Real News‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎August 2012‎ > ‎

04 August 2012

4th August, Saturday




Split-second home loans? Hold it . . .

Source: Business Times

Getting an approval for a home loan by the United Overseas Bank might not be as instant as it was marketed to be, following a clarification from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

MAS has put a dampener on the bank's latest offering, the Split-Second Home Loan approval service, by saying that home loan approvals cannot be done from temporary locations at property launch sites.

The authority also highlighted that a residential property loan is a long-term financial commitment, and by allowing banks to approve applications at temporary locations, imprudent lending by banks might occur.

When approached by Business Times regarding MAS's statement about the service, a UOB spokesman commented: "UOB's new service assesses a serious homebuyer's eligibility for a home loan instantly at selected showflats.

"The homebuyer's eligibility for a home loan can be determined instantly because UOB has streamlined and automated some of its back office processes for faster credit evaluation. The bank continues to use the same strict credit review parameters, including a credit check with the Credit Bureau (Singapore)."

Process-wise, UOB's mortgage bankers use an iPad to input an applicant's information into the system. From there, the home buyer's loan application will continue to be processed and approved at the head office and will be subject to the terms and conditions set out in the letter of offer such as UOB's verification of the applicant's documents.

The bank also pointed out that should the home buyer ultimately choose to take up the loan, he will still have to go down to a UOB branch to submit and finalise certain documents in order for the bank to issue a letter of offer.

As such, the Split-Second Home Loan approval service still requires a fair amount of time and effort before a home buyer can indeed be sure of his home loan approval.


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ECs enjoy pricing edge over condos

Source: The Straits Times

Lower construction costs have given executive condominiums (ECs) a pricing edge as developers chase buyers in a competitive market.

This lower cost is partly why EC projects are typically priced about 25 per cent below comparable private mass market homes, experts say.

This discount also takes into account the Housing Board (HDB) rules and household income cap of $12,000 a month that apply to EC units. Such factors are priced in by developers and often mean an initial lower land cost.

An analyst noted that the gap in construction costs could also be due to ECs opting for multi-storey carparks rather than the more expensive basement ones.

Experts pointed out various other possible differences between ECs and private residential projects but these are usually small and not of huge significance.

For instance, the fittings and furnishings - floor tiles, kitchen appliances and sanitary ware - are typically of a lower grade in ECs.

The aesthetics of the project might also differ, with private projects having "more flair" - for instance, more curvature in its external design or a swanky clubhouse - that would cost more to build.


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Serangoon Garden continues to charm buyers

Source: The Straits Times

Serangoon Garden is one of Singapore's oldest housing estates, yet it has held its own despite the many new towns that have surfaced over the years.

The upper middle-class enclave, built to house British soldiers, keeps pulling in buyers with its wide choice of landed homes and lifestyle amenities.

Residents are mostly Singaporeans, but more expatriate families are moving in, due to several international schools in the area.

Gains in home prices are also typically higher than the national average, say experts.

Terrace home prices in Serangoon Garden have risen by 44 per cent in the past two years while semi-detached values have climbed 50 per cent. Islandwide, terrace prices have gone up 36 per cent in that period and semi-detached home prices have risen 30 per cent, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority's data on prices.

Rental yields of landed homes range from 2 to 3.5 per cent in Serangoon Garden, with Farleigh Avenue, Conway Circle and Tavistock Avenue popular with tenants. But compared with landed homes in nearby Braddell, Serangoon Garden rents are lower.

The attractiveness and charm of Serangoon Garden also stem from its predominantly low-rise environment.

The estate is also self-sufficient, with amenities like the myVillage mall and popular hawker centre Chomp Chomp.

However, the popularity of the area has led to plenty of parking problems.

But the outlook remains fairly positive, with a recent 99-year leasehold landed housing project, Haus@Serangoon Gardens, enjoying healthy take-up rates and fetching prices close to $1,500 per sq ft. Other recent launches include Cardiff Residence and Verdana Villas.


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