Yishun no backwater town

A somewhat laid back atmosphere that speaks of a slow and nature-filled life with occasional bursts of activity and energy describes the fringe township of Yishun. This HDB estate once was called “Ulu” (a Singaporean slang for being out-of-the-way and backward), but it has progressed nicely into the genteel gem it is today.

It seems to live life just the edge, growing and filling in a gap that straddles bustling and slow. Latest news of the redevelopment of the Yishun Central, with Frasers Centrepoint Homes taking the lead in building a mixed-use condominium and mall development, Northpoint City, in the vicinity, the Yishun area may be seeing a revival of sorts.

The EstuaryStretching out in a large area between Chong Pang, Sembawang and Yio Chu Kang, it has quite the space for development and expansion. Some of the current private properties already in its midst include Orchid Park, Lilydale and The Estuary. Newer residential developments include Nine Residences, Symphony Suites and the recently launched Northpark Residences.

There are a considerable number of HDB flats in the area as well, and property prices are considered reasonable and affordable. For now. New BTO (Build-to-Order) flats were also introduced into the mix starting from 2013, putting a good 9,500 units in the estate, including Yishun Greenwalk, DBSS ADora Green and Vista Spring.

From kampung to new town. The kampung spirit remains strong.

Medini – Work, Play, Live


The flagship development of Iskandar, Medini offers a compelling proposition as a place for business, lifestyle and living. Within 908 hectares of prime land in the heart of this rapidly growing area, it offers an urban development in complete harmony with its natural setting. Most importantly, it serves up a treat of factors on its menu for buyers looking for a second home, or a place with attractive potential yield for investment.


Strategically located between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, right in the heart of the Iskandar Regional Development and connected via Tuas, it is a mere 20 minutes from Johor Bahru and 40 minutes from Singapore’s Central Business District. For the frequent traveller, you will be pleased to know that the Senai Airport lies just 25 minutes while Singapore’s Changi International Airport is 50 minutes away.


In aspiring to be a choice destination for investment in Asia, Medini has been designed with world-class infrastructure connecting Singapore, Asia and the rest of the world via well connected rail, rapid transit system, highways, sea ports and international airports.

It also comes full equipped with an integrated infrastructure with high-quality education, healthcare and other amenities with high speed broadband and telecommunication links to support a pro-business environment.


In addition, the 300-bed, state-of-the-art Gleneagles Medini hospital is well on track to begin operations by second half of 2015. Equipped with cutting-edge medical technology and top notch healthcare professionals that have become synonymous with the brand, the tertiary hospital will further boost the attractiveness of Iskandar as a healthcare destination, easily accessible to patients from all across Malaysia and medical travellers from around the region.


Offering a similarly high standard of living to cities like Singapore and Hong Kong when fully realised, Medini offers attractive cost advantages for businesses to operate and grow. Fully supported by the Malaysian government, this economic development region offers up a pro-business environment with a ready pool of English-speaking and educated workforce. Goldbury Communications, a home-grown IT automotive consultancy firm and Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider, are just two of the many companies who have since set up offices in this leading economic growth corridor.

Another of a key target business cluster is the ecosystem for the creative and media sectors, Media @ Medini. This initiative facilitates a ‘blended solution’ concept which can provide the full media value chain from script to final production, by potentially linking complimentary service offerings of Media @ Medini, with Pinewood Studios Malaysia, and Mediapolis Singapore.


As Singapore’s closest neighbour and easily the second most developed country just behind us, the close cultural and similarities in food and lifestyle makes Malaysia an attractive overseas property investment. Though the average property prices have increased, the real estate prices in Medini is still lower than similar properties in Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore, providing a much more attractive option for a second home or as a property investment. Of course, the favourable exchange rates, the Rapid Transit System (RTS) between Johor Bahru city and Singapore’s Thomson MRT line, and the High Speed Rail linking Kuala Lumpur, Iskandar and Singapore further add to the cause for purchasing homes in Iskandar Malaysia.

There are five economic zones, with Zone B, Nusajaya proving to be the most popular with the property investors thus far. With complete township planning that includes specialized security forces and facilities, and quality living conditions, Nusajaya is one of the zone with one of the highest build standards too.


Paradiso Nuova, which is located 10 minutes away from Singapore’s second link, is an affordable yet high-end quality development for home buyers and investors that offers easy ownership package with all international lots and, most importantly, exempted from the RM1 million threshold for foreigners.


All work and no play makes for a dull week, luckily for residents of Medini, there are plenty of options in Iskandar for them to play, relax and unwind after a long day or during the weekends. Apart from the first LegoLand in Asia, Legoland Malaysia, there is also the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park that also houses the first Hello Kitty Town outside Japan that will be perfect for the family.

For the shoppers, remember to visit the 175,000 square feet Johor Premium Outlets that offers impressive savings of up to 65% off more than 80 designer and high fashion brands. Unwind at the end of the day with an evening spent at the Puteri Habour, which will offer exceptional waterfront living, dining, entertainment, and arts and culture in a picturesque setting.

To find out & experience a better way of living, beyond luxury living, sign up for our iBonus Property Fieldtrip to Paradiso Nuova by Zhuoyuan Iskandar on 11th April 2015 here.

This article has been brought to you by Zhouyuan Iskandar.


Property Sales in Singapore Drop Considerably


Singapore home sales in February slumped to a considerable 48 percent lower when compared to the same month a year ago, as a result of lending curbs which have dramatically stemmed property purchases. New figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority [1] found that developers across Singapore sold just 382 units in February 2015, whilst they sold a considerably higher figure of 732 property units in February 2014. It is forecast that the remainder of 2015 will also see dramatically reduced numbers of property sales, as  property restrictions make purchasing a home almost impossible for many. The curbs placed on property sales by the Singapore government is the main reason for this relatively sudden and dramatic drop in the number of properties being sold. [2]

The Reasons For The Slump

The government are having the finger of responsibility pointed squarely at them, as the property market in Singapore began to slump in 2009 when they began to introduce curbs and tight restrictions of residential property purchases.  In 2009 a combination of low interest rates and high demand for property from foreign buyers and investors raised internal concerns that the property market was overheating. In the five years between 2009 and 2013, property prices surged by 40 percent, resulting in record property prices. This prompted the government to introduce some of the strictest measures and restrictions on lenders ever known. These measures included a cap on debt repayment costs that was set at 60 percent of the borrower’s monthly income, much higher stamp duties which are paid to the government on home purchases and also an increase in real estate taxes.[3] Whilst these caps, increased taxes and other limitations are no deterrent to the super-wealthy keen to own property in the metropolis, they will make it difficult for those on low or average incomes, or affected by other factors that may make them appear less attractive to a mortgage company or other lender. [4]

The Effect on The Property Market

These new restrictions aren’t only affecting individuals looking to get on the property market: they are also having an impact on property developers and the overall property market. Developers have made the decision to scale back on their new launches and reduce the numbers of properties that are being build, with just 357 new units launched February, down from the 415 new units launched in January, and down considerably when compared with the number of launches in previous years too. The property market in Singapore is definitely on the slowdown, as a result of the restrictions the government put in place to prevent it from burning out:  Two condominiums which were built last summer were ultimately sold for less than half their original price, while other newly built properties sit empty.[5] The cooling measures introduced by the government seem to have hit the high end property market particularly badly.

But there is an upside, for those potential homebuyers who meet the government guidelines for purchasing a property and don’t have a problem securing the funds they need. [6] Especially if you’re looking to purchase a high end luxury property. For home buyers in Singapore right now, there is a wealth of choice available, and no real need to compromise: you’re sure to find the perfect property that meets all of your specific needs, and you’re likely to find it easy to negotiate the price and other perks that you want too. It really is a buyers’ market. Why not see what you can get with your money today? You’re sure to be pleasantly surprised.

Further resources

[1] “Singapore February Home Sales Drop 48 Percent on curbs”, Bloomberghttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-16/singapore-february-home-sales-drop-48-percent-on-property-curbs

[2] “Monthly home sales in Singapore dive 48 percent”, The Malay Mail Online, http://www.themalaymailonline.com/money/article/monthly-home-sales-in-singapore-dive-48pc-on-property-curbs

[3] “Singapore private home sales up in February, but EC deals slide”, Channel News Asiahttp://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-private-home/1718152.html

[4] “Guide for securing a mortgage home loan with a disability, Mortgage Calculatorhttp://www.mortgagecalculator.biz/resources/disabilities.php

[5] “A high end property collapse in Singapore” CNBChttp://www.cnbc.com/id/102437343#.

[6] “Singapore based regional property developers are facing rising threats”, The Motley Fool Singapore, http://www.fool.sg/2015/03/16/singapore-based-regional-property-developers-are-facing-rising-threats/

Guest Article from Gemma Hollis

Dual key apartments rising in popularity

The latest property type on the block has been gathering an increasing crowd of fans. Not surprisingly, since they offer the space and the privacy for larger, multi-generational families, giving them the option of having their family members close, but not too close for comfort.

The concept began with the Housing Development Board and their “Granny flats” in 1986 and the first private properties to pick up on that were the Caspian and 8@Woodleigh. And now, new properties actively set aside a number of units as dual key apartments.

Boathouse ResidencesSome of the latest market offerings to include these units include Seventy Saint Patrick’s, Northpark Residences, Riverbank@Fernvale and Botanique @ Bartley. Older properties with these options include Coco Palms, and The Santorini at Tampines. At the latter, there are 144 dual key units. Most of the dual key units include a two- or three-room unit attached to a studio apartment, with two separate entrances.

In addition to providing privacy, these units also provide a cheaper alternative to buyers who are running an office out of their home. It gives them a separate entrance to their business and a physical separation from their living quarters while saving on transport costs and time.

Plus, it is easier to rent out these smaller units. For longterm investment considerations, these units could also be sold as it is or as a normal unit with the separating structures reconfigured.

Coming up later this year, the Boathouse Residences, developed by Frasers Centrepoint Limited, will also feature dual key apartments.

Affordable units below $1 million at Botanique @ Bartley

Over the weekend, the 797-unit Botanique @ Bartley condominium opened for viewing at pocket-friendly prices. Situated on Upper Paya Lebar road, near Bartley MRT station, the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary), Maris Stella High School and The Australian International School, this new property seems like it has all the ingredients for an expensive price tag.

But instead, more than 70% of its units were pricedbelow $1 million, making it one of the more affordable new properties around town. With prices starting at $598,000 for a one-bedder, up to $1.68 million for three-bedders. While most of the units here are smaller, with one-bedroom apartments ranging between 495 to 689 sq ft and 926 to 1, 356 sq ft for three-bedders, the total quantum prices are more palatable with upgraders. A floor area comparision will however reveal that at $1, 300 psf, it is actually priced higher than the nearby Bartley Ridge which went for a median of $1, 296 psf.

Botanique@BartleyDeveloped by the UOL Group, the Botanique @ Bartley will feature “flexi” units, referring to the two- and three-bedders which can be converted into dual-key apartments. Some of UOL’s other properties include the popoular Thomson Three which only has eight units left unsold, Seventy St Patrick’s and Riverbank@Fernvale.

The rest of the year might not be hectic on the new private property front, with more attention possibly given to executive condominiums, thus supply might not necessarily overtake demand. How will that impact both the private and public housing markets?

Homes near nature pricier?

Concrete jungle, we are often called. But in land scarce Singapore, that could hardly be avoided. Thus similarly in most cosmopolitan cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, Sydney, snagging a spot near nature could mean a costlier price tag.

Rail CorridorIn Singapore, homes in areas near the Rail Corridor, or the 24km pathway stretching from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands where the old Malaysian railway track used to pass through, may fetch a juicy sum as they bring along with them the option of being near nature, and a piece of history. It certainly increases the hip factor.

Most of the properties in the 6 main areas along this track are landed homes in Bukit Timah along Holland road and Rifle Range road. But in 3 areas near Bukit Merah, the Kranji and Buona Vista MRT stations, and also the Sungei Pang Sua canal in Choa Chu Kang, majority of the properties are still currently only for industrial use.

Depending on how URA allocates and develops the plots of land not the defunct railway track, home owners may expect a rise in home prices along the stretch. New properties planned for the future could also be priced accordingly. Already without the noise that comes with the railways, values of property in the vicinity have risen slightly.

Thomson Three 1But if you are looking for something already in the market, some of the latest properties which are near pockets of greenery and nature include Thomson Three near MacRitchie reservoir, The Foresta at Mount Faber and with some landscaping, the Botanique @ Bartley.

Stronger Singdollar = Better overseas property investment opportunities

Though investing in overseas properties may have its risk, the opportunities of gain it brings could also be significant, especially in times when the Singapore dollar is strengthening against the Malaysian ringgit, British pound and Aussie dollar.

Malaysia, the UK and Australia have been favourite countries for Singaporeans in terms of travel, study and emigration. Property launches in these countries have been strongly marketed to local investors looking outside of our shores for investment opportunities. Especially for those who have purchased properties in Malaysia, their buck may walk a little longer now that the exchange rate is S$0.374 to RM$1.

DangaBayMasterPlan-600x235With cheaper payment options,  property developers have seen increasing interest from Singaporean buyers in the Iskandar Malaysia regions, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. At the same time, analysts caution buyers against jumping into the market without consideration. A property’s potential value appreciation should also be carefully weighed as the current property market in Malaysia is facing a almost sure-fire sign of saturation. And quickly too.

In London on the other hand, buyers who have previously bought property there have reported “unprecedented price growth”. However, he also added that investors who are looking to purchase properties purely to turn a profit should take into consideration factors such as currency fluctuations, political stability, ease of entry and exit from the market and market transparency.

One way to keep ahead of things is to attend property expos, seminars and know your market trends well.

The Beacon of Medini, the Gateway to Paradise


With no signs of slowing down, the township of Medini in Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia remains a property hot spot as more attractions, schools and companies sprout and expand in the area. With an estimated population of 3 million by 2025 and labour force of 1.46 million according to IRDA, the possibilities for growth remains highly positive.

While the influx of sales have slowed, there remains a steady growth in the home ownership figures. As the first wave of early adopters have already staked their claims on their favoured developments in the early phase, the current group of home buyers and investors are taking a long quick look at investments around the region, and many of them keep coming back to our favourite investment area just north of our borders.

A Greenfield development spanning 2,230 acres earmarked to become the Central Business District of Iskandar Malaysia. Home also to signature developments such as EduCity, a international best-in-class education hub, the new Johor State Administrative Capital; Puteri Harbour, a premium waterfront development across the strait from Singapore, and of course, the newly opened LEGOLAND® Malaysia theme park. It is also located conveniently a mere ten minutes from the 2nd Link CIQ and fifteen minutes to Johor Bahru City Centre.


Against the backdrop of all these and backed by Zhuoyuan Iskandar Sdn Bdn, a joint venture company backed by China’s Zhuoda Real Estate Group and Malaysia’s Iskandar Investment Berhad, the master planner for Nusajaya, Paradiso Nuova is set to be the beacon in the heart of Medini North, Iskandar.

Crafted to deliver a new standard of living of luxury in Medini, the design concept of Paradiso Nuova has been centered on delivering spacious and comfortable living for its residents. With the architectural concept creating a visual archway to a life of luxury with decorated finishes and accessories, it is the gateway to a modern lifestyle of luxury in Medini.


With Zhuoda Real Estate Group as one of China’s top 10 township developer, Zhuoyuan Iskandar has spared no efforts in making the 382-units Paradiso Nuova a haven for the residents with branded appliances, fittings and suite of comprehensive facilities including kitchen appliances from Bosch, kitchen fittings from Teka and sanitary fittings from Grohe.

As Datuk Syed Mohamed Ibrahim, president and CEO of Iskandar Investment Berhad at the development ground-breaking event last year summed it up “More than just a collection of spectacular, high-quality apartments, Paradiso Nuova will offer a way of community living that integrates the best of East and West. Paradiso Nuova by Zhuoyuan Iskandar will definitely strike a chord with Singaporeans who have grown up being accustomed to an exposure of influences from the east and the west.

To find out & experience a better way of living, beyond luxury living, sign up for our iBonus Property Fieldtrip to Paradiso Nuova by Zhuoyuan Iskandar on 11th April 2015 here.

This article has been brought to you by Zhouyuan Iskandar.