Singapore public anxious about Minister Khaw’s next steps

Public pins dreams of property ownership on new Minister for National Development

iProperty.com.sg’s recent Quick Poll in June revealed that the market is anxious and hopeful that the new Minister for National Development, Minister Khaw Boon Wan, will help them fulfill dreams of owning an affordable property in Singapore.

Key findings from the survey revealed that:

  1. Most survey respondents (49.8%) hope the Ministry will embark on a building spree to flood the market with affordable housing, thereby slowing the rise in property prices even if this means dampening asset enhancement for current homeowners.
  2. A large percentage (39.7%) of survey respondents wish the Ministry will introduce means testing to determine the amount of subsidy potential home buyers can receive. This way, lower-income families will be more likely to afford housing.
  3. A small handful (10.5%) of those surveyed is supportive of additional Government-initiated policies that will further increase the value of properties to ensure homeowners’ current assets will be enhanced.

What would you like Khaw Boon Wan’s first act as the new Minister for National Development to be?

A total of 315 respondents comprising mostly Singaporeans, Permanent Residents (PRs) and expatriates took part in this online survey from 24 May to 27 June 2011.

Demand for residential housing remains high despite Minister Khaw’s promise to build a record 25,000 new flats this year and continue a heightened building pace for next year, which could result in the release of 50,000 new HDB flats in just two years.

However, with Minister Khaw still yet to unveil his master plan to quell the local red-hot demand for housing property, Shaun Di Gregorio, Chief Executive Officer of the iProperty.com Group, expects more anxiety to build-up until a new plan is announced, “The current set of cooling measures so far had some impact on the local housing property market, but the measures are not entirely taking effect. With home prices at an all-time-high at the moment, we can see that many home buyers are just focused on being able to find affordable homes, and this will remain a key concern for them until the Housing Development Board (HDB) makes up for the shortfall in the supply of affordable public housing for this group of buyers in the coming years.”

He added, “The recent news announced over the weekend that the average cash over valuation (COV) paid by home buyers in the April to June period had jumped 50 per cent over the last quarter is yet another sign that the last round of cooling measures and Minister Khaw’s recent blog comments had only dampened the supply while demand remains high and there are buyers who would continue to pay top dollar for HDB homes in popular mature estates.”

iProperty.com Singapore’s Road to Number 1 [INFOGRAPHIC]

iProperty.com, Asia’s No.1 Property Portal Group achieves clear leadership in Singapore

This achievement follows major acquisitions of the number 1 and number 3 portals in Indonesia and a strategic SG$11.6 million investment in the iProperty Group from SeLoger.com, the number 1 property portal in France

On the back of what has been a stunning few weeks for the iProperty Group, Asia’s number one network of property websites under the iProperty.com brand, today announced a clear leadership position for their Singapore business iproperty.com.sg has been achieved. This announcement further reaffirms iProperty.com.sg’s leading position as an innovative property portal that consumers and property agents trust as their first preference in Singapore.

This positive news for the company follows the announcement only yesterday of a major investment from SeLoger.com, France’s number one ranked property portal and part of Axel Springer, one of Europe’s largest Media Groups. The SG$11.6 million investment by SeLoger.com is recognition and validation of the iProperty Group’s leadership position in Asia where it operates market leading property portals in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, and has recently entered into an agreement to acquire the #1 and #3 property portals in Indonesia.

The Singapore market has been hotly contested for some time with iProperty.com.sg now prevailing after several independent and renowned measurement companies showed that the site has developed a dominant position with Singapore property consumers and property agents. The latest ranking of iProperty.com.sg is provided by independent website measurement firms including Google Analytics and comScore.

iProperty.com.sg has over 740,000 unique visitors per month and this figure continues to increase exponentially. This now means the company has clear No.1 positions in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

Google Analytics measurement of website performance is the global standard used by international organisations around the world including Twitter, Facebook and eBay.  Google Analytics counts the number of unique visitors to each website. The number of Unique Visitors then relates to the number of potential leads property agents receive.

The latest positive figures for iProperty.com Singapore are also validated by comScore, a global authority in measuring website traffic.  According to comScore’s findings, iProperty.com Singapore is not only the preferred source for those looking for properties online, the portal also has a larger reach – 4.3% of all Internet users rely on iProperty.com for real-estate information as compared to 3.3% who visited the leading competitor’s website.

For advertisers, DoubleClick Ad Planner has validated iProperty.com Singapore’s leading status as an online property portal. DoubleClick Ad Planner is a free media planning tool that helps advertisers to identify websites that their target audience are likely to visit so they can make better-informed advertising decision.

Alexa, which computes traffic rankings by analysing the web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from diverse traffic data sources, correspondingly ranks iProperty.com Singapore with a higher average reach, i.e. percentage of global Internet users, compared to its closest competitor.

“Having industry heavyweights like Google Analytics and comScore authenticate our number one position is indeed an important confirmation that we are headed in the right direction. We appreciate the support shown by Singapore consumers who have clearly made a choice for our property portal” said Glenn Thompson, Country Manager for iProperty.com Singapore.

Added iProperty Group CEO, Mr Shaun Di Gregorio stated, “This is an exciting and dynamic period for our company. Our commitment to bring the latest information and the best user experience on all our property portals is bearing fruit and the future looks very bright as we look towards developing more synergistic partnerships with leading property portals around the world.”

In celebrating its number one status in Singapore, the iProperty Group has also rolled out new and improved features on the iProperty.com.sg website to bring more value to its users, especially those who are looking for specific real-estate information.

The recently launched StreetSine Property Trend Widget is an analytical tool that delivers real-time property price information and movements, keeping track of the average price per square feet (PSF) and transaction volume over the past eight months, helping users and property trend watchers make better buying and renting decisions.

To help consumers easily search for properties, iProperty.com.sg  was recently launched its mobile-friendly website so that all smart phone users can get up-to-the-minute real-estate information while on the go.

The iProperty Group also recently inked a partnership with Mitula, an international vertical search engine, to expand iProperty.com.sg’s reach online. With this new partnership in the works and the constant innovations that iProperty.com Singapore is committed to deliver to its users, the company will further cement its number one position as the property authority in the Asian markets in which it operates.

Lighting up your Senses

Designers use lighting in interiors to create mood and ambience to create a unique experience.

Imagine if you had the opportunity to create a cinema room in your new home and you purchased all the latest audio visual and sound equipment. Upon completion, your contractor shows you around your new cinema room – complete with all the best technology – but there’s a problem: since you didn’t specify exactly what lighting you wanted in your cinema room, your contractor decides to put in standard lighting. That’s right: fluorescent lights. Now the fluorescent lighting washes out the images on your beautiful new 50’’ LCD display, thoroughly destroying the visual experience in your dream cinema room.

All the money spent on the latest and greatest technology in the world cannot be properly appreciated without the right lighting levels. To fix it, you have to get the contractor to come back and change the lighting again, resulting in more time and money spent. Here is an example of a media room I created for a residential show-flat displaying how lighting hidden in the recessed cove, really can help to create the right mood and atmosphere – perfect for a cinema room.

Let there be Light

If you are buying or selling your property, don’t underestimate the importance of lighting and its impact on the environment.

If you are a seller, people will pay more for a property that has the right lighting in place. It saves them the inconvenience of having to do any electrical works themselves, as renovation works can lead to significant unknown costs.

If you are a buyer, it’s likely you’ll be making some improvements in a new property. It’s wise to factor in the costs for all types of lighting, such as pendant lighting, decorative lighting and architectural lighting for ceilings and walls. If you’re lucky enough to have a landed property, consider how much you want to spend illuminating the garden areas.

Talkin’ bout a LED-olution
For those of you both concerned with the environment and wanting value for money, you might want to consider LED lighting when selecting light fittings for your home.

In October 2010 I was invited to a Lighting Panel Discussion at the Hong Kong Lighting Fair. Here I offered my perspective, as an interior designer, on the future of LED and its impact on interiors for the consumer.

Some of the observations I shared with the group were:

  1. The objective of lighting is to make the interior or person look their most flattering
  2. Different lighting should be used for men and women, especially above mirrors or in walk-in wardrobes
  3. The colour rendition of LED lighting allows people to create different moods
  4. LEDs are the lights of the future. Their energy efficient qualities, the fact that they are now more affordable, and that they can be accommodated within existing electrical infrastructure without requiring expensive retrofitting are all big plus points.
  5. On a personal note, ubiquitous light is what designers want! With a wave of our hand lighting can appear magically: where, how and when we want it.

Lights Out
It might sound strange that I’m ending this article on lighting by talking about turning them off, but as recent ‘lights out for Earth Day’ on Saturday 26 March 2011 reminds us, there is pressing need to reduce our lighting consumption to help the environment. Perhaps we can all start by exploring the benefits of introducing more energy consumption-friendly lighting, such as LEDs, into our homes to support our global home, Mother Nature.