Real News‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎November 2012‎ > ‎

02 November 2012

2nd November, Friday




Most agent complaints related to HDB deals

Source: Today

About a third of complaints made to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) had to do with resale Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, while another 24 per cent were related to the rental of HDB flats.

These figures were revealed in CEA's inaugural annual report Thursday which also showed that the council received 1,656 complaints in the first 18 months of its inception.

Common complaints include unprofessional or poor service, where estate agents gave wrong advice, were not punctual and did not follow proper procedures, and misleading advertisements or improper distribution of flyers.

The CEA, which has a staff of 60, said most of the complaints - 1,080 cases - have been dealt with, with two ending up in prosecution, five in disciplinary action and 177 being issued with Letters of Advice. Another 52 have been referred to the Small Claims Tribunal and 22 to the police for investigation.

Some 422 cases were found to be unsubstantiated, with most of them lacking sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim, or turning out to be baseless or frivolous complaints. A total of 143 of these cases were found to involve no wrongdoing on the part of the salesperson.

As at March, the CEA had 1,493 licensed estate agents and 31,769 registered salespersons under its purview.


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PM Lee: Manufacturing remains a key pillar

Source: Business Times

Manufacturing will remain an important pillar of Singapore's economy even as it evolves, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Thursday.

The sector provides good jobs, integrates well with services and innovation, and broadens the Republic's economic base such that it is not overly dependent on any single sector.

Mr Lee said it was not possible for Singapore to be present in every industry as some would not fit.

The biomedical sciences sector, however, is a "high value-add, knowledge-intensive" industry that Singapore hopes will thrive for a very long time, he said. "We will continue to encourage investments in biomedical sciences, and the government will invest in promoting the industry," Mr Lee said.

The sector accounts for nearly 5 per cent of Singapore's GDP, with many top pharmaceutical and medical technology companies basing their regional and international headquarters here.

In total, the industry employs some 18,000 people, about 70 per cent of whom are locals.

The prime minister's message to investors was that Singapore is pro-business, thanks to its low taxes, good infrastructure and its willingness to remain open to foreign talent while encouraging employers to develop their local talent pool.


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Developers see funds flowing here after QE3

Source: Business Times

Two-thirds of property developers in Singapore expected the third round of quantitative easing (QE3) in the US to result in more funds flowing into real estate investment trusts (Reits), a survey showed.

The poll by the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas) and National University of Singapore (NUS) also revealed that a sizeable ratio of industry players expected QE3 to have an impact on the property market in other ways.

Nearly half of the 66 respondents expected greater demand for commercial and industrial properties, while 40 per cent believed that there would be more aggressive bidding for land. Foreigners would also buy more residences in Singapore, 44 per cent of developers believed.

The overall Composite Sentiment Index, which reflects the general feel about the property market in Singapore, rose to 4.9 in the third quarter, from 4.7 in Q2. It was the third straight quarter of increase. However, it remains below the 5.0 mark which separates optimism from pessimism.

Within the various sectors in the property market, sentiment was mixed.

Developers were most optimistic about the current and future outlook in the hotels and service apartment sector. But the office sector remained a drag with a continued negative current and future outlook.

Developers were also pessimistic about the industrial and logistics sector in the near future, although they currently hold positive sentiments.

There was improvement in sentiment towards the prime residential sector compared with the second quarter, and the current view and outlook for the suburban residential sector remained positive.

Interest picked up for land sales as well, compared with the previous quarter, the survey showed.

But developers grew more concerned about costs this quarter. Some 55 per cent of those polled were worried about labour cost increases, versus the 47 per cent in Q2, while 38 per cent expressed concern over high land prices, up from 31 per cent.


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Hard to gauge impact of latest cooling measures

Source: Business Times

It remains to be seen if the latest Singapore property cooling measures will hurt the bank's home loans growth, which was up 10 per cent year to date, said DBS Group Holdings' chief executive Piyush Gupta.

He pointed out that the last two macro-prudential measures succeeded in driving home loans growth down for two to three months, and then things went up again.

Mr Gupta said the latest measures, which lowered the loan to value (LTV) ratio considerably, could see some people pulling out because of affordability issues as monthly instalments will go up. The LTV is now 60 per cent for a borrower with no outstanding residential property loan, compared with 80 per cent previously, and 40 per cent for a borrower with one or more outstanding home loans, compared with the previous 60 per cent.

And if the measures work, it could lead to lower property prices which could bring borrowers back into the market, he said, adding that the current low interest rates continued to be a strong factor.

But he noted that October's bookings were for options signed or purchases committed before the Oct 6 measures, and "not reflective of the new measures". "It's tough for me to gauge what will happen . . . we need to watch through the next few quarters."


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Owners of S$1.77m condo unit are a young couple

Source: Channelnewsasia

Channel NewsAsia understands that the owners of the record-setting Heron Bay penthouse are a young couple, who are also first-time property buyers.

The unit was sold for S$1.77 million - a high price for an executive condominium in Singapore.

Analysts say the buyers of the five-bedroom, over 2,800 sq-ft penthouse, while not exceeding the income criteria, are likely to come from wealthy backgrounds.

To date, more than 90 per cent of Heron Bay has been sold, since it was launched last week.


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