Posts Tagged ‘Home’

A Creek Between Two Worlds

October 7th, 2013


Imagine coming home to your own private haven at the end of each day. The Creek@Bukit makes this possible! You can luxuriate in a realm embraced by nature, without giving up the pleasures of the city.

It showcases 260 stylish apartments, complete with high-end refinements – all fairly priced below S$ 2 million. Eight 5-storey buildings occupy a 151,072-square foot property in the Upper Bukit Timah area, where the Green Lodge used to stand. As The Creek@Bukit is located on an elevated spot in the vicinity, all windows open to a stunning horizon.

There’s a whole array of residential units, from one-bedroom to four-bedroom, even penthouses and mansionettes. The smallest apartments are 450 sq ft in area, and the roomiest ones are more than 1,000 sq ft. Whatever your family needs, you’re sure to find a home that’s perfect for you.

The apartments on the ground floor are especially exquisite, with ceilings 5 meters from the floor. Units on the rest of the levels have 3.6 meters high ceilings. Penthouses may have ceilings beyond
3.6 meters in some parts of the apartment.

The Creek@Bukit features standard amenities, including private parking. Some mansionette units owners get to have two basement parking slots and a storeroom .

One of the best things is that the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is just a few minutes away. Even if you don’t feel like driving the short distance, you can delight in the verdant view from your window.

This serene dwelling isn’t at all isolated from the conveniences of city life – you can easily jump back into the metropolitan dash, any time you wish to. The expressways lead right to the Central Business District, Orchard Road or Marina Bay. The Beauty World MRT Station (Downtown Line) is also just a few blocks away. And after a hectic work day or a dazzling night out, you can unwind in your abode close to nature.

Just nearby are establishments like Bukit Timah Centre and Beauty World Plaza. The Bukit Timah Market Food Centre and Al Azhar Restaurant are also in the neighborhood. If you have kids, there are a lot of schools in the area. Take your pick from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, SIM University, and a range of primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions.

The Creek@Bukit is a freehold development of Chiu Teng @ Bukit Timah Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of the Chiu Teng group of companies. It will be ready for occupancy in third quarter 2017, after Beauty World MRT Station opens in 2016.

If you’d like to have a delightful sanctuary surrounded by nature, while staying close to the city center, ask a mortgage consultant about housing loans. You’ll be given a free comprehensive report, together with free expert advice

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Find Your Ideal Home at Thomson Three

September 30th, 2013


Thomson Three presents a choice selection of landed and non-landed properties for the discerning home buyer. You can take your pick from among the various apartments, penthouse units or semi-detached homes.

This 99-year leasehold is a joint project of Singland Homes (a subsidiary of UVD Pte. Ltd.), and UOL Venture Investments Pte. Ltd. The former outbid five other parties at an HDB land sale held last August, placing the winning bid at S$ 291.5 million for the 144,636-square foot site.

Knowing that the site is in the hands of two established developers, we can be assured that Thomson Three will be constructed with high-quality materials and a sophisticated design. They in fact intend to give the property a modern close-to-nature theme, featuring garden areas together with all the usual condominium amenities.

Six 21-storey blocks will be housing a total of 435 private residences, including one-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments and penthouse units. These homes will each be occupying areas between 495 sq ft and 1,862 sq ft, and built in a north-south orientation. But what sets Thomson Three apart from most residential developments is that it will also feature ten semi-detached homes within the site, each spanning 3,285 square feet.

Source: OneMap

Located on a along Bright Hill Drive, the site is a short walk from a shopping complex – the Thomson Plaza. It’s also one of the few private residential projects near the upcoming Upper Thomson MRT Station (Thomas Line), which is set to be fully operational by the year 2020.
Just nearby are several parks and recreational areas – the Lower Pierce Reservoir, Mac Ritchie Reservoir, Bishan Park and Tree-Top Walk. It will be a real treat for nature enthusiasts, retreat-seekers and children.

Speaking of children, you won’t need to look far for schools and junior colleges. The site is very near the Anglo-Chines School, the Catholic High School, Ai Tong, CHIJ St. Nicholas, Raffles Institution, and the Raffles Junior College.

Be among the first to secure a home at the new Thomson Three – be it a one-bedroom or multiple-bedroom apartment, a penthouse or a semi-detached residence. Ask a mortgage specialist to help you figure out the most suitable home loan and an advisable financial plan, so you could look into owning property in this exceptional development.

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Smart Home Buying: How to Avoid Home-Loan Disasters

August 19th, 2013

As a home buyer, there are some things you need to keep in mind so you can make sensible plans regarding your housing loan. The following tips can help you could avoid financial problems and regrets in the future.

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1. Secure an Approval-In-Principle before paying the booking fee

When you’ve found a home you’re interested in, the seller may ask you to pay a booking fee or option fee, which allows you the possibility of buying the property.

The booking fees for residential properties are as follows:

- Private property, new or under-construction: 5% to 10% of the sale price (only 75% need to be returned if the sale falls through)

- Private property, resale: 1% of the sale price

- HDB flat, resale: Fixed rate of S$1000.

Keep in mind that if you don’t make the purchase within a specified period, you can lose all or part of the money that you paid for the booking fee.

Before you pay anything, be sure to acquire an approval-in-principle (AIP) for your home loan first. In doing this, you can make sure that your finances will be enough to buy the property.

2. Consider the possibility that the property valuation may decrease after you pay the booking fee

The final property valuation may turn out less than you expected; this can happen during an economic crisis or a low season. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, since a lower valuation means a qualifying for a lower loan amount. It would therefore be safer to acquire the loan before paying the booking fee.

For example, you and the seller may have agreed upon a sale price of S$1.5 million, but then the valuation turned out to be S$1.2 million. Let’s say you qualify for an LTV of 80% and you were expecting a housing loan of S$1.2 million. The lower property valuation may permit you to acquire only S$960,000. If you don’t have a way to come up with the remaining S$240,000, there’s no way you can buy that property.

Of course, you have the option look for a better loan that allows you to buy the house. Even after you get an approval-in-principle from your financing company, you can choose to change to another company. The bottom line is that you make sure you can afford to pay the selling price, and that you make the purchase within the validity period so don’t lose your booking fee.

3. Choose a conveyancing lawyer who is in the panel of all financing companies in Singapore

You may only choose a lawyer from the list of firms approved by your bank or financing company. Nonetheless, some law firms may appear in the list of certain banks, but not in others. In case you prefer to transfer to another financier, it may mean additional legal costs for you if the lawyer you chose is not on their list. You will have to change lawyers, and your new lawyer will likely charge you extra for taking over someone else’s job.

4. Be cautious of lawyers or financing companies recommended by property agents

It may seem like the property agents is doing you a favor when he recommends a lawyer or a banker, but you have to be wary about this. That property agent likely gets a commission from every lawyer and banker he recommends. The suggested lawyer may then end up charging you with a higher fee than necessary, since he needs to pay a portion of this to the agent as his referral fee. Likewise, the suggested financier may not even be the best one for your financial profile, so you may end up with a loan that isn’t suitable for you.

In referring lawyers or financiers, the property agent is looking more after his own interests, and not really yours. It may result in more expenses for you, as well as loan terms that aren’t even the best for your situation.

5. If you’re applying for a housing loan, don’t take any other loans

Keep in mind that banks and financing companies will always evaluate your debt service ratio (DSR) before they approve your loan application. This their way of making sure that you are able to pay for all your services and debts. If you have too many other loans to pay, your financier is likely to give you the minimum quantum for your housing loan.It’s also unwise to apply for other loans between the time you acquired the approval-in-principle and the moment your loan is disbursed. Your financing company can still choose to reject your application within that time, in case there is any change in your financial situation.

To help you grasp this clearer, let’s assume you are interested in buying a brand-new private residence that costs S$ 1.5 million. To reserve your right to buy this property, you use up your savings to pay a booking fee that is 25% of the sale price, which amounts to S$375,000. Now, let’s say you already applied for a housing loan and acquired an approval-in-principle, and that you qualify for a loan of S$1.2 million. Since you think you have it in the bag, you also took a car loan to buy yourself a car. Your financing company then finds out that you are paying for both a car loan and a housing loan at the same time. Given your DSR in relation to your current housing loan quantum, they are likely to assess that you won’t be able to pay your loan within the tenure. As a result, they reduce your loan to only S$900,000, which is obviously much lower than the amount you expected. Since you don’t have a way to make the remaining S$600,000, you can’t buy the house you want. In addition, you lose the S$375,000 you paid for the booking fee.

6. Don’t change jobs if you plan to apply for a loan

Any change in your financial situation means a change in your loan quantum. For many banks, loan-takers are required to hold the same job for a certain number of years before they can qualify for a housing loan. Banks and financing companies prefer their clients to have a stable, consistent source of income, because this ensures that the loan can be repaid.

Buying a house places a lot of strain on your finances, so it pays to be cautious and informed. To help you make better plans and eliminate problems related to taking a home loan, call on an expert who can assess your situation and recommend the best course of action for you.

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Things You Need To Consider When Buying a Home in Singapore

June 17th, 2013

If you’re thinking about buying residential property in Singapore, there are a few important factors you need to ponder on. To aid in better decision-making, below are a few questions you need to examine.

1. Why are you buying a home?

Before you think about what kind of home you want, you need to define your reason for purchasing a home in the first place. There are only two reasons for owning residential property in Singapore: It’s either so you could live in it, or so you could invest in it.

There’s a huge difference between buying a property to live in, and buying one to invest in. If you intend to live in it yourself, your main considerations are your budget and your occupancy needs. For instance, if you’re single, it makes sense to get a small studio flat. But when you’re a newlywed, you and your spouse might opt for a modest-sized apartment that you can afford with your combined salaries. If you plan to have more children and are making enough money, you may want a spacious home with a couple of bedrooms.

Conversely, when you’re buying a property as an investment, your main concern is the revenue. You don’t really need to worry about whether or not you will be comfortable in your purchase; instead, you will need to find interested tenants or resale buyers willing to meet your price.

2. What type of housing should you opt for?

There are a variety of dwellings available in Singapore – flats, multiple-bedroom apartments, executive condominiums, landed properties and others. Nonetheless, all residential properties generally fall into two categories: public and private.

The country actually has a successful public housing project, thus eighty percent of the population live in government-subsidized HDB flats. Meanwhile, people who earn higher incomes can afford to buy private residential properties. Take a look at the tables below to compare public and private housing.

Table 1: Available Housing Types in Singapore

HDB (99-year lease) Private Housing (60-*, 99-, 999- year lease; freehold)

Build-to-Order (BTO)

  • Studio Apartment (30-year lease)
  • 2-room Flat
  • 3-room Flat
  • 4-room Flat
  • 5-room Flat

Executive Condominium**

Design and Build (DBSS)

Executive Flat (No longer built)

Executive Maisonette (No longer built)

HUDC (No longer built)

Walk-up ApartmentHigh-rise Apartment


Shoebox Apartment


Strata Titled Cluster Housing

  • Inter Terraces
  • Semi Detaches
  • Bungalows

Landed Housing

  • Inter terraces (Type 1 and 2)
  • Corner terraces
  • Semi Detaches
  • Bungalows
  • Good Class Bungalows
  • Sentosa Landed Housing (the only landed properties in Singapore for which foreigners can buy with express approval)

* A land at Jalan Jurong Kechil is the first 60-year lease plot to be sold (on 15 November 2012); thus a 60-year private property will be available in a few years’ time.
** Executive Condominium becomes private after 10 years.


Table 2: Comparison of HDB and Private Housing


Private Housing

Eligibility:Direct Purchase from HDB -

  • Singaporeans
  • Gross Monthly Household Income ≤

$10,000 (For Executive Condominium ≤


Resale -

  • Singaporeans and Permanent Residents

99-year Lease

Most Affordable Type of Housing

For Owner-occupation

Lower Maintenance Cost (Conservancy Charges)

Stringent Restriction for Leasing Out

Minimum Occupation Period

Eligibility:Non-landed -

  • Foreigners, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents

Landed -

  • Singaporeans

60-*, 99-, 999- year Lease; Freehold

Tend to be More Expensive

For Owner-occupation and Investment

Higher Maintenance Cost (Property Taxes, Monthly Maintenance Charges, etc.)

No Restriction for Leasing Out

No Minimum Occupation Period

* A land at Jalan Jurong Kechil is the first 60-year lease plot to be sold (on 15 November 2012); thus a 60-year private property will be available in a few years’ time.


Naturally, the type of housing you choose depends on your budget. This then leads to the next factor.

3. What can you afford?

To measure whether you can afford a home or not, you need to determine the amount of cash available for your expenditures. One way to do this is to divide the price of the property by your annual income.

As an alternative, you may also calculate for the debt service ratio or DSR.

DSR = Monthly Debt / Gross Monthly Household Income

The acceptable DSR for buying a house is 30% or less. This means using only 30% (or less) of your monthly income to pay for your monthly loan installments.

To help you understand this concept further, let’s assume that you and your partner have a combined income of S$3,000. Suppose you are interested in a 3-bedroom HDB flat that costs S$300,000, and you have no housing grants. Without any outstanding mortgages, you may be eligible for a loan of up to 80% of the property price, or S$240,000.

Let’s say this loan has a 30-year tenure and a yearly interest rate of 2%; you will then need to pay roughly S$887 each month. Now, thirty percent of your monthly household income is S$900. A monthly installment of S$887 is comfortably within that amount, so this means you can afford the flat.

You will have to keep in mind that these techniques for measuring affordability merely give you a good approximation for the short-term – they aren’t conclusive, since your income will probably change in time. If you’re interested in learning how to measure for the long-term, click on the link provided.

4. What is the investment potential of the property?

(a) The Investment Potential of HDB Flats

HDB flats are made available by the Singapore government, and they are primarily intended to be occupied. Thus, this kind of housing comes with a 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), which applies to resale flats as well as direct purchases.

After the 5-year MOP, a home owner may choose to profit from reselling his property and moving to a smaller flat. However, it might not be wise to do this during a property boom, since that would mean paying more for the second flat. In addition, a resale levy may be imposed if a housing grant was used to buy the first property.

However, some Singaporeans are still profiteering from renting out their HDB flats.

Under current regulations, owners of subsidised or non-subsidised HDB flats have to meet the requirement of a 5-year MOP before they are allowed to rent out their flats. Exceptions are made for owners who live overseas.

Furthermore, there are restrictions on the rental periods. For Singaporean owners they could rent out their flats for a period of 3 years after which they could request for extensions with no cap on the number of requests.

For PRs, however, it is a different story. From 12 January 2013, they are no longer allowed to sublet their entire flat. Previously, they were allowed to rent out for a period of a year, subject to discretionary extensions, with a limit of 5 years on the total rental years allowed.

Furthermore, from the same date, PRs have to incur an Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)
of 5% for their purchase of a HDB flat.

(b) The Investment Potential of Private Housing

Many home owners are also making a profit from renting out their private properties, as the regulations for private residences are more lenient.

Note that no one is permitted to own a private residence while owning an HDB flat during the 5-year MOP. After the MOP however, it’s possible to buy and rent out a private home while continuing to live in your HDB flat.

In 2009, the government instituted certain restrictions that prevent homeowners from taking advantage of private properties to accumulate their wealth. A Seller Stamp Duty now applies to all private properties purchased on February 20, 2010 onward. This amounts to 4-16% of the market value or the selling price (whichever is higher) if the property is resold within 4 years after purchase.

Moreover, an Additional Buyer Stamp Duty has been imposed, which requires home buyers to pay an extra 3% for owning 2 or more homes bought after December 8, 2011. The ABSD rates were revised on 12 January 2013. Table 1 shows the latest rate for Singaporeans and PRs.

Table 1: ABSD Rates

Rate on 1st purchase 2nd purchase 3rd & subsequent purchase
Singapore citizens 0% 7% 10%
Permanent residents 5% 10% 10%


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What Foreigners Need to Understand About Buying a Home in Singapore

May 29th, 2013


The island metropolis of Singapore is home to a varied multicultural community. A vast number of foreigners are drawn to its shores yearly, mainly because of the country’s low crime rate and the rareness of natural disasters. In addition, Singapore’s high efficiency and political stability have also made it an attractive location for investors and business owners from other countries. Consequently, many foreign nationals consider buying residences in Singapore, either to live in or to invest in.

Due to the limited land area in the city, the Singaporean government enforced certain laws to regulate the ownership of residential property by expatriates. This article summarizes what foreign nationals need to know about buying property in Singapore.

Types of Residential Properties Available for Foreign Nationals

1. HDB Housing

Foreigners are typically not permitted to buy HDB flats, but with the exception of foreign nationals who are married to Singaporean locals.

HDB flats are government-subsidized public housing for Singaporean citizens, providing affordable homes for most of the city’s residents. The Housing Development Board has a Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme which benefits expatriates who are married to locals. Such couples may purchase an HDB flat offered in the resale market.

For more details, refer to the article entitled “Eligibility To Buy: Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme” on the Housing Development Board website.

2. Non-landed Property

A foreign national who is not married to a Singaporean spouse may also buy a home in Singapore, but he is restricted only to non-landed, strata title private residences. This involves no special applications.

At times, a foreign businessman may wish to buy all the units in a building as an investment. This is permissible, but such a purchase should be approved by the Minister of Law before any transactions are made.

3. Landed Property

In accordance with the Restricted Residential Property Act foreigners who wish to purchase landed property are required to submit an application to the Minister of Law. This act covers detached homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses or terraced houses; the total land area of which must not exceed 15,000 sq ft or 1,393.5 sq m. The application may take six weeks to process before it is approved.

Before reselling this type of property, the home owner is required to personally live in it for a minimum of three years. This means the residence may not be rented out within that time.

The Restricted Residential Property Act is further detailed in the Singapore Land Authority’s article on Foreign Ownership of Property. For easy reference, consult the SLA’s text on “Frequently Asked Questions on Foreign Ownership of Land Under the Residential Property Act”.

4. Landed Property in Sentosa Cove

August 2004 marked a significant date for foreigners who wish to own property in Singapore. Since then, foreign ownership laws have become looser, granting expatriates the privilege to buy landed property in Sentosa Cove. To be cleared for purchasing such property, interested buyers must submit an application to the Land Dealings Unit. The special expedited process takes only 2 days.

There is no minimum occupancy requirement for foreigner-owned residences in Sentosa Cove. However, any landed property must be personally occupied by the owner and not rented out, whether it is located in Sentosa Cove or anywhere else in Singapore.

Other Important Matters

Number of Residences Foreigners May Own in Singapore:

Foreign nationals, whether they are married to Singaporean citizens or not, are limited by the Restricted Residential Property Act to own only one residence in in the country at a time.

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty for Expatriates:

An Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty or ABSD is required of expatriates who wish to buy a home in Singapore. This law has been effective since December 8, 2011 and has been revised on January 12, 2013. From 10%, the ABSD rate is now at 15%, and must be paid on top of the property’s market value.

ABSD Exemptions and Reductions:

According to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), citizens and permanent residents of specific countries are exempted from paying the ABSD. These countries are those that have a free trade agreement with Singapore Specifically these are the citizens and PRs of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland; as well as American citizens.

Furthermore, a foreigner who is married to a Singaporean citizen can benefit from a partially or fully reduced ABSD for the first time they buy property. A refund may also be given for their second purchase, as long as the first property is resold within six months from the time it was bought.

It’s also useful to note that a number of developers have been known to offer ABSD rebates.

If you need to know more about ABSD, as well as the corresponding reductions and refunds, please visit the official website or the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, and read the section on Remissions and Refund.

Finally, if you have need for more FREE advice about buying a property in Singapore, turn to a iCompareLoan mortgage consultant.

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