Pakatan Harapan witnessed its fourth defeat in the Tanjung Piai recent by-election suggesting Malaysians are not satisfied with the performance of the incumbent government. Against this political backdrop, here are our top five predictions for Malaysia’s property market next year.
By Khalil Adis
If the recently concluded by-election in Tanjung Piai is anything to go by, the mood on the ground is clear - Malaysians are frustrated with the lack of reforms, election manifestos that were rescinded, high cost of living, in-fighting among its leaders and a society that appears to be increasingly divided along race and religion fault lines.
Indeed, the Tanjung Piai by-election witnessed Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng winning by a landslide with a 15,086-vote majority.
In total, he garnered 25,466 votes.
In contrast, Pakatan Harapan’s candidate from Bersatu, Karmaine Sardini obtained 10,380 votes.
The by-election is particularly significant as Tanjung Piai has a sizable Chinese and Malay voters.
Collectively, this does not bode well as the property market is very much sentiment-driven.
In addition, the latest trade data from Bank Negara showed that Malaysia’s economic growth had slowed down from 4.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2019 to 4.2 per cent in the third quarter.
With a lacklustre economy, a looming global recession and job retrenchments, here are our top five predictions for Malaysia’s property market in 2020.
#1: Kuala Lumpur: High-end properties in KLCC will be the first to be affected
KLCC is a good barometer of the global economy as it attracts foreign investors, speculators and wealthy locals.
It also attracts a sizeable expatriate community who are renting properties here either under a corporate or personal lease.
As such, this is the first sector that will be hit once the economy comes to a grinding halt and they are sent packing home.
This is because landlords who own high-end properties here are hardly able to cover their mortgage even with such tenants secured, resulting in negative cash flow.
Should retrenchments occur, the exodus of the expatriate tenant pool will be a double whammy as landlords are faced with a loss of income and still having to service their mortgage.
Those who face difficulties will be forced to offload their properties.
Historically, the 2008 crisis witnessed the resale values of properties here declining by around 15 to 20 per cent.
One solution for landlords is to convert their homes into Airbnb units.
Then and again, the short-term lease market is extremely competitive and no longer as lucrative as before.
There is currently a price war among online hotel booking sites and Airbnb resulting in a very low-profit margin for such property owners.
#2: Kuala Lumpur: Supply glut makes renting even more attractive
According to the first half of 2019 data from the National Property and Information Centre (NAPIC), entire Malaysia has a total of 54,0078 overhang units worth RM37, 229 million.
Kuala Lumpur has 4,731 such units worth RM4,599.30 million.
With so much supply in the market, those who are struggling to purchase their first home may want to rent instead.
Alternatively, you may want to opt for the Rent-To-Own (RTO) scheme.
This is specifically for those who are unable to afford the initial 10 per cent deposit and access to financing in purchasing their homes.
Here’s how it works, you sign a tenancy agreement with the developer where part of your rental will be converted to your deposit.
After five years, the developer will then ask you to sign a Sales & Purchase Agreement.
Recently, the government announced that for Budget 2020, it will be collaborating with financial institutions for this scheme for the purchase of first home up to RM500,000 property price.
Under this scheme, the applicant will rent the property for up to five years and after the first year, the tenant will have the option to purchase the house based on the price fixed at the time the tenancy agreement is signed.
The government will provide stamp duty exemptions on the instruments of transfer between the developer and financial institution, and between financial institutions and the buyer in this scheme.
#3: Iskandar Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and Penang: Flight to safety among Hong Kong investors
One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
In Malaysia’s case, we have seen Hong Kong investors snapping up medium to high-end properties from Iskandar Malaysia to Penang due to the ongoing unrests happening in Hong Kong.
This will also help to reduce the overhang in the property market resulting in improved cash flow among developers.
These investors are cash-rich which is music to the ears for property developers.
So amid the gloom and doom, the protests in Hong Kong has given a flicker of hope for the real estate sector which has been in the doldrums.
The result is a positive trickle-down effect for the Malaysian economy and helping to create jobs in the property, law and finance sectors.
#4: Iskandar Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang: Affordable homes will continue to be in demand
While the government has announced various initiatives such as Fund for Affordable Homes and Youth Housing Scheme, I believe that young Malaysians should instead focus on buying from private developers through the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC).
This is because land is a state matter and the federal government may have difficulty implementing such homes across Malaysia.
We have already seen from the previous budgets how homebuyers were left stranded when PR1MA was not able to deliver the 1 million units that were promised.
The lack of a single government agency to spearhead the affordable home segment also complicates the matter and may mean one government agency may not be communicating with another.
In addition, the limitations that are imposed on low-cost housing built by either the state or federal government may impact your capital appreciation in the future.
Private developers are in the business and have to means to deliver such homes.
Take advantage of the HOC as you can get a 10 per cent discount for qualified properties that will be matched with stamp duty exemptions.
You may also want to apply for a home jointly with your spouse or another single. This will enable you to combine your finances leading to a higher chance of getting your loans approved.
This is for those who do not want to take part in the RTO scheme but instead come up with the 10 per cent deposit on your own.
When choosing for a home, apply the 5CS.
Check the masterplan:
A masterplan would typically define a township’s development in the next one to two decades.
Check the transport masterplan
Generally, properties close to transportation hubs such as MRT or LRT stations can command a premium of between five and 10 per cent over the long term.
Check budget allocation from the government
Government policies do have an indirect impact on a property. For example, budget allocation for improvements in public infrastructure and new economic drivers will have an impact on new and existing homes in and around the vicinity of an area. So check where the government is building new hospitals or schools.
Check for economic drivers
You should study an area before buying your property. The best strategy is to buy in an area that is not yet developed but where there are plans for various economic drivers. A government-mooted economic corridor or a reputable developer that has experience in building townships are great indicators if the area will ‘succeed’ or not.
Check for job creation
This is like feeling someone’s pulse. You need to check if the township you are eyeing is going to be a ghost town or a happening place. If it is the former, perhaps you should stay away. If it is the latter, more and more workers will be drawn there, becoming a magnet for people and a hive of activity. People are the lifeblood of a neighbourhood. As the area becomes highly desirable, people will naturally want to live and work in and around the vicinity. As there is an increase in demand, property prices in that area will also rise. That is how property prices appreciate.
#5: Confusing message from the government may result in a “wait-and-see’ situation among foreign investors
Recently, the federal government had announced that it was reducing the minimum purchase price from RM1 million to RM600,000 to reduce the overhang in Malaysia’s property market.
To reduce the overhang, Budget 2020 now allows foreigners to buy completed and unsold units that are priced above RM600,000.
Subsequently, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin clarified that will be implemented only for a year starting from 2020.
However, each state has the right to implement its own minimum purchase price which makes the implementation difficult.
In addition, Malaysian My Second Home (MM2H) applicants now can no longer import a car according to MM2H agents who are involved in such applications and will require additional approval from the Housing Ministry
This, they said, results in longer processing time and sends a confusing signal to foreign investors on Malaysia’s intention to lure foreign investors.
So, except for Hong Kong investors, the rest may likely adopt a wait-and-see” approach until they see some clarity.
Here are our top five predictions as the Lion City braces for slower economic growth and the possibility of a recession next year.
By Khalil Adis
Singapore had narrowly missed a technical recession in the third quarter of 2013 growing by 0.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis according to advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
Still, the economy remains muted as the labour market continues to soften while retrenchments are on the rise.
We are already seeing firms asking employees to take a shorter workweek, particularly in the manufacturing sector as this is most affected by the ongoing global headwinds.
Given the trade war will likely persist in 2020 combined with a bleak job market ahead, here are the possible impacts on Singapore’s property market.
#1: High-end properties will likely take the first hit
High-end properties are those that are located in Districts 1, 2, 9, 10 and 11.
These properties are first to take the hit should a recession occur next year as they are the most volatile - they are the first to rebound during an upturn but also the first to see the largest decline in capital values.
Why is this so?
This is because this market segment is driven generally by speculators and foreign investors.
As the economy takes a hit, they are likely to offload the properties once they are unable to finance their mortgage or secure tenants.
During the 2008 crisis, for instance, we saw properties in prime areas declining by as much as 30 per cent.
Also, the cooling measures that were announced last year will likely see such buyers staying away from this market.
The only exception is the ultra-high-net-worth individuals as seen in the penthouse unit at Wallich Residence that was purchase by British billionaire James Dyson in April this year.
However, such buyers are far and few between.
#2: Vacancy rates for high-end units will likely increase
The soft job market and increase in retrenchments will see expatriates either being repatriated or a cut in their housing allowance.
As such tenants generally favour renting homes in the prime areas, we are likely to see vacancy rates increase as they exit from the market or opt for cheaper housing options in the city fringe and heartland areas of Singapore.
With an increase in vacancy rates, this will likely trigger a price war among landlords as they reduce their asking price in the hope of securing a tenant.
As a result, rentals in the prime areas will likely decline as well.
Again, this was seen during the 2008 crisis.
#3: Mass market segment will be resilient
Mass market homes are those that are located in the Outside Central Region (0CR) as defined by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Why are such homes more resilient compared to those located in the Core Central Region (CCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR)?
This is because the OCR is driven by genuine homebuyers and where the rentals are more affordable.
While we will likely see a price decline in the secondary market due, it will not be as much as the prime areas.
For instance, during the 2008 crisis, prices in the OCR declined by around 10 to 15 per cent.
#4: Flight to safety in the mass market rental segment
Having said that, the mass market segment is not immune to the economic slowdown and soft labour market.
We are already seeing workers being retrenched or told to take a pay cut, particularly among those in the manufacturing sector.
As the manufacturing sector takes a hit, so will the rental market.
However, this market is still considered relatively affordable for the expatriate worker albeit with a reduced budget.
Therefore, this market will see a flight to safety among the white-collar workers who do not mind living in the heartlands.
Landlords will also likely to lower their asking price in a bid to continue attracting tenants.
#5: Affordable homes will be in demand
The property market is very much sentiment-driven.
However, the affordable home segment is different as it is driven by buyers who genuinely need a roof over their heads.
As such, the HDB market will see good take-up rates particularly for homes that are being offered under the Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises.
In November, for instance, the HDB launched 4,571 BTO units and 3,599 SBF units.
The BTO units are located in Tengah, Tampines and Ang Mo Kio while the SBF units are located in both mature and non-mature estates.
The Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) of up to $80,000 that was announced in September this year will provide a much-needed help for homebuyers in acquiring their first home and ease their property journey.
Budget 2020: A futuristic sounding budget that (unfortunately) brings Malaysian and foreign buyers back to square one
Despite its focus on the digital economy, the budget is a regressive one for both local and foreign buyers
By Khalil Adis
Another year, another budget.
This year is no different except that they were announced against a backdrop of the ongoing global trade wars and a general slowdown in the global economy.
While the Malaysian government has announced several measures to spur its economy specifically in the digital arena, Malaysia is likely to ride through the current economic climate largely unscathed as it has a strong domestic economy, unlike Singapore.
As such, I will focus solely on those affecting the property market.
From the looks of it, the measures appear to be cosmetic to address the shortcomings and mess left behind by the previous government.
Foreigners and Malaysians at the losing end
Call it a band-aid if you will but the budget seems regressive by bringing us back to the Budget 2014 and 2016 eras for foreign investors and locals buyers respectively.
Let us look back at Budget 2014.
During this period, the minimum purchase price for foreigners buying a property in Malaysia was raised from RM500,000 to RM 1 million.
This was to prevent a property bubble from forming in the market and thus preventing Malaysians from buying such properties.
Well, guess what?
The situation got even worse despite this measure as there were no checks and balances in place by the Housing Ministry.
As such, developers were at the free reign to build units that local could not buy resulting in a huge glut that we are seeing right now.
To reduce the overhang, Budget 2020 now allows foreigners to buy completed and unsold units that are priced above RM600,000.
So what happens to foreigners who had bought a property at RM1 million and are now looking to sell?
Most probably, due to the current market conditions, they will now be selling at a loss to either a local or a foreign buyer.
Also, they will now have to compete directly with the primary market where foreigners can buy at a steep discount of RM400,000 (RM1 million - RM600,000) directly from developers.
This mixed signal could potentially deter foreign investors from buying property in Malaysia.
Verdict: Foreign sellers: 0, foreign buyers: 1*
*it remains to be seen if subsequent budgets will see a change in the minimum purchase price across the various states in Malaysia.
Next, let us take a look at Budget 2016 in the affordable housing segment for Malaysian buyers.
Previously, under Barisan Nasional, the government had announced that it was building PR1MA homes across various states during Budget 2016.
There were also promises to build such homes that are planned around transport hubs and train stations in Kuala Lumpur.
Back then, the government had announced that a total of 5,000 units of PR1MA and PPA1M houses will be built in the vicinity of LRT and monorail stations in 10 locations, including Pandan Jaya, Sentul and Titiwangsa.
Fast forward four years later, PR1MA has become a massive liability for the government.
As we speak, PR1MA is undergoing restructuring and is nowhere close to the lofty 1 million housing units it had previously promised to deliver.
Meanwhile, there is still no news on the 5,000 transit-oriented development units (TODs).
This leaves Malaysians who are in dire need of affordable homes stranded.
From the looks of it, they are now back to square one with another new policy in place to replace the old one.
A new budget for local buyers
As part of Budget 2020, the government will collaborate with financial institutions in introducing various schemes.
The first is the Rent To Own (RTO) financing scheme.
This scheme aims to assist those who cannot afford the initial 10 per cent deposit and access to financing in purchasing their homes.
This scheme, however, is not new and has been in place among private developers.
As such, Malaysian buyers who had hoped for a roof over their heads during Budget 2016 are better off buying from private developers.
Verdict: Malaysian buyers: 0, private developers: 1*
*Imagine the agony among those who had applied for PR1MA homes and are still waiting. If I were a Malaysia, it seems buying from a private developer is the way to go.
*It is an open secret that there are many Malaysians who had previously applied under this scheme are still waiting for their homes. Just speak to any Grab drivers.
While many other schemes are being rolled out such as Fund for Affordable Home that was launched by Bank Negara Malaysia in January 2019 and the Youth Housing Scheme, they remain under the umbrella of various government agencies.
As such, this could be very confusing for the first-time homebuyers who are unsure how to navigate the market.
What would work is for Malaysia to streamline them under one single government housing agency just like Singapore’s HDB model.
Announced yesterday by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant for first-timers and higher income ceilings will provide more flexibility and housing options. We study how this will impact the property market.
By Khalil Adis
#1: Who will this benefit the most?
First-time homebuyers will benefit the most especially the middle to low-income bracket groups. It will also benefit first-time homebuyers who want to live close to their parents in mature estates.
#2: Why now?
This is because incomes have been rising since the HDB last reviewed the income ceiling in 2015. As such, the policy has been tweaked to address this.
#3: How will this affect the HDB market?
The sandwiched class may now opt to buy an HDB flat compared to buying a private property due to the increase in income ceiling and Enhanced CPF Housing Grant as it will mean less cash upfront.
This will help to prop up demand for resale HDB flats.
It is worth noting that the resale HDB market has been rather muted.
As such, we are likely to see an increase in activity particularly for those who want to live close to their parents.
#4: How will this affect the private housing market?
We may see the sandwiched class now switching to buy from the HDB market and thus ease pressure from the private housing market.
As such, we are likely to see the Private Property Index (PPI) see a slight correction in the next quarter.
#5: Will this affect HDB prices across the board?
It will affect prices in the HDB resale market as buyers are now given more help with the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant.
The HDB Resale Price Index has seen a decline since the first quarter of 2013.
However, with the increase in income ceiling and Enhanced CPF Housing Grant, we could see more sales activity in the otherwise muted resale market.
#6: How will this affect the rental market?
The HDB and private property rental market will be very soft as more buyers will be switching to buy rather than rent a property. In the HDB market, the HDB will be launching 15,000 units later this year.
Meanwhile, in the private property market, we have a total supply of 53,696 uncompleted private residential units (including ECs) in the pipeline with planning approvals as at the end of the second quarter of 2019.
Also, we have another 4,398 units (including ECs) that will be completed in the remaining second quarters of 2019.
This incoming supply, together with the sluggish economy due to the ongoing trade war, will make the rental market extremely soft.
First residential project at the doorstep of the Greater Southern Waterfront previewed. Here are the 5 key takeaways
Sited within proximity to mega project such as the Greater Southern Waterfront, the Rail Corridor and the SGH Campus, Avenue South Residence offers owner-occupiers and investors the first-mover advantage.
By Khalil Adis
Developments at Singapore’s Greater Southern Waterfront district is fast gathering pace with the preview of Avenue South Residence last Friday.
This comes hot on the heels when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last month during his National Day Rally speech that the government will be developing the Greater Southern Waterfront as a vibrant housing, entertainment and commercial district.
A joint-development by UOL Group Limited (UOL), its subsidiary United Industrial Corporation Limited (UIC) and Kheng Leong Company, Avenue South Residence has been described as “the first major residential project at the doorstep of Singapore’s Greater Southern Waterfront.”
Here are five fast facts on Avenue South Residence:
#1: Located at Silat Avenue the former Kampong Silat site
For those who grew up in the Spottiswoode Park area, Kampong Silat will bring back many fond memories.
Probably named after the Malay martial arts, Silat Avenue was once home to the Silat Community Centre.
Known for its three to four-storeys Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, some of these landmark buildings were soon demolished to make way for point-block flats.
With the Greater Southern Waterfront announced just last month, Avenue South Residence sits at the doorstep of this massive waterfront city development that will encompass roughly twice the size of Punggol.
Located just off Kampong Bahru Road in the CBD fringe, nearby property boosters include the SGH Campus, two upcoming MRT stations namely, Keppel and Cantonment as well as a new office district with nightlife activities.
This will complement existing office spaces which is home to Google, Cisco and Unilever and add more jobs down south.
Nature lovers will also enjoy direct access to the 24km-long Rail Corridor as well as the park connectors that will be developed along Berlayer Creek and Labrador Park.
#2: A total of 1,074-units on offer
Comprising two 56-storey super high-rise towers and five conserved flats, this 99 years leasehold development features one to four-bedroom units ranging from 474 to 1,668 sq ft.
According to the developer, half of the 1,074-units will be priced below S$1.5 million.
The first 300 units range from S$858,000 for the one-bedrooms to S$1.15 million for the two-bedroom units.
This works out to S$1,810 and S$1,750 per sq ft based on a floor area of 474 and 657 sq ft respectively for such units.
As a piece of background information, the land parcel was awarded to the consortium in May 2018 at $1.035 billion.
This works out to S$1,138 per sq ft based on the gross floor area.
#3: All units will face the north-south direction while ensuring privacy
With a plot ratio of 3.7, the developer has surprisingly managed to orientate all the units in the north-south direction.
This is considered a feat as according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan, anything that is above a gross plot ratio of 2.8 is considered a very high-density development.
Additionally, this orientation is considered ideal as it helps to reduce heat gain from the morning sun, especially in Singapore’s tropical climate.
In total, Avenue South Residence will offer buyers a choice of 242 one-bedroom units, 505 two-bedroom units, 223 three-bedroom units and 104 4-bedroom units.
None of these units will be facing each other which is another plus point for discerning buyers who value privacy while wanting to live close to the city.
#4: Three distinctive collections to choose from
What sets Avenue South Residence from other new launches in the market is the unique development architecture which comprises five conserved buildings.
Formerly known as Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, these conserved buildings are reminiscent of the charming walk-up apartments in Tiong Bahru that has made into a hipster enclave.
Built between 1949 and 1952, these buildings are the second oldest surviving public housing estate in Singapore after those found in Tiong Bahru.
For the discerning investors wanting a piece of history complete with squarish Art Deco-styled architecture with a huge red-tiled roof, these buildings have been beautifully restored and rebranded as “limited edition” Heritage Collection.
They are priced at around S$1,780 per sq ft
Meanwhile, the Peak Collection will offer premium homes starting from the 37th storey onwards.
As its name suggests, the Peak Collection will offer unblocked views of the city skyline with a price tag of S$2,250 per sq ft.
Living up to its reputation of living the high life, buyers will be offered a complimentary platinum membership to the Pan Pacific DISCOVERY.
This loyalty programme offers exclusive privileges to the group’s “Pan Pacific” and PARKROYAL hotels
Last but not least, the Horizon Collection will be launched at $1,980 per sq ft.
All collections come with high-quality specifications such as marble flooring and branded kitchen appliances.
#5: Public preview attracts a strong 7,000 crowd
Since Avenue South Residence was opened for public preview on 30 August, it has attracted 7,000 people to date at its sales gallery located along Alexandra View.
Sales of the 1,074-unit development will commence on 7 September.
When completed, Avenue South Residence will also offer close to 10,000 sq ft of commercial facilities, including F&B outlets and a childcare centre for the convenience of families with young children.
Announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at his National Day Rally speech on 18 August 2019, a vibrant housing, entertainment and commercial district will be developed in phases at Pulau Brani in the next five to 10 years.
By Khalil Adis
"Punggol by the Bay" - that's how Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has described the exciting developments that the government has earmarked for the Greater Southern Waterfront.
Extending from Pasir Panjang to Marina East, the relocation of Tanjong Pagar Terminal and Pasir Panjang Terminal to Tuas Megaport by 2027 and 2040 respectively, will witness the Greater Southern Waterfront being transformed into a new major gateway and location for urban living along Singapore's southern coast.
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the development will take place in phases in the next five to 10 years.
It will start at the former Pasir Panjang Power District, Keppel Club and Mount Faber.
Here are five quick facts on the Greater Southern Waterfront.
#1: 2,000 hectares of land
The development of the Greater Southern Waterfront will encompass roughly 2,000 hectares of land or roughly twice the size of Punggol.
It will also see the development of a 30 km stretch along the southern coastline that spans from Pasir Panjang Terminal to Keppel and Tanjong Pagar Terminal.
The URA has plans to develop a continuous waterfront promenade that will seamlessly connect various places of interest along the Greater Southern Waterfront.
A new Pasir Pasir Panjang Linear Park will connect West Coast Park to Labrador Nature Reserve.
#2: A new transport system that will connect to Mount Faber
There will also be a future transport system that will connect the waterfront to Mount Faber.
One Faber Group is currently studying a new funicular system at Mount Faber to bring visitors from the foothills to the hilltop and cable car station by 2023.
#3: Enough to build 9,000 housing units
The government has set plans to develop both public and private housing options that will be integrated with waterfront promenades and open spaces.
To do this, the Keppel Club site will be redeveloped into a new residential precinct with easy access to the waterfront, nature and two nearby MRT stations - Labrador Park and Telok Blangah.
Park connectors will also be developed along Berlayer Creek and Labrador Park to bring nature closer to homes.
#4: A new office district with nightlife activities
To bring jobs closer to home, a new office district will be developed along the Greater Southern Waterfront that will act as a gateway district.
This will complement existing office spaces which is home to Google, Cisco and Unilever and add more jobs down south.
On top of this, an entertainment enclave will be developed for nightlife activities.
#5: More entertainment options
Speaking of entertainment, the government has announced plans to further inject vibrancy in the Greater Southern Waterfront.
For example, two former power station buildings at the Pasir Panjang Power District and Pulau Brani will be redeveloped into new attractions.
Singapore's labour movement, NTUC, will also be developing a new lifestyle destination similar to NTUC Downtown East.
Referred to Downtown South, it will also feature a new resort.
The Hungry Ghost Month may be around the corner but that does not mean you should leave everything to chance. Here are the tried and tested ways to expel negative energy and invite good ones.
By Khalil Adis
Have you ever stepped into a home and get a creepy and uneasy feeling that you are being watched?
That was exactly how I felt when I once stayed at a friend's place many years ago.
This ghost story happened to me sometime in 2009 when I was covering the Malaysian property market and trying to save on hotel costs.
Located in Sentul, I recall his apartment looked rather run down.
I also remember that it was surrounded by many temples and crematoriums.
Although I felt uneasy, I decided to take on his invitation.
It turned out to be a decision I would regret.
At close to midnight, I kept hearing noises of furniture being dragged in the hall.
I did not think much about this as I thought my friend was busy cleaning.
Then at 3 am, during my sleep, I was attacked by an entity that looked like a black mist.
I could not move and was paralysed by fear.
When I eventually managed to break free, I immediately packed my bags and then stayed up till the break of dawn before leaving the house.
I subsequently texted my friend that I had left, thanked him for his hospitality and related to him about what had happened.
To my horror, he replied that he was not at home.
To cut the story short, I have since exercised precaution especially when I am travelling.
Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there are some remedies that you can apply to remove negative energy from your home.
This is especially so if the house has been vacant for some time.
#1: Spring clean your home
Regardless of your faith, it is a good idea to conduct a cleansing prayer before moving into your home.
This is especially so if your house had been vacant for some time or if you had bought a home with a particular history (such as a scene of a violent crime).
A cleansing prayer sets the intention that you are now the rightful owner of the property and to expel any unwanted negative energy.
A regular cleaning schedule should also follow to remove dust to keep your home spick and span.
By regularly cleaning your home, it will help to keep the energy in your home clean, positive and uplifted.
#2: Ensure plenty of natural light and ventilation
I recall interviewing Singapore's well-known ghostbuster and this was among his sage advice.
According to him, a home that has plenty of natural light and ventilation attracts good energy while repelling dark ones.
So keep your windows open to let fresh air and sunshine in.
Avoid buying a home that is not exposed to sunlight as they attract dark energy.â
Hoarding is becoming particularly prevalent in Singapore among the elderly, particularly those living in small HDB flats.
Hoarding is a mental disorder that not only negatively impacts the hoarderâs immediate family memberâs quality of life but it makes their home dark and depressing.
Besides, it attracts pests and poses as fire hazards.
If you have too many things at home, then it is time to declutter.
Not only does decluttering makes your home look instantly liveable, but it also helps to break up accumulated energy.
So throw away things that you no longer need to invite fresh energy to your home.
#4: Throw away dead plants
If you have plants at home or regularly buy fresh flowers, be sure to throw away those that are already dead.
This is because such plants negatively impact your environment while preventing fresh, new, energy from coming in.
If you really must have plants, then consider low maintenance plants like money tree.
Smudging involves the burning of herbs to remove negative energy and to clear the energy field.
Also referred to as space clearing, smudging is usually done before moving to a new home, after a gathering or after a particularly negative event at home such as an argument.
White sage works best and is very popular.
Click here for a range of Space clearing smudge sticks
The dreaded R-word is something we will have to talk about as Singapore’s economy has slowed down considerably.
By Khalil Adis
You have probably heard it.
The ongoing trade war is impacting our economy.
Figures from the Ministry of Trade and Industry last week confirmed this showing that Singapore’s economy grew by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2019.
This is much slower than the 1.1 per cent growth in the previous quarter.
It was also the city-state’s lowest growth in a decade.
Additionally, the latest data from Singapore’s trade agency Enterprise Singapore showed that Singapore’s exports fell 17.3 per cent in June in both electronic and non-electronic exports.
This marked the fourth straight month of year-on-year decline.
While we may bemoan about the state of the economy, we can also use it as an opportunity to improve ourselves.
Here are the three ways to recession-proof your job:
#1: Invest in yourself
We often speak about investing in stocks, shares, unit trusts and properties but rarely ever do we invest in ourselves.
When I talk about investing in yourself I am referring to constantly upgrading our skills to stay relevant with the changing market.
With the advent of technology and apps, our world has changed by leaps and bounds.
Disruption is the order of the day.
From Grab to Airbnb, they are disrupting traditional businesses and if we do not keep up, we risk becoming obsolete.
For example, I used to write 2,000-word articles but I realised that consumers do not have time to digest everything.
With social media, they want news in bite-sized nuggets that are easy to understand.
As such, I had to read up on what makes an article ‘clickable’ and constantly rewrite my headline to make it catchy.
One such ‘unicorn’ article was a story that I wrote for iProperty Malaysia. It turned out to be the number one story in Malaysia last year!
Likewise, in your chosen field, you will need to react to changing consumer trends.
For example, if you are in marketing, you might want to understand how to use social media like Facebook and Instagram to plug your products to consumers.
This could mean curating interesting content, videos and photos with a call-to-action button to get more leads.
The library is a good start as it offers a vast array of books to do some research.
Also, you can use your SkillsFuture credit to sign up for courses.
For a full list of course, click here
#2: Have multiple income streams
Let's face it - retrenchments are on the rise.
Instead of worrying and being unprepared if you will be axed, why not have a back-up plan just in case?
Don’t just depend on your salary for your income.
Instead, use it to develop other revenue streams.
For example, you could consider opening a bank account that offers attractive interest rates.
DBS has a Multiplier Account that pays your interest when you use it to bank in your salary, pay your mortgages and manage your expenses.
You might also consider investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) which you can buy direct from your local banks like DBS and OCBC.
Typically REITs invest in various properties such as shopping malls, industrial properties and so on.
REITs are paid every quarterly or every six months with an average return of around 6 per cent.
That’s better than putting your money in your bank account.
However, do read up on the various REITs in the market before you invest.
#3: Start an online business
Starting a business does not necessarily have to be capital intensive.
Online business is one such example.
Online shopping is the way to go as consumers now preferring to buy things online rather than in the store.
If you haven’t already noticed, some well-known retailers on Orchard Road have already rolled down their shutters due to high rental and operating costs.
This makes e-shopping a viable market provided you have the right products.
To set up an online store will require you to buy a domain where you can design the website on your own such as via Wix or Weebly.
This will set you back at around less than US$100 annually.
The latest data from various Singapore’s government agencies do not look good suggesting a sluggish property market ahead.
By Khalil Adis
If you are feeling the heat from the sluggish economy, you are not alone.
In fact, chances are if you are running a business, you would have noticed more businesses rolling down their shutters since the beginning of 2019.
Meanwhile, workers are worried about job security.
Coupled with the current China-US trade war, this will have a significant impact on Singapore’s export-dependent economy and the job market.
As such Singapore’s property market is expected to be in the doldrums this year.
Here are three key indicators:
#1: Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) decreased by 15.9% in May 2019
The latest figure from Singapore’s trade agency, Enterprise Singapore, do not look good with a decline recorded in non-oil domestic exports (NODX) due to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong in May 2019.
The drop was partly due to a sharp decline in shipments to China, following the 10.0 per cent decline in April 2019.
The national trade agency said both electronic and non-electronic exports decreased.
On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, NODX rose by 6.2 per cent in May 2019, after the previous month’s 0.7 per cent decrease.
Non-electronic NODX grew while electronics declined.
On a year-on-year basis, total trade decreased by 2.1 per cent in May 2019.
This was after the 3.2 per cent growth in the preceding month.
Meanwhile, total imports declined by 0.5 per cent in May 2019, after the 7.6 per cent rise in the previous month.
Total exports decreased by 3.4 per cent in May 2019, following the 0.5 per cent decline in April 2019.
The largest contributors to the NODX decrease were China (-23.3 per cent), Taiwan (-34.7 per cent) and Hong Kong (-24.8 per cent).
Overall, exports to the majority of Singapore's top markets decreased in May, except to the US.
#2: More workers were retrenched in the first quarter of 2019
With trade declining, it has had a knock-off impact on the job market.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Manpower on Thursday (June 13), more workers were retrenched in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter and a year ago.
The ministry’s latest report said this increase was driven by manufacturing and affected workers in production and electronics.
For example, as of the first quarter of this year, 3,230 workers were retrenched.
This was higher than the quarter before with 2,510 workers affected and a year ago (2,320).
The top reason cited for retrenchments was business restructuring and reorganisation.
Meanwhile, the number of job vacancies declined following seven quarters of increase.
According to the ministry, it declined from 62,300 in December 2018 to 57,100 in March 2019.
#3: Government to reduce the supply of private residential units for the second half of 2019
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), there is a large supply of around 44,000 private housing units in the pipeline.
This comprises around 39,000 unsold units from the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme and en-bloc sale sites with planning approval, and an additional 5,000 units from sites that are pending planning approval.
In addition, there are around 24,000 existing private housing units that remain vacant.
“Given these factors, the Government has decided to reduce the supply of private residential units on the Confirmed List for the GLS Programme,” the URA said in its statement.
As such, the GLS Programme for the second half of 2019 will comprise five Confirmed List sites and eight Reserve List sites.
According to the URA, these sites can yield about 6,430 private residential units, 92,000 sq m gross floor area (GFA) of commercial space and 1,100 hotel rooms
The five Confirmed List sites are private residential sites (including one Executive Condominium site) which can yield about 1,715 private residential units (including 480 EC units).
Singapore is a very open economy and will be the first in the region to experience the shocks arising from the ongoing trade wars.
However, this will be mitigated by government spendings in building infrastructure projects such as the upcoming Thomson East Coast Line (TEL) and the Cross Island Line (CRL).
Meanwhile, the large supply of private residential units will favour tenants and buyers as they will be spoilt for choice.
It will also mean the rental and resale private property market will likely see a price decline due to the supply in the pipeline.
Vacancy rates for private properties will also increase.
As such, landlords will likely drop their rentals as more units come on-stream.
Located within the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) planning area of Paya Lebar Central, residential property prices in Geylang Serai have performed relatively well over the past two quarters.
By Khalil Adis
Every year, Geylang Serai will come alive with its vibrant street bazaar.
This year is no different but with a slight twist.
Following complaints last year that the bazaar has lost its appeal due to the invasion of many hipster food vendors, the organisers have set stricter guidelines in keeping with the spirit of Hari Raya and Malay culture.
This is certainly good news that will keep the unique culture of Geylang Serai alive for generations to come.
Since its establishment in the 1960s, Geylang Serai has become a cultural icon that is synonymous with Malay culture and customs.
Every year, Malay families will congregate here to partake in the festivity leading up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
With Hari Raya Aidilfitri just around the corner, we decided to check out the vibrant street bazaar at Geylang Serai to find out what makes this place tick.
Here are the six places that have shaped Geylang Serai to where it is today.
#1: Geylang Serai Bazaar
Stretching from Sims Avenue, Tanjong Katong Road, Geylang Road and parts of Changi Road, this year's bazaar features over 500 stalls which are significantly less than previous years.
This will allow for more open spaces for the public to enjoy when breaking their fast or just for a place for the entire family to sit down after a day of shopping.
If you are looking for delicious Malay kueh and other traditional dishes, you are in for a treat.
This year, the organisers, Wisma Sri Geylang, has put a guideline requiring 60 per cent of food vendors to sell food that will appeal to Muslim visitors while the remaining 40 per cent may offer "contemporary" or "hipster" options.
In addition, these stalls are also required to be either Muslim-owned, certified halal by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) or fulfil halal criteria set by consultants engaged by the bazaar organisers.
From carpets to baju Melayu, the street bazaar is awash in bright neon lightings when night falls.
For the best deals, come during the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri where most goods are sold at a deep discount from vendors eager to clear their stocks.
#2: Wisma Geylang Serai
Wisma Geylang Serai is the latest addition to the streetscape here. Launched in January 2019, this community civic and cultural centre is located in the heart of the Geylang Serai precinct housing the Geylang Serai Community Club, the South East Community Development Council, the Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery Family Service and Child Care Centre, Senior Care Centre, and cultural arts group and social/community-related facilities.
The building draws its inspiration from traditional Malay houses with balconies (“serambi”) as well as lemongrass (where Geylang Serai takes its name from) and ketupat. The architecture features a double-pitched roof and columns that look like stilts to give Wisma Geylang Serai its own unique character.
Aside from community care, Wisma Geylang Serai is also home to eight Malay Muslim organisations and agencies to provide one-stop service to the community. They include Association of Muslim Professionals, Creative Malay Arts and Culture, Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud, Muhammadiyah, Pergas, Tabung Amal Aidilfitri, Berita Harian and Persatuan Persuratan Pemuda Pemudi Melayu.
#3: Tanjong Katong Complex
Home to anchor tenants like First Lady and Giant, Tanjong Katong Complex is known for its loud and colourful carpet auction shows located just outside the building that has helped to draw curious tourists and locals alike. Inside, however, there are many stores selling traditional Malay wears, home decor, gold, jewellery and other accessories.
Over the weekend, the shopping complex is a known haunt among Indonesian maids who would often camp outside the venue. Meanwhile, locals tend to congregate outside Giant supermarket in the evening to break their fast. To avoid jostling with the crowd, it is best to come early for your Hari Raya shopping.
#4: Joo Chiat Complex
Known for its wide variety of textiles and garments, Joo Chiat Complex is a treasure trove for those who need to hunt for ready-made traditional Malay wears for both ladies and men. Established in the 1960s, Joo Chiat Complex is still going on strong today and is one of Geylang Serai’s enduring icon.
Aside from textiles, the complex boasts a number of fabric vendors selling curtains and upholstery by the metre. There are also a number of jewellery shops that are popular among Malay ladies who are eager to show off their latest bling collections. Although the shopping complex is a little run down, it is still worth checking out due to the sheer number of shops that can be found here.
#5: Sri Geylang Serai
Sri Geylang Serai is home to the Geylang Serai wet market and hawker centre. Located just opposite Joo Chiat Complex, the wet market is a popular destination among Malay households from all over Singapore as the goods are fresh yet slightly more affordable.
In addition, the hawker centre above houses a number of famous Muslim stalls that have made Sri Geylang Serai popular among those looking for authentic Malay food. Some of the notable hawkers here include Cendol Geylang Serai, Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang and Haji Mohd Yussof Warong Nasi Baryani. Be warned though that you would most likely need to share a seat as the hawker centre is always packed.
#6: City Plaza
City Plaza is the birthplace of Arnold’s which is famed for its fresh, succulent and well-marinated chicken. This fast food restaurant began its humble beginnings from a corner shop located on the second floor here and still continues to maintain its presence there for three decades. Even today, Arnold’s continue to be packed especially during breaking fast time.
Aside from that, there are a number of thrift boutique stores selling sandals, bags and fashionable clothes. City Plaza is also a popular hangout among Indonesian maids over the weekend as there are a number of remittance outlets here.
According to HDB’s first quarter of 2019 data, the median transacted price for 3- and 4-room HDB flats in Geylang was S$265,500 and S$518,000 respectively. In comparison, its fourth quarter of 2018 data showed that they were transacted at S$280,000 and S$480,000 respectively. This represents a price decline of 5.2 per cent for 3-room flats while 4-room flats have strengthened to 7.9 per cent.
Meanwhile, according to the URA’s first quarter of 2019 data, the median transacted price for apartments/condominiums in the area was S$1,157.40 per sq ft. In comparison, its fourth quarter data of 2018 showed that they were transacted at S$1,137.32 per sq ft. This represents an increase of 1.8 per cent.
On the overall, the upcoming rejuvenation of Paya Lebar Central as outlined by the URA has had a positive spillover impact on residential properties here. Some of the completed projects in the area include Paya Lebar Square and Paya Lebar Quarter 1, 2 and 3 which are all connected via link bridges. Upcoming developments that are currently being constructed are Paya Lebar Quarter Mall, Paya Lebar Quarter and Park Place Residences at Paya Lebar Quarter.
An independent analysis from yours truly