Thursday, January 24, 2013

Singapore Property Measures - 12 January 2013


Posted this for my reference... Does it really put off those rich people?  I don't think so...

A) Cooling Measures for the Residential Property Market

The following measures will take effect on 12 January 2013:
1. Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates will be:
  • Raised between five and seven percentage points across the board.
  • Imposed on Permanent Residents (PRs) purchasing their first residential property and on Singaporeans purchasing their second residential property.
CitizenshipABSD Rate on
1st Purchase
ABSD Rate on
2nd Purchase
ABSD Rate on
3rd & Subsequent
Purchase
Singapore
Citizens
Existing: NA
Revised: NA
Existing: NA
Revised: 7%
Existing: 3%
Revised: 10%
Permanent
Residents
Existing: NA
Revised: 5%
Existing: 3%
Revised: 10%
Existing: 3%
Revised: 10%
Foreigners and nonindividuals
(corporate entities)
Existing: 10%
Revised: 15%
Existing: 10%
Revised: 15%
Existing: 10%
Revised: 15%

2. Loan-to-Value limits on housing loans granted by financial institutions will be tightened for individuals who already have at least one outstanding loan, as well as to non-individuals such as companies. 

3. Besides tighter Loan-to-Value limits, the minimum cash down payment for individuals applying for a second or subsequent housing loan will also be raised from 10% to 25%. 

1st Housing Loan2nd Housing LoanFrom 3rd Housing
Loan
LTV LimitExisting Rules
80%; or 60% if the
loan tenure is more
than 30 years or
extends past age 65

Revised Rules
No change
Existing Rules
60%; or 40% if the
loan tenure is more
than 30 years or
extends past age 65

Revised Rules
50%; or 30% if the
loan tenure is more
than 30 years or
extends past age 65
Existing Rules
60%; or 40% if the
loan tenure is more
than 30 years or
extends past age 65

Revised Rules
40%; or 20% if the
loan tenure is more
than 30 years or
extends past age 65
Minimum
Cash
Down
Payment
Existing Rules
5% (for LTV of 80%)
10% (for LTV of 60%)

Revised Rules
No change
Existing Rules
10%


Revised Rules
25%
Existing Rules
10%


Revised Rules
25%
Non-
Individual
Borrowers
Existing LTV Limit
40%

Revised LTV Limit
20%

B) Cooling Measures Specific to Public Housing

1. Tighter eligibility for loans to buy HDB flats:
  • MAS will cap the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) for housing loans granted by financial institutions at 30% of a borrower's gross monthly income.
  • For loans granted by HDB, the cap on the MSR will be lowered from 40% to 35%.
2. PRs who own a HDB flat will be disallowed from subletting their whole flat. 

3. PRs who own a HDB flat must sell their flat within six months of purchasing a private residential property in Singapore.

4. An additional measure will take effect on 1 July 2013 to tighten the terms for granting HDB loans and the use of CPF funds for the purchase of HDB flats with remaining leases of less than 60 years. 

Remaining
Lease
of HDB Flat
Use of CPF fundsHDB Housing Loan
> 60 yearsAllowed based on current
policy, i.e. status quo.
Allowed based on current
policy, i.e. status quo.
30 to 59 yearsAllowed, except for buyers
for whom the remaining
lease cannot cover them to
the age of at least 80.

The total CPF usage by the
household will be the prorated
Valuation Limit (VL)
based on the ratio of the
remaining lease when the
youngest buyer who can
use CPF turns 55 years old,
to the lease at point of
purchase.
Allowed, if remaining lease
can cover the buyer* to the
age of at least 80.

Loan tenure will be the
shortest of: 30 years; 65 years
minus average age of buyers;
and balance lease at the point
of purchase minus 20 years.
20- 29 yearsNot allowed.Allowed, if remaining lease
can cover the buyer* up to the
age of at least 80.

Loan tenure will be the
shortest of: 30 years; 65
minus average age of buyers;
and balance lease at the point
of purchase minus 20 years.
< 20 yearsNot allowed.No HDB housing loan.

C) Cooling Measures for Executive Condominium Developments

The following SSD rates will be imposed on industrial properties and land bought and sold within three years of the date of purchase: 

a) The maximum strata floor area of new EC units will be capped at 160 square metres. 

b) Sales of new dual-key EC units will be restricted to multi-generational families only. 

c) Developers of future EC sale sites from the Government Land Sales programme will only be allowed to launch units for sale 15 months from the date of award of the sites or after the physical completion of foundation works, whichever is earlier. 

d) Private enclosed spaces and private roof terraces will be treated as gross floor area (GFA). The GFA of such spaces in non-landed residential developments, including ECs, will be counted as part of the 'bonus' GFA of a residential development and subject to payment of charges. This is in line with the treatment of balconies under URA's current guidelines. 

D) Cooling Measure for the Industrial Property Market: Seller's Stamp Duty

The following SSD rates will be imposed on industrial properties and land bought and sold within three years of the date of purchase: 

a) SSD at 15% if the property is sold in the first year of purchase, i.e. the property is held for one year or less from the date of purchase 

b) SSD at 10% if the property is sold in the second year of purchase, i.e. the property is held for more than one year and up to two years from the date of purchase. 

c) SSD at 5% if the property is sold in the third year of purchase, i.e. the property is held for more than two years and up to three years from the date of purchase. 

Sources : Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

Monday, January 21, 2013

CST-01: The World's Thinnest Watch




A 0.80mm thin flexible wristwatch with an E Ink display housed in a single piece of stainless steel.



In a Category of Its Own

The CST-01 is assembled by laminating thin, flexible components into a 0.5mm pocket etched into a single piece of flexible stainless steel.  In order to make the watch as thin and minimal as possible, there are no buttons or knobs on the watch itself.  Charging and setting the time is done on the included base station, and for those outside the US who prefer a 24 hour time format, this is also user selectable from the base station.



The CST-01 weighs less than 5 pennies at 12 grams.  Because of the comfort, weight and thinness, if we didn't want to keep looking at it, we would forget we were wearing it.
Everything about the design and engineering was thoroughly considered for its functional and aesthetic benefits. The CST-01 is the most minimal expression of a timepiece, It’s ‘time’ embedded in a band.

Components




E Ink Screen
The concept of the watch was inspired by the qualities of E Ink segmented displays; ultra thinness, readability, ruggedness, flexibility, and low power. We developed our own segmented font designed for E Ink screens to make the numbers look great.
Powered by a Thinergy "Micro-Energy Cell"
The micro energy cell (MEC) that powers the watch is incredible in its own right.  It can be recharged 10,000 times and lasts over 15 years.  The watch can charge  in 10 minutes and we expect the watch to be able to function for a month between charges. The MEC contains no toxic chemicals or heavy metals providing safety while being eco-friendly.
Driven by a Seiko Epson Microcontroller
The Seiko Epson System on a Chip (SoC) allows us to do everything we need to in a tiny package and sips power in order for us to achieve our desired battery life.

Assembled in the USA

Keeping true to the locality of the Central Standard brand, all watches are planned to be assembled in the USA.

What's Ahead of Us

What we are showing here are "Design Validation Units" (DVUs) that use real production methods and techniques. These are a result of a number of rounds of prototypes before them.  Based on everything we have learned from these DVUs, we will be revising our designs to simplify manufacturing and increase the robustness of the manufactured version.  
We'll be working on small modifications to everything from the stainless steel band, selection and refinement of adhesives, adjustments to the display module, refinement to the top mask in color and material choice and simplification of flexible circuits.  The revisions we plan on doing will tackle key issues like making the product as waterproof as possible, optimizing scratch resistance, and ensuring that every product that comes off the line stands up to a high standard of quality.  The charger will be revised to move from a 3d printed process to injection molded parts.  This is something we have years of experience doing for a number of products that have come to market.
We are in discussions with several potential assembly partners, but we need to have final numbers for our initial manufacturing run before those talks can continue.  We were originally interested in using Fulfillment by Amazon. After talking at CES with other Kickstarter veterans, they mentioned thatshipwire.com was an interesting route for fulfillment as well. We will look into a number of fulfillment services to determine the best one for our needs.

Photo Gallery















CST-01 charging station

For FAQs, visit
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1655017763/cst-01-the-worlds-thinnest-watch

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Good Post on REIT Investment

A useful reference for all those interested in REIT investment that I read from 'A Singaporean Stock Investor'


Five steps to take in REIT investment.

Monday, January 7, 2013
This evening, I had a short exchange with a good friend who has put his faith in my little ideas and made some good money in certain S-REITs so far. An S-REIT which he has been looking at recently is Sabana REIT but he is hesitant.


Now, I would not tell people if it is a good time to buy or to sell anything in the stock market. Regular readers know this. It is only on hindsight that we could tell if it was a good time to buy or to sell. Everyone has perfect hindsight. Not very useful, is it?

Then, how did I decide so long ago that S-REITs are where I would be putting the bulk of my investible cash? How did I know that S-REITs would perform so well? How did I pick the S-REITs that I put so much of my money in?

Want the answers? Read my past blog posts. Do I hear a collective sigh?

OK, I know I have many more than a thousand blog posts by now and it would probably take quite a bit of time to trawl through them but I have hand picked a few and provided hyperlinks in the right side bar for your easy reference.


In this blog post, I want to share what I think I can safely share with anyone without getting into trouble and that is my general approach to the issue of investing in REITs. I try not to be repetitive but it is hard to avoid repeating at least some of the stuff I have said before in earlier blog posts. Anyway, I hope this helps anyone who is in the same situation as my friend:

Step one, know what is a REIT. Yes, don't laugh! People buy things just because it is the flavour of the month or year sometimes. It is true! Know what is a REIT and whether it fits your investment objectives. If you don't know what you want out of your investments, please leave your money in your bank account. For those who do know, remember that investing in REITs is basically for income and that any capital gain is a bonus.

Step two, if investing in REITs fits your investment objectives, look at the numbers of the different REITs available and see if you like them. If you read my blog posts on the different REITs I am vested in over the last 2 to 3 years, you will get an idea of what I look out for when I examine their financial reports. My approach is by no means fool proof but I believe that it does a pretty decent job.

Step three, if you like the numbers of certain REITs even at their current unit prices, then, they are still good investments for you! Doesn't sound like a difficult conclusion to arrive at, does it?


Step four, decide how much of each REIT you want to buy into at the current unit prices. As a percentage of your total investible cash, how much would you be comfortable with investing? Now, this is a very personal question. Some people are conservative while some are bolder. Two people could have the same belief that being partially invested while keeping a war chest ready is the way to do it but differ as to the proportion of investible cash to use.

Step five, buy, hold and monitor. Yes, don't think that everything is hunky-dory after making your investments. You want to monitor how they are doing on a quarterly basis. Keep track of macro trends and think how these could affect your investments. If you stay on top of things, you will feel confident in your investments and if there should be opportunities to buy more on the cheap, you would be able to act decisively. By the same token, you would also know when prices are somewhat rich and that partial or full divestment could be a good choice.

So, should my friend be buying into Sabana REIT now? Only he has the answer.

This is so cool!!! A vaporizing projector machine thats interactive


Here's an article that I had read on Hugginton Post. I need to keep track on this...  
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/displair-projector-water-display-misty-touchscreen_n_2443290.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003
LAS VEGAS -- Just when you thought Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds couldn't get any cooler: Now you can play them on a touchscreen made of misting water.
A Russian company called Displair has brought its bizarre, wholly innovative vaporizing projector machine to this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and the gizmo is unlike anything else at the enormous tech convention: Basically, you can connect a touchscreen device to a projector, which puts out a touchable image of your device's screen onto a constantly misting wall of vaporized water. You can then interact with the device by running your finger on that wall of mist. It's a strange and totally innovative way to interact with a typical tablet or computer.
Below, you can see how it works as I play a quick game of Fruit Ninja on the Displair's mist-screen:
I'm playing Fruit Ninja above, but hypothetically you can do anything you'd do on a touchscreen device on the Displair. In the video, a camera attached to the tablet powering Fruit Ninja is tracking my finger movements on the misting wall -- in other words, anything your fingers can do on a tablet, your fingers can do on the Displair. Games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds just happen to be perfect uses for the Displair, since gameplay consists mostly of simple gestures. You could also check your email, surf The Huffington Post or watch a YouTube video on this magical misting wall, should you really want to.
For now, Displair remains something of a curiosity, albeit an incredible one. One unit costs about $10,000 (plus one to two liters of water per hour). The product will be available for purchase in the second or third quarter of this year, but if you need one immediately, a company spokeswoman noted that the Displair is available for rent for about $1000 per day.
Displair is pitching its machine as a unique public presentation device or as an eye-catching display advertising unit -- a way to attract pedestrians or passersby into a store or a booth (kind of like a super high-tech wacky waving inflatable tube man. A Displair spokeswoman said that the machine will become available for consumers in about five years. For now, the company is focused on businesses.
That's a shame, because playing Angry Birds on a wall of soft mist is really a unique pleasure that no other business, large or small, can offer you. It's a curiosity, yes, but a delightful one.