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Living in Singapore

It’s a dazzling cosmopolitan city that is complete with rich culture, vibrant sights and modern infrastructure blending beautifully with sound educational systems. What would it be to live there? Read on…

It’s true that Singapore is a fascinating mix of the Western and Asian culture. Spread across an area of roughly 700 square kilometers, the city is full of dazzling skyscrapers, Chinese shops, temples and mosques, and chain and chains of upmarket super cool shopping malls.

What’s more, the city is clean and green!

Some Important things:

Cost of living: In 2011, Mercer’s cost of living index pointed out that Singapore became the 8th most expensive city in the world, for expatriates! And, after Tokyo and Osaka, it s the the third most expensive in Asia.

 Transport: Singapore has an excellent public transport system, making it easy for people to move around the city.

 Language: There are four official languages — English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. However, most people speak in and understand English!

 Buying Property: The Residential Property Act (RPA), as amended in the year 2005, allows foreigners to purchase apartments in non-condominium developments of less than 6 levels without the need to obtain prior approval.

Vacant land, landed properties such as bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses, etc., fall under the category of ‘restricted property’ and purchasing such properties require prior approval for foreigners.

Education: The City is home to some of the best educational establishments offering several courses to encourage creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. The choices are plenty and the entry top notch universities and institutions in the city is only growing.

With an overall development, this city certainly seems to be the perfect choice for students and career driven professionals. Are you planning to move there, yet?

KENYA — Growth vs Development

Kenya is a magical spot in the African continent. Filled to the brim with exciting safaris, the region is also rich in geographical, cultural and natural diversity. Apart from being a tourist’s delight, this east African country is now gradually making it’s way up into serious investors’ heart as well.

Investments and opportunities

Currently, there has been much excitement about President Mwai Kibaki’s announcement regarding the start of the construction work on Lamu Port! This is, arguably the country’s largest investment so far and has created a buzz among investors across the world.

The project is being marketed around the world for investors, and news has it that China is already the biggest contender for the project. There are several developed countries that have shown interest in the project, viz., Germany, Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

The project, when launched and developed, will provide Kenya with not only a a deep-sea port, a second one at that, but will also open up a route to the landlocked countries of Ethiopia and the newly independent, oil rich South Sudan.

Total Project Cost

The total cots of the project, which will include a railway line, a modern road that will link the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the South Sudan capital of Juba to the Kenyan coast Lamu Port, and an oil refinery, is estimated to the tune of $16 billion (shs1.4 trillion), and is said to be much larger than the country’s budget.

What does it mean for Kenya?

The Positives:

  1. With this launch and development, Kenya is poised to leap into the middle level economy segment.
  2. It is sure to drive meaningful economic growth.
  3. Rise in real estate investments. Experts speculate that there will be an impressive growth in foreign nationalities investing in holiday homes, luxury properties, etc., in anticipation of a growth in the cruise tourism.
  4. Growth in tourism as well as agriculture sector are also expected.

 The negatives:

  1. Environmental issues, such as danger to the delicate marine life, coral reefs and mangroves, surrounding the port.
  2. As a result of the above, the fishing industry may be hit adversely.
  3. Piracy is a major concern now for shippers, once the ports open up.
  4. Some fear that the costal tourism industry may suffer since the dredging activities may ward off tourists from snorkeling or even basking in the bright African sun!

With enough assurance from concerned authorities, one can only hope that along with the growth in the economy, overall development is also kept in focus. Balancing infrastructure growth with a strong environmental, cultural and tourist protection regulations is important to ensure justifiable and equal enjoyment of progress!

ISLANDS for SALE!

Living on a private island may not necessarily have to be a dream anymore!

It’s indeed good news for affluent and upwardly mobile families, that several international private islands now are listed for less than $500,000 USD. In fact, a little time spent on good research and browsing online, may even fetch great islands at less than $100,000. Let’s take a peek…

Before we do that, a few points to remember:

  1. Cheaper islands are almost always undeveloped. Therefore, there may be a whole lot of work to be done — acquire electricity, plumbing; get the land suitable for building. Valuation processes are mostly not in place, so obtaining a mortgage for island purchases or a finance option, may not be available. This means you will have to keep cash in hand for the BIG BUY!
  2. Each country has it’s own set of real estate rules and regulations regarding land/ island purchases. Do make sure you are well versed with them, before you plunge in for a ‘great-international-buy’!

Now for the top FIVE islands within a budget of $100,000!

WEST BANK / OLD ORCHARD SHOAL LIGHTHOUSES

WHAT: A website recently published an article about these two neglected lighthouses/ islands being auctioned by the U.S. General Services Administration in New York.

CURRENT PRICE: $10,000 USD

DOLPHIN BAY ISLAND

WHAT: 6,000 sq. ft, near Panama, with views of the Dlphin Bay

CURRENT PRICE: $40,000 USD

BERECK ISLAND

WHAT: Fishermen’s paradise, located on the Stuart Lake, in British Columbia, Canada. One acre land.

CURRENT PRICE: $64,327.21 USD

DAVID ISLAND

WHAT: Lies in the bay of Port Felix, about 30 Km from the city of Canso, Nova Scotia.

CURRENT PRICE: $74,474.55 USD

CHRIS PINNACLE

WHAT: Two islands — an area of approximately one hectare located in Jordan. 

CURRENT PRICE: $100,000 USD

A thorough online research and analyses is, however, most important before we decide to buy an island. What looks like the need of the  hour now, more than anything, is a global portal that let’s us view islands across the world, and helps us compare each to the other, to pick the right one! 

The Heart of India

The tourism ad goes, “HINDUSTAN KA DIL DEKHO”, meaning: See (read experience) the heart of India! True. The heart says it all. Madhya Pradesh — the name literally means, ‘CENTRAL STATE’ — has everything uniquely India, in it — from breathtaking natural beauty, to flora and fauna in abundance to historical significance to heritage properties and architecture, and now, the state is also ready with a whole lot of modern infrastructure to give an impetus to growth!

Living in Madhya Pradesh
Holy Places: If it’s a home near a holy place that one is looking for, the options are plenty and interesting. Madhya Pradesh boasts of several temples and mosques and cities and towns that have ancient shrines. While Ujjain is best known for it’s magnificent temples, Bhopal is more famous for it’s mosques. The source of the Holy Narmada, Amarkantak, abode of the Gods, Chitrakoot, and the home to one of the 12 JyotirLingas, Omkareshwar, are popular pilgrim centres.

Mountains and Hills: MP has one hill station — Pachmarhi, but word has it that the God’s were so taken in by the beauty of this town set in the midst of the Satpura range, that MP really did not need another one.
Heritage Places: Cities of Indore, Gwalior and Sanchi have great historical stories to say, while Mandu, Chanderi, Khajuraho, Orchha and Dhar come alive with forts and palaces, not to miss Bhind and Burhanpur for their forts.
Nature and wildlife: Everyone has heard of Bandhavgarh and Kanha, but not many know that MP has more that a dozen national parks and sanctuaries — Phen, Singhori, Veerangana, Sardarpur are some, to name a few!

They say, when the heart grows stronger, the body and mind follows. Going by that, will it be true for India too?
The heart of the country, Madhya Pradesh, is growing at a fast rate. The state can easily be classified as the land of plenty — from awesome natural beauty and prospering flora and fauna, to advancing power, irrigation and connectivity in the economy.
Madhya Pradesh is poised to give to it’s people and the country an investment hub, what with it’s friendly investment policies and gainful packages for industries.

Where will YOU like invest in a home? Amidst Nature — overlooking a waterfall or a pristine lake, or overlooking a range of misty hills? Around Holy Places, perhaps?

SKI PROPERTIES — Where and why?

For an overseas property buy, a ski property may be the right decision. Reasons?

High demand in winter season, therefore, impressive amounts earned on rent. Snow mountains are now open through the year, owing to the varied activities in the warmer seasons, so again, an op to earn more rents!

TOP THREE SKI PROPERTIES IN THE WORLD

France

  1. Top of the list destination
  2. Easy access with plenty of regional airports and low-cost airlines
  3. Excellent quality of the slopes
  4. Historical importance of the resorts
  5. Rugged scenery in the Pyrenees Modern resorts, again in the Pyrenees, with access to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coasts.

Bulgaria

  1. Improvement facilities currently and the challenge for the nomination for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  2. Great for beginners and families.
  3. Pamporovo is the most southerly ski resort in Europe and has good weather.

Canada

  1. Offers a wide range of supplementary winter sports choices, from snowmobiling to snowshoeing.
  2. One of the few places in the world where there is still plenty enough space to get good and lost in the countryside and enjoy the clean air.
  3. Properties often promise to be grander than in Europe.

So, where can one find ALL the available ski homes across the world?

RETIREMENT HOMES — A BEAUTIFUL CHOICE

More and more first generation Indian citizens are now making an educated and informed choice of living in retirement homes… What are they? Where are they?.. READ ON to know more…

Life post retirement is indeeed raring to be an exciting stage of life, one can look forward to. It’s no more a phase where you ‘retire’ into the forest, so to speak, or lead  a lonely life. If you have lived an active social life all your youthful days, why not continue with it even when you are old. Building retirement communities and living within one, is a lifestyle choice many  senior citizens opt for today. This choice provides them with the much needed independence as well as the security and care-taking required for them!

Honestly, it’s a beautiful choice!

And, there are plenty of options, today, in India!

“I decided to move into a senior citizen’s home, a few years after my retirement. I wanted both of us (his wife and himself) to experience the joys of retirement and go through the leanings together,” says K S Mani, who shifted base from a bustling suburb in Mumbai, to SSM Home Residency, in the outskirts of Chennai, along with his wife, “And, we are very happy with our decision!”

Retirement homes, such as the one mentioned above, provide a comfortable life with a  whole lot of amenities and a perfect ambience well suited for senior citizens. These retirement homes are complete with spacious apartments/ cottages, friendly and efficient staff, central kitchen that provide healthy food, doctor-on-call and medical facilities, community activities, wellness programmes, libraries, spacious and healthy surroundings, and above all the opportunity to move about with like-minded people!

Increase of nuclear families, longer lives among people, higher income levels,etc., on the one hand, and a stress-free life — absence of daily household chores, safe and secure atmosphere, timely and efficient medical help, etc., — offered by these senior citizens’ homes, have created a great demand for retirement homes in India.

To be noted, is the fact that these retirement homes, or senior citizen’s homes, as they are called, are way different from traditional old age homes. The former is a choice made by mainly affluent older people, who want their freedom; while the latter are homes for those abandoned by their own families!

KEY FEATURES 

  • Homes can be purchased or leased
  • Only for citizens above 60 years of age (in some case, 55 + are also welcomed
  • Designed to cater to all needs of older people — physical, social, etc.
  • Medical help at hand at all times
  • Some homes cater specifically to a particular community. Here, there is an advantage of easy bonding among residents through similar cultural and social habits, etc.

HOT SPOTS IN INDIA

  • TAMIL NADU — Several retirement residencies and townships have grown around cities like Coimbatore, Chennai, Madurai.
  • KARNATAKA — Townships have been developed around Bangalore – Mysore-Hosur belt, Hunsur area, Belgaum belt, Mangalore, etc.
  • MAHARASHTRA — Around Pune has witnessed the springing up of a whole lot of retirement homes.
  • PONDICHERY
  • GOA

THE PRICE FACTOR

  • Mainly depends on the locality, especially in cases of outright purchases
  • For leasing, the deposit is anywhere between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 12 Lakhs, which is refundable; plus monthly charges ranging approximately between Rs 5,000/- to Rs. 8000/-.
In depth information on  retirement homes, across the globe, will soon be available on http://www.homesacrosstheworld.com. Log on and register before the launch.