Friday, 21 February 2014

Nov 2013 BTO Review: Hougang Meadow (3room)

Dear Sther,

I hope I am not too late to reply on your request. I am really sorry for it.
Reviews for 3rooms is as below :

1st choice - #1030, #1032
My personal preference would stay and view into my estate hence it overview the roof garden of the carpark, however do remember to take at least level 9 and above else you will be facing the carpark.

2nd choice - #1090, #1088
Although no much view but at least it wouldn't be facing to close to the exist blocks.

3rd choice -#1016, 1018
If you don't mind to face the busy road , this could be a option as you will not need to walk far to the busstop or malls.

Hope my simple review are useful to you. =D

Monday, 2 December 2013

Last day of applications for Nov13 BTO .

Today will be the last day of application.
There should be another update tomorrow noon and that's will be the final number of applicants

Hougang Meadow 4room has the most applicants, it was about 5-6 times more! Oh ho!
Snap shoot as of 02.12.13 1130pm

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Nov 2013 BTO Review: Hougang Meadow

About Hougang Meadow

Hougang Meadow is located along Upper Serangoon Road and near the Hougang town centre. This 16- to 18-storey high development consists of six residential blocks with 732 units of Studio Apartments as well as 3- and 4-room Standard Flats.
The name “Hougang Meadow” reflects the series of landscaped areas that will be created within the development.

Hougang Meadow offers various garden spaces for all to enjoy. You can choose to take a stroll through these spaces, starting from the open green areas at the ground level. From here, you can venture up to the landscaped deck above the single storey the car park. Equipped with a children’s playground as well as adult and elderly fitness stations, this is an ideal venue where the entire family can exercise and have fun together. A precinct pavilion is also located here.
The rooftop garden atop the multi-storey car park is another landscaped space where you could go to for outdoor relaxation. Those with green fingers can also enjoy gardening at the community garden located here.
For added convenience, a minimart and a cafe will be provided within Hougang Meadow. A Senior Care Centre will also be set up within the development to provide day care, dementia day care, day rehabilitation services, basic nursing services and other social services. Seniors can also visit the Senior Activity Centre to make friends and engage in regular social activities.

This is another project launch this month which is nearer to MRT. Although there are no new parks in this BTO they can still enjoy the existing one at the south of the BTO. What I like for this BTO is that there are minimarts, child care center and even cafe within the neighbourhood. It will be more convenient.. I shall review 4room units, if you interested for other units, do drop me a comments. Thanks. What I dislike is that , upper serangoon road is a super busy road. Oh well, where in singapore is not a busy road anyway ? .. heheh^^

4room units
1st choice: #1002, #1004, #1022, #1024 - Although these units are facing the road, it is just a small quiet road and it is nearer to the main road / busstop. These units will have the best view if you take at least lvl 5-6 above and you will be overviewing the exising private terrace housing.

2nd choice: #1086, # 1086, #1072, #1074 - in terms of longer view. bottom south units of these BTO fits it well.As long as you get at least 4 level and above, you will over view the "playground" above the 1 level carpark building.

Nov BTO 2013 review : Admiralty Grove Woodlands

About Admiralty Grove

Located in Woodlands town, Admiralty Grove is bounded by Woodlands Avenue 6 and Drive 62. You can take your pick from the 993 units of 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-room Standard Flats housed in seven 13-storey residential blocks. One other residential block within this development is set aside for rental housing.
The name “Admiralty Grove” takes inspiration from the lush landscaping within the development.
Admiralty Grove offers various landscaped spaces where you can relax and unwind after a hectic day at work. You can also choose to mingle and chat with your family and friends at the precinct pavilions.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a myriad of fun activities amid the open spaces such as working out at the adult and elderly fitness stations, playing with the children at the playgrounds, or simply enjoying a game or two with your neighbours and friends at the hard court.
In addition, the roof gardens adorning the development’s two multi-storey car parks will serve as additional venues for interaction and relaxation. Those who enjoy gardening will appreciate the community gardens located here.
You will also find daily conveniences within easy reach. Admiralty Grove will have its own supermarket, eating house and shops, so you can shop and enjoy a meal close to home. A Residents’ Committee Centre will also be located within the development.


This project is one of the BTO location near to an MRT for Novemeber BTO.  It is about 1 to 2 bus stop away. This BTO is pretty low flat with only 13 floors but it has 7 blocks. Look into the siteplan and realised there are many 2room flats. They had increase the number of 2 rooms flats to cater for 35y/o above applicants. I hope there will not be too many leftovers. Because not many elderly is able to afford a 2 room flat and how many above 35y/o applicants are there? Its trending that many getting house in this cater but really worth ?

Anyway below are my reviews for Admiralty Grove in my own opinions and perceptions. There is no any particular bad unit, just depends which do you prefer.
Thank you.
4 Room units.
1st choice: #14, #16, #30 , #32 - get at least lvl 7 and above so you get to overview the school and get the longest "unblock" view. Although it is near the road side however there some space about 30-40 meter between the block and the road.
2nd choice: #90 - get at least lvl 8 and above to over view the carpark. you might not want to face the cars everydays???
3rd choice: #709, #711 - nearest to MRT if you don't mind your unit locate infront of a junction road  (fengshui matters) and gets some afternoon sun.
5 Room units
All units faces into the neighbourhood. Almost all units don't get much afternoon sun so lastly which do you view do you personally perfer?
1st choice: #18, #20 , #26, #28 - I like units that look into the neighbour, overview the playgrounds instead of facing the roads.
2nd choice: #705, #723, #721, #02, #04 - choice for this was nearer to MRT. #707 might get some afternoon sun esp at the master bed room hence I gave that out. for # 705 it would better to get more than lvl 8 due to the carpark is build for 6 lvl.

Hope my humble review is useful to you. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

New BTO and SOBF in Nov 2013

HDB had just launch another six new Build-To-Order projects with 4, 978 units of Studio Apartments, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-room and 3Gen Flats:

Admiralty Grove in Woodlands,
Boon Lay View and Yung Kuang Court in Jurong West,
EastLawn @ Canberra in Sembawang,
Hougang Meadow and
West Ridges @ Bukit Batok.

Together with Today's BTO launch, HDB had also launched 3,974 units of Sale of Balance Flats ranging from Studio Apartments, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-room and Executive Flats.

Good luck to all my lovely readers who applying for these project.

More info:$file/home.htm

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Our CPF system is killing the average man!

Some time back, good buddy Lawrence Chong revealed on his Facebook page an unpleasant encounter with his CPF monies. Apparently, he had just turned 55 and all the monies were transferred from his OA to SA for retirement so as to meet the minimum sum. As a result, his outstanding HDB mortgage instalments had to be paid in cash. Much critique has been made about such a system recently, so I will do some analysis.

How much the average man earn? 
According to a 2007 CNA article, middle-class wages have effectively stagnated over the past 5 years while the wages for the bottom 30% of earners have fallen. According to another 2011 article on Yahoo! Singapore, the middle-income Singaporeans saw their wages increase by 11% over the decade from 2001 to 2010, an increase of less than 1% a year. From various sources, it seems that the figure for middle class earners is now $2,700.

How much the average man does has in his SA by the time he is 55?
Assuming he is a polytechnic graduate who starts work at 23 with a $2,000 starting pay, $460 per month will go to his OA and $140 will go to his SA. After adjusting for 12 years of working increments, retrenchments of and interest of 5% (additional 1% for first $40k), he would have around $27,680 by the time he is 35.
Assuming his salary is $2,850 (we are being generous in our calculations here) at 36, he would see $541 in his OA and $256 in his SA. Again working for 20 years after factoring in increments, retrenchment and a 4% interest rate, he would have accumulated another $92,621 in those 20 years of working. In totality, he would be likely to have around $120,301 in his SA. This marks a shortfall of approximately $28,000 to meet the minimum sum.

Putting the average man at greater risk?
Assuming your average man settles down and gets married and buys at BTO at 30, he would be likely to be burdened with a loan until he reaches 60. This means that he would need to pay his housing instalments in cash when he reaches 55 as all monies to CPF would be put into his special account. Given that men at his age are more likely to be retrenched and have tertiary school going children, there may be unnecessary burden on him.

What about other groups?
We have so far assumed that he is married and that the housing loan instalments can be split between him and his spouse, giving some additional monies into the OA. As a result, the average man would probably be able to have some margin of safety in his OA to meet his SA requirements. The issue becomes pressingly worse for singles who pay a heavier price for their flats themselves and other lower-income earners who earn half of the average man.

CPF a double whammy?
Our CPF rates make our employment costs higher than that of foreigners whose levy is cheaper, making Singaporeans more expensive and less appealing to employers. In addition, the monies are issued in Government bonds which are then loaned to Temasek whose returns are as much as 20% annually, giving them a legal arbitrage opportunity of 12 to 17%. By increasing the retuns to us Singaporeans, our lives will become much easier.

An MP was quick to rebut good buddy Roy Ngerng about his statistics, claiming that our 2.5 is guaranteed. However, he did not tackle the points that out neighbours pay much more with the Malaysian pension even hitting as high as 6% while we are not allowed to invest our first $20,000. The reality is that our Singaporeans sons are being squeezed dry and it is time to vote them our in 2016.

Joseph Kheng-Liang Tan
*The writer is a 20 year-old polytechnic graduate who blogs at

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Recently there is an facebook post going viral regarding a 55 years old man who has trouble in his OA (ordinary account) amount for his HDB loan due to minimum sum scheme. He was surprised to received HDB notice regarding insufficient funds in his OA. Only upon checking with CPF, he realised that the OA was transferred to RA (retirement account).

And so I received a call from HDB informing me that there is insufficient funds in my CPF to pay for my monthly mortgage. That came as a surprise as the last time I check, there was still some money in my account.

At the CPF counter, a CSA patiently explained to me that my money has been moved into a retirement account leaving practically zilch in my ordinary account and although I am still making monthly contribution to CPF, that money cannot be used to service my mortgage as I do not have the required minimum sum.

I am left with 2 options. One is to make monthly cash payment. the other is to use the meagre $5K payout to fund my remaining mortgage.

Thanks Zuraidah. You had been very patient and kind in your explanation of all the rules and regulations although I understood only half of what you said. As you have mentioned, your hands are tied.

 I can never understand all the financial, banks and CPF rules and regulations. Without this post, i would never know about this rules. There are so many 'laws' that were hidden and was not told or explained regularly to us. Not even an notification letter to inform us. We have to keep update ourselves regularly.

After reading the post, I made the effort to read up the CPF minimum sum scheme in the website. Yes it stated that OA will be transffer to RA to meet the minimum sum. Also do take note if you are still unable to meet the minimum sum after transferring SA & OA, your property will be pledged. Meaning if you sell your property, you need to pay/return the amount with your sales proceeds that had been top up ur RA.

So its very important rule as of now because you would never know when they would increase the minimum sum again. Currently the minimum sum will be $148,000. I need to increase my contribution alots alots more. Else I would be the same hell situation. Hopefully I have enough contribute to meet the minimum sum in RA in future.  HAIXX   :(
How is MS set aside?
When you reach 55 years old, your Special Account (SA) savings, followed by your Ordinary Account (OA) savings will be transferred to your Retirement Account (RA) to meet your MS.

If the savings in your SA and OA are not enough to make up the MS, your property which was purchased using CPF savings will be automatically pledged, for up to half of your MS, to make up the difference. The pledge amount will be the amount of CPF used for the property or the Minimum Sum shortfall, whichever is lower.
If you sell the property, you will need to refund the CPF that was used to buy it and the accrued interest. The amount refunded will be used to top up to the MS that applies to you, and the current Medisave Required Amount (MRA) of $38,500. The balance of the housing refunds will then be paid to you automatically. Also, if you had withdrawn your RA savings by pledging your property, you need to refund the amount withdrawn from your RA upon the property sale to redeem the pledge.
If there is still a MS shortfall in your RA after pledging your property, a portion of the new inflows like working contributions, voluntary contributions, government top-ups and other refunds received after 55 years old will be used to make up the shortfall upon your subsequent CPF withdrawals.
After setting aside your MS and current MRA, you can choose to withdraw the remaining cash balances in your OA and SA, or continue to keep your savings in CPF to earn interest.
How much is the Minimum Sum (MS)?
The MS was set at $80,000 in 2003 and is being raised gradually until it reaches $120,000 (in 2003 dollars) in 2015. The MS will be adjusted yearly for inflation.
55th birthday on or after MS
(in 2003 dollars)
(after adjustment for inflation)
1 July 2003 $80,000 $80,000
1 July 2004 $84,000 $84,500
1 July 2005 $88,000 $90,000
1 July 2006 $92,000 $94,600
1 July 2007 $96,000 $99,600
1 July 2008 $100,000 $106,000
1 July 2009 $104,000 $117,000
1 July 2010 $108,000 $123,000
1 July 2011 $112,000 $131,000
1 July 2012 $113,000 $139,000
1 July 2013 $115,000 $148,000
1 July 2014 To be announced } To be
1 July 2015 $120,000 } announced
 Quoted from :