Category: Housing & Property

Factors to Consider and the #1 Question to Ask Before you Refinance Your Loan

home money
Refinancing is all about costs versus benefits.
Photo by Mark Moz

For the first time in decades, the SIBOR rates (these affect your mortgage loans) rose significantly higher than LIBOR rates. This implies that interest rates in Singapore can go up as a result of factors other than what the US Fed does. SIBOR stands for Singapore Interbank Offered Rate. It is a daily reference rate based on the interbank interest rates at which banks lend to one another.  At 1.06% (3-month April SIBOR), this key benchmark rate is 2.5 times higher than the 0.4% in 2014.

As mortgage loans are based on SIBOR, many people are wondering if it’s time to refinance to seek a lower (teaser) interest rate. But you don’t get something for nothing (at least not typically in the finance industry). So you need to consider the costs versus the benefits. Lenders, loan officers, and bank advertisements will entice you with interest rates, but what they never advertise is all the fees and restrictions. Here’s a countdown of some things to consider before happily handing over your signed loan documents to an eager loan officer. (more…)

To Seniors: 5 Reasons Why Renting is the Better Choice

National Day rally singapore 2014
Sorry, but I disagree with you – home ownership is not always the best thing!

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong listed the various ways in which a “cash poor” senior can get extra income from his/her home in retirement, he said, “It is better if you keep your property. Even if you rent out the whole flat. It does not matter, it is yours. And you can fall back on it for your old age, just in case anything happens.” Here’s why I disagree, and why I think selling then renting is a viable option. (more…)

How the Cost of Living in Singapore Compares to the US (part 2)

housing rental mortgage cost in Singapore
Yes, housing here is expensive, but how does it really compare to other places?

Singapore versus the United States: How does the cost of housing compare? The housing scene is very different in the US. And it varies greatly depending on the location, and whether you are in a rural, suburban, or urban community. I’ve lived in both nations, as well as in various US communities. But for the purpose of this comparison, let’s just look at urban settings. Here are some thoughts from my own personal (though limited) journey.

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The Myth of Home Ownership in Singapore, and Why I Choose to Rent

Owning vs renting a home
Do you really own your home?

Although I own properties overseas, I am a renter here in Singapore. People keep telling me that “renting is just like flushing your money down a toilet”. When I ask these people whether they rent or own, they proudly proclaim “own, of course!” But do they really own their home? Most people who purchase a home, do so with a mortgage. This is the same as renting, but instead of renting from a landlord, you are renting from a bank. And do you know what the word “mortgage” means? (more…)