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Thread: Resale flats commanding more cash-over-valuation, HDB urges caution

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    Default Resale flats commanding more cash-over-valuation, HDB urges caution

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...031506/1/.html

    Resale flats commanding more cash-over-valuation, HDB urges caution

    By Joanne Chan, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 18 January 2010 1729 hrs


    SINGAPORE : Housing analysts said it is a sellers' market right now, with resale flats being a hot commodity lately.

    But the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has urged buyers to exercise caution when paying high cash premiums, and to do their homework to determine if a house is truly worth its asking price.

    A 4-room flat in Bishan was recently put up for sale. It was valued at S$460,000 by an independent valuer appointed by HDB, and the owners are asking for an additional S$100,000 cash-over-valuation (COV).

    The owners, who declined to be named, are a young couple in their 30s who run an F&B business. They claimed to have received three offers so far, but all were rejected.

    "The COV is too low. There are those who are asking for S$50,000 to S$60,000. There was one offer which was close, about $95,000. We are not in urgent need to sell. In a way, it's to test the market. If we sell, we sell. If we don't sell, we will just continue to stay," said the owner of the 4-room flat in Bishan.

    Analysts said with a continued strong demand for resale flats, owners are taking advantage of the situation to increasingly ask for higher prices.

    Based on the latest HDB figures, 78 per cent of home sales transacted in the third quarter of last year were above valuation. That is a 22 percentage-point jump from the second quarter of last year's figure of 57 per cent.

    The median COV is also on the rise - jumping from S$3,000 in the second quarter to S$12,000 in Q3.

    With HDB resale flat prices hitting an all-time high, housing agents said most flats now command at least S$20,000 to S$30,000 cash-over-valuation.

    Units situated at good locations, close proximity to an MRT station and good renovation can see COV go up to S$50,000 to S$70,000.

    But there is a limit to how much buyers are willing to pay.

    "If it's not to my liking, then I'd have to do up, (renovate) it again. So how much (am I willing to pay)? About $50 to $60,000," said one member of the public.

    "It's too high for me. Because of my income I don't think I can afford it," said another.

    HDB said only four out of the 13,000 4-room flats sold last year had premiums higher than S$70,000.

    And analysts cautioned against jumping into deals that require high cash premiums.

    "COV is a premium. Five years down the line, the renovation will deteriorate. And there's no guarantee that you can sell at S$100,000 above the then value. Therefore, buyers should exercise discretion as far as how high you want to pay," said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex.

    HDB said it does not control resale flat prices as they are the result of negotiations between willing buyers and sellers.

    It added that intervening in COV means forcing people to buy and sell at fixed prices.

    HDB also urge buyers to have the relevant information before negotiating with sellers, and to offer a price within their means. - CNA /ls

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    very simple, happy with the price then buy, not happy don't buy lor, nothng to even write about.

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    Now its like more demand than supply especially 3 rms. Really pity those who can only loan from bank who is paying 5% cash on top of cov. i had seen alot of original condition with high floor even in jurong asking min 30k. i wish all buyers stop buying 2 d moment to help curb the high cov situation

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    Pay so much for 3rm HDB flat I might as well get a 'mickey mouse' 1+study private property and still get to enjoy the facilities and the better living environment (presumably 3rm HDB flat buyers are mostly single or child-less couple).

    Quote Originally Posted by yunjc
    Now its like more demand than supply especially 3 rms. Really pity those who can only loan from bank who is paying 5% cash on top of cov. i had seen alot of original condition with high floor even in jurong asking min 30k. i wish all buyers stop buying 2 d moment to help curb the high cov situation

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    Quote Originally Posted by teddybear
    Pay so much for 3rm HDB flat I might as well get a 'mickey mouse' 1+study private property and still get to enjoy the facilities and the better living environment (presumably 3rm HDB flat buyers are mostly single or child-less couple).
    why pay double the price to get 1/2 the space for private MM unit??? I can use the 300K extra i paid for MM unit to reno the HDB flat or simply just keep the cash

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    BTO flats: 5 times oversubscribed
    Harsha Jethnani
    The Straits Times
    Monday, 18 January 2010, 10.01 pm


    The biggest draw were the 4-room apartment types at Limbang Green in Choa Chu Kang, which as at 5 pm on January 18, were 14 times oversubscribed. -- Photo: HDB

    Demand for public housing shows no sign of abating, with the first Housing Board build-to-order (BTO) projects this year in Choa Chu Kang and Hougang, already attracting overwhelming interest.

    The biggest draw were the 4-room apartment types at Limbang Green in Choa Chu Kang, which as at 5pm on Mondasy, were 14 times oversubscribed.

    Applications for 4-room apartments went up to 2,681 for 188 such units at Limbang Green in Choa Chu Kang. At Buangkok Vale in Hougang, 2,608 applications were made for 458 four-room apartments.

    A total of 6,848 applications were received for 1,291 units offered in the two projects, launched on Jan 5 - which is more than 5 times oversubscribed, indicating that demand is likely to be strong for future projects.

    The HDB said in a statement on Monday that 12,000 new BTO flats will be released this year if there is sustained demand.

    The final update on number of applications received will be posted on www.hdb.gov.sg at 2pm on Tuesday.

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    Its a sellers market now, say analysts, and CV figures are increasingly on the rise
    Joanne Chan
    Today
    Tuesday, 19 January 2010

    You want to sell your flat and you are asking for $100,000 COV.

    A buyer is willing to pay you $95,000. Would you sell?

    A couple asked that amount for their 4-room HDB flat, and a potential buyer offered $5,000 less than the amount they wanted.

    But the sellers said n.

    $1, s $1,. Because we are not in urgent need to sell, said Michelle, who is in her 30s.

    The owners who declined to give their full names run a food and beverage business.

    The Bishan flat which had recently been put up for sale has been valued at $460,000 by an independent valuer appointed by HDB.

    The flat owners are not alone in asking for increasingly higher COV figures. According to the HDB, 4 out of 13,000 4-room flats sold last year had premiums higher than $70,000.

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    Wrng to accuse them of driving up costs: Shanmugam
    Jeremy AuYong
    The Straits Times
    Monday, 18 January 2010, 8.00 am


    'The first misconception is that somehow there are 5 million people and that is putting pressure on all of us. It doesn't.' said Mr Shanmugam. -- Photo: ST

    Midway through a 1-hour dialogue with Law Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday, 58-year-old Wee Kai Fatt stood up and gave voice to the claims of many coffee shop pundits here.

    The senior engineer complained about the frgnrs-fuelled population bm, saying he was shocked when he heard there were 5 mlln people living in Singapore.

    This influx of foreigners, he added, had caused HDB home prices to rckt.

    Taking it all in, Mr Shanmugam took pains to clarify what he said were several misconceptions in Mr Wees statement.

    The Law Ministers key message: Do not cast foreigners as the villains driving up the prices of HDB flats.

    Speaking at the end of his 3-hour visit to Yew Tee constituency in Hong Kah GRC, he said: The first misconception is that somehow there are 5 million people and that is putting pressure on all of us. It doesnt.

    Of the 5 million, 3.2 million are citizens, and roughly 500,000 are permanent residents (PRs).

    The remaining 1.3 million are here on temporary work permits, and they impose no burden on the public housing system, said Mr Shanmugam, who is also the Second Home Affairs Minister.

    The reason: These frgnrs are nt allowed to by any public housing flats, whether directly from the HDB or in the resale market.

    As for the PRs, who can buy resale flats, he said they form too small a number at the moment to have any significant impact on prices.

    So, who is supporting the high HDB prices?

    Just last week, there were media reports of a 2-room HDB flat in Chinatown selling for $245,000, or $45,000 more than the flats valuation.

    Mr Shanmugams hunch is that Sngprns are the likely clprts.

    Asked by another Yew Tee resident about the high prices, he responded: You say maybe foreigners are paying these high valuations. I think if you check, youll find that the majority are Singaporeans. The foreigners who come here and look at HDB flats generally buy the lower value flats.

    Youll see that they are spread out in the suburban areas, and their salaries tend not to be that high. They dont get the kind of grants we give Singaporeans. And its not so easy for them. I havent done an analysis of the statistics, but Id be prepared to say that it is primarily Sngprns who are pyng these prices.

    He added that it would be difficult for the Government to step in and impose some sort of limit on resale flat prices.

    It requires the Government to intervene and for every n person you want to make hppy, you will make nthr person nhppy, he said.

    The Governments approach instead was to give Singaporeans a leg up with concessionary loans and housing grants which can amount to as much as $40,000 just for young couples seeking to live near their parents.

    Mr Shanmugam also noted that eight in 10 Singaporeans pay their HDB monthly mortgages completely with funds from their CPF savings and do not cough up any additional cash. All in, he said, flats remain ffrdbl.

    This year, the Government is ready to launch up to 12,000 build-to-order units to keep up with demand. In fact, HDB launched a new project in Yew Tee two weeks ago.

    Yesterdays dialogue highlighted again the simmering tension between foreigners and locals here, as the issue dominated the meeting with around 150 residents.

    In the past year, the surge in foreigners has been blamed for various ills from the rise in home prices to a lack of jobs for Singaporeans.

    Mr Shanmugams remarks mark the latest attempt by a political leader to clarify the issue. He noted the Government need to work harder on getting across the message on the role of foreigners.

    He said: Politics is, in fact, the art of communication, and this question shows how much misconception there is on the ground, and that is one of the problems a Government has and must overcome.

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    For childless couple (young or old) or single, they don't really need the extra space of 700+ sqft. 500 sqft will do. Which to choose is a matter of life style but if I have the money and have to choose between 700+ sqft HDB or 400 sqft private condo, I will definitely choose the later. The later don't need much extra money to reno because brand new and many is FH/999 lease some more & come with much better living environment and facilities vs the old 30+ years old 3rm HDB with remaining 60+ years lease. Go take a look at those HDB blocks with only 3rm flats and you will know what I mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allthepies
    why pay double the price to get 1/2 the space for private MM unit??? I can use the 300K extra i paid for MM unit to reno the HDB flat or simply just keep the cash

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    Quote Originally Posted by teddybear
    For childless couple (young or old) or single, they don't really need the extra space of 700+ sqft. 500 sqft will do. Which to choose is a matter of life style but if I have the money and have to choose between 700+ sqft HDB or 400 sqft private condo, I will definitely choose the later. The later don't need much extra money to reno because brand new and many is FH/999 lease some more & come with much better living environment and facilities vs the old 30+ years old 3rm HDB with remaining 60+ years lease. Go take a look at those HDB blocks with only 3rm flats and you will know what I mean.
    I agree. Privacy is one major concern for HDB, I believe all 3-room HDBs are along a shared corridor. HDB is only good for rental yield.

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    Bn PRs from reselling HDB flats at a profit
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    The Straits Times
    Tuesday, 19 January 2010

    Minister K. Shanmugams remarks in yesterdays report about the impact of foreigners on public housing (Wrong to accuse them of driving up costs: Shanmugam) did not address the consequences on single Singaporeans or offer more effective ways to help all citizens.

    In dismissing the perceived impact of foreigners, Mr Shanmugam noted that foreigners cannot buy HDB flats and that there are too few permanent residents (PRs) to affect prices.

    He also noted that the Government gives Singaporeans a leg up with concessionary loans and housing grants, and is ready to launch up to 12,000 build-to-order (BTO) units to meet demand.

    But concessionary loans and housing grants are not enough to offset rising flat prices, and single Singaporeans cannot buy BTO units.

    If the Government will not regulate rising HDB flat resale prices, the HDB should build more 2- and 3-room flats and let single citizens buy them.

    PRs should also be bnnd from renting out their flats or putting them up for rsl at a prfit. The price at which PRs resell their flats should nt be hghr than what they paid for them.

    Such a rule will prevent PRs who do not intend to take up citizenship from reaping a windfall when they return home after a few years. It will indeed ensure that foreigners are not responsible for high flat prices.

    Lua Eng Chuan

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    Quote Originally Posted by jitkiat
    I agree. Privacy is one major concern for HDB, I believe all 3-room HDBs are along a shared corridor. HDB is only good for rental yield.
    no privacy ?

    i agree

    cant even walk around naked .. without being caught ...

    there should be a law to prevent people from LOOKING into other units ..

    i know i sweden .. you can look into someone else's house .. but what you see is what you get .. cannot complain ..cos you are invading into someone else's privacy

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    Citizenship caveat?
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    The Straits Times
    Wednesday, 20 January 2010

    The solution to the public housing conundrum is not to build more new HDB flats for sale because the problem lies in the resale market.

    The resale market is where Singaporeans must compete with permanent residents (PRs) for a place to live.

    Rental housing also sees the same competition, even though there are not enough rental flats to meet the needs of all deserving citizens.

    The shortage of rental flats has its history in the HDBs decision to cut back on the building of 2-room flats because they did not sell or rent well.

    All new flats since then were constructed for sale only. The ratio of flats for sale and those built for rent became more skewed in favour of new sales so much so that upon the influx of PRs, there were not enough for them to rent.

    The decision to allow PRs to buy public flats in the open market was because there was no other way to accommodate the new immigrants.

    If there was a huge supply of HDB flats of various types for rent for all, including low-income Singaporeans, prices of HDB flats would have stabilised and not have caused consternation to the public housing authority.

    These new immigrants could stay in such rented HDB flats until such time when they decide to take up full Singapore citizenship; only then would they be allowed to buy an HDB flat.

    Becoming a citizen, therefore, would earn them the right to purchase an HDB flat. The gesture would also demonstrate these immigrants loyalty which, previously, was just speculation rather than reality.

    If building executive condominiums and build-to-order flats are the Governments only way of fighting rising costs in public housing, our children will have to wait for us to pass on before they can inherit a roof over their heads.

    Wan Siew Kay

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    Quote Originally Posted by Getrich, Channel NewsAsia Forum, 20 January 2010 9.03 am
    juz received an email from a potential indonesion buyer want to buy my point block unit ,valuation + 250K cash . Dont know real or not ?
    Wah biang!
    Indonesian? $250,000 COV?
    How come got this kind of lobang one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reporter
    Wah biang!
    Indonesian? $250,000 COV?
    How come got this kind of lobang one?
    what currency????

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    Quote Originally Posted by ay123
    what currency????
    ريڠڬيت بروني (aka ringgit Brunei) I believe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reporter
    ريڠڬيت بروني (aka ringgit Brunei) I believe.
    Errrr isn't Brunei dollar pegged to Sing Dollar? Or did you mean Indonesian Rupiah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphim13
    Errrr isn't Brunei dollar pegged to Sing Dollar? Or did you mean Indonesian Rupiah.
    if this indonesian can afford 250k above COV ..

    why not use that 250k ..in private condo ? in the vincinity of that HDB point blk ??

    strange

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    Income ceiling helps ensure neediest get subsidised flats
    Forum
    The Straits Times
    Friday, 22 January 2010

    I refer to the letters by Miss Yvon Lim ('How realistic is $8,000 income ceiling for flats?', Jan 6); Mr Glenn Ng ('Buyer's appeal', Jan 12); Mr Joseph Ong ('It limits price hikes', Jan 12); and Mr Xavier Chua ('Flats: Fairer formula for income ceiling', Jan 14).

    We need to manage our public housing budget judiciously. The income ceiling ensures that housing subsidies are targeted at those who need them more. The eligibility for housing subsidies extends up to a monthly income of $10,000, not $8,000. Those earning between $8,000 and $10,000 are eligible for a $30,000 grant to buy executive condominiums (ECs).

    They should not compete with those earning less than $8,000 for new HDB flats.

    For the same reason, income ceilings are set at $3,000 for 3-room flats and $2,000 for 2-room flats to safeguard these smaller HDB flats for the lower-income. HDB has recently released 2 new sites for EC development.

    Besides ECs, households with a monthly income of $8,000 to $10,000 can buy a resale flat for which there is a wide range in various locations to suit different budgets and preferences. For instance, a family that earns $9,000 can consider the following:

    A 5-room resale flat in a non-mature estate. The average price for a flat in a non-mature estate is about $380,000, and estimated monthly instalments are about $1,574, which can be fully paid from Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.

    A 5-room resale flat in a mature estate. For example, the median price for a resale flat in Queenstown is about $619,000. The estimated monthly instalments are about $2,564, which can be paid mostly from CPF savings, and supplemented with a cash payment of $494.

    As these examples show, flat buyers earning above $8,000 a month can comfortably afford HDB flats, but they will have to make trade-offs between price, size, attributes and location.

    Lily Chan-Wong Jee Choo (Mrs)
    Deputy Director (Policy and Property)
    Housing & Development Board

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    New flats stay affordable
    Jeremy Au Yong
    The Straits Times
    Tuesday, 26 January 2010, 11.25 pm


    Mr Lee stressed the Government was committed to keeping HDB flats affordable and that its new flats are priced within the means of the vast majority of Singaporeans.

    While the Government will keep the prices of new Housing Board (HDB) flats in check, it has less control over prices in the resale market.

    This state of affairs was highlighted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday night when he commented for the first time on what has been one of the hottest topics of discussion.

    Speaking at a gala dinner to mark the HDB's 50th anniversary, Mr Lee stressed the Government was committed to keeping HDB flats affordable and that its new flats are priced within the means of the vast majority of Singaporeans.

    On top of that, it would also build enough new flats to cater to demand as the population grows. In fact, to cap its 50th year, the HDB will build its 1 millionth flat this year.

    However, the Government does not have control over the prices of resale flats, he said.

    His explanation: 'These resale prices are set by individual households who transact flats on a willing buyer, willing seller basis, and are affected by movements and sentiments in the wider economy, including the private property market. Hence, resale prices of HDB flats will fluctuate from year-to-year.'

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    Quotas under study for PRs buying resale flats
    Possible cap on PR proportion in every HDB neighbourhood and block
    Uma Shankari
    The Business Times
    Thursday, 28 January 2010

    The Housing & Development Board (HDB) is considering setting a cap on the proportion of permanent residents (PRs) allowed in every HDB neighbourhood and block.

    The possible move - which is now under study - was revealed yesterday by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who was speaking at a dialogue session at the International Housing Conference.

    HDB, which celebrates its 50th year this year, now has in place an ethnic integration policy which seeks to prevent the formation of racial enclaves by setting the maximum allowable proportion for each ethnic group in every HDB neighbourhood and block.

    There have also been concerns, of late, that purchases of resale flats by PRs have been pushing up prices. PRs are now allowed to buy HDB flats only on the resale market.

    Recent media reports have quoted housing agents on the ground as saying that cash-rich buyers - both locals and permanent residents (PRs) - are driving the recent rally in HDB resale flat prices and the resulting high cash-over-valuation (COV) levels.

    HDB resale prices hit a new record in Q4 2009, with prices climbing 3.9% from the previous quarter. The median COV for all resale transactions doubled to $24,000 in Q4 from $12,000 in Q3.

    Mr Lee also addressed concerns about the affordability of HDB flats.

    'It (affordability) will always be an issue,' said Mr Lee. 'What is affordability, from the point of view of the buyer, and the point of view of the government that is subsidising you?'

    Buyers, he said, always want cheaper and better flats. But the government has to price it at a level that is fair to the revenue it collects as well as fair to individuals - not only present buyers but also past and future buyers, Mr Lee added.

    Mr Lee pointed out that HDB is now selling new flats for lower than their market values. This allows Singaporeans to benefit from rising asset prices as the economy grows.

    Buyer expectations are also being affected by rising aspirations, Mr Lee said. But rising aspirations have to go hand in hand with rising productivity - which Singapore has not seen.

    Singapore, he said, has grown in the last 5 years mainly by importing foreign labour. But now Singaporeans are uncomfortable as they feel that there are too many foreigners. There are complaints that trains and buses are over-crowded with foreigners. Foreigners have also been blamed for driving up property prices.

    'The answer is simple,' Mr Lee said. 'Check the flow of foreigners, raise your productivity, do the job better.'

    Earlier in the day, Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan said during his keynote speech that HDB faces increasing challenges in the 21st century.

    'The core mission of HDB remains unchanged: that of providing affordable quality homes and building up cohesive communities,' said Mr Mah.

    But while HDB will keep that commitment, it faces challenges from shifting demographics and the steadily ageing profile of HDB flats and towns. For example, with more new Singapore citizens, greater integration efforts will be required, Mr Mah said. And as HDB flats and towns age, there will be an urgent need to upgrade, redevelop and rejuvenate older estates, he said.

    And HDB also needs to minimise the impact of growth on the environment and to use resources efficiently, Mr Mah said.

    'HDB must rise up to meet these challenges and continue its efforts in achieving the three dimensions of environmental, economic and social sustainability,' Mr Mah said.

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    Light moments at the dialogue
    The Straits Times
    Thursday, 28 January 2010

    There were several light-hearted moments during the dialogue yesterday. Here are two:

    Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew: 'I was on an SIA flight coming home and the air hostess who was serving me, I saw she had a wedding ring, so I said, 'Any children?' She said, 'Not yet.' I said, 'What are you waiting for?' She said, 'For my flat.' So I said, 'Have you got one?' She said, 'Yes, I've got one at [email protected], on the 48th floor. And I got it on the first booking.' (That's) when the price was lowest. So I said, 'Well, remember that when voting comes.' '

    Professor Tommy Koh: 'I'd like to ask you to now help us think forward. You've always thought ahead of the wave, you've always raised the bar for us as a nation. We've done very well in the last 50 years. Now, as you look forward, do you have any new ambitions for us in HDB, in public housing, in making Singapore one of the world's greenest, most sustainable, most liveable cities?'

    MM Lee: 'No, I think my job was to hand over to a group of people who can do the job better than me now. I mean, I am not 35 years old.'

    Prof Koh: 'We are all afraid that you still think like you're 35.' (audience roars with laughter).

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