‘Overwhelming’ is a overused word in property

I have not blogged about the local property market for a while. It is not because I have lost interest but rather I am observing how the market pans out. The reason I am writing this entry is my irritation at the way the local newsroom’s reporting on the property market, creating unnecessary euphoria and resulting in a misinformed market.

Case in point: Backed by the strong demand and response for the local Executive Condominium (EC) launched (Esprinia @ Buangkok and Prive @ Punggol), the next EC to be launched as Austville Residences @ Sengkang. In my opinion, it is a fairly mediocre development in not so encouraging location (i.e. not near MRT station nor amenities) and at a pricing that I think is on the high side. Nothing wrong with being mediocre and the high pricing (being an open market, willing buyer and willing seller) but what irritates me is the way the media has been going around pumping up the property market.

Take a look at the news that follows the development:

8 Jan 2011 – Australian resort-themed exec condo a hit (CNN)

“SINGAPORE: Austville Residences is proving to be a popular executive condominium.

More than 200 applications have been received for the executive condominium, as at 5pm Saturday. A total of 540 units are available.

Even before the showflats were opened at 9am Saturday, about 50 people were already waiting in line.”

My irks: 50 people in the line to merely enter the showflat. Not even to purchase a unit. So what sort of “hit’ is this?

 12 Jan 2011 – Overwhelming Over Night Queue for Austville Residences (ST)


 My irks: Picture paints a thousand words no?  But the ‘open secret’ that most people know is that the developer probably paid some people to join the queue and hype up the whole story. Long gone were the days of overnight and one day sold out projects.

13 Jan 2011 – Long queues form ahead of Sengkang’s exec condo launch (CNN)

“SINGAPORE: Executive condominiums (ECs) continue to see strong demand from home buyers.

The latest development, Austville Residences in Sengkang, saw a queue forming before doors opened for booking on Thursday morning.

Property developer United Engineers declined to give first day sales figures.

Market watchers said ECs serve a segment that is shut out of the HDB market.

Motorists travelling along Buangkok Drive on Thursday morning were greeted by the sight of a long line of potential home buyers – all in a bid to secure a choice unit.

“I was afraid that I won’t be able to get my unit. Must get a good unit,” one said.

“Actually I have applied for a BTO already and I’ve in fact paid some money already, like S$2,000. But the thing is, I was thinking that I might even forfeit that to get this,” another added.

More than 100 prospective buyers were in line even before doors opened in the morning. “

My irks: Same thing: 100 potential buyers versus 540 units available. 5 units for every 1 buyer. Strong demand indeed!

18 Jan 2011 – Sales of Austville Residences hit by cooling measures (CNN)

“The developer of Singapore’s newest executive condominium said the latest round of property cooling measures have hit sales.

The Austville Residences in Sengkang has sold about 20 per cent of its 540 units.

It was hot property before the measures were announced last Thursday. “

A long line of potential home buyers queued overnight to secure their choice unit on the first day.

But the cooling measures announced that same day appear to have chilled demand.

A spokesperson for developer United Engineers said most of the units sold were transacted in the hours before the announcement. “

My irks: I don’t think the cooling measures would have this kind of impact. Especially it is targeted at the 2nd home owners and investors. Most of the buyers for an EC are likely to be first timers who are below the income ceiling of $10,000 a month. So here you go, caught lying with pants down and now conveniently using the measures as a excuse for your pants down.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not a review of the condo nor the developer but a personal opinion on how the media has a role to play in news reporting. If you are looking for a review on Austville Residence, I will tell you that as long as you are buying for your own stay, it doesn’t really matter which cycle of the market you are buying at because you buy high, you will sell high. This is strictly my personal opinion.

Election is Coming!

“The Public Transport Council (PTC) has decided to defer this year’s fare review exercise to the fourth quarter of 2011. ” – CNN Jan 2011

Remember what happen in the last general election in May 2006? You don’t?  As far as I can remember, that was the only time PTC has defered their fare review exercise since inaugaration. Read below:

“The Public Transport Council (PTC) has decided to defer the fare revision exercise by three months, that is, the deadline for applications will be 1 August 2006, and any fare adjustment, if approved, will take effect from 1 October 2006. The deferment of this year’s fare revision exercise to the second half of 2006 will allow phasing-in of the new regulatory challenges that the PTC has been mandated to implement.

With the commencement of the PTC (Amendment) Act 2006 on 3 April 2006, new licensing and regulatory regimes, including the bus service operator licensing scheme and ticket payment services licensing framework have been placed under the purview of PTC.”

Anyone remember what happened subsequently?

“On 12 September 2006, the PTC approved applications from local transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT for an overall increase in bus and train fares of 1.7% [1]. This latest fare adjustment took effect on 1 October 2006. The PTC has justified the increase in fares based on the positive economic outlook in 2006 and a comparison of average public transport fares with the cities of Hong Kong, London and New York.”

– Wikipedia

Now, dont you think it is very familiar? I have a strong sense of Deja Vu in this.





Milking Us Dry

Buy a booklet of MBT’s thoughts on housing? I can just see what is coming next…Mah Bow Tan’s thoughts on ERP and how it shaped our excellent transportation system.

Booklet of Mah Bow Tan’s thoughts on housing


THE Ministry of National Development (MND) is publishing a booklet containing the musings of its minister, Mah Bow Tan, in a bid to reach out to more Singaporeans and explain housing policies.


In response to a query from BT, Mr Mah said that the booklet will contain nine commentaries that encapsulate his thoughts on Singapore’s public housing programme over the past five decades.

This should give readers an insight into the thinking behind the policies that shape the system Singapore has today.

Said Mr Mah: ‘Today, eight in 10 Singaporeans stay in HDB flats, and nine in 10 of them own the flats they live in. This is the highest home-ownership rate in the world. No other country comes close.

‘But, public housing is not just about putting roofs over people’s heads. It is also about building inclusive homes and communities.

‘This has not been an easy effort. There is a finite budget to work with, and policy trade-offs to be made.

‘With this booklet, I hope to reach out to more Singaporeans, to tell them about our ongoing housing story, and to enhance their understanding of the policy considerations behind this success story,’ he added.

The booklet will be released in either February or March this year.

MND plans to distribute the booklets to relevant entities such as HDB branch offices, town councils, public libraries, and academic institutions.

In addition, the booklet could be sold in selected bookstores. <- What? As if we are not pay through our pores for a basic public housing?

It might also be available in a Mandarin version, sources said. Source: BT 27 Jan 2011

I think it is a waste of public resources to even consider the idea. If the policy is valid, shouldn’t it be publicised in the mass media for all to know? Why do they even resort to selling in the market?

Who will buy it? People who paid for the overprice housing and wants to pay more money to find out why they paid so much for a policy that delibrately inflate the public housing price so as to have a wealth creation effect on citizen?

What a joke.

A Brand New Day, A Brand New Story

I don’t have a habit of making new year resolution as I am not very good at setting targets and keeping them. I do think that I am a very determine and discipline person, so when I set out to do things, I will put in my 110% effort.

Since I have a bit of free time at work, I thought it will be interesting to list out my new year resolutions and check back a year from now to see if I have done what I set out to do. So, here goes my 2011 new year resolutions:

1. I WILL TREAT MYSELF BETTER – I will stop scrimping and stinged on things that I really want. I will not be so uptight on money because it is just… well… money. I will put myself in priority more often. I will learn to relax more. I will control my diet so that I can be healthy and lose some weight. I will ONLY roll my eyes at those kiasu commuters on MRT and buses, I will not delibrately elbow them or step on their shoes (even if they stepped on my shoes first!).

2. I WILL TREAT MY WIFE BETTER – I will not raise my voice at her or lose my patience with her no matter how unreasonable she is (that she seldom is – wife demand I add a disclaimer) . I will lift up the toilet bowl cover when I pee. I will indulge her whenever I can.

3. I WILL SPEND MORE TIME WITH MY LOVE ONES – I will take time to spend time with my family. I will go home more often for meals. I will communicate with my brothers more.

And hopefully I will be a better person by next year same time. *Fingers cross*