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Richest London Areas See First Home Price Dip Since 2010

- November 30, 2014 No Comments

Home prices in London’s wealthiest neighborhoods fell on a monthly basis for the first time in four years as uncertainty over property taxes and national elections next year deterred buyers.

Values in the 13 neighborhoods including Chelsea and Mayfair that Knight Frank LLP defines as prime central London declined 0.2% in November from October, the first drop since October 2010, the broker said in a report today.


London’s luxury-home market is running out of steam after outperforming the rest of the U.K. since 2009. The opposition Labour Party plans to raise 1.2 billion pounds from an annual tax on homes valued at more than 2 million pounds if it wins the election next year.
Labour and Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party were tied with 31% support in a YouGov/Sun poll published Nov. 28.

“It is difficult to rank individual reasons for the decline in order of importance, but anecdotally they appear to include the looming U.K. general election, the proposals for a mansion tax and the impact of capital gains tax reform for non-residents,” Tom Bill, head of London residential research at Knight Frank, said in the statement.

Annual price growth in the prime areas has slowed to 6.1% in November from a high this year of 8.1% in June, Knight Frank reported. The average gain for the U.K. was 8.5%, Nationwide Building Society said yesterday.

Buyers from Asia and the Middle East and Russia, who helped drive price growth in the central London market, are now facing a rising U.K. pound as well as series of levies imposed by Cameron’s government. The pound has strengthened 3.8% this year, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes, which track 10 developed-nation currencies.

Source: Bloomberg

Property investment in Berlin?

- November 29, 2014 No Comments

The wife and I thought we share a report from IP Global on the property investment prospects in Berlin (Germany), which may make for some good reading.














October resale prices up slightly: SRPI

- November 28, 2014 No Comments
Resale prices of private homes rose slightly last month, according to Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) flash estimates, which were released on Friday (Nov 28).

The SRPI, compiled by the National University of Singapore's Institute of Real Estate Studies, showed overall prices increased 0.3% in October from the previous month. In September, prices fell 0.7% from a month earlier.

Prices of homes in the central region, excluding small units, led the rise with a 0.6% increase. Prices of homes in the non-central region, excluding small units, were up 0.1% in October from September.

Prices of small units, which have a floor area of 506sqf or below, rose 0.3% on-month.
Source: CNA


The SRPI report surfaced at quite the perfect time, given MAS' claims (as reported in the newspapers today) that the private home market is still not "cool" enough...


Singaporeans cooling to both local and overseas properties!

- November 27, 2014 No Comments

A weakening economy at home and the prospect of higher interest rates on the horizon seem to have cooled Singaporean investors' fervour for foreign homes.

Singaporeans bought about $1.1 billion worth of overseas properties in the first half of this year, down from over $1.6 billion in the same period last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Thursday.

In the whole of last year, locals snapped up $3 billion worth of overseas homes, up from $1.9 billion in 2012.

"Nonetheless, real estate agencies in Singapore have seen increased interest in overseas property purchases, from across a broader spectrum of Singapore buyers," the MAS said in its latest Financial Stability Review.

Properties in Great Britain, Malaysia and Australia accounted for 91% of total transactions by value in the first six months of this year and 76% by number, the MAS revealed.

Singaporeans also bought properties in Japan, the Philippines and Thailand.

The data is based on an MAS survey that collected figures on overseas properties transacted by real estate agencies in Singapore.

Local banks' exposure to foreign property loans remained low, the MAS added, comprising less than 2% of their total housing loan books.

"The lower price quantum of properties in some markets might have made them more attractive to lower- and middle-income households," the MAS said, adding that Singaporeans should be mindful of additional risks associated with overseas property purchases.

Meanwhile, property cooling measures at home have tempered the growth of outstanding housing loans here, the MAS noted.

At its peak, property loans grew 23% in August 2010 from the same month the year before. But in September this year, property loans grew just 6% from a year ago.

The volume of new housing loans, which generally tracks housing transactions, contracted from $11.4 billion in the second quarter of last year to $6.7 billion in the third quarter of this year, the MAS added.

Singaporeans are also more prudent when taking out loans. The share of new private housing loans with loan-to-value ratios above 70% declined from 77% in the second quarter of 2010 to an average of 65% now.

The average tenure of new private housing loans has also declined, from 30 years in 2012 to 25 years in the third quarter of this year.

Borrowers taking multiple loans accounted for 15% of all new housing loans as of the third quarter, down from 30% in 2011.

"The banking system remains sound and is resilient to risks arising from the property market," the MAS said. "There is a healthy buffer against property price reductions with the average outstanding housing loan-to-value ratio in the banking system just under 50%. The banking system's housing non-performing loans (NPL) ratio - loans that are more than 90 days past due - remained very low."

A slight uptick in their NPL ratio from 0.28% to 0.36% between the first and third quarters of 2014 was attributed to "a handful" of defaults for high-end housing projects, the MAS said.


The proportion of housing loan holders in arrears - holders of loans that are more than 30 days past due - was less than 1% as of the third quarter.  
Source: ST 




Cluttered home major source of stress for Singaporeans!

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A cluttered home is a major source of stress for homeowners in Singapore, a survey has found.

The survey, conducted by self-storage company Extra Space, found that 88% of people in Singapore are bothered by clutter at home, with 45% of them feeling stressed about it. A total of 68% admitted to spending up to a day regularly looking for misplaced items.

More than half of the respondents (56%) described their living space as cramped, even though 69% said they store items at home that are of limited or no use, such as broken or outdated electrical items, and clothing that is out of fashion or too small. A staggering 74% admitted to having a “junk room” to store items that have not been used in months or even years.

Old photos, gifts, memorabilia and keepsakes are the most popular items stored at home (63%), while 79% of those aged over 40 admitted to holding onto old school assignments. Men aged 55 to 65 find it hardest to let go of their belongings including sporting equipment, photos and broken or old electronics such as TVs, computers and speaker systems.

Two-thirds (64%) admitted they have never attempted to declutter their homes, citing reasons such as having an emotional connection with their items or not knowing where to store them after. This, despite 85% of respondents saying that their clutter affects family members.

The survey, commissioned in October, polled more than 1,000 people in Singapore aged between 25 and 65 years old.
Source: CNA

The wife and I are pretty anal about keeping our home clutter-free. And we typically throw or give away tons of stuff with every house move. But the items that we find hardest to let go are mobile phones and laptops - we have little/no use for the old ones once we upgrade to newer models but somehow we are uncomfortable to give, sell or dispose of our old phones/laptops. So we end up having quite a few of these lying around the house.

So do you live in a cluttered home and 
what do you find the hardest to let go of?




Even developers are jittery about vacancy rates...

- November 26, 2014 No Comments

The real estate industry has urged the Government to be prepared to take "supportive measures" to prevent a tipping point, if the property market turns volatile and worsens further.

Speaking at the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore's (REDAS) 55th anniversary dinner on Wednesday evening (Nov 26), the association's president Mr. Chia Boon Kuah added that the looming supply of 68,000 completed new residential units in the next few years is likely to cause home vacancy rates to head towards 10%.

Official figures have put the private home vacancy rate at 7.1% in the third quarter of this year.

"Developers are concerned. Genuine home buyers from the Singapore market have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. The situation poses significant challenges to the property sector, and there could be wider impact. It is in no one's interests to witness unintended outcomes," Mr. Chia said.

Mr. Chia also noted that private home prices have declined in the last four consecutive quarters, while transaction volume has also dropped from 18,000 in 2013 to less than 9,000 expected this year. 

Source: CNA





Enbloc news: Derby Court

- November 25, 2014 No Comments

Derby Court, a 35-year-old, 12-storey freehold development comprising 20 apartments, has launched a collective sale with an indicative price of $68.28 million. This translates to $1,286psf ppr, based on an allowable gross floor area of 53,094sqft.

The land rate would be lowered to about $1,169psf ppr, including the 10% bonus gross floor area allowed for balconies.

The 18,500sqft site at 5 Derbyshire Road, which is off Thomson Road and near United Square shopping mall, can potentially accommodate up to 70 apartments averaging 753sqft; the breakeven cost will exceed $1,700psf, said Savills Singapore, which is handling the sale.

No development charge needs to be paid because of the high development baseline which reflects a plot ratio of 2.869. The site is zoned "residential" wih a plot ratio of 2.8 under the 2014 Master Plan.

The tender will close at 3pm on Jan 20, 2015.

The site is near Novena MRT station, Orchard Road and the central business district; it is also within 1-km of popular schools such as St. Joseph's Institution (Junior) and Anglo Chinese School (Junior).

Derby Court's en bloc attempt follows that of Fragrance Court, put up for tender at a reserve price of $70 million (about $1,235psf ppr) last month. The tender, which closed last Wednesday, received "no proper bids" but a few expressions of interest had come in.
Source: BT


On a separate subject, the wife and I have been facing some problem accessing the streetdirectory.com website recently. Whatever search we make ends up "blank" on the map (see screen capture below). 

We wonder if any of our readers have experienced the same issue and more importantly, how to go about fixing this?






TDSR - the verdict

- November 24, 2014 No Comments

We put out a poll last Saturday on whether the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) is losing its effectiveness.

After running this most of the past 2 days, about 60% of the respondents felt otherwise.

The wife and I stand on the side of the majority. What was seen over the past one year since the implementation of TDSR is still pretty much the "knee jerk" reaction to the policy. However, this has already proven to be the most effective of all the cooling measures.

TDSR has tightened the noose on the amount of credit available to prospective buyers, resulting in a substantial reduction in transacted volume. The drop in demand has correspondingly led to a fall in property prices.

While it is true that TDSR has primarily hit buying abilities thus far with prices falling due to reduced demand, the wife and I do not concur with the opinion that prices have started to plateau. Even if it does look the case at the moment, the acid test is really in 2015, when an estimated 49,000 new homes will enter the market. This is on top of the 50,000 expected new completions this year. The new homes number is estimated to increase further to 70,000 for 2016.

As the deluge of new units come onstream next year, it will result in increasing pressures not just on sales but also on the rental front. The wife and I believe that this is when the full effect of the TDSR will bear its teeth:

1. Investors whose units are completed in 2015 and initially expect to service their monthly mortgage with rental incomes may be forced to dispose of their apartments (even at a loss) as they are unable to find tenants

2. Competition intensify in the resale market for newly completed apartments due to the larger propensity to sell, while demand continued to be curtailed by TDSR.

3. Resale on older apartments will also suffer due to much stiffer competition for buyers.

Stating a combination of ongoing government curbs, looming oversupply and rising interest/mortgage rates in 2H2015, Barclay's has predicted that private home prices will plunge by 20% in 2015, while vacancy rate will continue to rise to hit a record high of 10% in 2016.

Although the Barclay's prediction may seem a tad severe at this juncture, to discount it totally will be at one's own peril.

As such, the wife and I feel that TDSR should be allowed to run its course for at least another year. But any further attempt to implement more cooling measures or worse, add more supply may cause the property market to collapse rather than correct. 

Then again, we are no experts and above are merely our humble opinions as always...




TDSR losing steam..?

- November 22, 2014 1 Comment

Mr. Sam Baker - the co-founder of SRX - has said that the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), while being the most effective of the cooling measures so far, is running out of steam. And the only way to make private home market prices fall further may be to increase supply.



Do you agree that the TDSR is losing its effectiveness?

web surveys


And for those who missed the article in yesterday's TODAY, below is the link:
http://www.todayonline.com/business/property/tdsr-running-out-steam

Article on HK home property prices - sounds familiar?

- November 21, 2014 No Comments
The article below first appeared in the New York Times (NYT) this week and was picked up by our Business Times yesterday:


HK home property prices continue to defy gravity
There are breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour from a 23rd-floor apartment that recently sold for US$722,000 in the new Le Riviera building. The high-end German appliances and marble countertops evoke European luxury. In the entrance of the building, colorful wire mesh sculptures by Spanish artists hang in the ceiling.


There is just one catch. The apartment is only 275sqft, with a bedroom just large enough to accommodate a double bed.

"If we don't buy now, we might not be able to afford it later," said Frank Wu, 60, the new owner of this so-called microflat in Shau Kei Wan, a former fishing village on the north-eastern edge of Hong Kong Island.

Real estate in Hong Kong defies logic. The city is one of the most expensive places in the world to live and it has smashed one real estate record after another for years. As property costs continue to soar, even once improbable living spaces are now getting snapped up at astronomical prices.

At Le Riviera, three-quarters of the units sold so far have been microflats like the one Mr Wu purchased. And Hong Kong developers are putting smaller and smaller units on the market - one recently built 165sqft apartments.


For many young adults who live packed and stacked in with their parents, it is becoming harder to imagine having a place to call their own. Rents have skyrocketed. And some here now worry that the real estate market could stumble, particularly if the US Federal Reserves starts to raise interest rates next year. Lending in Hong Kong is tied to the American rates.

From a low point of Hong Kong's property market in 2003, average house prices have increased by more than 300%, according to data from the Centa-City Index, which is compiled by the real estate agency Centaline and the City University of Hong Kong.

Helping to propel this rise has been Hong Kong's thriving economy, which significantly expanded over the last 10 years after the rapid growth of China. Strong demand from wealthy mainland Chinese and limited land supply have also helped to prop up prices, although this effect has slowed since the government put into effect a series of cooling measures, like additional taxes paid on property purchases.

First-time buyers now dominate the market, spurred on by the ultra-cheap interest rates, which is currently below 2%.

But the frenzy in Hong Kong's property market may soon fade. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar, so the interest rate policies are linked. When rates go up, those who have borrowed money to finance new homes will feel the effects as their mortgage payment rise. This concern is more pronounced in Hong Kong, where mortgages are not set at a fixed rate.

"They are making themselves slaves to the property market," said Nicole Wong,  property analyst at CLSA.

Many Hong Kong residents still remember the last property bust, which was set off by the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. As Hong Kong's economy took a hit, unemployment rose and deflation set in, chilling prices. The outbreak of Sars in the late 2002 exacerbated the descent in prices by mid-2003, property prices had hit rock bottom.

But developers seem undeterred for now. They continue to build new properties, increasingly with incentives like tax waivers, which can amount to as much as a 10% discount. Microapartments are a small part of the offerings, but they are growing, with a handful of developers jumping in. This is partly because the overall price tag looks cheaper than bigger units - especially father afield from Hong Kong island - making them more affordable to a wider swath of buyers.

Even by Hong Kong standards, the latest apartments offered by Li Ka-Shing, are remarkably small. At Mont Vert, developed by Mr Li's company Cheung Kong Properties, some units range from 165sqft to 196sqft.

Propspective buyers interested in a recent batch of similar units were not even able to see them before they agreed to buy, a common occurrence in Hong Kong.

Mr Wu, who acknowledged the risks of buying the Le Riviera flat when prices were so high, does not seem too concerned. He said that he and his wife could always move in.

Surveying the empty bedroom, he added, "It's all right for me."
Source: NYT


Although the situation in Singapore is not quite as severe as that of Hong Kong, the wife and I can certainly draw quite a few parallels between both markets - the lure of low mortgage rates, the risks of over-commitment once interest rate rises and the fact that developers are pushing out smaller and smaller apartment units to provide the illusion of "affordability" despite charging sky-high psf.

One may argue that measures are already in place to ensure that prospective home buyers in Singapore cannot over-commit themselves financially. However, if they (especially the new or "inexperienced" buyers) stretch themselves too thin, an adverse change in circumstances - whether be it worldwide/regional economic conditions or a simple case of rising interest rates - may just nudge them over the tipping point...







1-day workshop for those looking to buy their first private property...

- November 20, 2014 No Comments

The good folks from Property Club Singapore will be holding a 1-day workshop on "Buying My First Private Property".  This will be held on 24 January 2015 at the National Library.



The workshop aims to provide practical tips and strategies especially for those looking to purchase their first private property.

You can find out more about the event by clicking on the link below




Our "2 cents" on newspaper articles we came across today...

- November 19, 2014 No Comments

After being starved of our national newspapers for the past few days, the wife and I came across a couple of articles this morning that we like to give our





1. HDB as master land developer and price regulator?

This was apparently suggested by Mr. Ho Kwon Ping (aka Executive Chairman of Bayan Tree Holdings and the better half of ex-NMP Claire Chang). And Mr. Alan Ng had written to the Straits Times Forum explaining why this is not the way forward.

The wife and I did not manage to read the full context of Mr. Ho's speech. So basing it purely on face value, we wonder why Mr. Ho felt that HDB can actually do a better job than what the market is able to do now. This is especially given the less than stellar track record of HDB in "timing the market" when comes to building of public flats.

While we firmly believed that pricing for public flats should be regulated simply because of the fact that it is built with taxpayers' money and subsidized (we know some may disagree on this point), we also maintained that private home market should largely be left to free market forces albeit certain "guided policies" set by the Government - we already have much of these (at current juncture, probably a tad too much) in place what's with the ABSD, SSD and more effectively, the TDSR.

Any attempt for a government stat board to regulate prices in the private home market is likely to lead to more inefficiencies and ...in our humble opinion as always... a futile exercise.


2. Let retirees buy resale HDB flats/EC but keep private property for rental income

Mr. Richard Sim wrote to Voices (i.e. the Forum page in TODAY) to ask that retirees be allowed to keep their private property for rental income when they decide to downgrade to live in a HDB flat. He mentioned that there are already families who own HDB flats and allowed to purchase private properties because they have fulfilled the 5 years Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). They can then rent out their HDB flats after they have moved into their private properties. However, retirees who want to buy a HDB flat (resale) or a small EC to live in during their retirement years are not allowed to do so unless they sell off their private property first. So Mr. Sim questioned the apparent differential treatment between the 2 groups.

The wife and I must admit that we are not as well-informed on the existing HDB ruling when comes to families who rent out their HDB flats after 5 years as they buy and move to private properties. However, we are aware of people around us who have done so. Again going by the notion that HDB flats are taxpayer-subsidised housing, we cannot understand why HDB will allow families to hold on to and rent out their flats after they have moved into private properties. Some will say that the MOP is already a penalty in itself, but we view this as a "condition" of eligibility for owning and continue to reside in a public (subsidised) housing. So when a family decides to upgrade and move into a private property, they lose their eligibility to own their HDB flat (by virtue of the fact that they are not staying in it anymore). Thus they should either be made to sell their flat in the open market or failing which after a mandated period of time (e.g. 6 months after they moved into their private property), be made to sell this back to HDB at a predetermined price.

Similarly for the case of those who have reached retirement age (is this still 65?) and wish to "downgrade", they should be allowed to buy a resale HDB flat or EC and be given a mandated period (e.g. 6 months after taking ownership) to move into the public housing. They can then rent out their private properties or sell them in the open market.

The wife and I reckon that this will be a more equitable approach to the whole issue at hand (and less of a double standard).


3. It now takes 6 months to sell a condo, 3 to offload a flat!

The Straits Times today have reported that private condominium sellers are taking nearly 6 months to secure a sale, the longest wait in over two years. This is a far cry from less than 3 months a year back.

Sellers of HDB flats are also taking longer to find buyers - with a three-month wait on average. This is up from about 60 days last year.

Property consultants say that these long waits reflect weakened demand and upcoming increases in total residential stock will put further pressure on sellers.

The wife and I can only say "we told you so"! We have mentioned in several of our previous blog-posts (and have gotten some flak for it) that the current falling market may not be the "blessing" that many prospective buyers have deemed it to be. It is well and good if one is sitting on a shit-load of money and waiting to enter the market. But for "upgraders" who needs to sell their existing homes in order to garner enough financial muscles to upgrade, they may not necessarily find it any easier to do so in the current market. 

And looks like things can get a lot worse as we move into 2015...


We must reiterate that the above are merely our humble opinions as always and we are certainly prepared to "agree to disagree".

So what do you think?





Attention all agents and marketers!

- November 17, 2014 No Comments

The wife and I have re-jigged the sections within our Discussion Forum.

We now have 2 separate sections for Local and Foreign property listings.

As such, we will appreciate your continual assistance by posting in the correction section.

All "wrongly posted" listings will be deleted.



Thank you!

Amber Skye: Photo review of the 2-Bedroom Loft

- No Comments

After wandering around Shinjuku for the past 4 days, with side-trips to Takao-san, Harajuku and the happiest place on Earth (according to our 10yo son) - Disneyland, the family and I are about ready to head home.

And until we do, here is the second part of our review for Amber Skye...sorta.


Below are the photos we took of the 2-bedroom Loft.


In case you are wondering about the way-too-generous amount of space in the living/dining area, the common bedroom wall was removed to make way for the additional space. The white arrows indicate where the original bedroom is at. 



   

The utility room is fully enclosed (no windows) and there is no yard area for this unit type. So you are dependent on the dryer or alternatively, airing your laundry (hopefully, clean) in the balcony.

   

The kitchen (or rather, Kitchenette) is not too conductive for any form of serious cooking.


The master bedroom is huge. And so is the master bathroom!

   

The wife and I reckon that the 2-bedroom loft is most ideal for DINKs that do not cook very much at home. 


Unique building in Tokyo!

- November 15, 2014 No Comments

The family and I are currently spending a couple of days in Tokyo.

While going about our "touristsy" business around the Shinjuku area today, we came across this rather unique-shaped building that we thought warrant a mention.

  

We later realized that the building is actually a teaching hospital. Talk about perfect synergy of modern architecture with modern science!

 








Singapore private residential market report for 3Q 2014: Colliers

- November 14, 2014 No Comments

The wife and I came across the report below while surfing the net just now. The timing may be off by a few weeks but it does provide a good summary of the market (according to Colliers Singapore) for 3Q 2014.

Happy reading and have a great weekend!

Colliers Singapore Private Residential Maket Report - 3Q2014



Amber Skye (Review)

- November 13, 2014 1 Comment

The wife and I decided to "Go East" (again) last week to pay a visit to Amber Skye - a freehold development located at the junction of Tanjong Katong South Road and Amber Road. The project is jointly developed by China Sonangol Land and OKP Land. For those of you who find China Sonangol familiar, they are also the developer for TwentyOne Angullia Park in the Orchard area.


The sales gallery for Amber Skye, however, is located off-site at Tanjong Rhu Road - just after the Singapore Swimming Club if you are coming from Fort Road.


Sitting on a smallish plot of less than 41,000sqft, Amber Skye consists of a 22-storey tower with a total of 109 units. The luxury project offers a selection of unit types ranging from 1-bedders of around 500+ - 600+sqft to 6-bedroom "Grand Villas", which are 3-level apartments of more than 5,000sqft located on the ground floor.



Facilities-wise, there is nothing very much to shout about at Amber Skye. This is probably because of its small plot size, which limits the number of offerings. The usual "bells and whistles" (gym, lap pool, dining pavilion) are available but for a luxury project, one will probably expect more. Or maybe those who can afford such apartment will have no lack of club membership, so much so that there is no need for extensive facilities where they live?



Parking wise, there are 112 lots - so it's one-lot-per-unit, except for the 3 Villas that get 2 private lots each.

The expected TOP of Amber Skye is 2017.

Two apartment types (2-bedder loft and 3-bedder) were on display at the sales gallery and we will review the 3-bedder as usual. This is the 1,335sqft Type C1 unit.


The unit screams of luxury from the moment you exit from the private lift (all apartments are served by private lifts) into the private foyer of the apartment. As you walk past the foyer, you arrive into the living/dining area. 


The living area is rather good-sized but what we liked most is that there is proper segregation between the living and dining area - the later is tucked neatly into a separate space just in front of the kitchen entrance. However, the dining area space is a tad small and will probably be a tad squeezed even with a 6-seater dining table. Other than that, there is little to compliant about given that it comes with very fine-quality marble flooring, rather high ceiling (apologies but we forgot to ask exactly how high) and ducted air-con that are typically found in high-end apartments. The balcony extend out from the living room and the curved-shaped space encompasses one of the common bedroom as well.

    

The kitchen is separated from the dining area by a set of sliding doors, which is an excellent space-saving idea compared to a swing-door. it is a spacious rectangular space that comes with beautiful floor tiles, ample high-quality cabinets and kitchen appliances are from Smeg.

The yard and utility room are located at the end of the kitchen. The utility is a narrow strip of space that will probably require some customizing to fit a proper bed if you intend to house your helper here. But it does come with the largest set of windows that we have came across so far in any utility room so ventilation concern in here.

    

The yard area is adequate for performing your normal laundry chores. The rubbish chute is located here, which is a fair distance from the kitchen area - something that OCD folks like ourselves will appreciate.

One unique feature within the apartment is the provision of a "power room", which is useful when you have guests around the house. And the quality of furnishing and fittings provided - from the marble floor/walls right down to the Bravat standing wash-basin and toilet fittings - raise the level of classiness by a few notches.


The other unique feature, again related to bathroom, is the fact that both common bedrooms share the same bathroom. This provide a pseudo "en suite" feature to these bedrooms, which the wife and I find especially appealing. Having said that, you have to constantly remind yourself to lock BOTH doors within the bathroom to avoid the embarrassment of having someone walking into you while you are taking a shower (or a dump, for that matter).


The two common bedrooms are very good-sized by current standards - you can fit a Queen bed easily and still have quite a bit of space around the rooms. All bedrooms come with a dark-coloured timber flooring, which is a pleasant departure from the usual light- or orangey-brown coloured ones that you typically find in other projects.

   

The master bedroom is rather huge - we're talking about a King bed plus a cabinet or TV console in front of the bed and still there's plenty of space around the room. You find another smaller balcony outside of your bedroom, which in our opinion is not very practical. The master bedroom also comes with a walk-in wardrobe lodged between the bedroom and the attached bathroom. This provides you with a tad more than the usual 2-panel wardrobe space that you find in new developments these days.

 

The master bathroom is again the epitome of luxury - one that you typically find in 5-stars hotels - but minus the long bath, which the wife and I have no issue with. You get two sets of "His" and "Her" wash-basins, 2-toned marble floors and walls and a shower stall with large overhead shower.

 

Now to talk price: The wife and I had stated from the onset that Amber Skye is a luxury project. As such, you can expect a "luxury" price to go along with the high-end quality of the apartment.

A unit of the Type C1 (3-bedder) on the 6th floor is currently priced at $2.593 million. This translates to around $1,942psf. A similar-sized unit on the 9th floor will set you back some $2.77 million.


What we like:

1. Situation at the supposed primest area within District 15, you cannot go too wrong with Amber Skye if you subscribe to the notion of "location, location, location" when comes to home purchase. And as an added bonus, the development is also within walking distance to the future Amber MRT station.

2. The spacious and efficient layout within the apartment, coupled with the high-end furnishing and fittings, will probably give you lots of incentives to stay home.

3. The wife and I especially liked the concept of "powder room" and the "shared bathroom between the 2 common bedrooms" found in the 3-bedder unit.

What we do not quite like:

1. The plot in which Amber Skye stands is mostly blocked by other high-rise apartments (King's Mansion and Amber Point, just to name two). Even the marketing agent acknowledged that the "correct facing" units only get "pocket" sea or city views. So we reckon there is little point in going "high' when comes to unit selection and paying the premium but not getting any substantial view.

2. For a high-end project like Amber Skye, we are quite disappointed with the facility offering. Even the so-called lap pool is a tad shorter than 50m!

3. While the idea of private lift may seem appealing, the private foyer does eat into the total space of the apartment that you pay for. And from our prior experience with private lift/foyer, the combination of lack of ventilation and worn shoes can make for some rather "unique" smell within this area.

4. Prospective buyers with primary-school going children in 2017 or beyond may not be too excited about the fact that we can only identify one school that is likely to be within 1-km of Amber Skye - Tanjong Katong Primary. Consolation is that the school is at least co-ed.


Our parting shot

While the wife and I are definitely impressed with the space and quality seen within the apartment, we are not so when comes to the actual site (too much blockage) and facilities of Amber Skye. But as we have mentioned previously, maybe the richer folks who buy into such project are not really big on the facilities being offered within its grounds.

And speaking of rich, Amber Skye is definitely one project that is way too rich for our veins...unless we hit the Toto jackpot tonight. And with the existing restrictions placed on property purchase, one can understand why the project has been a hard-sell thus far...