28 March 2012

HDB Resale Flats - Public or Private Housing?

I think HDB has to be honest and reveal their master plan for resale HDB flat. Looking at the direction that resale flat is going, makes me wonder if one day they will decide to simply privatize resale flats. Just take away the subsidies and regulations and they can turn resale flats into condominiums. Who knows, maybe residents can setup their own management community, build swimming pools right below the block, put up fences and hire a few Ah Neh security guards to protect the block.

It's an obvious contradiction here, is resale flat supposed to be public housing or private housing? It's a public housing that can be sold like a private housing, seller can set any price they wish. Market valuation is pointless to a buyer since there is COV, actually also pointless for the seller since they can set whatever amount they wish.

If they still wish to refer to resale flat as public housing, I would expect HDB to do away with COV and strictly allow sales to proceed with ONLY valuation price. Don't valuation already consider the location, amenities, interior, special features, level and etc of a flat? Sellers who are trying to obtain a higher value for their flat, based on factors that were already covered by valuation, isn't that sheer greed? Seriously, if I am a seller, of course I would say my flat is in good location, excellent renovation and etc, and I want XXk COV, why? I want more money, who doesn't? Isn't that sheer greed? Who doesn't want to make a profit when you can, even at the expense of jacking up resale prices, causing the younger generation to have problem owning their first flat?

HDB, please, resale flat is not kway teow, please don't let people char kway teow, time to pick up the balls that dropped everywhere and step in to control, just step in, I will be first person to support, that is if HDB still consider resale flat as public housing... making homes affordable and sustainable... providing homes for Singaporeans... especially for the younger generation to start a family... and for the elderly to retire in peace...

放下屠刀 立地成佛 - Put down the chopper and become Buddha

What is The Point of COV When There Already is Market Valuation?

This question was posted at REACH on 28 Mar 2012, 10.39AM

What does market valuation of a resale flat do? Surveyors determine the market price of a resale flat by factors such as location of the block, surrounding amenities, level of the flat, interior condition of the flat and special features inside/outside the flat.

Seller A asks for COV because he has renovated his flat and he has built a bar counter in his flat.

Have the above been covered by market valuation?

Seller B asks for COV because his flat location is good, near to MRT, near to bus interchange, schools, shopping malls and plenty of coffeeshops.

Have the above been covered by market valuation?

Seller C asks for COV because his flat is at the top floor of the block, with incredible view.

Have the above been covered by market valuation?

Then what is the point of market valuation if COV serves to do what it already is doing?

How can HDB allow such a contradiction?

This is one reason why HDB resale flat is becoming more expensive, and it will get worse if HDB still maintain the "willing buyer willing seller" attitude.

Response from HDB forwarded by REACH Administrator on 16 Apr 2012, 4.48PM

The valuation of HDB resale flats are conducted by professional private valuers who are licensed by the Inland Revenue of Singapore and members of the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers. The valuers conduct their valuations independently; according to established valuation principles applicable to both private properties and HDB flats. The value of the flat is derived based on recent resale transactions of comparable flats and adjustments are made for the flat’s attributes such as location, age of flat size, floor level, extent of renovations, etc.

For flats which the buyer has a personal preference and liking for, the buyer may be willing to pay a premium above the market value to purchase the flat. On the other hand, some flats may be sold below the market value for various other reasons.

Generally, sellers would ask for the highest price possible. Buyers, on their part, should negotiate with the sellers and offer a price within their means. It is not appropriate for HDB to intervene in the negotiation process between buyers and sellers. Such interventions contradict the fundamentals of property transactions, which are subject to prevailing market forces of demand and supply, and negotiation by the buyers and sellers.

There is a wide range of flats in the resale market in terms of flat type and location to suit the needs of different buyers. Buyers are advised to consider widening their search for a flat for more choices.

Housing & Development Board (HDB)

Will there come a day when only the rich can afford resale flat?

27 March 2012

Condolences to Madam Samai Chatthahan and Family of Mr. Lim Wei Kwan, Jason

I only learned about the whole story today and I feel shocked, and very sad for the family but I'm glad that help has been swiftly offered by NTUC and MCYS, and also very glad that Mr. Lim's eldest son, young Mr. Lim Itthiphat has finally obtained his citizenship after 10 long years of trying. My heart feels heavy when I realized that the late Mr. Lim is unable to share the happiness with his family, but I'm sure he will be happy now, wherever he is.

Now that I think back, let's look at the new LTVP+. One of the eligibility criteria is that a foreign widow of a Singaporean is allowed to apply, provided she has a Singaporean child. Doesn't that ring a bell? The incident happened around mid Dec 2011, and ICA is introducing the new pass on 01 Apr 2012. I also understand that the late Mr. Lim tried applying for permanent residency for Madam Samai, 3 times but was all rejected.

With the introduction of the new pass, Madam Samai will be eligible for LTVP+ and that means she does not have to return to her country when her LTVP expires. She will be able to continue staying here and bring up the kids.

I applaud ICA for the quick introduction of the new pass but it's a shame that such a pass, one that is necessary to bridge the huge gap between PR and LTVP statuses, one that will help to keep families together, has to come at the price of a man's life. I think he is the hero of every Singaporean who has married a foreign spouse, and who will be benefiting from the new pass.

Salute and Rest in peace.

20 March 2012

Long-Term Visit Pass - Plus (LTVP-PLUS)


Good news for those of us who cannot get PR for our beloved spouse, because the Singapore government has come up with a enhanced long-term visit pass called LTVP-PLUS or LTVP+. I'll sum up the key points in the FAQ provided by ICA so you don't have to go through one big page.

Do let me know if I missed out anything or correction is required by dropping a comment.

  • LTVP+ will be in effect from 01 Apr 2012.
  • LTVP+ holders will enjoy extended duration of residency, public healthcare subsidies and easier access to employment.
  • No separate application required for LTVP+; an application for LTVP will automatically include your spouse for LTVP+, if eligible.
  • LTVP applications submitted from 01 Feb 2012 will automatically be considered for LTVP+.
  • The first approved LTVP+ will grant 3 years residency and subsequent renewal will be 5 years.
  • Current holders of LTVP will be considered for LTVP+ on next renewal. If holders of LTVP wishes to be considered for LTVP+ earlier, may submit new LTVP application, but note that processing and issuance fees apply.
  • Singaporean and LTVP+ holder may only purchase resale flat; unless they have a Singaporean child then they may purchase a new flat direct from HDB.

  • Only spouse of Singapore citizen will be eligible for LTVP+; spouse of PR can only apply for LTVP.
  • Couples with at least a Singaporean child will be eligible, but for those without child and married for at least 3 years will stand a higher chance. ICA will also look at financial capability of sponsor and good conduct of sponsor and applicant.
  • Pregnant spouse may also apply for LTVP+.
  • Foreign widow of Singaporean with Singaporean child will be eligible.
  • ICA will consider valid foreign marriage certificate or proof that the marriage is recognized in the country of marriage.

  • Public hospital subsidy; ward A 0%, B1 10%, B2+ 30%, B2 45%, C 60%, Day Surgery 0%, Specialist Outpatient Clinic 0%, A&E 0%.

  • Employer need to apply for Letter of Consent (LOC) from Ministry of Manpower (MOM) before LTVP+ holder may commence work.
  • No administrative fee incurred by employer for the application of Letter of Consent.
  • Duration of consent granted depends on the employer and LTVP+ expiry date.
  • Consent is renewable as long as the LTVP+ has at least 3 months validity.
  • LTVP+ holder may only work for one employer and hold only one LOC at any point of time.
  • LTVP+ holder is not allowed to set up business.
  • LTVP+ holder may change job. Employer should cancel the Letter of Consent within seven days after resignation and prospective employer should apply for a new consent from MOM.
  • No limit to how many LTVP+ holders a company can employ and LTVP+ holders will not count towards a company's foreign worker quota.
  • No foreign worker levy imposed for hiring LTVP+ holders.
  • Existing work pass holders may submit LTVP+ application. Upon collection of LTVP+ from ICA, work pass will be cancelled. ICA will issue a temporary approval letter so that work may continue but employer need to apply for Letter of Consent before the temporary approval expire.

  • LTVP+ application may take 6 weeks.
  • Letter of Consent may take 1 week.

  • Fees to pay are the same between LTVP and LTVP+; $30 processing fee and $60 issuance fee, additional $30 if visa is required.