Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Khaw Rocks Market and HDB Doesn't Get It

Remember Khaw Boon Wan, the minister who introduced means testing for healthcare? The one who said send your parents to Batam old folks' home?

Khaw Boon Wan recently sent little shock waves into the EC, resale and BTO markets by saying something is wrong with the EC system. He never elaborated what he really meant and now buyers, sellers, agents and developers all not sure whether new rulings would go south for them or not.

Khaw said that EC owners tended to make more compared to BTO when they sell their flats and that is unfair. WTF is he talking about? Market forces what! If people want to spend more to buy a resale EC compared to a resale HDB because the former has condo facilities, of course the EC seller can earn more profit from the sale! Also, ECs are more expensive in the first place compared to BTO, and the grant is the same for an EC and a BTO? What inequity towards the BTO buyer? The EC buyer's housing grant as a percentage of buying price of condo is smaller than that of a BTO right? WTF!

People are going crazy trying to guess what this MND minister has got to say in the coming weeks and months. Resale levy is in the air, capital gains tax on EC when sold, less subsidy for EC buyers? BTW I thought HDB is about building basic homes? I don't mean attap houses like in our grandparents' days but EC are really departures from "simple" homes, OK I admit "simple" is subjective and we expect more comforts compared to when the first HDBs were built in the 1960s. But tennis courts and swimming pools for public housing?

Actually, if there is any HDB policy revamp HDB should look into right away, besides building as many flats as possible now, is COV of resale flats. Bring it down, get rid of it. Not really the EC market which is just a tiny market compared to HDB homes up for sale.

Analysts call for resale levy on HDB-to-EC upgraders

SINGAPORE: Some property observers say imposing a resale levy on those upgrading from a HDB flat to an executive condominium (EC) could be one of the tweaks the government may make to the current EC scheme.

But they remain divided over the relevance of the current EC scheme in today's market.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan had said on Thursday that the EC scheme cannot carry on in its current form.

He pointed out a "sense of inequity" between HDB and executive condominium owners.

Mr Khaw had suggested that EC owners may make more profit than HDB flat owners in the resale market.

Executive condominiums seem to be drawing a larger profit margin for owners in absolute terms, compared to HDB flats in the resale market.

According to data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange, a four-room flat in Choa Chu Kang was sold at a median price of S$136,000 in 2005.

But the median resale price for such a unit was more than S$420,000 last year.

In comparison, executive condominium The Quintet was priced at about S$478,333 in 2005.

The median resale price for such EC units was about S$905,000 last year.

Observers point out that the price increase in percentage terms tell a different story.

For the same four-room Choa Chu Kang HDB flat, there was a 209 per cent price increase, as compared to the 89 per cent increase for the executive condominium.

Analysts say the percentage gain should also be considered when factoring the profit made by home owners.

Currently, HDB flat owners upgrading to a new Build-To-Order flat are subject to a levy, ranging from S$15,000 for a two-room flat to S$50,000 for an executive flat.

Property observers said imposing a resale levy on HDB flat owners upgrading to an executive condominium could be one of the tweaks the government may make.

Mr Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex, said: "An existing BTO flat owner, when he buys another BTO flat, he is subjected to a levy based on the existing size of a BTO flat.

"But on the other hand, an existing HDB owner, when he wants to upgrade to an executive condo, he is not subject to a levy. There again, a sense of inequity.

"The point that you can afford and the point that you are making a profit from your BTO flat, why are you not subject to a levy while an HDB upgrader is? Probably this is another area, if any form of tweaking may well take place."

Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of research and consultancy at Dennis Wee Group also held this view of imposing a resale levy on those upgrading to an EC.

Mr Ismail added that the government could choose to get rid of all forms of grants for ECs or impose a tax on the capital gain made from selling an EC.

But he said these measures would be extreme.

According to data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange, 135 executive condominiums have been sold on the resale market this year, fetching a median price of
S$990,000, an 8 per cent increase compared to 2012.

The executive condominium scheme was re-introduced in 2010 and caters to the sandwich class in Singapore - those who do not qualify for a new HDB flat but who also cannot afford a new private property.

But just how relevant is the EC scheme in today's context?

Observers have mixed views.

Ku Swee Yong, CEO of International Property Advisor, said: "ECs in the totality of things only cater to a fraction to the total market of 1.2 million households in Singapore.

"There are about 10,000 of them today, with another 9,000 on the way. Do we really need a scheme for just this category of people?

"Is the scheme of executive condominiums today outdated? Is it right in today's age, given the income that's above the median GDP per capita, that these families really need to buy taxpayer subsidised products? Are they really a sandwiched class?"

But Nicholas Mak, executive director for research & consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants, said: "Right now, the scheme does serve its purpose. There are many households out there who are aspiring to buy private condominiums but are not able to do so and actually this EC scheme is serving a large part of this sandwich class.

"But the other thing is that buyers of executive condominiums are bounded by public housing rules. So, if the government were thinking of reducing the subsidy given to EC buyers, they should likewise roll back on the public housing rules that bind EC buyers.

"But if the government were to roll back all the subsidies, that means reduce all the subsidies to nothing, then ECs would be no different from the mass market private condominiums."

Mr Mak also suggested the government could potentially consider having the HDB, and not private developers, develop EC projects.

He said if the government were to develop EC projects, it would be able to control the price of ECs as well.

The topic of executive condominiums is set to be discussed further at other Our Singapore Conversations on housing in the next few months.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Malaysian Elections and Bashing Thy Neighbour (us) Below

Barisan Nasional pattern when cornered during Malaysian elections, in-between bashing Anwar, is bash someone else. Like Singapore, especially since Singapore is Chinese-dominated and a convenient pesky whipping boy.

Speak to any Malaysian studying or working here, and they can explain to you that racial and Singapore bashing formula with a bored yawn. The latest I heard from a Malaysian pal, is that UMNO is trying to make noise about Malaysian Chinese going back to vote in Malaysia. FFS their own citizens going back to vote and they are pissing in their sarongs that these citizens are expressing their responsibility to vote. Unapologetic UMNO is just worried that the huge number of Malaysian Chinese making a living in Singapore would go back by next week to vote for Pakatan Rakyat. Nothing surprising with that voting choice as Malaysian Chinese and other minorities are fed up with the kris-happy racist UMNO. Sadly UMNO just didn't watch enough Yasmin Ahmad videos.

PR logos on S'pore-registered cars: MFA replies

SINGAPORE does not interfere in the domestic politics of other countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, amid reports of Singapore-registered cars driving around Johor bearing logos of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat.

The press statement, issued by its consulate-general in Johor Baru yesterday, comes as some of the 400,000 Malaysians living in Singapore arrange to ferry fellow citizens home to vote in the polls.

"The Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Baru has received a memorandum regarding a Singapore-registered car in Johor that had logos supporting the campaign of a political party in Malaysia," the statement said. "This is an act by an individual whose nationality is unclear."

It added: "The Consulate-General also wishes to state categorically that Singapore does not interfere in the domestic politics of other countries, just as we expect other countries not to interfere in Singapore's domestic politics."

Malaysia's Sin Chew Daily also reported Malaysia's Election Commission deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar as saying that the Singapore authorities should be concerned if Singapore cars were involved in the Malaysian polls.

"It is inappropriate for foreigners to get involved in our election, and as the car is foreign-registered, there is a possibility that the owner is a foreigner," he told The Straits Times.

He said it was up to Malaysia's Home Ministry to decide whether to stop such cars. The Sin Chew Daily reported him as saying that Singapore-registered cars whose owners are Malaysians, or which are leased by Malaysians to ferry voters, would be allowed.

Postal voting is allowed for overseas Malaysians this year, but those living in Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand and Kalimantan in Indonesia must return to cast their votes.



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Free SMRT Rides? Good Heart, Shitty Idea

Is the government populist or what in trying to solve people's problems! Mixed reactions to the free SMRT ride at super early morning hours, pre-peak it is called. Free ride people complain. Not free ride, people also complain. Don't want to go to get up early to get free ride also complain.

Anyway, so taxpayers are paying for freeloaders (which include taxpayers)! Making SMRT and its shareholders smile again! Lui is doing all he can, if you think that subsidising public transport is all he can and should do for public transport. Even Singapore Mind thinks Lui's idea is kinda good. Bah. As long as SMRT and SBS are the big players and they know taxpayers will always pick up the bill coz of Lui's subsidise our public transport thinking, SBS and SMRT won't give a shit about actually carrying commuters safely, quickly, regularly, everywhere. Don't need more trains or buses they think as the government would give cash incentives to regulate commuter traffic. WTF.

The government should free up public transport. Trains infrequent and crowded? Have new bus companies to compete with it, not complement it like SBS. Give new opportunities for SMEs to enter the private bus market assuming they can find drivers as foreigner crunch now.

LTA addresses free travel concerns
Helen Lim Director, Media Relations and Public Education, Land Transport Authority

We refer to Ms Linda Foo’s letter, “Free travel scheme may not benefit all” (April 18).

The free pre-peak travel trial aims to ease crowding during the morning peak hour along the city-bound stretches of the MRT network, which are typically the most crowded stretches.

This trial complements our efforts to improve rail capacity aggressively through additional trains, higher train frequencies and new rail lines in the longer term.

We hope this encourages commuters who are able and willing to change their travel schedule to enter the city area before the morning peak hour.

If we can achieve a shift of 10 to 20 per cent, commuters who travel during the peak period would also benefit from a less crowded ride.

Today, there is significant spare train capacity just before the peak hour. About 18,000 commuters exit at the 16 stations in the city area in the half hour before 7.45am, compared to 29,500 in the half hour after 7.45am, and 59,000 between 8.30am and 9am.

To cater to the expected ridership shift, additional trains will be injected at targeted stretches with higher loading during pre-peak period. This will help reduce the intervals between trains, which are currently about three to four minutes in the pre-peak period.

We are grateful for the interest and suggestions from the public on the trial. We assure everyone that we will monitor the results closely and make rapid adjustments when needed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rumpole is a Funny Actor!

WTF! Horny professor Tey aka Sammyboy Rumpole deserves a Razzies award for worst lead actor in a comedy. He is now back to playing stressed and insane victim in his courtroom comedy drama. He screwed his students, has a family-breaking mistress working in CRA and now looks like trying to bed the 2 lawyers working for him too! LOL

Aiyoyoh! Look at his crotch - looks like a hard on!