HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s housing is the most unaffordable in the world. Median income households have to spend 20 years of their earnings to buy a 60 sq m flat at an average cost of US$1.24 million. The biggest hurdle for buyers is the huge 40 per cent down payment on the value of the flat. Even then, they still have to devote nearly 60 per cent of their monthly income repaying the mortgage. Renting is equally expensive, and so multiple occupant flats are in high demand among lower income households. These sub-divided units (SDUs) are small partitioned units within a converted flat, usually in old tenement buildings. They offer cramped and unhealthy living conditions, with tenants in the cheapest SDUs also having to share toilets. But sadly, it is the only choice for many households. READ: Commentary: Why property prices remain high in Hong Kong despite protests and violence READ: Commentary: Have Hong Kong's bloated property giants had a change of heart? In … [Read more...] about Commentary: Too many Hong Kong residents want affordable housing but there are too few flats
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Bengaluru is now beginning to see green shoots of revival in the overall retail sector with a U-shaped recovery. "While essential goods like food and grocery, followed by apparel, FMCD and electronics, furniture and home furnishings and QSR are seeing a V-shaped recovery, other segments like beauty, wellness and personal care and home essentials may take 2-3 more quarters for full recovery, ” said Anuj Kejriwal, CEO & MD Anarock Retail. Bengaluru has been one of the most active retail markets in the country and is a major hub for retail fashion with most international and national brands making their way here. In terms of organized retail, Karnataka presently has close to 50 operational malls across the top cities and Tier 2 and 3 cities, as per ANAROCK Research. Bengaluru alone has nearly 36 operational malls – the same number as that in entire MMR. Interestingly, tier 2 and 3 cities including Mysore and Hubli have also seen decent retail growth. Both cities currently have … [Read more...] about Bengaluru begins to see revival in the retail sector; five new malls set to come up in city
SINGAPORE: As a young couple looking for our first home last year, affordability was my top criteria. This was in part because of my experience growing up. My mother was retrenched during the Asian financial crisis and seeing my parents stressed out over the monthly mortgage and household bills left an indelible impact on me. Even though we have a comfortable combined income, with a child on the way, my husband and I knew our expenses were bound to increase. So when it came to buying our house, I wanted to avoid having to finance a heavy mortgage that might restrict our future expenses. READ: Commentary: Why do we love judging other people’s home renovations? Our S$350,000 resale HDB flat was just perfect. With less than 60 years remaining on the lease, we viewed this as a rental unit at around S$600 a month, dividing the amount by 612 months. I consider it a steal for a four-room flat located near three MRT stations, a wet market and two hawker centres. If we decide … [Read more...] about Commentary: How much should young couples spend on their first home?
SINGAPORE: The owner of spa chain Healing Touch is anxious about reopening his business when Singapore enters Phase 2 of its recovery journey after COVID-19 "circuit breaker" restrictions. On one hand, Mr Joshua Lung, who also owns Aesteem Aesthetic Clinic, is looking forward to receiving customers again after being closed since early April. On the other, he is unsure what kind of safety measures health and wellness establishments will be required to implement, and if those restrictions will hinder the spa experience his customers are accustomed to. All 10 of Mr Lung's Healing Touch and Aesteem outlets have been closed since the beginning of April, as massage and spa services are not considered an essential service under COVID-19 restrictions and only specific aesthetic treatments are allowed. With zero revenue, Mr Lung has been able to tide through only because of relief measures from the Government, including rental rebates and the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which has … [Read more...] about ‘To say I’m worried is an understatement’: Small businesses struggle to navigate new normal post-circuit breaker
It is "reinvent or die out" as nightlife businesses continue to be shuttered under coronavirus restrictions. Some clubs, like Zouk, are pivoting from dance floors to dining establishments. But at least a hundred others remain shut as they do not yet have licences that allow them to operate as food and beverage (F&B) establishments. The reinvent-or-die-out message to still-shuttered nightlife businesses in Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat's ministerial statement last Monday was clear, as he noted that such businesses will not be able to open any time soon. But he added that the Government will help them transition to other activities or ease their exit, with the Ministry of Trade and Industry set to provide more details in the coming weeks. Zouk was first off the blocks, transforming its Capital lounge in Clarke Quay into pop-up restaurant Capital Kitchen, which has been open for almost two months, while Ce La Vi's SkyBar at Marina Bay Sands' (MBS) is now a fast … [Read more...] about Dining off the dance floor: Some clubs transform into F&B businesses as nightlife remains on hold