Singapore market trends – fixed rates home loans

Singapore market trends – fixed rates home loans

There are increasing signs in Singapore's property markets that the home loans most favoured in 2015 will be fixed rates. The fundamental driving force behind this trend is this: there are strong hints coming from the USA that there will be cutbacks on stimulus spending. The knock-on effect of this speculation is that borrowers will be increasingly wary about the possibility of interest rates increasing. Those customers currently on a floating rate home loan may well find themselves suffering adversely due to the sudden interest rate rise, as well as rate fluctuations that are unpredictable.

One example would be to consider what is being offered by the DBS (formerly the Development Bank of Singapore). One of Asia's largest financial services organisations, with 250-plus branches in 16 markets, DBS has been at the forefront of investment, savings and loans for some time. It is widely respected as one of the safest banks in Asia. DBS stated they saw a rise in customers opting for fixed rate home loans by up to 30% from the previously collated 2013 figure of 10%. A spokesman stated that it was seen as a smart move for borrowers to choose this route while interest rates were low.

These particular loans are popular because they offer low interest rates in the initial stages, fixed for the first 2 to 5 years of term. Borrowers feel more comfortable with these packages because they give them greater control of their finances. This means that they are better equipped to look at the longer-term prospects for their financial arrangements.

It should be noted that floating rate packages are still available. In fact, many customers lean towards this particular type of loan because of its flexible nature. Singapore customers have many options to choose from. ANZ offer a three months ‘combo package' that takes its rate – 1.3% - from an average of the Sibor and Swap Offer Rate offered by the Association of Banks in Singapore. This gives customers and even lower percentage than the fixed-rate package of 1.65%.

Amazing property on offer in Singapore: Keppel Bay

Amazing property on offer in Singapore: Keppel Bay

Clifford Chance LLP, the multinational law firm based in London UK, is known as a member of the 'Magic Circle' of leading British law firms. With an estimated total revenue of £1.27 billion, and £1 million in profits per equity partner, it is one of the world's 10 largest law firms.

As the Chinese economy goes all out to embrace new areas of commerce, one important change looks set to produce dividends. China's major cities are all looking for innovative methods of kick-starting their various enterprise plans.

One of the prize assets any ambitious business could ask for is a decent share of international travelers. Whether they're arriving in China laden with sterling, US dollars or indeed any other currency, it goes without saying that the longer they stay in China, the more likely they are to cause dents in local retail markets. In recent times there has been a significant drive to coax these tourists into venturing outside of their usual comforts zones. In short, they are being cajoled to leave airports and begin to seriously enjoy all be fine dining and sightseeing opportunities China has to offer.

Five of the largest cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Chongging, Chengdu and Guangzhou have introduced a revolutionary visa-free policy. This means that any travelers to these respective cities will be entitled to remain there for periods of up to 72 hours – without visas. Elsewhere in the People's Republic, the city of Dalian is expected to adopt this new approach early next year.

The signs have immediately been promising. Throughout the summer, groups of tourists from as far afield as Australia and France were welcomed into these cities without visas for the very first time. It is fair to say the exercise has been a resounding success. These westerners, relishing their new-found freedom, were to be observed in numbers, sitting outside cafes sipping tea, or getting tucked into bowls of noodles.

As part of the lifting of these visa regulations, travelers must already possess travel tickets into another country, along with the other standard travel documents. In the first instance, the policy was granted to visitors from 45 nations, including Europe and the USA. This was extended last month, and now covers an additional six countries, including Singapore, Japan and Brunei (although visitors from the latter three countries were already allowed to stay without visas for upwards of 15 days).

The thriving city of Singapore currently has a diverse range of properties on offer. Keppel Bay is an extremely popular choice for prospective buyers, for a number of reasons. Firstly, its location is hard to beat. Situated a matter of minutes from the city's main business district, it is also right in the middle of one of the region's most popular nature and recreation enclaves.

One development which is always well worth a look is Reflections at Keppel Bay. Boasting an enviable choice of units, either for rental or for sale, the amazing architecture is always guaranteed to provocative interest. In fact, the buildings themselves are less like housing and more like a slice of contemporary art. Within the complex there are six towers and 11 low-rise villas, wit a design to suit every taste.

Occupying an area of 100,000 ft.², as well as luxurious accommodation, Keppel Bay also boasts many amenities. Amongst these there is an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an exclusive clubhouse, and a fully-equipped gymnasium. To describe the views from the apartments as stunning is an understatement. Above the properties there are lush sky gardens, built atop gently sloping roofs. Residents can choose to enjoy the wonderfully warm Singapore climate from these retreats, or go out to visit any of the nearby parks.

This housing development really sets very high standards in real estate investment. The attention to detail is meticulous, with every aspect of its design, from architecture to the quality of its finishing, created with complete customer satisfaction in mind. Another plus is the fact that Keppel Bay's stunning architecture is surrounded by a variety of similar world-class properties. There are also a great many of Singapore's renowned attractions within striking distance. Not only does this complex overlook the beautifully tranquil waters of Singapore's bay area, simply having an address listed at this property is considered extremely prestigious.

Popular with a cross-section of Singapore society, from business people to expats, monthly rentals vary a great deal. An ideal way to get a hint of what the units have to offer is to go online, where videos of the interiors and exteriors can be studied in comfort. 99-year leaseholds are available.

Green shoots for the Thailand economy

Green shoots for the Thailand economy

The civil uncertainty, that has had the knock-on effect of creating inertia in Thailand's economy, finally appears to be lifting. With the political situation remaining deadlocked, at least investors appear to have ceased their widespread policy of shunning the baht.

Ever since last month, the Thai currency has been looking exceedingly fragile. Participants in currency markets were certainly shaken by anti-government demonstrations that were witnessed in Bangkok's normally bustling streets. At the height of this turmoil, the baht dipped to 32.37 per US dollar, marking a weak point since September. Back then the Thai currency had depreciated due to rampant speculation that the USA was about to scale back its easing program.

The whole situation was prompted when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra attempted to push an amnesty bill through Parliament. This piece of legislation would have allowed the ex-prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, to return from a period of self imposed exile by dropping various corruption charges. This was seen as a naked piece of favouritism and nepotism, given that the prime minister and former prime minister are brothers. The end result of this was an increasingly vociferous series of protests from opposition groups.

Much of the opposition's fury was abated when the Prime Minister announced, on December 9, that she would dissolve the lower house in order to hold a general election. While this in itself was not enough to alleviate all of the opposition grievances, it did appear to at least convince short-term currency dealers that the markets were not quite so volatile. Their policy of shorting the baht began to be reversed, with dealers seeking the opportunity to buy back the currency. After reversing course, the baht has strengthened closer to the 32 per dollar line.

Although this general election is scheduled to be held in February 2014, the crisis remains far from resolved. The opposition rejected the poll when it was initially tabled and have yet to commit to taking part. There may be several dealers in the financial markets who are nervously looking back to the last time parliament was dissolved for an election, in 2006. After that vote was boycotted by the opposition, a military coup took place. Were that to happen on this occasion, then one inevitable result would be that investors will no longer look upon the baht so favourably.

Alternative job hunting methods

Alternative job hunting methods

For most graduates, looking for their first job post-University will be the most intensive job hunt they have yet experienced. While there are thousands upon thousands of great companies out there all looking for smart, qualified graduates to fill important vacancies, finding the right one for you can be tough and, at times, frustrating.

The most common way to hunt is to do a regular sweep of the job websites and, certainly, that should be part of any intensive search. Yet there are other things you can do that can often be more effective for zeroing in on the big opportunities in your industry.

Consider these options:

Start your job search at home

‘It's not what you know, it's who you know' – it's an old cliché but remains as true as ever, regardless of what industry you wish to enter. So, before you start searching high and low on job websites, check those closest to you. Ask friends and family (both close and extended) if they know anybody that might already be working in your chosen industry. These kinds of organic connections can really take you places.

Utilise social media

Don't just put up your name, photo and CV on LinkedIn and leave your profile there to gather dust. Utilise this extremely powerful recruitment resource to make direct contact with key figures in your industry. Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus can also be used in this way, as many major players and companies in your field are likely to be active there. This can help you make contacts, get known and monitor new opportunities that arise in the sector.

Choose your dream job and make a direct approach

If you are truly passionate about your industry, then there is likely a company you have in mind as your absolute dream workplace. This gives you two choices. One: you can check the job sites everyday in the hope that this company will put up a spec that suits your skills. Two: you can take the initiative and make a direct approach to somebody in the company. If you choose the latter option, it may not pay off instantly as there's no guarantee they are hiring but, so long as you make a good impression, they will keep your CV on file for when they are.

An intensive job hunt will usually require more than one search method before you hit gold. Be prepared to try some of these alternative routes to success.

GradGreenhouse is a dedicated recruitment platform for graduates, combining the latest technology with state of the art tools, including Video Interviewing.