99.co Rallies for Social and Financial Changes in the Singaporean Real Estate Market

Victoria Haviland

July 9, 2020

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Nothing is perfect and there is always room for improvement. This is true for individuals, stories, and even companies. No one understands this more than Singaporean property marketplace, 99.co

The platform has announced a type of 'manifesto,' as they’re calling it, to answer some issues pertaining to a number of problems that seem to rampage within many companies, in a move to improve their own offerings for their consumers and the community as a whole. 

Here are highlights from 99.co’s two-part blog post:

Continue enforcing the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), but with modifications with minority owners in mind

99.co is calling for the government to look into rebates for minority owners, given the market behavior is noticeably different for them as opposed to the majority when it comes to racial discrimination. 

The EIP is a policy that enforces certain numbers of races in a certain number of flats in an area. The end goal is to do away with the policy entirely, but until then, 99.co will work with remedying certain aspects of the policy for now. 

Addressing the growing financial gap between older and newer HDB flats when it comes to the rich and the poor

99.co said in the blog post:

“It’s bad for society that some owners of HDB flats are holding onto assets, whereas the rest are holding onto liabilities with declining value.”

Restore transparency to pricing of new HDB flats

The price of flats in Singapore used to be public domain. They were broken down significantly and open for viewing by literally anyone. 99.co is calling to bring this trend back in hopes that it will help with educating consumers when they are house hunting. 

Rethink HDB Concessionary Loan interest rates

The platform is calling for floating the rate these kinds of loans to deter consumers from going with bank loans in a kneejerk reaction to needing money as quickly as possible in order to move. 

Enacting an anti-discrimination law

99.co allows agents to label their posts as ‘Diversity Friendly’ to show the company’s stance on discrimination. The company is asking for a law to protect those most vulnerable due to their race, gender, and sexual orientation. The law will make these types of questions illegal at all stages of a rental transaction or employment process.

Set up a third-party bond authority for rental deposits

To follow in the footsteps of other countries, 99.co is calling for a third-party bond authority, something that isn’t currently available in Singapore. This is something that is mutually beneficial for both the tenant and the landlord. 

Tenant records will be collected for landlords to defer to and it would protect tenants from dishonest landlords.

Reduce ABSD for locals while helping them maintain financial responsibility by raising minimum downpayment

ABSD stands for ‘Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty’. 99.co is rallying for ABSD to be lowered back to 5 or 7% for the second property, and 10 or 12 % for the third property.

Encourage the restoration of older private properties and allow owners to operate short-term rental to tourists via approved platforms such as Airbnb

Currently, renting out of privately owned homes is not permittable by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. After the pandemic ends, it would be a good time to reevaluate the importance of keeping private homes out of the short-term rental vacation sector in Singapore. 99.co says:

“We can align the rules and regulations for short-term rental so that it can also uplift the value and utility of older private properties at the same time.”

Victoria Haviland

July 9, 2020

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Acerca de Lucas Vargas:

  • Empezó en Grupo ZAP como el VP de Sales y en 2016 cuando la empresa tenía 60 empleados. Fue nombrado COO de VivaReal tomando el mando de Brian Requarth el Co-Fundador. VivaReal lanzó en Colombia y se trasladó a Brasil. En 2017 se hizo CEO del Grupo ZAP.
  • Ha trabajado en Mexico en PWC y en el Banco Santander
  • Tiene un Master de Business Administration de Harvard
  • En noviembre este año después de la fusión de OLX Brasil y Grupo ZAP fue nombrado el CEO del OLX Business Unit. Lidera la empresa junto con Andries Oudshoorn y Marcos Leite
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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.