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23rd August 2014

Singapore Real Estate

Cluster home projects to have fewer units

Source: Business Times / Singapore

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has fine-tuned its guidelines for cluster housing to address growing concerns of overcrowding in some landed estates. A new set of formulae to determine the maximum number of units for the various types of cluster housing, known as strata-landed homes, will significantly lower the number of units in new projects.

New cluster homes to have more open spaces

Revised guidelines aim to enhance common areas and add greenery

Source: Straits Times / Top of The News

BUYERS of future cluster housing developments will no longer find their homes packed cheek by jowl.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has drawn up a new set of guidelines that aims to make cluster housing more spacious and greener.

Cluster housing, or strata landed housing estates, combines strata-titled houses with communal facilities and greenery similar to the amenities at private condominiums.

The move is in response to concerns that overly dense developments could lead to congestion and overcrowding.

The URA announced a new set of formulae to determine the maximum number of houses allowed in such developments. It said in a statement yesterday: "The new formulae will generally result in fewer units compared with the previous formulae."

The URA also announced new guidelines that aim to enhance cluster housing features such as common areas and facilities.

For instance, developers must set aside at least 45 per cent of land for communal open space, up from 30 per cent. Of this, a minimum 25 per cent must be for greenery on the ground, and up to 20 per cent can be used for communal facilities such as swimming pools and playgrounds.

The revised guidelines come into effect today, and take into account feedback from residents in landed housing estates.

"Such developments could inject a disproportionately large number of units, causing additional traffic and parking problems as well as creating a more congested living environment," the URA said, citing some feedback received.

Long-time Watten Rise resident William Tan, 58, who is semi-retired, lives opposite 59- unit Watten Residences, completed in 2012. The cluster home development replaced a block of low-rise flats, and he estimates that 20 per cent more residents are living there now than before.

He welcomed the new guidelines allowing for less built-up space and fewer residences, noting that Watten Residences' landscaping was "acceptable" and contributed to more greenery.

But he added: "I miss the convenience of the old development as it used to house a grocery shop. Now, I have to go to FairPrice in Coronation Plaza or Farrer Road."

Mr John Tasker, a permanent resident who lives in Toh Estate near Changi Airport, said fellow residents were delighted with the guidelines. The chief operating officer of a Chinese holding company has lived there for five years with his Singaporean family.

Mr Tasker, who is from Britain, and eight other residents have been working with the URA regarding concerns over recent cluster housing developments.

He said: "Several comments have come back to me that it's great news. We know there are several other locations within Toh Estate with potential for developments with high density."

SLP International research head Nicholas Mak said prices of individual cluster homes were likely to rise since each cluster housing site would yield fewer homes, and the homes may become bigger. Such factors could put these homes out of reach for the middle class, he added.

-By Rachael Boon & Rennie Whang

Tanglin Shopping Centre up for collective sale again

Owners yet to get requisite consent level in 2nd bid after 2011's failed try

Source: Straits Times / Money

THE fate of a somewhat faded Orchard Road landmark is hanging in the balance.

Owners of the strata-titled Tanglin Shopping Centre are making a second try for a collective sale, but have yet to gather the requisite consent level as the deadline of next Wednesday approaches.

As of Thursday, the owners who have signed the collective sale agreement represent a 68.73 per cent stake in the property. The property has 173 owners in total.

The 44-year-old building comprises a six-storey podium block of shops, eateries and medical suites, and a 12-storey tower block of offices.

For the building to be put on the market, owners of 80 per cent of the property - by both share value and strata area - must sign the agreement before it expires next Wednesday.

The requisite consent level for the building's strata area has been reached, but the percentage by share value still falls short.

The first attempt at a collective sale in 2011 fell through when the reserve price of $1.25 billion was not met. This would work out to about $4,200 per sq ft (psf) of potential gross floor area, assuming the 68,512 sq ft freehold site is redeveloped.

The Straits Times understands that the reserve price is now $1 billion, or about $3,200 psf per plot ratio.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, which holds the largest stake in the building, announced last November that it had signed the collective sale agreement.

The hotel arm of Singapore-listed property group City Developments owns 34 per cent of the shopping and office complex.

Signing sessions for owners will be held every weekday till the deadline. Sale committee chairman Len Hoo said building maintenance costs have been rising, and owners have been delaying upgrading works in view of the proposed collective sale.

"It's an old building, a lot of maintenance work is needed for the air-conditioning, the lifts, cleaning... Driving in the carpark is like going 40 years back in time," said Mr Hoo, the managing director of family firm C.T. Hoo which owns an office unit and a jewellery shop in the building.

"Still, the choice is up to the owners, to decide what to do with their own property."

Some owners have opted to sell their units and cash out instead of waiting for the collective sale.

Mr Anil Bhatia used to own two second-floor units but decided to sell them last year for $1.4 million each - about $4,000 psf. He continues to operate his tailor shop Nath and Company in the units, but is now paying rent to the new owner.

The 69-year-old plans to shut his shop and retire next month, mainly because of poor business.

"The shopping centre does not get much foot traffic, and the type of trades we have here are established trades, but might not be in keeping with modern trends," he said.

"Maybe some owners are holding out because they think this is Orchard Road, it's freehold, it must be a gold mine."

Mr Tan Hong Boon, the regional director of investments at JLL, said the property's reserve price is "optimistic".

"They have adjusted their expectations from the previous collective sale attempt, but it's still quite a large sum and it remains to be seen whether there will be takers," said Mr Tan.

Still, he added it is "hard to find prime commercial and retail sites in the Orchard Road area, so it's quite a rare opportunity... The area also has a cluster of hotels and attracts tourists".

-By Chia Yan MIn

Strong demand from singles for 2-room flats expected to continue

The 2,765 units sold under the singles scheme so far have exceeded the 1,550 units set aside for singles by HDB.

Source: Channel News Asia / Singapore

SINGAPORE: It has been about a year since a new housing policy allowed singles to buy two-room flats directly from the HDB. Since then, more than 5,200 two-room flats in non-mature estates have been put up for sale, and 2,765 units have been sold under the scheme, with about 560 successful applicants collecting their keys so far.

This exceeds the 1,550 units set aside for singles. These include applications under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, Joint Singles Scheme and Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme. Prior to this, singles were only allowed to buy flats from the resale market.

Under the current singles scheme, 30 per cent of two-room flats are set aside for eligible singles who are Singapore citizens, first-time applicants, aged 35 and above, and earn up to S$5,000 monthly. On top of that, any remaining supply from that set aside for families will also be allocated to singles.

The strong demand from singles is expected to continue. Propnex CEO Mohamed Ismail said for recent BTO flats, a two-bedroom unit in Yishun was priced between S$76,000 to over S$80,000, while recent resale transacted prices of a two-bedroom unit in neighbouring Marsiling range from S$230,000 to S$250,000.

“Therefore, a person who is able to buy a two-bedroom flat is getting a discount of more than 50 per cent compared to the resale price,” he said. “There are many singles who do earn much more, and prefer a bigger space. So more or less about 20 per cent of the singles who have no alternative but to buy resale flats in the past would be considering taking up the BTO flats.”

In the latest BTO exercise in July, there were 18.7 applications for each two-room unit set aside for singles. The HDB has said it will offer 5,000 two-room flats this year (2014).

While it may be too early to review the singles scheme, Member of Parliament Gan Thiam Poh, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development said: ”I think HDB should concentrate on building more two-room flats to cater to the demand. Also, looking at the requests by singles - they do hope that they can get two-room flats in mature estates. I think their suggestion can also be considered because we also want singles to stay near their parents."

Housing grants to the tune of S$24.8 million have been disbursed to successful applicants as of July 31 this year. Together with the Additional CPF Housing Grant and Special Housing Grant, they can get up to S$30,000 in grants, depending on their income.

Ms Jowel Foo, 36, is among the ones who have benefited from the grants. She was among the first to apply for a flat under the singles scheme, and successfully booked one of 218 balance units released during the first sales exercise in July.

She moved into her new two-room Build-To-Order flat in Yishun about three months ago, paying S$133,000 for the 47 sq m unit after receiving S$10,000 in grants. 

"It was my Mum who encouraged me,” said Ms Foo, a manager with her family's food business. “We think that having an asset of my own in Singapore would be very useful for me in the future."

- CNA/xy

New MRT line may perk up home sales

TEL expected to boost property prospects on the East Coast

Source: Straits Times / Money

THE upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will ease transport woes for many thousands of commuters and help send home prices north, consultants said.

The 13km stretch could transform the area's prospects overnight by bringing the central business district and other parts of the island within striking distance.

"For a long time, residents in the East Coast have been relying on buses or private transport," noted OrangeTee research head Christine Li in a report yesterday.

"With better accessibility, existing and future properties in the area will benefit positively in the long run."

The line is set to pass through Tanjong Rhu, Katong Park, Amber, Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Siglap, Bayshore, Bedok South and Sungei Bedok, according to a Land Transport Authority announcement last week.

It will significantly cut travelling time to the central city and the northern part of Singapore.

A resident going from Marine Parade to Shenton Way will halve his journey time from 40 to 20 minutes, for example.

Colliers International research and advisory director Chia Siew Chuin said private residential areas from Tanjong Rhu through to Marine Parade and the boutique developments in Siglap and Bayshore will enjoy the most accessibility as they do not have MRT access now.

"Moving further east to Bedok South, the impact could be less, as residents there have had some access to the Bedok and Tanah Merah MRT stations," she added.

Ms Li said 99-year leasehold condominiums such as Casuarina Cove, Tanjong Ria Condominium and Water Place in Tanjong Rhu could be among the winners, while the freehold Meyer Residence and The Belvedere in Katong Park are near enough to benefit as well. At Amber Road, projects that may enjoy some lift are mostly small to medium-sized freehold apartments like Aalto, Amber Point and King's Mansion, she added.

Condominiums at Marine Parade like Cote D'Azur, The Palladium and The Seaview could enjoy price gains as could projects in Siglap and Bayshore such as Lagoon View, Laguna Park, Elliot at the East Coast, Bayshore Park, The Bayshore and Costa Del Sol.

Median prices of non-landed properties near the stations ranges from $905 at Sungei Bedok to $1,547 at Katong Park, noted SLP International research head Nicholas Mak.

He estimated that some property owners may increase their asking prices by 5 to 10 per cent over the next few months - as seen when the stations were announced for the North-East Line (NEL).

"People just wanted to capitalise on the news and they knew that their property would eventually appreciate. Granted, that was when the market was more buoyant," Mr Mak added.

But the full benefits would only be reaped when the line nears completion, he added, suggesting that the sweet spot would be a 24-month period, one year before and one after the service gets going. Mr Mak, who based his estimates on when the NEL came into operation, believes there could be a 10 to 12 per cent rise in prices over that two-year period.

Some upcoming projects in the area include CapitaLand's 124-unit Marine Blue at Marine Parade Road, which has not yet been launched, and 109-unit Amber Skye at Amber Road, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Amber Skye, a joint venture between China Sonangol Land and OKP Land, had launched 28 units as at the end of last month, with five selling.

Mr Ong said the MRT stations would help sales move faster but would probably not result in developers raising their selling prices.

"If developers peg prices competitively to attract buyers, especially investors, project sales will move faster. A convenient location will make it easier for investors or landlords to rent out their property."

But should the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework stick around, projects priced at $1,400 to $2,000 psf would not have much interest as that is the price range where buyers still need a loan - a far harder task these days, he added.

-By Rennie Whang

Upcoming East Coast line a boon for those nearby

MRT line scheduled for 2024 will likely push up property, investment values

Source: Straits Times / Money

A NUMBER of property outfits owning sites along the future Thomson-East Coast Line have been touted as likely beneficiaries of the 13km, nine-station MRT line skirting the east shoreline.

They include real estate investment trusts (Reits) and mainboard-listed developers.

"Residential developments in the vicinity will likely see 5 per cent to 10 per cent capital gains, retail malls will benefit from growth in shopper traffic, while office and industrial properties will benefit from improved tenant demand," UOB KayHian analyst Vikrant Pandey said in a research report this week.

Potential beneficiaries include CapitaLand, Keppel Land, Roxy Pacific, Chip Eng Seng, UOL, Suntec Reit, Keppel Reit, Frasers Centrepoint Trust, Keong Hong Holdings and Ascendas Reit, he said.

Maintaining an "overweight" call on the property sector, Mr Pandey saw the new line as a long-term catalyst.

"We like deep-value and diversified property stocks, preferably those with exposure to the commercial and hotel segments."

He added: "CapitaCommercial Trust, Suntec Reit, Keppel Land, CDL Hospitality Trusts, CapitaLand and Wing Tai are our preferred picks."

DBS Group Research, in a report this week on the construction sector, said further rail developments in the Thomson-East Coast Line will add $24 billion worth of construction activity for the period until 2024.

Scheduled to be completed in two phases, the $6.8 billion line will run almost parallel to the East-West Line and the future Downtown Line 3, significantly cutting travel time from the East Coast to the Central Business District, Orchard Road and the northern part of Singapore.

It is also expected to bring the MRT to within walking distance of an estimated 160,000 households there.

Upon the line's completion by 2024, properties near the new MRT stations - at Tanjong Rhu, Katong Park, Amber, Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Siglap, Bayshore, Bedok South and Sungei Bedok - are all expected to see higher rentals, which lead to potential capital appreciation, OrangeTee senior research analyst Wong Xian Yang said yesterday.

New residential developments along the East Coast, including CapitaLand's Marine Blue condo project in Marine Parade and UOL's Seventy St Patrick's, are likely to see renewed interest.

Meanwhile, developers with existing investments in the area could realise significant redevelopment potential in the medium to long term, Mr Pandey said.

These include Roxy Pacific's Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel, and the upcoming Master Contract Services' and Keong Hong Construction's hotel development along East Coast Road.

Existing residential developments near the new line, including Water Place, Pebble Bay, The Waterside, Aalto, Cote D'Azur, Laguna Park, Bayshore Park, The Bayshore and Costa Del Sol, could benefit in the medium term, said Mr Pandey.

However, the ongoing property cooling measures may dampen price appreciation in the near term, he added.

Retail Reits including Frasers Centrepoint Trust, which owns Changi City Point; Starhill Global Reit, which partially owns Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City malls; and SPH Reit, which owns Paragon, could benefit from increased shopper traffic as a result of better connectivity.

Improving connectivity to Changi Business Park and housing estates such as Tampines, the Downtown Line will be extended with a new station, Xilin, linking Sungei Bedok along the Thomson-East Coast Line with the Expo station on the Downtown Line, Mr Pandey said.

Greater connectivity to Changi may increase demand for logistics space in Changi South and Changi Business Park, which could benefit Ascendas Reit, Soilbuild Reit, Cache Logistics Trust, Viva Industrial Trust and Mapletree Industrial Trust.

-By Grace Leong

Tanjong Rhu's transport woes lifted

Source: Straits Times / Money

TANJONG Rhu has been something of a transport dead zone but plans to build an MRT station will put the inner city within easy reach and boost local real estate, said analysts.

The station will be one of the stops on the Thomson-East Line announced last Friday.

It is expected to open by 2023, a move that consultants said will lift property values and solve a transport headache for residents.

Tanjong Rhu isserved only by bus routes. Getting a train now means finding a way to the Mountbatten or Stadium stations on the Circle Line. But the new Tanjong Rhu station will be only three stops from the Marina Bay interchange, giving residents quick links to the city centre and the financial district.

Ms Christine Li, research head at OrangeTee, predicted that home values in Tanjong Rhu could appreciate between 7 and 12 per cent by the time the new rail line is completed.

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said rental gains and appreciation in home values are likely to be limited in the short term as buyers are restricted by the Total Debt Servicing Ratio and Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty.

Residents will also be inconvenienced by the construction, so rents and home prices are expected to stay stable in the shorter term, consultants said.

Tanjong Rhu was an industrial estate before it was turned into a private residential enclave with only a handful of condominiums. Newer projects in the vicinity include Lakeview Investments' 107-unit The Line@ Tanjong Rhu and the 128-unit Fulcrum, built by CEL Development.

Only one 893 sq ft flat was sold at The Line@Tanjong Rhu in the past six months. It went for $2,115 per sq ft - under the freehold project's two-year average sale price of $2,298 psf.

Units at Fulcrum, also a freehold development, have sold for an average of $2,240 psf over the past two years.

Resale homes at the 737-unit Costa Rhu have sold for an average of $1,309 psf over the past year, with a rental yield of 3.1 per cent. The 99-year leasehold project was completed in 1997.

The 99-year leasehold Pebble Bay, a 510-unit estate completed in 1997, sold at an average of $1,409 psf over the past year with a rental yield of 3.2 per cent. Units at the newer Water Place have sold at an average price of $1,266 psf over the past year, with rental yields at 3.8 per cent. The 437-unit project has a 99-year lease and was completed in 2004.

-By Cheryl Ong

Real Estate Companies' Brief

Sabana Reit may acquire Changi property for S$50m

Source: Business Times / Companies

Sabana Shari'ah Compliant Real Estate Investment Trust (Sabana Reit) is looking to acquire 10 Changi South Street 2 from Adviva Distribution for S$50 million. The total cost of the acquisition is about S$55.1 million, including the purchase consideration, the JTC upfront land premium, the stamp fee on the land premium and the acquisition fee of about S$0.5 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

CapitaLand Treasury prices S$500m 3.8% fixed-rate notes

Source: Business Times / Companies

Capitaland Treasury Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, has priced the offering of S$500 million, 3.80 per cent fixed-rate notes due 2024. This marks the largest single tranche SGD issuance for corporates in 2014. It is also the largest SGD bond issuance from a real estate issuer in recent years, noted Clifford Lee, head of fixed income at DBS Bank. "This is the first SGD senior bond issuance for CapitaLand since 2010 and the first bond issuance since 2012, highlighting the scarcity value of CapitaLand paper," added Mr Lee.

Oxley Holdings

Source: Straits Times / Money

·     Broker: DMG & Partners

·     Call: Buy

      Target price: 91 cents

OXLEY was listed three years ago as a boutique developer of residential projects. Post-listing, the group diversified across all segments of the real estate market, launching some 28 projects that have since been substantially sold out.The group's success can be attributed to its dynamic management and strong ability to execute projects.

Oxley has chalked up over $700 million of surplus for its Singapore development projects, which will be recognised over the next two to three years.

In addition, we expect its first hospitality project, The Pines, to generate a surplus of $380 million and a recurring income stream of $35 million upon completion.

Since last year, Oxley has amassed an overseas portfolio of 13 prime sites in Malaysia, Britain, China and Cambodia.

While Oxley has executed well on the local front, its track record in overseas markets is limited.

Its overseas projects in less developed markets are subjected to greater regulatory and policy risks.

United Engineers

Source: Business Times / Wealth

Bloomberg reported that OCBC, Great Eastern (GE) and the bank's founding Lee family are in talks to sell their stakes in UEM to Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. OCBC and GE have confirmed that they are in preliminary discussions for the sale of their stakes in UEM and WBL. UE is also in advanced stages of discussion with regards to sale of a non-core asset.

UE shares soar on talk of Thai tycoon's takeover offer

Two-day price surge pushes firm's market value to $1.76b

Source: Straits Times / Money

TALK of a takeover offer from Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi sent investors piling into United Engineers (UE) shares yesterday.

The stock jumped to an intra-day high of $2.81 before closing at $2.76, up 30 cents or 12.2 per cent.

The spike added to UE's lofty gains of 17 cents or 7.4 per cent in just over two hours of trade on Thursday, before the firm called for a trading halt pending an announcement.

The two-day price surge has sent the company's market value to $1.76 billion, up from $1.46 billion as at Wednesday night, and in turn boosted the potential gains OCBC could reap.

Investors rushed in from the get-go yesterday after the trading halt was lifted on news that Mr Charoen is in talks with OCBC bank and its concert parties to buy their combined stakes in the property, engineering and construction group.

OCBC and these parties, which include insurer Great Eastern (GE) and the bank's founding Lee family, have a combined holding of about 34 per cent in UE.

Any deal involving more than 30 per cent of a listed firm's capital triggers a mandatory takeover offer.

An estimate by brokerage CIMB puts OCBC's effective stake in UE at 19.53 per cent, which would value the holding at about $343.2 million.

It was announced after markets closed on Thursday that OCBC and GE are in preliminary discussions to sell their stakes in UE and its WBL Corp unit.

UE also told the Singapore Exchange, in response to its query on the share price hike, that it is in advanced stages of discussions on the sale of a non-core business.

UE bought WBL last year with the support of OCBC and its concert parties.

The potential UE asset sale boosted its listed subsidiary, UE E&C, a construction and engineering firm.

UE E&C's shares rose five cents to $1.275 on market speculation that it could be a non-core business divested by UE.

Voyage Research investment analyst Yew Meng Hau said: "UE has, in the past, given indications that it's looking into disposing non-core businesses and UE E&C was touted as a possibility for it to cash out."

Another possibility is the sale of WBL's automotive business, which reportedly attracted interest earlier this year from bidders like Hong Kong's Swire Pacific and the Al-Futtaim group in United Arab Emirates.

CIMB Research analyst Jessalynn Chen noted that OCBC's 6.5 per cent stake in WBL is valued at $80 million.

"Assuming OCBC sells its WBL stake for the same amount, this will raise its CET1 (common equity tier 1) capital adequacy ratio - one measure of how well capitlaised the bank is - by 4 basis points... We believe OCBC may look to divest more non-core assets, mainly properties, to further boost its fully-loaded CET1 ratio."

CIMB has upgraded its call on UE from "reduce" to "hold", saying the stock has a potential upside of between 3 per cent and 16 per cent from a takeover offer.

OCBC shares closed down three cents at $10.41 yesterday while GE shares closed up 21 cents at $23.21.

-By Mok Fei Fei

Views, Reviews & Forum

CPF and housing are most-discussed topics in REACH feedback

Source: Channel News Asia / Singapore

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans are most concerned about CPF and housing matters, according to the feedback collected by REACH on the Prime Minister's National Day Rally speech on Aug 17.

Chairman of the government feedback unit Dr Amy Khor said many also welcomed the news that the government will allow older Singaporeans to withdraw a lump sum from their CPF.

But Dr Khor said there were also those who called for safeguards to prevent over-depletion of retirement savings. This includes a need to promote better financial literacy, especially among the older generation, so that they understand the implications of withdrawing their CPF funds.

Many also reacted positively to the prime minister's message on focusing beyond paper qualifications, with some wondering how this change in mindset can be achieved.

Dr Khor said: "Because they feel that this idea of a upgrading to a paper qualification is quite deeply entrenched. So I think for government, really it is about driving this, say through the tripartite committee to be headed by DPM, getting the government, as well as employers and the unions to champion this, to promote this."

She was speaking to reporters after a dialogue session on the National Day Rally held at Toa Payoh (HDB Hub Mall) on Saturday (Aug 23).

A wide range of topics were discussed at the session, which was chaired by Dr Khor, REACH's Vice-Chairman Baey Yam Keng and member Vikram Nair, including the withdrawal of CPF funds and the HDB's Lease Buyback Scheme.

The session was held in collaboration with MediaCorp's news radio station 938LIVE. It was also the first outdoor dialogue session on the rally that REACH is involved in. The agency said about 200 residents attended the session. 

- CNA/xq

Help retirees unlock property assets

Source: Straits Times / Forum Letters

I APPLAUD the changes made to the Central Provident Fund but am afraid that they do not go far enough ("PM outlines CPF options for retirement; Monday).

In isolation, the CPF is insufficient to provide for a comfortable retirement.

Many Singaporeans would have used most of the funds in their Ordinary Account to buy a home, tying up their "retirement fund" in assets.

I urge the Government to help retirees to unlock this "retirement fund".

For a start, property restrictions should be relaxed for the private property sector.

This would go a long way towards helping Singaporeans divest their private properties.

After retirees sell their private property, they would need another roof over their heads. At this stage in life, it would be folly to invest in another private property.

Currently, if former private property owners wish to buy a new HDB flat, they have to wait 30 months before they can apply for one. In the meantime, they may have to rent a place, incurring more costs, or buy a resale flat at a hefty price.

The HDB could help such retirees by removing the waiting period. Alternatively, it could make three-room HDB flats available for rental to retirees at a heavily subsidised rate.

Another thing the HDB could do is build retirement villages where retirees can be socially connected and have their physical and mental health taken care of.

For most of us, the CPF is a good instrument for acquiring an asset when we are young. However, it is a poor provider in our silver years.

Other private and public institutions have to play a part to help provide Singaporeans with a modest, worry-free and enriching retirement.

-By Colin Loh Yoon Fui

Study dementia village concept for Singapore

Source: Straits Times / Forum Letters

I AM in full support of the "open village" concept for people who have dementia ("'Open village' for dementia residents"; last Saturday).

People trying to cope with dementia and other ageing issues need to spend their twilight years in dignity.

These citizens need all the support that they can get - more so when they, as pioneers, contributed to the economic growth of this nation during their younger days.


As with other mental disorders, it is so important to recognise the person first and the illness second, rather than the other way around.

There are many misconceptions about people with dementia, Parkinson's disease and other mental disorders, and it is probably going to take a whole village to change mindsets. But we must be open to trying new and bold ideas to eliminate prejudice.

The Dutch "open" dementia village, called De Hogeweyk, could be adopted here in Singapore with modifications, given that we have land constraints. It would be helpful if a fact-finding mission were sent to study this concept which, when implemented, would accord the due recognition and full support that our elderly folk deserve.

Recreational activities such as outings can be rewarding and a welcome change from the daily routine of a nursing home.

Although some of our nursing homes do take their residents on outings, these are limited due to manpower shortage and funding constraints. To this end, I urge charitable organisations to step forward and take these residents to places of interest and for a nice meal.

-By Raymond Anthony Fernando

Global Economy & Global Real Estate