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  1. Key mortgage rate continues to head north SOR is 1.23 percentage points higher than last August Published on Jan 6, 2012 By Magdalen Ng A key interest rate that determines how much home owners pay on their mortgages is continuing to rise and is likely to increase further. Borrowers could be facing hundreds of dollars a month in extra repayments in the wake of the steadily increasing swap offer rate (SOR) as the benchmark rate is called. It was at 0.53428 per cent on Thursday - down a touch from the 23-month high of 0.56185 it hit on Dec 15 but still well above the rare negative level of -0.6987 per cent it dived to in August. Related Links THREE-MONTH SWAP OFFER RATEThe SOR has also increased more than the other key interest rate linked to mortgages - the Sibor (Singapore Interbank Offered Rate). That was at 0.3985 on Thursday, up 5 basis points since last August. The weak Singdollar in recent months and rising borrowing costs amid the global credit squeeze are behind the SOR's rise of 1.23 percentage points since that low point. Whatever the reasons, home owners with SOR-linked loans are facing repayments of about 50 basis points higher once the movement from the negative level is taken into account. A borrower who took out a $1 million loan over 20 years back in August is now paying about $250 more a month in the first year on the initial repayment of $4,688.72, assuming no other changes to the conditions. As the SOR has been increasing steadily since August, the monthly repayments would also have also risen in tandem. The extra interest paid works out to around $5,000 a year. In August, when the SOR went into negative territory, banks had to invoke special clauses to floor SOR rates at zero. Otherwise, they would have been in the strange position of having to pay borrowers for taking out a loan. Only ANZ Bank and the Bank Of China offer SOR-pegged loans now. The SOR is fixed daily by the Association of Banks in Singapore using a formula that takes into account the current and expected exchange rates of the US dollar against the Singdollar and the local interbank lending rates for the greenback. OCBC Bank economist Selena Ling expects the SOR to keep rising, hitting 0.55 per cent this year as the economic conditions will probably not change in the foreseeable future. Mr Rohit Arora, Barclays Capital's emerging markets fixed-income strategist, thinks the SOR could even reach 0.7 per cent by the end of the year if the euro zone crisis worsens. Currency experts say that the Singdollar is likely to stay weak against the greenback for the first half of the year - just the sort of conditions that will keep the SOR trending up. The US dollar is heading north because investors around the world are bailing out of almost every other asset and seeking safety in the old standby of the greenback. UOB economists expect the Singdollar to fall to $1.33 against the greenback this quarter, with more declines in store in light of the global economic woes. UOB economist Chow Penn Nee said: 'We think the unresolved crisis in the euro zone will continue to weigh on the Singdollar and will be the key factor in guiding (its) direction. 'So far, European Central Bank measures, such as providing liquidity for banks to participate in European sovereign debt, are only stop-gap measures, which do not solve the debt problems.' But home owners who have a loan pegged to the SOR should not rush to refinance as they may incur additional administrative costs. Mr Vinod Nair, chief executive of Smartloans.sg, which offers home loan comparisons, said: 'My opinion is that if they are on SOR, they should stick to it because the SOR is still at an acceptable rate. Mr Nair advised that only when the difference between the SOR (now at 0.53428 per cent) and the Sibor (now 0.3985 per cent) exceeds 0.5 percentage points should homebuyers look for alternatives. songyuan@sph.com.sg
  2. This article seem to suggest that USD will be on the way up in 2012, thus interest rates likely to go up (??) http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world_business/view/1173335/1/.html European markets await more turbulence in 2012 Posted: 26 December 2011 0505 hrs LONDON: European stocks and the euro will face fresh turbulence in 2012 after a year in which equity markets slumped and the single currency lost ground against the dollar mainly due to the eurozone crisis. Europe's main stock markets have tumbled between 6.5 and 25 percent since the start of 2011, as traders looked past positive economic data and earnings, while the euro has fallen 2.5 percent versus the dollar in volatile trading. Yields on eurozone sovereign debt meanwhile rocketed in late 2011 as investors demanded top returns for lending money to the bloc's indebted countries such as Greece and Italy. "Attempting to forecast where the dollar, euro, gold, oil or any western stock market might end next year is no less a mugs game than it was this time last year," said Howard Wheeldon, a senior strategist at BGC Partners. "Who could have imagined that by the eleventh month of the year we would have been talking about not only the collapse of the eurozone but also a possible breakdown of the European Union? "Who would have thought that in such a short space of time the economies of Europe would have effectively ground to a halt and that the outlook for resumption of growth would be virtually non-existent?" he questioned. The eurozone debt crisis dominated market sentiment in 2011 and is widely expected to be the main focus in 2012, at least in the early part of the year, overshadowing geopolitical strains and the race for the White House. The euro ended the year by briefly diving under $1.30 and hitting the lowest point since the start of 2011. By Friday, it had recovered slightly to trade at $1.3076. The single currency meanwhile plunged to a 10-year low point against the yen in September as investors reacted to mounting economic uncertainty and tumbling equities in Europe and the United States. "2012 is likely to be dominated by the quest for safe havens on the foreign exchange markets, as risks are omnipresent," said Commerzbank analyst Ulrich Leuchtmann. "The eurozone debt crisis is threatening to escalate or at least to become a permanent institution connected to a high level of anxiety. Globally economies are either sliding into recession or have to expect falling growth levels. "In view of all these dangers the US dollar might turn out to be the real winner," he added. Other traditional safe havens include the yen and gold. Although the euro is set to end the year lower against the greenback, at the start of May it struck a 16-month high of $1.4940 owing to weak US economic data and as investors welcomed a bailout of indebted eurozone member Portugal. In recent months the euro and European stock markets have headed south as countries struggle to get to grips with the escalating debt crisis. "For 2012, the eurozone crisis is likely to remain a key issue," said Neil MacKinnon, an economist at Russian financial group VTB Capital. "Greece is likely to default and other countries, including Italy, would require debt restructuring." Among Europe's main stock markets, Milan has been the biggest faller in 2011, losing 25 percent since the start of the year, as investors worried about a possible bailout of Italy, the eurozone's third biggest economy. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index has shed 6.5 percent to around 5,500 points, with non-eurozone member Britain shielded to an extent from the bloc's crisis, even though the bloc remains its main trading partner. Frankfurt has slumped 15 percent, Paris 18 percent and Madrid 13 percent. "Rather than providing a FTSE 100 prediction for end-2012, we are recommending the 'bottom-up' approach for investors," said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers. "There remains ongoing uncertainty around the eurozone situation. The likelihood of a peripheral country stepping outside of the euro increases as the situation wears on. On the economic front, the possibility of a recession in the area seems more likely than less to happen." - AFP/de
  3. As a consecutive three-time PropNex 'Champion Team Leader', Kelvin Fong is as talented a property investor as you'll get. He is adept at analysing the market and has helped numerous clients and students minimise risk and maximise profits. Also the CEO and co-founder of the training company Zest Academy Group, Kelvin is equally capable at spreading the property investment gospel. Here are 10 of his tips on how to succeed in the game: Two golden rules Kelvin attributes his enormous success to two important "golden rules", as he calls them: always look for the potential upside, and always calculate the amount of risk involved in the investment. "Based on these two rules, you'll clearly know if it's worth investing in the property," Kelvin assures. Don't believe the hype Always refer to facts and figures and not the hype surrounding the property or, especially, your own hopes and emotions. Before you dive in, do your research based on the two golden rules and work out if you have sufficient funds to hold onto a property for at least a few years. Enter at the right price When it comes to choosing the right property, the starchitect's brand name or even the location is not as critical as the right entry price, Kelvin says. This means cross-checking a property's price against surrounding properties'; if it is lower than its neighbours, that means you're taking less of a risk and have the potential to make more of a profit. Popularity counts Besides the affordability angle, Kelvin points out a property's popularity as a key consideration. It has to be sizable enough—40- to 50-unit developments are too small, says Kelvin—be located in a reasonably well-known area and have a strong publicity push. "When the market goes up, these are the properties whose prices will double or triple up faster," the investor explains. Technique over concept For greenhorns only just starting the game, Kelvin recommends a thorough step-by-step course that teaches techniques rather than broad concepts. His school, Zest Academy, equips its students with the skills one needs to identify the right properties and make astute decisions through their property investment programme, the Millionaire Property System (MPS). Keep it real-time Another bonus Zest Academy provides: the MPS proprietary software that tracks in real-time price changes in the property market. Using this, investors are able to see get the most up-to-date information on how the market is behaving so they can make the right investment decisions. Look for uncertain times The difference between newbies and "real investors", according to Kelvin, is that the former will wait for good times to invest while the latter craves market uncertainty. "If the market isn't good, there will be buying opportunities and interest rates rates will have to stay low," he explains. "It can't go up when the market is down because businesses will have problems and the government will not allow this to happen. As long as you have done your calculations and are not speculating, then you can take advantage of these opportunities." Multiply your assets Even seasoned investors make mistakes. These investors often have trouble formulating an exit plan: when to sell their property. "They should take this opportunity to cash out their profits," Kelvin says. "And if they do, they will probably be able to buy more properties. That is how people multiply their wealth through the multiplying of their properties. Look at the billionaires out there; they don't just own a single property but multiple ones." Make your money work harder for you If today a private property has exceeded its 2007 peak price, investors should seriously consider selling. "Ultimately, there's always an opportunity to look at another asset. Do not be emotional and just hold on to the property," Kelvin urges. "We can't keep working hard for the money, we should use the money we earn to help us multiply our assets." Be confident Unlike the stock market, the property market isn't as volatile and subject to extreme changes day-over-day. Kelvin explains that as long as an investor has the adequate knowledge, holding power (the resources needed to keep a property for a few years) and confidence in the long-term economy of Singapore, "you won't lose". http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/property-blog/10-tips-investing-property-040354483.html
  4. As of end of Nov 2011: * Bedok Residences (Bedok Central) - 477 units sold out of 538 units (89%) - $1359 psf aver * Boathouse Residences (Upper Serangoon View) 332 units sold out of 389 units launched (85%) (total 493 units) - $946 psf aver * Treasure Trove (Punggol Central) - 785 units sold out of 882 units (89%) - $922 psf aver
  5. Is interest rate trending upwards? Any one know?
  6. Luxuy: $3000 to $6000 psf Mid-range: $1800 to <$3000 psf Mass market: <$1800 psf
  7. Mine is still several months away from the end of lock-in period of my mortgage loan. I think I will at least need to wait for the end of lock-in period before I can refinance. Mine is with OCBC Bank. I have the contact of a mortgage broker who I obtained my present mortgage loan from. Will check with them. Also, I did a calculation and found out that I probably won't be able to get much equity loan based on the new 60% ruling: Value of property = $1 200 000 (based on recent transactions) (a) Equity loan obtainable = 60% of (a) = $780 000 (b) CPF paid = $214 000 (excluding stamp duties which I don't need will be included in the calculation) © Loan outstanding = $520 000 (d) Nett equity loan obtainable = (b) - © - (d) = $36 000
  8. hi butoot, i did a check with the bank where i took my mortgage loan. they will charge legal fees of $2000 as it is a new loan.
  9. Hi butoot, thanks for all the useful info!
  10. Mine has a cockroaches' nest, but I cannot find it anywhere. I think my last resort will be pest control.
  11. Hi guys, I am very happy to find a thread discussing about equity loans. I have several questions about equity loans. Hope you guys can help me out with some or all of them. 1. Is equity loan a new loan on top of my mortgage loan, or is it a replacement loan for my mortgage loan? 2. What criteria does the bank look at in granting the equity loan to me? Because I already have a mortgage loan outstanding. 3. Are there still SOR-rate equity loan? 4. Can I ask for the same rates of my mortgage loan from my mortgage loan bank? 5. Should I source for other banks' equity loans other than my present mortgage loan bank? 6. Is the period of the loan similar to property loans, ie 20-year or 30-year loan? Is there a lock-in period? 7. Does it carry redemption penalties if the equity loan is redeemed within the lock-in period? 8. If the equity loan is approved, I can start to use it within 6 mths and interest will start when I start to use it? And if I did not use the loan after 6 mths, the loan will lapse and I will not be charged any interest? Thanks in advance!
  12. Any SOR packages offer by banks now? Any one know?
  13. Is gold jewellery still a common gift for bride by parents, in-laws and relatives?
  14. Liquor needed for wedding dinner? Notice nowadays at wedding dinners, many people drink red wine. How many Hennesy hard liquor bottle is still needed? Say for 30 tables. Anyone can advise?