Friday, March 26, 2010

More or Less

Singapore's property prices have burst above the roof and is heading for the stratosphere. That's the general talk now in the coffee shops. A coffee-drinker pal of mine remarked the other day that he cannot see himself buying an apartment for more than S$1,000 psf, and he wasn't thinking of the uber-ultra luxury apartments and properties along Orchard Road and Sentosa Cove. It's just the run-of-the-mill condos that people seem to have an insatiable apetite for nowdays that he was referring to.

I couldn't agree more, or umm, well, less. I agree because I can't see myself buying at those prices, but I do have a private apartment which I suppose I can sell at those prices too, which will give me no end of pleasure, not to mention, wealth. So you will find me talking like a snake nowadays - depending on whether you are with people who want to buy or sell.

Well, whether it is to buy or sell, I find it hard to believe REDAS' Simon Cheong (I really really would want to believe him) when he insisted that if developers got land cheaper from the government, they would price their apartments lower. Yes, they CAN price their apartments lower, but would they? Unless you are facing a housing glut, and everybody is either dead broke or the environment is just not favourable, no self-respecting property developer will price their property below the market price. That's doing good business. Developers are hardly charitable organisations, and Mr Cheong, of all people, should know that.

So on the whole, I agree with the MND. I'd rather the government make the money, for which it can then use to spread around the benefit to the public rather than have the developers build and buy more property with the inflated margins that they have already made, which they can then sell at inflated margins, etc. etc.

Actually my grouse with property developers nowadays is that almost every condo they develop leaks water. I thought it was my apartment, until I keep hearing the same stories from anybody and everybody I meet who has bought into a condo in the last 10 years or so. When you find out about the leaks, the one year warranty would be over,  and its your problem, buddy. I cannot understand this. Even TV manufacturers give 3-year warranties, but condo developers (and I think HDB too) are only confident their apartments will hold together for only a year.

So I have this advise for people making a beeline, or who have already put down the deposit for their dream condo. Go through every room and every wall, and every inch of the floor, and the ceiling (particulary false ceilings), the cornices and the air-con pipes to look for cracks, hollow-sounds and damp trunkings - all within the first year. Frankly, the quality of condo apartments sucks and if you are going to pay more than a thousand dollars psf for that apartment, you owe it to yourself to minimise any grief that you will certainly face some months or years down the road.

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