Happy Halloween! Let’s take a look at the haunted places in Singapore, and 5 signs that may indicate your home may be haunted.
Be it seeking your dream home, investing in that overseas property that provides high yields, or simply cooking up a storm in the kitchen, it pays to have the right tools in hand. Long been know to culinary enthusiasts as a culinary heaven filled with an unrivalled range of Tools of The Trade for the kitchen, you can now add this latest offering, 365 Days of Fun: Recipes for any Occasion Cookbook to the list of must-buys from this culinary heaven.
And now, the latest cookbook by ToTT comes packed with 24 recipes of fun and delicious recipes with the help of renowned chefs including Andrew Walsh, executive chef of tapas bar Esquina, Audra Morrice, MasterChef Australia 2012 finalist, Felix Chong, hef de cuisine of Truffle Gourmet and Shen Tan, executive chef of Ujong @Raffles, amongst others.
Based on the concept of concocting the most appetizing meals to mark any occasion and not just the holidays on the calendar, the 365 Days of Fun cookbook is the perfect helper in the kitchen. Some ‘special occasions’ recipes that stood out were, ‘Movie Night’, where families and friends find themselves in need of finger food to dip their hands in; the ‘Ice Cream Social’, there is absolutely no reason for indulging in feel-good ice cream; The Out-of-Towners, when the occasion calls for you to host visiting relatives and friends.
Thanks to ToTT, we take a sneak peek into the book and share the excerpts of three of the recipes.
LOBSTER ROLLS WITH SPICY KETCHUP AND LIME AIOLI
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
To make spicy ketchup, combine ketchup, gherkins and sea salt.
To serve, warm lobster meat in a griddle pan with olive oil and lemon juice. Gently toast the buns, spread lime aioli then fill with warm lobster meat. Top with spicy ketchup and thinly sliced green chilli.
Ice cream Social
HONEY VANILLA ICE CREAM
Makes 1 litre
Prep time 10 minutes + 8 hours chill time
Cook time 15 minutes
Combine milk, honey and sugar in a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Add scraped vanilla beans.
Return saucepan to the stove, cooking over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil and is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few more minutes. Whisk in salt. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 4 hours.
Once chilled, pour ice cream base into a Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is complete, pack into a container and apply a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent the formation of ice crystals). Close with airtight lid and freeze.
Out of Towners
SPICED LAMB CURRY
Prep time 30 minutes + 12 hours marinating time
Cook time 3-4 hours
In a small bowl, mix together chilli powder, olive oil and yoghurt. Pour over lamb chunks and toss well so the meat is well coated in marinade. Chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add oil and reserved rempah. Fry until fragrant and oil starts to release from rempah.
Add marinated lamb and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients for the curry base (except rice) and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer until lamb is tender, about 3-4 hours. Serve hot with rice.
For the full recipes, please visit www.tottstore.com or the ToTT store to purchase the 365 Days of Fun cookbook, priced at $12.90.
iProperty.com is giving away 10 copies of the 365 Days of Fun Cookbook, kindly sponsored by ToTT.
Simply comment below with your name and email address and we’ll be in touch if you are one of the winners! (Contest ends 7th November 2014)
As the noose tightens around the residential property market, investors may consider shifting their focus onto commercial properties, in particular office spaces. Q3 figures have shown that selling prices and rental of office spaces have been growing at a record pace.
In land-scarce Singapore, the growing number of businesses means the demand for office space will continue to rise. And as space decreases, prices increase. In Q3 alone, office space rental prices rose by 1.6 per cent. Part of the reason could be that major buildings such as the NOL Building and Havelock II have been undergoing renovation and thus the office space crunch has led to businesses having to look for alternative spaces within a short time period.
Despite luxury properties in the downtown and CBD areas faring poorly of late, Grade A office rents in these areas have been travelling the opposite direction – upwards. Office spaces in the central region have been more in demand than rentals in other regions despite the higher rental prices. Central districts office rentals have risen 2.8 per cent while those at the fringe of the city have risen 1.9 per cent.
Retail space however, is another creature altogether. As most retail space income comes also from the tenant’s sales and margins have been narrow due to higher operating and labour costs. And with the introduction of many more mixed-use developments come 2016, supply may overtake demand and reduce the rarity of these spaces. Especially as online shopping takes off in a big way locally, retail spaces, unless in high traffic areas or exclusive trendy enclaves, may find themselves fighting for the same audience.
The number of resale transactions of private properties have dipped across the board and that in turn has affected the pricing index reflected by the SRPI (Singapore Residential Property Index). SRPI figures showed a 0.7 per cent drop in September, despite hopes that the market will rebound after the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Property analysts are reporting an imbalance in the expectations of home sellers and buyers. Stronger holding power of home sellers have meant that fewer properties were exchanging hands and they have instead opted to hold on to their properties till the market turns around. With the exception of shoebox apartments it seems. There was a price gain there of 0.4 per cent. This could be a clear indication of the preferences of buyers in the current market situation and perhaps provides an inkling of the months ahead.
One of the most affected property sectors are the luxury homes. Although buyers and investors of these high-end properties may not be detoured by the additional levies and loan limits, they may be deterred by the buying restrictions. And as the number of unsold luxury properties increases, developers are now offering discounts to entice them back into the fold.
As 2014 draws to an end, many may be wondering how the property market will fare in 2015. As the government has recently announced that the property cooling measures are not likely to ease in the near future, property analysts are expecting a 8 to 10 per cent decline. What will that mean for the overall market and will any particular property type stand out? Will the drop in private home prices mean a similar drop in HDB resale flat prices or will the demand for resale flats rise as more turn towards this less expensive option?
With competition heating up in the property scene, developers are finding it increasingly difficult to find ready buyers. The stakes are now higher and thus the incentives offered have been interestingly varied. From discounts to free furniture, rental guarantees, holiday and travel memberships; and even sports-car discounts and diamonds! The “carrots” may now be actual “carats”!
Qingjian Realty has recently offered one-carat diamonds in a lucky draw for Bellewoods executive condominium (EC) e-applicants. 20 diamonds for that matter. Buyers of the Highline Residences in Kim Tian road can look forward to a 3-year “lifestyle membership” which includes limousine rides and complimentary golf privileges at the Ria Bintan Golf Club. Most of the developers are offering these incentives as a way to market and spur renewed interest in their previous launches. These offers help protect their selling prices whilst balancing the expectations of buyers who may
have purchased units in the initial phases. Would this holding back on offers affect the response during first-phase launches? Whilst some may rest a little on their laurels and wait for possible offers in future launches, buyers who are keen to select their prime units may still prefer to strike while the iron is hot and go for first releases to ensure they get a unit they truly want.
At the Infinium cluster-homes in Kovan, IG |Development was offering a $200,000 Mercedes to the first 3 buyers but later withdrew the offer in place of price discounts of $100 psf on their first 3 units sold. That would mean savings of up to $500,000. But if it’s a vehicle you’d like, UIC and SingLand are partnering with Aston Martins to provide discounts on their cars for buyers of three-bedders and bigger units at Mon Jervois.
But as the supply of new homes may trickle come 2015, will developers continue to dangle these incentives or will the property market make a U-turn and head up the charts on selling price alone?
The authorities have announced that public housing supply and land sales will slow down come 2015 as the market has showed signs of cooling and stablising after the many rounds of property cooling measures rolled out over the past year or two.
The Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, has commented in a blog post that the supply of new HDB flats will slow by 25 per cent next year. There will only be 4 launches next year, compared to the usual 6 per year. Each launch usually puts out up to 4,000 new Build-to-order (BTO) flats. The rate of successful BTO flat applications has been on the rise as reflected in the few recent launches. More married couples achieve success in getting their new flats, and the authorities have been allowances for couples either opting to apply for a flat with their parents, or for one near their parents. In addition, parents who opt to apply for a flat in a non-mature estate to be near their married children, will also receive priority.
The slight shift in policies may ensure that families remain close-knit and are able to receive help when needed. It may also help with a shift in aging mature estates and introduce a more age-balanced population per HDB estate. Mr Khaw Boon Wan also hopes that the move will help newlyweds plan for a family more efficiently and in turn increase Singapore’s population with a higher birth rate.
In the private property sector, the number of land plots being sold for executive condominiums and private apartments has already been reduced this year, though the industry might see a further reduction come 2015. But will this mean a decline in the building, construction and property industries? Or has the previous land sales and launches been sufficient to keep the industry going for the next few years? Which part of the cycle is the property sector in at the moment and are we set for a boom or lull in the next year?
Despite recent new launches, private home sales remained lacklustre as the third quarter registered lowest sales figures since 2008. Only 1,596 new homes were sold in the last 3 months, though 648 units were sold in August alone, signifying a plausible comeback.
Some of the more popular residential properties were the newer ones such as Highline Residences, Seventy St Patrick’s, Lakeville, Eight Riversuites, and some new launches from projects such as The Panorama. As per previous years, post Hungry Ghost Festival meant home buyers were once again eager for new deals and were actively seeking property purchase opportunities.
Across the board, 6,030 private properties were sold in the first 3 quarters of the year, almost half that of the same period last year. Much of the decline was due to weakening demand in the primary market, which could be a result of the tightening home loan limits implemented in June 2013.
Upcoming launches of Sophia Hills, Tre Residences and Symphony Suites might bring renewed activity into the market and possibly close the year on a high. But most of the attention will be in the executive condominium (EC) market as the drought of new launches in this sector welcome new launches of Lake Life, Bellewoods and Bellewaters.
We’ve all heard about the various prestigious “Lake districts” of popular cities across the globe. Now, Singapore could finally boast a few of their own as waterfront living takes on a whole new spin. Sentosa Cove, Marina Bay, Punggol waterway and now Jurong Lake.
At the Lake Life EC (executive condominium) in the Jurong Lake district, almost 1,200 applications were registered when it was launched 2 weekends ago. And with one in three applicants being a first-time home buyer, it shows the demand for and power of these hybrid properties. An EC is sold under the HDB scheme but after 10 years, it becomes private property, making it value for money in the long run.
Though EC buyers may qualify for the HDB grants and subsidies, it largely depends on their income ceiling, which has been raised to $12,000 per household. Prices of these flats are also considerably higher than other HDB flats, new and resale.
As the price gap between private homes in the city centre and city fringe continue to narrow, and as suburban private properties rise in price, ECs may become the property of choice for growing households and young couples. How the scale tips may eventually affect the effectiveness and purpose of this hybrid property. Are ECs here to stay? Or could they possibly become obsolete?