Maybe it’s the fact that Potong Pasir is firmly out of opposition hands, but come 2019, it’s going to start looking exactly like any other PAP stronghold. Not only has the MRT finally come to Potong Pasir, but now there’s going to be a shopping mall and condominium built over it. You know, like what you see at Boon Lay, or Bedok. Maybe it’s to reward Potong Pasir residents for ensuring that there’s no Chiam in Parliament for the first time in decades. Whatever the reason, it’s already had its fair share of controversy.
Even before the condo launched, at least a 1,000 people had a problem with the name. You see, the original name was supposed to have been The Andrew Residences. This got staff, students and alumni of the St. Andrew’s family of schools (who also happen to be located in the neighbourhood) up in arms. Hence the quick rename to The Poiz Residences.
Why the… “Poiz”?
I know, right? As condominium names go, the puns just write themselves. For example, despite the renaming, interest in the newly launched Residences was clearly not Poiz-oned. Clearly there’s no such thing as bad publicity. If you’re Poiz-ed to get one of these units, you could be considered a potential Poiz-er. Just remember to make sure you’re Poiz-itioned to make the right decision regarding your home loan.
No, seriously, why the Poiz?
Oh, you weren’t talking about the name. Well, the Poiz Residences is a 731-unit condominium that is proving to be a surprising draw despite the weakened property market here in Singapore. Out of the 350 units released over the weekend, some 260 units have already been sold. Even more surprising? 98% of the buyers are Singaporeans.
The most possible reason? Prices for the Poiz Residences are relatively cheap, starting from as low as $619,000 for the smallest 1-bedroom unit, to about $3.7 million for the penthouse units. That comes up to about $1,400 psf, which is about as low as it can get for a condo that close to the CBD region. But that’s still going to be a significant investment for buyers. Those of you who have already booked a unit? You’re already poorer by anything from $31,000 to $185,000. In cash.
Don’t Poiz-on yourself just yet…
Just breathe. It’s a good deal. Now that you’ve already committed 5% of the biggest loan of your life so far, your next biggest concern is what home loan to choose. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are the 3 most important things you need to know before jumping into such a huge decision:
1. You don’t have to go with a SIBOR home loan package
With the SIBOR already jumping from 0.3% to above 1.0% this year, and expected to increase further by this time next year, it might not be a good idea to start with a home loan package that might be too hot to handle. While the best packages have no lock-in period, you could still save yourself the trouble of going through the whole home loan process by choosing one that is less volatile than we expect the SIBOR to be.
Fortunately, two banks are currently offering an alternative to the SIBOR. They do this by pegging their home loan rates to their Fixed Deposit interest rates. This keeps the rates transparent, and the bank is less likely to increase their home loan rates because that would mean increasing their Fixed Deposit rates too. Of course, doing that means they’ll have to pay their customers more money as well, and you know how banks hate to give you money.
Both DBS and OCBC’s fixed deposit rate-based home loan packages also offer really good margins for the first 3 years. DBS has a spread of 1.25% and OCBC a spread of 1.03%. However, just before you sign up with OCBC, note that the spread increases to 1.50% in the 4th year (when your main disbursement usually happens).
Conversely, DBS’s rate maintains at 1.25% at that crucial time. Which is better? To pay less in the first three years and then more in the 4th year onwards when your disbursement amount gets higher? Or to pay more in the first three years, and then a relatively lower rate in the 4th year and beyond?
2. If you still want to stick with SIBOR, choose a home loan with a fixed interest spread
If you feel like trying your luck and hoping the SIBOR rates remain relatively low over the next few years in Singapore, then at least hedge your bets with a fixed interest spread.
One package offered by Bank of China has a unique throughout rates for borrowers. This means that even though you cannot ever escape from the SIBOR, your margin with the bank stays at a constant 0.75% for the full tenure of the loan.
You’ll have less to worry about in 3 years time when the main bulk of your loan lands on your head, along with your house keys! If you’re interested in finding out more about these packages, MoneySmart’s comprehensive Home Loan Wizard will allow you to compare the latest home loan rates in a matter of minutes.
3. Ultimately, avoid Board Rates that are not transparent
Board rates, also known as Variable Floating rates from banks are often traps for the newbie home buyer and are to be avoided as much as possible. Think of it as a casino game where the rule changes every time you start making money.
Things might start low in the first three years, like the 1.28% flat rate a local bank is offering, but since the Poiz Residences won’t be built for another four years, that’s when you get stuck with a higher interest rate of 2.65%. That’s right, just when your main disbursement happens.
So avoid Board Rates, they’re nothing more than a slow acting Poiz-on.
So, what should you be Poiz-ed to do now?
Before you decide if Potong Pasir is worth forking out your life’s savings for, it’s best to speak with a mortgage specialist from MoneySmart.sg and let them figure out the best choice for you. It’s absolutely free and it will give you a better picture on which home loan to take based on your own financial needs.
On the other hand, if you’ve already taken your first step to be a Poiz-er and paid your Option to Purchase (OTP), you should not wait until you get your Sales & Purchase (S&P) Agreement before applying for your home loan. If you wait till you get your S&P, you may be cutting it a little too close to allow for the administrative work required if you wish to use your CPF to make the remaining downpayment.
Have you bought a unit at The Poiz Residences? Which home loan do you think is best for you? Share your thoughts here.
The Poiz Residences