Singapore-based financial blog that aims to educate people on personal finance, investments, retirement and their Central Provident Fund (CPF) matters.

Monday, 23 April 2018

How to Buy Real Estate in Singapore?

08:00 Posted by cheez No comments
Property purchases in Singapore can be some of the most lucrative if done right. However, it is without a doubt challenging. For instance, anyone looking to invest in the property project should understand what it offers in its entirety.
You need to follow a process, and some decisions need to be made early on. Like buying property anywhere else in the world, in Singapore too, owners incur costs like repairs, maintenance, and a commitment.

Do Your Research
Researching the market is a great way to find out what type of properties are available and what you can expect to pay. Prepare a short list of homes that meet your requirements. Your requirements may include things like:

  • The number of bedrooms.
  • The overall size of the home or real estate.
  • Your preferred location.
  • Reoccurring costs associated with the property.

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Usually, it's better to start your research from the websites of the best property developers. Here is the list of the Top 10 property developers in Singapore, created by https://www.asiapropertyhq.com/property-developers-singapore/ :

  • Far East Organization
  • El Development Pte Ltd
  • City Development Ltd
  • Frasers Centrepoint Ltd
  • MCC Land
  • Qingjian Realty
  • GuocoLand
  • Bukit Sembawang Estates Limited
  • Hoi Hup Realty Pte Ltd
  • CapitaLand

Take the New Futura Condo for instance. If you were considering the condo, you would have to research to determine which size will fit you the best. You’ll also need to determine if you have the required budget for the beach facing view. Other things you’ll need to consider when choosing a condo is if its near to your place of work. Also, what type of maintenance costs you’ll incur.

Types of Properties You Can Buy – Freehold VS Leasehold
When buying property in Singapore, you’ll be faced with a choice between freehold and leasehold. The difference between the two is significant, and so that has influence over the price as well.
Freehold properties can be held by the owner forever or transferred to their kin.
On the other hand, leasehold properties will revert back to the state when the lease expires.
Lots of properties in Singapore are freehold. That means you can own the property for as long as you want and sell it when the time comes.
However, keep in mind that generally speaking freehold properties are 10% - 15% more expensive.

Price Valuation
Before you buy any property, you’ll want to get it valuated. Now even though property price has already been valuated, it is essential to make a comparison. When you compare the costs of this project with others, it becomes easier to estimate how big a loan you can or should get.

You should also consider the total duration of the loan and its subsequent monthly instalments.
Individual borrowers who don’t have an outstanding house loan, the LVL or Loan to Value Limit is 80%.
If the tenure exceeds 30 years or extends beyond the age of retirement of a borrower, then it's 60% of the property’s value.

Closing the Deal
Once the buyer and seller have agreed on a price, the sale can be completed. Completing the purchase will require paying the seller, and transferring the CT or ‘Certificate of Title’ to the purchaser.
The CT is only issued by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). It is also proof that you own the property.
Your lawyer then inspects the CT. It is also at this point that the lawyer holds on to the CT.
The next couple of steps are handled by the lawyer. This usually requires that the solicitor holds the CT until legal formalities have been completed. After that, it is surrendered to the SLA, which then reissues a new CT in the name of the new owner.
It takes a total of around ten weeks for the process to complete. If a mortgage has been sought the solicitor lodges a caveat for the property and coordinates with the bank or any other financial institution.
Finally, the mortgage documents are prepared, and the property is officially yours.


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This article is brought to you by:
Author: Robert LampPosition: Ghostwriter in New Property Guide, Blogger Email: robertlamp10@gmail.com

Monday, 9 April 2018

Free $5 with DBS PayLah

Here is a guide to finding your promocode to share with your friends.
The first part of the guide is to get you signed up and get your first $5.
The second part of the guide is to get you familiar with how to share your promocode with your friend so that you can get your subsequent $5.
Get them to download DBS PayLah so that you can both of you can get $5 from DBS!
Just by downloading an app you can get $5!
And if you like, you can transfer that money to your POSB or DBS bank account.
You don't have to use the app, we just want you to get that free $5 first.

Part 1: Getting My First $5

Step 1: Downloading the App
iOS link: App Store
Andriod Link: Play Store

Step 2: Login into the App
This is the home page, click on the bottom right 'More'.

Step 3: Click on 'Add Promo / Gift Code'
Click on 'Add Promo / Gift Code' to enter the promo code 

Step 4: Enter the promocode to get $5
Enter the promocode 'KAIOQD420' and click submit.




Part 2: Getting My Subsequent $5

Step 1: Login into the app
This is the home page, click on the bottom right 'More'.



Step 2: Go to 'Invite and Earn'
Click on 'Invite and 'Earn' to find your promo code 

Step 3: Click on 'Share' to share your code with your friends
Click on 'Share', options will pop up for you to share your promocode to your friends either via WhatsApp, Facebook or any other platform you wish to use to reach out to your friends.




MAI TU LIAO!
Hurry and grab your promo while it last! :D


*A bit of disclosure: while we are not working with DBS to promote this app, we do get a $5 when you sign up with our promo code :D So thank you in advance.

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Uber's Partnership in Recent Years

10:44 Posted by cheez No comments

Biggest news in Singapore yesterday was the merger between Uber's Southeast Asia wing and Grab. This is not something new. After years of fighting and bleeding money in markets all around the world, Uber decided to try a different route and has been partnering with many of its competitors in major markets.

Exchanged its China's operation for 17.7% stake in Didi Chuxing
On August 2016, Uber sold its China operations to Didi Chuxing (China's leading ride hailing company). Didi invested US $1 billion into Uber (Parent company) at US $68 billion valuation. Uber on the other hand, receives 17.7$ stake in Didi. One year after the merger though, there have been feedback that it is now harder and more expensive to get a ride through Didi. 

Exchanged its Russia's operation for 36.6% stake in Russia Ride Hailing Company
On July 2017, Uber merged its Russia operations with another ride-hailing company startup to form the Yandex.Taxi company. Yandex is the largest internet company in Russia, the Google of Russia. It owns a ride-hailing service as one of its subsidiary. The subsidiary is the company that merged with Uber Russia. Uber owns 36.6% of this combined entity.

Exchanged its Southeast Asia operation for 27.5% stake in Grab
On 26 march 2018, Uber sold its SEA operations to Grab for a 27.5% stake in Grab. Grab will take over Uber's ride hailing and food delivery business. 


There is this underlying person behind the scene that not many of you may know, Japan's richest man - Masayoshi Son, founder of Japan's SoftBank Group (and no, it is not actually a bank, and FYI again, he's Korean and not Japanese). SoftBank invested in many ride-hailing startups around the world. Just to name you a few, he invested in Didi Chuxing, Grab, Ola (India), 99 (Brazil startup that was recently bought by Didi) and recently Uber. Just to make things look a little more interesting, here is what SoftBank owns.
  • US Sprint Corporation (83%)
  • Yahoo! Japan (43%)
  • Alibaba Group (29.5%)
  • Nvidia (4.9%)
  • Flipkart (23.6%) - India's e-commerce
  • ARM Holdings (100%) - the company that makes your smartphone chip
  • A ton of other startups beside ride-hailing companies.
This is what SoftBank owns outright. But its effective ownership in many companies are more than what is stated. That is because Alibaba also invests in tons of other startups, many of which overlaps with SoftBank's own investments. This significantly increases the effective ownership SoftBank has over these companies.

Is it possible for this to be the last merger in the ride hailing business scene? Probably not. There are probably going to be a lot more mergers as companies start to consolidate, merge, and partner up in order to compete with other startups and to reduce the rate they burn their capital. SoftBank will probably also push for more of such deals since less loss-making = more profit-making, which will increase the value of its investments.
I think the most important question thus far is: Will I still be getting my weekly dose of promo codes and discounts for rides? Probably not :(


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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

How Warren Buffett Convinced Me to Invest & Not Speculate

10:10 Posted by cheez 1 comment

This quote was the reason that convinced me to invest instead of speculating, to invest long-term instead of short-term. Investing to me is putting money to work to build the future. That is why we say "invest in infrastructure", "invest in human capital", "invest in healthcare" etc. It is because it is not a guess or gamble. Investing has a purpose, has an output, and is beneficial to the economy. Imagine someone saying "let's speculate in our infrastructure, human capital and healthcare". How scary is that!

Using Warren Buffett's example, imagine you are stranded on an island with another 99 people (total 100 people on the island). In order to survive, the people are grouped and allocated different tasks:

10 wheat farmers
10 corn farmers
10 pig breeders
10 chicken breeders
10 cow breeders
10 fishermen
10 dig wells and cleanse water
10 build houses
5 auditors/accountants
5 police to ensure law and order
5 leaders to govern the place
5 traders

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The leaders created a currency (stranded dollar) to facilitate the business transaction between the people living on the island. You know what 95 people on the island do: they produce some sort of output that ensures that 100 of us survive. There are people making food, water, homes, security, etc. But there are 5 people who produce no economic output. They basically come together every, sit at a round table, and start betting with one another how many pigs is the pig farmer going to have by end of the year, how many fish will the fishermen catch etc. These "talks" create no positive economic output to the society.

Today, a large number of people are participating in this form of mindless activity. Not everyone on Wall Street is speculating, they are also providing a form of service - a positive economic output. They provide us with insurance, facilitate money transfers, provide retirement advice etc. But way too many are speculating on asset prices and other assets.

For the average mom-and-pop investors, I would recommend investing for the long-term, invest instead of speculating. It is really not that difficult, it can be as simple as a savings plan except instead of money accumulating in a savings account, it gets invested in the stock market. But that is beyond the scope of this post. Read up on why it is easy HERE.

Recommended Post: Infographs about SG Budget 2018 that You Should See


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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Infographs about SG Budget 2018 that You Should See

17:39 Posted by cheez No comments
Budget 2018 was announced 2 days ago on 19 February 2018. Took us a while to digest everything, especially the 2% GST hike despite the budget surplus we got. Nonetheless, after 2 days of reading, these are some of the infographics that we thought you should know about Budget 2018 that will affect you. The list is not exhaustive, there are many other things that we did not include like 10% increase in tobacco products and increase in maid levy because they don't really affect the majority of the people. But if you want to know more, there are 2 links below you can click to find out more.


THE GOOD

SG Bonus for all Singaporeans above age 21.
I guess this is the most important part of the whole budget. The part that we are waiting for where the government will announce how much it will be giving us back. This time it is called 'SG Bonus' and is given to all Singaporeans based on their annual Assessable Income. 


GST Voucher (Cash)
In addition to giving you a 1-time cash bonus, Singaporeans above the age of 21 will also be getting a GST Voucher (Cash) this year. If you own not more than 1 property & its annual value does not exceed $21,000 and your Assessable Income for FY2017 (which is income for the year 2016) is not more than $28,000, then you will get this extra money in August 2018.








Source: GSTVoucher


GST Voucher (U-Save)
The utility bill rebate scheme. Those who own more than 1 property or private property are also not eligible for this GST Voucher. This voucher will be paid in April, July, October, and January.









Source: GSTVoucher


Enhanced Proximity Housing Grant
Families buying a resale flat near their parents or children will now receive $30,000 (previously $20,000) worth of grants. Singles who buy a resale flat WITH their parents will get grants of $15,000 (previously $10,000) and those who buy resale flat NEAR their parents will get $10,000 in grants. The definition of 'near' has also been revised from '2KM' to '4KM'





















Source: Channel News Asia


Service & Conservancy Charges (SCC) Rebates
Households living in HDBs will receive at least 1.5 months of SCC rebates from Budget 2018, the same as last year.





















Source: Channel News Asia


THE BAD

Increase in GST by 2%
GST will be raised from 7% to 9%. While GST increase is bad - there is no doubt about it, it won't be coming anytime soon. The increase is scheduled to be implemented between 2021 to 2025. Meanwhile, shop till you drop while you can before the increases kick in! Although GST will increase, more money will also be set aside to help those the middle and lower income household cope with the increase in GST. An extra $2 billion will be set aside for GST Voucher schemes to help the lower-income households cope with the increase in GST. Despite the increase, our GST is still one of the few lowest among the Asian countries.

Source: Bloomberg


Increase in Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD)
If you are looking to buy a home that cost more than $1million, then you better be prepared to pay extra 1% of BSD for any amount above $1million. This is to ensure that those who can afford to buy a more expensive home pays more taxes to make society more equitable. This probably affects more for those buying private properties and less on those buying HDBs. Then again, HDB prices are also rising, so maybe it won't be soon before HDBs also hit that $1million bracket.









Source: IRAS


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Monday, 19 February 2018

#ICYMI: Uber is planning to sell majority stake in its Southeast Asian unit to competitor Grab

07:16 Posted by szcszc 1 comment

After years of fighting for dominant market share, Uber has finally thrown in the towel and deciding to sell Grab a majority stake in its Southeast Asian unit to its regional competitor Grab. This decision will have important effects in the market especially for existing players such as current taxi operators. This trend is not its first as Uber is losing its market share against region-focused players such as Lyft, Didi Chuxing and Grab. A good case study to evaluate its market impacts is China.

China market
Several years before Uber conceded its Southeast Asian territory, it lost its fight in China against Didi Chuxing. The China taxi industry is huge with an estimated of 1.1 billion daily commutes. Even with such market size, the ride-hailing market has since consolidated largely between traditional taxi operators and tech platforms such as Didi Chuxing. Different from Singapore, the China ride hailing market has consolidated with Didi Chuxing being the main player, possessing more than 80% of the market. This could likely be a key movement after Southeast Asia's consolidation.

Having a monopolistic market as a ride hailer, Didi Chuxing has reigned in on discounts and bonuses for both drivers and consumers. The discount-centric model was unsustainable and the company is transiting back to profit-focused model. Consumers previously attracted by the lower fares are now looking to switch back to taxi operators as they are more affordable comparing to surge pricings. Ridership dropped by 40% for some time after subsidies were withdrawn. Although the national government has lifted regulations governing ride-hailing, local cities implemented their own rules specifying stringent criteria to qualify as a private hire driver. For example, Beijing and Shanghai require all drivers to have a local residence permit before they can drive. This resulted in a significant drop in supply of drivers and indirectly raising the price paid by consumers. Consumers are also finding it more difficult to hail a ride on the app. There is prevalent negative consumer feedback where 81.7% of consumers find it more difficult to hail a ride. As such, consumers are slowly turning back to taxis as a solution. This can potentially increase the growth of China taxi market to moderate as parties look to negotiate deals that will appease the majority.

In the taxi industry, there is strong network effect where consumers tend to look for the largest taxi company as this assures them the least waiting time and highest chance of getting a taxi. Being a taxi driver (potential leasee of the taxi company), it is best to go to the largest taxi company which can reach the largest pool of consumers. This cycle reiterates itself, allowing the taxi company to grow.


The current SG market
Comfort Delgro (CDG) owns the largest fleet size in Singapore of approximately 17,000 taxis or 61% of the market. As a result, it has strong network effect present in the Singapore market. There are also low competition rivalry from other taxi rental companies, as taxi annual fleet growth is capped at 2% enforced by LTA. CDG is likely to remain the largest taxi company in Singapore.


Traditionally, there is low competition from other taxi companies such as SMRT and TransCab. However, when the disruptors entered the market, it has faced structural challenges where Uber and Grab are offering heavily discounted prices to consumers and drivers. In addition, Grab has formed strategic partnerships with other taxi companies, such as Prime and SMRT. This has eroded CDG’s market leadership where its traditional competitors now have a higher combined fleet size.

In response to obtaining the network effect, disruptors also offer steep discounts and incentives, compared to taxi companies, to attract potential drivers or existing taxi drivers. TODAY has reported that at least 3,000 CDG drivers have switched operators [TODAY, 29 September 2017]. CDG has also responded by offering similar discounts to taxi drivers and consumers, increasing its marketing efforts and investing into its booking apps.

The taxi industry also faced an uplift in marketing costs to match the discounts and promotions offered by disruptors to retain its market share. This has extensively eroded the competitive advantage of network effect and increase the overall supply of drivers who can fulfil the need of private transport. These increased its operating costs and squeezed margins, while losing its competitive advantage of network effect. It is now the second largest private transport fleet, behind private hire companies, Grab and Uber. CDG and Uber previously announced a partnership to enhance user experience where Uber can tap on CDG's existing fleet to boost driver supply. With Uber's new decision, there is likely to be changes with the partnership and possibly, negative impacts on CDG as Grab nabs more market share.
There are massive synergistic revenue generation from its automotive engineering business with CDG’s taxi fleet. Previously, with high taxi fleet utilisation, CDG enjoys high engineering revenue as more taxis are being brought for maintenance and servicing. CDG also sells diesel to its taxi drivers. However, with Uber and Grab attracting its drivers away, CDG is facing a drain on both businesses as they are highly correlated.

What is unknown now is whether Grab will transit to a profit-focused strategy, similar to what Didi Chuxing is employing. If so, the consumer preference shift might also be witnessed and CDG could prove to be an attractive buy right now. However, only time will tell as Grab is also focusing on its e-payment platform and may continue its discounts to synergise that area. What is known now is that consumers will flock to whoever provides more value for lower prices and who has the biggest coffers to sustain that will survive.



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Friday, 2 February 2018

Good Stock Market Performance in January = Good Stock Market Performance for the Year?

16:43 Posted by cheez No comments
January 2018 is a great month for the stock market, and probably a good start too!
The Straits Times Index (STI) is up about 3.4% for the month of January.
The S&P500 is up about 5.6% in the same month.
But does this mean that stocks will continue to do better for the rest of the year?
Here's a short video clip to explain if this will happen.


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