Real News‎ > ‎2015‎ > ‎February 2015‎ > ‎

1st February 2015

Singapore Real Estate

Home truths in Invest survey

Local investors prefer to bank on S'pore markets, and stocks are the runaway investment of choice

Source: Straits Times / Invest

There's no place like home, at least when it comes to the investment strategy for people here.

The Sunday Times Invest survey conducted with DBS Bank found that 36.1 per cent of the 568 respondents indicated they were putting most of their investments in Singapore.

It was the most popular response, well ahead of the 10.4 per cent who said they would invest overseas when asked to describe their plans.

Location was not as crucial as the timing of investments for the rest of the respondents.

A total of 27.5 per cent said they would adopt a wait-and-see approach, while 26 per cent reckoned they would invest in the first quarter.

When asked to pick an overseas market to invest in, the United States came up tops with 48.4 per cent choosing it, followed by 30.5 per cent for emerging markets.

Britain was chosen by 11.8 per cent of respondents while Australia received 9.1 per cent of the votes. One respondent did not indicate a preference.

Stocks were by far the runaway investment of choice, garnering 66.5 per cent of the votes. Unit trusts came in a distant second with 13.6 per cent, while the beleaguered property market was third at 11.8 per cent, followed by fixed deposits at 8.1 per cent.

Not surprisingly, with most considering stock investments, the biggest worry for 40.5 per cent of the respondents was the volatile stock market.

Political tensions around the world were the top concern for 25 per cent of respondents, while rising interest rates weighed heavily on 20.8 per cent of them and 13.7 per cent said their top fear was fluctuating currencies.

The poll was conducted via SMS last Sunday and Monday.

-By Mok Fei Fei

Some foreign launches shine as currencies fall

Investors can take advantage of favourable exchange rates to look abroad

Source: Straits Times / Invest

Attractive currency rates could make two newly launched properties - one in Malaysia and another in Tokyo - appealing choices for Singapore investors.

Malaysian real estate already draws considerable attention here, and interest is likely to be ramped up further by the falling ringgit.

Meanwhile, the cheaper yen could tempt some to look further north.

CBRE, which is marketing a Tokyo development, said the Japanese capital is emerging as an "investment hot spot" following the yen's rapid fall.

Global Front Tower

What's this project?

The 883-unit, high-rise residential development is located in Tokyo's Minato ward.

The property, launched yesterday, is offering a gross yield of about 4.5 per cent to 5.1 per cent.


The units are priced at $740,000 to $1.04 million. Some are 780 sq ft in size; others, 912 sq ft.

Singapore buyers can borrow from either a Japanese or a Singapore bank.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) and OCBC have both approved lending for this project. The rate being offered is the Singapore interbank offered rate (Sibor) plus 2.75 percentage points.

The length of the loan is between five and 35 years for UOB, and between five and 30 years for OCBC.


The development is next to the Yamanote Line, one of Tokyo's main railway lines.

The tower's many amenities include a childcare centre and a convenience store.

Harbour City

What's this project?

Sited off the coast of Malacca, this mixed development will feature a hotel, a mall and a theme park.

It is being developed by GoldMart, which belongs to the Hatten Group of companies.

The project will offer more than 780 suites and 800 retail units.

There is a guaranteed yield of 6 per cent for both types of units.


The average price for retail units on the first four floors is between RM1,500 (about S$560) and RM2,900 per sq ft (psf).

The hotel suites are priced at RM800 to RM920 psf on average.


Harbour City is near the Melaka Gateway development, an offshore development of man-made islands.

The islands will open in 2018 and are expected to boost the number of tourists visiting Malacca.

Need a major loan? Home in on your credit report first

Make an effort to improve your credit score as banks differ in risk appetites and lending policies

Source: Straits Times / Invest

I recently signed up for a new credit card.

But instead of just one shiny new card, I received a second credit card - and another credit line to boot.

This took me by surprise and made me curious about my credit score. So I decided to pay $6.42 to view my credit report online - and what I found left me less than fully impressed.

Early last month, the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) revamped the report.

It now features your aggregate credit limits and aggregate outstanding balances, including secured and unsecured loans, across financial institutions, while the previous version did not.

It's a relatively quick and painless process to buy the report.

You just need to make sure the pop-up blocker on your browser is turned off for the session, so you can access the link to the report online.

After I received the report, I scanned the 10-page PDF document and soon realised the actual credit report is only two pages long.

The other eight pages tell you how to interpret the credit report, figures and random letters that appear throughout the document.

Since I am used to scrutinising and filtering important information in chunks of text, it was a breeze, but I'm not sure how many consumers have the patience or time for it.

But anyone with a home loan or wanting to apply for one should take the time to study the report, given all the talk about an impending interest rate hike in the United States and how rates in Singapore are to go up as well.

I found that my credit score is between 1,825 and 1,843, earning a CC risk grade, which of course means nothing to me.

The CC grade actually means that the probability of defaulting on my payments is between 0.67 per cent and 0.88 per cent - so tiny.

Should I be pleased about this just because someone with a score of 1,000 has a probability of more than 3.48 per cent of defaulting?

Or should I be alarmed that I have fallen short of top of the class: the AA risk grade, a score of 1,911 to 2,000?

The reasons for my ranking were not spelt out so I could only guess.

Such things should be more explicit. It's made more difficult when "different banks have different risk appetite, hence their lending policies differ", said CBS, on the consumer credit score page on its website.

This was in response to a question from someone with a "relatively high" score, who asked why his application for credit facilities was turned down.

Ms Koh Ching Ching, OCBC's head of group corporate communications, explained: "Different banks apply different methodologies for credit scoring, and they are proprietary information.

"Various factors are taken into consideration when determining a customer's credit score. These factors include the customer's income and credit history."

The report's explanation pages state six different key contributing factors to credit scores.

These include an immature credit history - so mostly young people with little history - which adds to credit risk uncertainty, and credit exposure, where the higher the level, the greater the credit risk.

The two factors mentioned are also among the few associated with the risk grade CC.

But the only suggestion given to improve my score "is to reduce the number of unnecessary new credit applications, as lenders will request a credit report on you and these will reflect in the previous inquiries count".

The report also tells me to pay my credit bills on time and avoid any overdue and default payment behaviour. That "will also have a positive impact to your score".

Ms Koh said that making regular and prompt payments to all existing credit facilities is one good way you can contribute to improving your credit score, as it improves the performance of credit history.

Paying one's credit card bill in full every month helps, rather than just the minimum payment amount.

But banks' lending policies differ, so is it possible that someone with a relatively good score can get rejected for loans?

What if I take out a housing loan, and want to improve my score so I have a better chance? How would all this be held against me?

What else can I do, cancel all my credit cards? More guidance for the borrower would be welcome.

The only certain thing you can do to improve your own score is to pay on time. Which is not a bad policy in any case.

-By Rachael Boon

Dubai Investments to Pay About $41 Million for Al Mal Stake

Source: Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Dubai Investments PJSC, the company with interests in real estate and manufacturing, will buy a 60 percent stake in investment bank Al Mal Capital PSC as part of a plan to boost financial services assets.

The company will pay about 150 million dirhams ($41 million) for the stake and expects to complete the purchase by March 15, Chief Executive Officer Khalid Jassim Kalban said in a phone interview from Dubai today. Al Mal will help manage the about 3 billion dirhams of Dubai Investments’ financial assets, some of which is currently done by third parties, he said.

The company said it is acquiring Dubai-based Al Mal to “strengthen” its asset mix, according to a statement posted on the website of the Dubai Financial Market. The property segment made up 58 percent of Dubai Investments’ assets, investments 22 pecent and manufacturing 20 percent, according to its nine-month results.

“The distribution of our activities is not balanced” with real-estate making up about half of our assets, Kalban said. Dubai Investments will help Al Mal expand its brokerage, asset management, financial advisory and fund-raising business for itself and for third parties and may list the company in the future, he said.

Dubai Investments’ shares jumped 14 percent, the most since Dec. 21, to 2.48 dirhams at the close. The emirate’s benchmark stock index soared 4.5 percent, also the most in six weeks.

Al Mal Capital’s activities span investment banking, asset management and investment intermediary services, according to its website. The company has assets of about 500 million dirhams and equity of about 260 million, Kalban said.

Dubai Investments owns almost 40 subsidiaries and joint ventures including in construction materials, information technology and financial investments.