats in Punggol Point and Punggol Woods.

Despite the hype surrounding Punggol,  there are few reasons why you should not buy a property there.

 

Far away from everywhere else

Location accounts for 80 percent of a property’s inherent value. All over the world and not only in Singapore, properties located on the fringes of the Central Business District (CBD) usually command a premium and prices usually start to drop the further we move away from the CBD.

Punggol lies in the far-flung northeastern part of Singapore, closer to the Malaysian state of Johor than to Singapore’s city center. Even if you drive during non-peak period, it will take at least 30 minutes to travel from the Punggol to the CBD via the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), Central Expressway (CTE) and East Coast Parkway (ECP).

Read rest of article here.

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Buying Singapore properties: Then and Now

Posted by temasektimes on September 16, 2018

For those millennials who are aspiring to buy their first property, I am sure you heard of stories from your parents, relatives, friends and agents about the “good old days” when one can buy a property easily and make a healthy profit by selling a few months later.

If you have bought a property any time between 2001 to 2008, chances are, it would at least doubled in price by now.

There were no restrictions such as TDSR, LTVR, ABSD, SSD etc imposed on property transactions then and HDB flat owners can still buy private properties in Singapore and overseas.

I remembered entering my first showflat at a new launch at Novena in 2005 by chance. The agents were standing outside distributing brochures and invited me inside for free tea and cakes. The project was developed jointly by two prominent developers in Singapore. The response was lukewarm and only half the units were taken up. The agent was desperately trying to sell me a three room 1205 square feet unit at $900,000 by offering a $50,000 renovation package. Just fresh out of university, I was earning only $4,000 monthly then, but no worries, a banker was on site to offer me a bank loan. I could take up a 90% loan and paid only 10% as down-payment. I regretted not buying the unit. The same unit now fetches $2.5 million dollars in today’s market.

A few months later, I did buy my first property – a three room condominium in Yishun at only $470,000, cheaper than a 3 room resale flat in some popular districts today. Less than a year later, I bought another property for investment and so on and on. It was possible in those days to buy multiple properties so long you hold a decent job and have a good credit rating. Banks are more than eager to do your business with scant consideration of whether you can finance your mortgages in the long term.

Read rest of article here.

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What are the differences between 99 year leasehold properties and HDB flats?

Posted by temasektimes on September 11, 2018

In land scarce Singapore, the majority of properties come with a limited lease of a 99 year tenure which includes both public and private housing.

Though both HDB flats and 99 year leasehold private properties come with a 99 year lease, there are many differences between the two which emanate from different types of ownership leading to different property rights and entitlements with regards to their sale, rental and refurbishment as encapsulated in different terms and conditions as stipulated in the contracts.

 

Ownership structure:

Buyers of 99 year old leasehold properties are buying a 99 year old strata properties which include the property and part of the land on which the property is built.

Leasehold private properties are strata title properties while HDB flats are not. Strata title allows individual ownership of part of a property (called a lot’ and generally an apartment or townhouse), combined with shared ownership in the remainder (called ‘Common Property’ e.g. foyers, driveways, gardens) through a legal entity known as the MCST or Management Corporation Strata Title which is responsible for managing the property and the surrounding land.

In contrast, HDB flat buyers are only buying the 99 year old lease from HDB. They own the lease, but not the flat or land on which it is built. HDB retains the ultimate ownership of the land and flat.

Read rest of article here.

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HDB contract is signed between a LESSOR and a LESSEE

Posted by temasektimes on September 11, 2018

A reader has emailed us a copy of a HDB contract he signed lately when purchasing a BTO flat:

 

 

 

It is stated very clear in the contract above that HDB is the LESSOR and the buyer is the LESSEE

According to the Oxford dictionary of English:

LESSOR is a person who leases or lets a property to another; a landlord.

LESSEE is a person who holds the lease of a property; a tenant.

It is pretty obvious even to the layman that HDB flat dwellers DO NOT own their flats. They are merely LEASING their flats from HDB which remains the “superior landlord”.

What HDB flat dwellers own is the LEASE of the HDB flat which the landlord allows to be sold to another party. When one sells his HDB flat, he is selling the remaining lease, not the flat or the land on which it is built on.

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Mahathir interfering in Singapore politics: Singapore should sent formal protest note to Malaysian government

Posted by temasektimes on September 10, 2018

In an interview with the Financial Times shortly after the May 9 General Election, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir said rather caustically that his shocking electoral win may have a ripple effect in Singapore:

“I think the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence.”

A few days later, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took the effort to visit Dr Mahathir to congratulate him, he received a lukewarm reception lasting only 30 minutes.

 

Source: Malay Mail

In contrast, Dr Mahathir spent 80 minutes meeting a Singapore fugitive Tan Wah Piow and four Singapore activists who are known to harbor anti-establishment views.

It is unfriendly and undiplomatic to say the least for the Prime Minister of Malaysia to so blatantly interfere in Singapore politics by making wild baseless insinuations that Singaporeans are not happy with the PAP and meeting with the Singapore opposition.

Imagine if PM Lee were to make similar comments about the Malaysian ruling coalition and to meet up with opposition activists from across the Causeway, would Dr Mahathir not recall the Singapore ambassador and slammed our government publicly demanding an apology?

Home Affairs and Law Minister Shanmugam had publicly attacking the four Singaporeans for meeting Dr Mahathir, lambasting them as “unpatriotic”, but stopped short of criticizing Dr Mahathir:

“And you know, we are not saying anything about Dr Mahathir but I think one needs to be careful about these things. And now to try and explain away what is so obvious, that doesn’t do them much credit either.”

Isn’t it pretty obvious that the four Singaporeans have been unwittingly made use of by Dr Mahathir to take a jibe at the Singapore government?

It is time the Singapore government sent a formal protest note to the Malaysian government to protest against Dr Mahathir’s blatant interfering in Singapore’s internal affairs. Continued silence over the matter may send the wrong signal to Dr Mahathir that we are afraid of him and encourage him to indulge in more sabre-rattling against Singapore.

Instead of bullying and intimidating its own citizens, the Singapore government should stand up to the real bully up north who has been making insensitive, irresponsible and incomprehensible comments about Singapore and jeopardizing cross-straits relationship.

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