Saturday, November 1, 2008

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Property Buyers be Prudent: Fewer Jobs, More Retrenchments Ahead

The following is a forum exchange on the deterioriating job market in Singapore (extracted from the Singapore Property Forum):

"AIA S'pore lays off 20: More job losses expected in cost-cutting exercise begun before crisis hit its US parent."

Bull said:
What is 20 retrenchment??? compare to 200,000 new jobs we created this year.If you are not choosy, be realistic with your pay & jobs, no problem lah.

Bear said:
don't forget we've thousands of fresh-grad looking for jobs every year?

don't forget most new jobs created are in the construction industry .. can our retrenched bankers or even factory operators now go and take over blanga's constructional workers' positions?

be realistic with your pay and job... well said ... but how are you going to pay for the million dollar condo you committed earlier this year?

Another Bear said:
Moral of the story do not over commit to those overpriced condo..

Yet Another Bear said:
AIA axes 20 ... just slightly more than a week ago, Merrill Lynch also axed about 20 persons. i heard that very recently, standard charted also axed some (anyone care to confirm??)...

while I am not surprised that banks are cutting fat, these few... maybe 50 people are the "higher income" whose salaries and bonuses combined can easily be used to pay for 1000 workers in the construction and services industry... see the comparison???

so we create 200,000 jobs. Yeah, these are majority the low paying ones. But at the top line, our best paying industry (i.e. banks) are retrenching, most of it on the quiet and not so "visibly" like right now. This looks to me like incomes are going to shrink. The people in the banking & finance industry that were laid off... they were also the very same people that had the money in the first place to buy the condominiums. Many of them did indeed buy during the boom and they aren't necessarily going to be able to get a job with similar pay... let alone better pay to finance their earlier purchases. In fact, the higher up you are, when you are axed, the more difficult it is to find an equivalent job.

Guess what... this is going to be a vicious cycle. When their jobs are unstable, even the ones with loads of cash in the bank will think thrice about buying expensive properties.

May also want to read:
Fire Sale: Owners Dump Condos
The days of Cheap, Easy Credits chasing after property is OVER!
When the bubble of greed and fear burst, guess who suffer?
Property Investment Tip: Don't put all your eggs in one basket
HDB Resales: West Sees Highest Price Increase


Anonymous said...

Bear's comments that property prices will come down. It will not come down much and will at worst hold on or fall less than 10%. The powerful developers can always count on the Government support, eg recently the Government cut down significantly on the supply of the sale of lands . This gives more confidence to the developers not to cut price and hold on because they the financial means to hoard land for years. Next, the Government may reinstate defer payment for purchase of properties or offer attractive schemes to woo properties buyers to incur debts and buy overprices private properties. Such government measures are calculated to benefit the powerful developers who had reaped significant profits all these few years riding on IRs, F1, YOG, FT, higher populations. The powerful or listed developers will always be richer and private properties will always be overpriced. We are in a unique situation in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Private Property Prices have already come down and will continue to come down! Why? Recession, retrenchment and soon, repossession. Face the facts: jobs cut, earnings cut and credit crunch; means money for private property has shrunk sharply.

danny said...

"The powerful developers can always count on the Government support, eg recently the Government cut down significantly on the supply of the sale of lands." - Anonymous

I assume that anonymous is referring to article cited in

I take issue with anonymous' claim that the Government is unfairly on the side of the "powerful developers" and that "The powerful or listed developers will always be richer and private properties will always be overpriced."

These statements slander the integrity of the Singapore gahmen and are not backed by facts.

I suspect that the government is simply responding to global financial circumstances and not some evil back room poly to boost cooperate profits.

Credit Suisse says that in 1998 and 2001, the larger developers suffered respective stock price falls of 66-79 per cent and 31-50 per cent.

In the article
"CapitaLand and Keppel Land wrote down between $900 million and $2.1 billion in 1998, and between $700 million and $900 million in 2001."

We clearly see that the Gahmen had not interfered in the property prices but allowed market forces to work things out.

Furthermore, the gahmen's mandate is not to enable all Singaporeans to afford private property. About 90% of Singapore's population are housed in HDBs which by and large are affordable.

While the pinnacle @ duxton and city view @ boon keng are priced over $500k, the 3rd quarter median resale price of a 4br flat island wide is $313,000k. After a $30k gahmen grant, the couple is faced with about $1300/mo payment over 30 years. This is extremely affordable as incomes for couples are usually over $4000 + (see link below)

Private property prices are comparable to any major cities and subject to market forces.

Anonymous's comments are unfairly biased against the gahmen without any evidences. I have a low opinion of users who post irresponsible comments online behind the cloak of anonymity.

Responsibility of speech should go hand in hand with freedom of speech. Otherwise you risk idiotic issues like the South Korean Mad Cow Disease Gene.

Smartbuyer, sorry if this topic has some what detracted from real estate, but I am sure you support people backing up their claims (e.g. buy now sure make $) with some facts and sound reasoning.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"Private property prices are comparable to any major cities and subject to market forces.


Anonymous said...

Hi Danny and Smartbuyer, when I started looking out for flats about 2 years ago, when I just graduated, the price of a new 4 room flat was about $200k+. Now the prices have soared to about $300k+ for a new 4 room pungool HDB. Why the dramatic price increase?

It gives us an impression that HDB is trying to make a HUGE profit from the citizens rather than providing AFFORDABLE housing. Are there some 'invisible market forces' out there that can cause the gahman to increase the price of HDB by a cool 50%?

FYI, we tried balloting and still can't get a flat to this day.


Anonymous said...

when the price of a 4 room flats rose from $200k+ to 300k+ within 2 years, that's call "INFLATION".

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