Medini – Work, Play, Live

MediniFinanceDistrict

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.

Location

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.

Infrastructure

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.

Medini_Gleneagles

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.

Pro-Business

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.

Residential

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.

paradisonuova_advertorial1

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.

Lifestyle

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

property_prices

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

The Land of the Kiwi, the Land of Opportunity

VictoriaResidences5

Recent figures released by Land Information New Zealand of approved investments have shown two key buyers of New Zealand land in the past five years, the Americans and the Chinese. Though the Americans have the edge over the Chinese across the period, the Chinese stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to owning land in the land of the Kiwi.

Chinese buyers headed the list with 10,989 hectares of land bought in 2014 alone, while two Auckland islands linked to the mainland were purchased by China’s Rainbow Holdings NZ in a $41.5 million deal, with plans to develop a $130.6 million six-star luxury resort and native reserve.

With the Chinese investors, it seems that we might just be looking at the start of the property cycle in New Zealand and now seems as good a time as any to hop on aboard the New Zealand property investment ride.

So Why New Zealand?

No stamp duty, no capital gains tax, and no resale restriction comes first to mind. Not to mention that it has regularly been ranked top in investor protection, with a stark lack of corruption in the system. Apart from the confidence afforded to investors, New Zealand stands out for being one of the top countries for doing business, which further encourages foreign investment and drives employment in the country.

Apart from the strong GDP driven by the ideal business conditions and foreign investments, the migration from nearby Australia and Asia are also key in driving the population growth, and as a result, there is an increasing demand for housing in New Zealand, and none more so than in Auckland.

Auckland alone accounts for over 33% of the entire population in the land of the Kiwi, and the latest statistics point at a severe housing shortage in the city due to the following factors, including the abovementioned reason of population growth, the lack of new residential apartment developments in the CBD area, as well as the regulatory reasons of having limited freehold land and new building regulations in recent years.

With demand comes increasing property prices and rental yields, with many analysts pointing out that Auckland property is well poised to see the 2nd highest global capital growth in 2015, while the strong rental market yield is set to further appreciate on the current rate of 6%-8%. With the current low supply of new rental property, especially in the CBD area where the vacancy rate stands at 0.8%, there’s no better time to own a property in New Zealand.

VictoriaResidences2-600x397

None more so than the Victoria Residences by the Conrad Group, which will be the pinnacle vertical sky village to embrace the Auckland CBD and become the premier address for residential living in Auckland CBD, visit http://newlaunch.iproperty.com.sg/Victoria-Residence/4941 today!

Make An Educated Investment In UK Student Property

In the past decade, the UK higher education sector has been flourishing, leading to a considerable increase in the number of students in the country which means there is now a drastic shortage of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) available.

There are around 2.3 million students in the UK, the vast majority of which haven’t got access to university-provided accommodation meaning that a serious supply-and-demand issue is facing nearly all the main university cities in the UK.

UK

The industry has been heralded as being one of the strongest property markets but there has been little concrete evidence about the popularity of PBSA to date since many of the developments have been under-construction. However, in a clear demonstration of where the sector is heading, leading student property provider Vita Student has announced that it has achieved 100% occupancy across its five recently completed sites, with nearly 1,000 beds occupied in Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Exeter and Southampton.

Vita student logo

BedroomNewcastle70099

This has been achieved because the brand represents the next generation of student accommodation with it giving more consideration to the overall living experience rather than just delivering high quality accommodation. This approach has meant that Vita Student transcends other investment opportunities in the industry simply because occupancy rates cannot be matched by other providers. Consequently, higher rental returns are achieved and a stronger investment model is delivered. Savvy buyers from Southeast Asian countries have been quick to recognise this and 15% of Vita Student sales have been to people from countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

BedroomNewcastle30175

Investor confidence in Vita Student is so high that international clients have responded very quickly to its newest project in Newcastle, with 60% of the development sold in just 7 weeks. The properties are sold exclusively through Select Property and investors are offered an assured 7% rental yield for five years, which will start to be paid once the residence is opened. Prices start from £93K and the return will be given out on a termly basis.

Jimmy Chan lives in Singapore and bought a property at one of Vita Student’s residences in Liverpool last year. He believes that the strength of the British higher education system provides the ideal foundation for a profitable property investment.

He explains: “I always make sure I monitor the international property market for trends that I can benefit from and the student property sector in the UK caught my eye a while ago. “Academic institutions in the UK are going from strength-to-strength and the quality of the education is renowned across the world. I’ve seen first-hand that students in Asia are doing everything they can to attend university there – a movement that is sure to generate a huge demand for accommodation in all the major cities.

“This made me look more closely at the student property market and I found that the potential rental returns are much higher than other property assets which obviously made me even more interested in making an investment.”

Click here to find out more about Vita Student’s latest investment opportunity in Newcastle.


SELECT PROPERTY – PROPERTY INVESTMENT EXPERTS

 

unnamed (1)
Select Property is a trusted investment expert, selling over 9,000 properties to investors from more than 100 countries worldwide.

Constant assessment and evaluation of the market enables Select Property to identify and offer investors prime opportunities with assured realistic yields.

Through the Vita Student brand, Select Property has an unrivalled track record in the student property market and a future-proof product.

Vita Student is the only luxury purpose-built student accommodation provider to deliver 100% occupancy across 1,000 properties.

Investors trust Select Property and are confident buying into the Vita Student brand, assured in the knowledge they’ll receive minimum NET rental returns of 7% per annum for 5 years.

Vita Student is uniquely positioned in the £200 billion student accommodation market, and is the only investment that equates end-user experience to investor returns. Via the expertise of Select Property, Vita Student is also the only brand with the insight and capacity to naturally evolve within the market.

In the 2014/15 academic year, 5 new landmark buildings opened their doors, allowing a whole new cohort of students to add their voices to the swell of Vita Student support. All of these developments are fully occupied, underlining the fact that Vita Student is more aligned with the rising expectations of the modern student base than any other provider.

 

Bijou – Far East Organization’s first Dual-key SOHO

Whether you’re looking for a place to call home or seeking out the best property investment deal, location and design are often top of the consideration list. Thus, when something comes along that has both, savvy buyers will naturally gravitate towards it. The latest property by Far East Organizrtion – the freehold Bijou, is one such property.

Though dual-key apartments have been in the limelight for sometime now, most units have a separate smaller area with its own entrance but without its own facilities such as a kitchen and toilet. Bijou’s dual-key apartments however, are designed much like the much-desired maisonette, with one entrance but entirely distinct living spaces upstairs and downstairs, each with their separate kitchen and toilet. It’s extremely suited for rental since it maintains your and your tenant’s privacy. It’s almost as good as buying one condominium unit but owning two, without having to pay additional stamp duty and taxes.

Bijou1Combined with their french-inspired garden landscapes and rooftop garden views of the city, this exclusive 5-storey residential development only has 24 of these dual-key units in its 120-unit, which makes it all the rarer. Entering the market as the first dual-key SOHO, the freehold Bijou is located in one of the fastest-rising areas under URA’s latest Master Plan 2014. With the development of the Greater Southern Waterfront and the regional commercial hubs in the Pasir Panjang district, the influx of a burgeoning workforce seems more than likely. Traveling to the Marina Bay Financial Centre will also be much quicker, and as a mixed-use development, Bijou will also have retail and dining options right at its doorstep.

As the Singapore landscape changes in big ways, so will the property market and areas which have once been put on the back burner will not come into the forefront.

iProperty Survey Shows Pricing Concern Amid Unshaken Confidence in Property

Consumers seek investment, private condominiums and overseas properties

Singapore, 30 April 2014 – The iProperty Asia Property Market Sentiment Report H1 2014 (APMSR), Asia’s largest consumer sentiment survey, reveals Singaporeans’ broad support for cooling measures and expectations of falling prices, while expressing unshaken confidence in property as an investment, both nationally and internationally. It also suggests growing pent-up demand, with private condominiums top of the purchase wish list.

iProperty.com Singapore General Manager, Mr. Sean Tan stated “The cooling measures have begun to lower prices, which respondents recognise and support. Property, in both Singapore and overseas remains a very attractive investment, and confidence in its long-term value is strong. The question now is when will buyers feel comfortable with adjusted prices and jump back in? With 51 per cent intending to buy a property within the next 24 months, there is a lot of pent-up demand.”

Survey respondents agree the implementation of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) have helped cool property prices, but many remain unsatisfied with current price levels. More than half (52 per cent) believe further cooling measures are required.

53 per cent say HDB resale prices are beyond the reach of the average Singaporean family. That is down from 61 per cent in the previous survey. 37 per cent feel HDB resale prices will continue to fall and 49 per cent say prices will not rise for the next three years. This may indicate pricing levels are becoming more comfortable for buyers. If half expect price stability, how long will they wait?

There is a huge jump in respondents who see property as a long-term investment – 53 per cent, up from 23 per cent. 23 per cent also intend to buy a property within the next 12 months, and an additional 28 per cent within the next one to two years. Over two-thirds (67 per cent) have a preference for new developments and more – 71 per cent up from 69 per cent – are interested in purchasing a private condominium.

“Although respondents are concerned with financing options, more than half (51 per cent) have a budget above S$800,000,” noted Mr. Tan, “Some developers are already pricing their projects or lowering prices of previously launched projects to within this range.”

Sentiments towards foreign property buyers remain volatile, with 72 per cent saying foreigners are driving up property prices. 43 per cent of respondents request more ownership restrictions on foreigners. This is despite falling transactions by foreign buyers; only seven per cent of property transactions were made by foreigners in 2013.

Overseas Investment – Malaysia Falls, Australia Rises

Singaporeans continue to view international properties as attractive; 42 per cent see overseas property as a good investment and private condominiums/serviced apartments are preferred by 67 per cent of respondents. 43 per cent of respondents intend to buy an overseas property within the next two years, 26 per cent within the next 12 months.

Interest in overseas property has shifted, with increased interest in Australia (22 per cent up from 19 per cent). Malaysia, which remains the top choice, declined from 39 per cent to 35 per cent. The UK and Thailand were next, each with nine per cent.

Malaysia remains the first choice for international investment, despite the country’s own cooling measures, including restrictions on properties below RM1 million and higher Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT). Interest in Iskandar Malaysia has declined to 51 per cent (down from 59 per cent), but the area remains appealing, as most high-end properties are above the RM1 million level. Even with those restrictions, 64 per cent of respondents cite ‘affordable property prices’ as the main reason for purchasing in Iskandar Malaysia. Additionally, Medini Iskandar is exempt from the RM1 million minimum price for foreign purchase.

Respondents continue to view the Iskandar Regional Development Authority positively, with 79 per cent (up 9 per cent) agreeing that Iskandar has been promoted well. Peace of mind and security, followed by lack of caveats and data, remain areas of concern.

“The survey shows consumers retain great confidence in the property sector. Prices are declining, and while buyers are currently hesitating, the appetite for property remains very strong, at both the national and international level. The property market will certainly see a revival in demand; the big question is when. Timing the market is always tough,” said Mr. Getty Goh, Director at real estate research and investment firm Ascendant Assets.

The APMSR is Asia’s largest consumer sentiment survey, with 18,500 respondents from four countries, including some 3,000 in Singapore. The survey was conducted by iProperty Group from December 2013 to January 2014.

Down the full report at http://www.iproperty.com.sg/asia-property-sentiment-survey/download/

Tell tale signs of overseas property scams

In the last few years, the Singapore government has been implementing measures to cool the red-hot property sector down.  As more Singaporeans are finding it hard to invest in the local markets, some have started looking abroad.

Over time, different types of property investment opportunities from all around the world have reached our shores. Some are genuine deals while some are dodgy investments.  Hence, it would be useful to share some of the tools to help discern whether a deal is genuine or a scam.

Tell tale sign 1: The construction figures did not add up.

Developers are after all in the business of making money through the selling of properties, thus one of the first things to look out for is whether the projected numbers add up.

In another news article, it was reported that the developer was planning to sell 900 units at US$90,000 (about S$117,000). There were different units and the smallest unit was about 60sq m (about 646sq ft).  Of the 900 units, 200 were already sold at a special pre-launch price of about US$30,000 (about S$39,000), which meant that a deep discount of about 66% had been given to the group of early buyers.

When it comes to development, one key component is construction cost.  To find out how much it costs to build a residential property in Indonesia, construction cost estimates for 2013Q3 from Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), an internationally renowned quantity-surveying firm, were used (http://rlb.com/publications/rlb-international-report-third-quarter-2013/).

Based on the report, the estimated construction cost for Jakarta was between RP6,161,000 per sq m (about S$62.36psf) and RP9,839,000 (about S$99.62psf). Due to the lack of more precise data for the Batam region, construction cost for Jakarta was used as an indication.  Based on the estimated cost, purely for construction, it would cost between S$40,000 and S$64,000 to build the smallest 60sq m villa.  Hence, at the special price of US$30,000, the developer may not be breaking even.

Compounding to the risk, the number of people who received the special 66% discount was also unclear.  The project could still be viable if the developer gave the special 66% discount to just a handful of close business associates.  However, if he gave it to all 200 buyers, the total amount collected would unlikely be enough to cover the construction cost for the 200 units.

In fact, based on preliminary calculations, if there was no more sales and the developer had to make good on the 200 units, he would be in deficit of between S$2million and S$5million.

Tell tale sign 2: The developer did not appear to have the financial strength

Developments are generally hefty financial undertaking and many developers do it with some form of construction loans from banks.  While developers may not reveal the true financial situation to the retail property buyers, they will have to show their financial reports to banks in order to secure construction loans.  Hence, developers that can secure bank financing at the construction stage tend to be in a good financial position and are more secure.  Conversely, developers who do not have some form of bank financing during the construction stage are not viewed to be as attractive.

The 900 units Batam development falls under the latter category.  That is not to say that “all” projects that do not have bank financing during the construction stage are doomed to fail.  However, for this specific case, the amount needed to build all 900 hundred units is at least S$36million (assuming all 900 units are 60sq m units that cost S$40,000 to construct).  When we did an ACRA check on the Singapore company, we found that the company had only a paid up capital of S$300,000 and the key appointment holders of the company stayed in public flats.

When it comes to overseas property deals, a key aspect that investors should look at is financial recourse – if things go awry, who will be financial responsible to make the investors whole.  Based on HDB’s website, it states that “Under the Housing & Development Act, so long as one of the flat owners of the HDB flat is a Singapore Citizen, the HDB flat (of any type) will not vest in the Official Assignee (“OA”) in the event of bankruptcy of any or all of the flat owners and the flat owners would not be compelled to dispose of their flat.”  This means that investors would have limited recourse should the development fail to materialise, as the directors’ assets could not be sold to repay the debtors.

More troubling is that the amount raised from the presale is about S$7.8million.  It is still significantly less than the S$36million needed for the project, bearing in mind that this is just a low end estimate as things like land cost, developer profits and other miscellaneous charges have not been factored in.  A S$300,000 company is unlikely to have the type of financial muscle to deliver on a S$36million project. And without bank financing, it is hard to fathom how they will be able to deliver on their promise.

Based on the 2 factors highlighted above, the CoAssets team concluded that the deal was too risky and we were not prepared to endorse it.

At this juncture, I must emphasize that not all projects that fail are scams.  Even good developments with solid management behind them have some risks of failing, as real estate development is, by nature, a risky endeavour.

Genuine business failures are realistic plans that go awry due to a sudden change of market conditions.  On the other hand, scams are “fantastic promises” made by those who do not intend to keep them – this means that the plan is unrealistic at the onset.

Conclusion

To conclude, the Indonesian case study cited in this article could be a genuine deal.  The developer could also have the financial muscle to take on a multi-million project and be profitable selling their villa units at S$39,000.  However, it is always more prudent to err on the side of caution.  Even if I am wrong and this turns out to be the next big financial deal, the market is not short of genuine good deals, all we have to do is look and do our due diligence.

This article just provides a brief analysis on two of the more important red flags.  There are many other considerations that have not been listed and a more detailed write-up will be beyond the scope of this blog.  However, if you are currently looking at a deal that seems too good to be true and would like to get a second opinion, you can drop me an email at SecondOpinion@CoAssets.com.  While it is not part of CoAsset’s core business, we hope to add more value to you by highlighting some of the blind spots that you might have missed.

Ultimately, let me end off with this adage, “if it seems too good to be true, it often is”.  This statement is pretty much applicable to everything in life, overseas property scams included.


This weekly insights article is contirbuted by Mr Getty Goh, the co-founder of CoAssets, a spin off company from Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd.  CoAssets is Singapore and South East Asia’s first real estate bulk purchase and crowd funding site.  For any queries, please drop him an email at Enquiries@CoAssets.com.

The HDB story – Many Stories, One Singapore

That’s the tagline for this year’s National Day. And it perhaps does ring true for many Singaporeans, as one could clearly see from the stories, snippets and anecdotes the 10 bloggers participating in iProperty’s blogging contest have to say.

Five-room flats in Bedok's Fengshan GreenVille new BTO flats were oversubscibed by six times.

Five-room flats in Bedok’s Fengshan GreenVille.

Like neat little strips of film negatives, each HDB flat contains stories of childhood, growing up, marriage, birth of a whole new generation and of both good times and bad. Most importantly, every HDB flat, no matter how small or big, tells of the Singapore story. The HDB story.

Some grew up with the HDB scheme, having been born just as Singapore too grew into its own. They shared the kampong spirit which many who lived in the early HDB flats spoke of, and which blogger, Smith, too experienced in his Chai Chee neighbourhood. Playing with the neighbour’s kids was a daily affair and many would have shared the same sort of afternoons which you wished could have lasted longer. Chesabell recalls spending her primary school days in a 3-room HDB flat with her parents, sister, great-grandmother, aunt, uncle and maid. It may be amazing how so many people could have lived in a seemingly small space. But precisely because of space, relationships grew strong and lasted longer.

HDB Flats THinkStockOr maybe like Phan Kiah Gek, who would not have wished to move away from her 4-room HDB flat even if she could, simply because of the memories it held, you may have made friends at block parties and bought ice pops on a sweltering day for just a penny. And as Singapore continues to grow, and as the government promises to provide affordable housing for Singaporeans, young couples are looking forward to spending their future and building a forever home in their new HDB flats.

What dreams do they have? Of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right perhaps? To blogger, Maybeline Sim, the HDB flat represents a beginning ofr a new life ahead. Of finding the right spot for their first home, HDB flat or not. Of designing and making a cosy nest to call their own just like Mitsueki and Joey Ong. A nest where young uns will one day run free and happy, and like the old days, make friends with neighbours, old and new. Blogger, Andy Lee has already been doing that in Sengkang, with his wife and four children.

The resale market for HDB flats seem to have taken a dive due to the bumper crop of BTO flats. Photo courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.

Photo courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.

What of those who choose to live alone then? Now that new 2-room HDB flats are made available to singles above 35-years, some like blogger, Soh Hong Wei, may be looking forward to having his own plants in the corridor and watching them grow. It could very well be a way to carry on the HDB dream, where home ownership for every Singaporean is one of the noble aims of the government. And as Meryl Loh observes, the convenience of traveling around Singapore is made all the easier with covered walkways and bus-stops close by.

And no one can refute the uniqueness of the HDB void deck. It might just be one of the things which foreigners find amazing about Singapore’s public housing design, muses blogger, Sakura of NinjaGirls.com. A common area where weddings, funerals, soccer games, chess games and overnight chat sessions take place. And of course the ubiquitous hanging of the Singapore flag during the National Day period adds a touch of patriotism to the HDB estates.

As new HDB flats come up and old ones are resold, the constant that remains are the stories that each family has to tell. Follow these 10 bloggers as they tell it as it is, as they share their life stories, and their hopes and dreams for the future.