Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mortgage Payments Worry S'poreans; Expats Fret Over Pay

Source : The Business Times, March 30 2009

Job security anxieties remain the main reason

A MAJORITY of Singaporeans worry about their ability to pay their mortgages, a survey by Zurich International Life (ZIL) showed.

'I wonder about the result if the survey is done now,' said Andy Robinson, ZIL Asia regional director in a recent BT interview. Singapore is experiencing its worst downturn ever with some forecasting that the economy could shrink as much as 8-10 per cent this year.

Seventy per cent of Singaporeans in the November survey were confident in their ability to save adequately while 60 per cent worry about their ability to pay mortgages. Mr Robinson thinks the Central Provident Fund mandatory contributions accounts for the optimism on savings while job security anxieties are keeping Singaporeans awake over their mortgages.

The survey which involved 212 Singaporeans and expatriates with a minimum monthly income of $4,000 revealed a general low level of confidence in economic recovery. Ninety per cent of expatriates are making changes in the allocation of their wealth, with more going to savings. Eighty two per cent of expatriates report a reduction in disposable income which warranted 62 per cent feeling the need for a change in their lifestyle.

'Part of that is buying less property,' said Mr Robinson referring to the changes in allocation of wealth by expatriates. Foreigners had been big buyers of high-end properties in the past five years. And over the past five years, more and more expatriates have increasingly switched to local terms from expensive expatriate packages, he added.

The survey also showed that priority of saving or investing remains at the top of the list of those asked. ZIL prepares two research reports a year asking Singaporeans and expatriates about their attitudes to financial planning and the correlation between their financial and lifestyle behaviour.

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