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What you should know before buying property overseas

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For many, living overseas is one of the great joys in life. But if you still want to maintain a connection to your home country, or perhaps you’re considering moving back, purchasing property abroad may be on the agenda.

For Australians, recent movements have opened possible opportunities in the real estate market. In December 2018, CoreLogic released property data that showed Australian housing values have dropped by 4.1% since November 2017. This is largely attributed to drops of 8.1% in Sydney, and 5.8% in Melbourne since November 2017 through to the end of November 2018, likely because of tighter credit conditions.

Similarly, expats from New Zealand may see some opportunity open up due to the recent ban on foreign buyers in an attempt to stave off rising house prices. Not to mention, the weakening Australian dollar (AUD) and New Zealand dollar (NZD) provides an opportunity to use favourable market movements to an advantage.

Learn how to manage market movements

Buying a property overseas can be risky when you take into account market movements and the impact on how much you have to spend. A new property is a significant commitment and one of the factors affecting the feasibility of your investment will be the exchange rate. Currencies are often prone to dramatic fluctuations, so understanding currency risk and management is important.

As the markets are prone to moving and the value of certain currencies is different in countries around the world, it’s good to be prepared financially. You may want to use a currency converter to look at the current market rates, or monitor for a favourable movement using Rate Alerts. Alternatively, if you’re not ready to transfer money just yet, reviewing the historical rates of a particular currency, and keeping up with Market News can help with keeping abreast of what’s happening in the market.

In terms of risk management, using tools like a Forward Contract or Limit Orders to make international payments for a deposit or mortgage payments can help mitigate volatility and potentially save on money often lost in market movements. Say, for example, you’re in the market for a new property and the exchange rate is currently in your favour but you’re not in a position to transfer just yet. You can lock in a Forward Exchange Contract with OFX, which means you can pay that amount at a later date (for the deposit once you’ve found the place of your dreams) at the agreed rate of exchange.

Lending conditions, tax requirements and more

Meeting lending requirements can often be made more difficult for expats looking to buy property overseas as there are often certain terms and conditions attached. Many lenders will only accept a certain percentage of a foreign income so how much you can borrow is very dependent on the lender you choose.

It’s also worth considering the amount of tax you may need to pay on your international property, as some countries require property taxes and others don’t. If you plan to rent out the property while you’re still abroad, you may also be required to declare that income for tax purposes. Which means that in some cases, unless there’s a double taxation treaty in place, you could end up having to pay tax in two countries.

It’s also a good idea to look into the laws regarding your ability to hold the title of a property as it may be different for foreign investors compared to local ones. The policies for foreign investment into real estate vary from country to country, so it’s best to investigate your title eligibility and what you need to do to secure that title.

Buying property in your home country is an exciting opportunity, whether it’s an investment, or just a connection to home that allows you to visit friends and family more often. If you’re in the market for a new property, planning and understanding what’s happening with currency and real estate markets is key. This is a simple list of considerations when looking into foreign property investment, the rest is up to you!

As a startup formed on Sydney’s northern beaches, OFX has grown to become a global company with 7 offices around the world. At OFX, we help people move money around the world with ease and 24/7 customer support.

Valentine’s Day Inspo!

Photo: Andaz Singapore

Mr Stork
5 Fraser Street Level 39, Andaz, 189354
Perched at the top of Andaz Singapore hotel, Mr Stork is a cool rooftop bar boasting dizzying 360-degree views of the city. Cosy up in one of the cute tee-pee huts, dotted in lush sky-high gardens, or take a table overlooking the outstanding views. Walks-ins only, and expect a short wait for a table on weekends.
Love potion: The slick circular bar serves fruity and floral cocktails, created with herbs and fresh fruits such as ginger, thyme, basil, mint, rhubarb and lemon. Try the Signature Watermelon cocktail ($20) with fresh watermelon juice, lime, strawberry, salt, mint and gin.

Photo: EK YAP

Atlas bar
Parkview Square,
600 North Bridge Road, 188778
Visiting Atlas bar is like stepping back in time to a 1930s New York art deco hotel – with plush couches, dim lighting, soaring ceilings and walls lined with seriously impressive bottles. Sink into a velvet seat and choose from a mod European inspired menu and consult a novel of drink options, from fine champagne to classic cocktails.
Love potion: Atlas houses one of the world’s most diverse gin collections – more than 1,000 are on offer – from modern craft gins, to London dry gins dating back to 1910. Order yours straight up, or with a slug of excellent tonic. Reservations recommended.

Photo: Neon Pigeon

Neon Pigeon
1 Keong Saik Rd, 089109
Nestled in the heart of bustling Keong Saik Road, this modern Izakaya style bar serves elegant Japanese sharing bites and inventive cocktails. A new cocktail menu provides the perfect antidote to Singapore’s hot, humid nights.
Love potion: An innovative drinks menu is divided into nine categories: Negroni’s, Refreshing, Old Fashioneds, Clippings, Punches, Ice Ice baby, Elegant, Frizzante and Lemony – with each category showcasing two contrasting cocktails.  If you dare, try the Wasabi Drop ($19) a feisty concoction which mixes Wasabi with T&T vodka and in-house infused granola sake.

Operation Dagger
7 Ann Siang Hill, #B1-01, 069791
Friendly bartenders and an intimate, industrial underground location in trendy Ann Siang Hill makes for a fun night out. Take your “Galantines” or Valentine’s date and impress them with your local know-how.
Love potion: Don’t expect the same old boring mojitos here. Sip on ultra-creative cocktails like the Banana Split, made with fermented banana and ricotta whey soda, honey, coconut blossom and coriander, or the New Skin, with flavours of potato skin, dill, coffee caramel and cold brew chocolate.

An Education That Delivers Results

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The 2018 graduating cohort at the Australian International School (AIS) has achieved outstanding results across the School’s 3 academic pathways – the New South Wales Higher School Certificate (HSC), International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) and Vocational Education and Training (VET). Highlights include a 100% pass rate on the IBDP for a third year running, and an average point score of 35.2, which is almost 6 points higher than the global average. One of our highest achievers is Alicia Wong, an IBDP graduate who achieved the top IB score of 45 points. She shares her experience on how she achieved this.

How did you feel when you achieved an IB top score of 45/45?

When I received the phone call about my results, I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. I had put in a great amount of effort throughout the course of two years to prepare for the exams and to hear that I have achieved the top mark was a great testament to the fact that hard work does pay off!

The IB pathway has certainly prepared me for University, so I am excited for my next academic endeavour, knowing that with this score, the possibilities are endless.

How did you prepare for your examinations?

The preparation for the final IB examinations required a lot of prioritisation and effective time management to ensure I had left enough time to rest as well.

In terms of revising, I set-up a study timetable so that I was able to cover all of the content, leaving enough time to ask my teachers questions on anything I was unsure of. I completed a substantial number of past papers to ensure I was both comfortable and familiar with the exam format and style of questions, where for some subjects I even attempted all the past papers from 1999 until 2018!

However, with that being said, I tried not to over-work and stress myself out in the final weeks leading up to the exam, because at the end of the day, I had to trust in myself with the preparation I had consistently done throughout the two years.

What are your future plans?

I am currently waiting to hear back from some universities which I had chosen but my ambition is to study Medicine in Australia either doing a combined double degree or a postgraduate degree.

After completing that, I hope to have the opportunity to travel around the world to gain new experiences and potentially get involved in medically-based service for the less fortunate communities who lack access to healthcare.

I also plan to also continue growing my YouTube channel “studycollab: alicia” and website “study-collab.com” which provides students worldwide with useful tips and resources about organisation and effective revision!

How has AIS helped you to achieve your goals? 

A great deal of my success in achieving my goals was contributed by the wonderful teachers I had throughout my time in AIS, especially within the last two years. My teachers were not only thorough in their approach, but were also extremely supportive. Their undeniable passion for teaching in their respective subjects was very inspiring and motivated me to work harder to pursue my goals and passions.

AIS has also supported a number of my interests in community service and leadership by giving me a myriad of unique opportunities. For example, having the chance to organise fundraising events throughout the year for different charities and partake in life changing trips to underprivileged communities in India and Cambodia. All these experiences and the people I have met through them at AIS has truly shaped me into the person I am today.

New Polo School in Turf City

Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Australia and Patrick is from Argentina. We met in the UK in 2001 where we were both working and traveling; we got married and lived there for 10 years. Our first two children, Lucas (12) and Matias (10) were born there. Patrick was transferred to Hong Kong in 2009 and we moved there before even knowing the place! We lived in Hong Kong for five years, where our third child Amelie (6) was born, before moving to Singapore in 2015.

What’s your ANZA connection?
We joined ANZA when we first arrived in Singapore and within a couple of months I took on a volunteer role with ANZA Soccer as an Age Group Coordinator (AGC). Along with my friend Michelle Wheeler I’m AGC for the U14’s. Patrick has been an ANZA coach for both Lucas and Matias’s soccer teams every year and we attend various ANZA events.

Why did you want to set up Colts?
Patrick has been involved with horses and polo all his life. He was the driver of the children’s polo program at the Singapore Polo club, which grew from a handful of kids to a large group of over 20 children in a short period of time. We thought there was a great opportunity to introduce new riders to polo. Singapore has a large equestrian community and a number of kids that were taking riding lessons wanted to try polo. They loved it! Riding and polo are great sports to learn from a young age. Our riding school provides not only a sports experience, but also an educational one – kids have to take responsibility for the care, welfare and performance of the horses. There is a lot more to riding than just riding!

Who is the riding and polo school for?
We are targeting children from age five and onwards, but we also invite adults of every experience who would like to try polo. We aim to make Colts a more inclusive riding school, and grow a community of riders in a fun, safe and family-friendly environment.

Does anyone else in your family play polo?
Lucas and Matias have been learning to play polo for about two years now, taking lessons at the Singapore Polo Club. Amelie will start riding now as well. I need to get over my fear of horses (after being thrown off when younger), before I’ll attempt to ride again!

Is this a change of direction for your family?
Patrick was a corporate banker with more than 20 years of experience. He left banking earlier last year to set up other sports-related ventures. It was a natural transition as he’s always loved sports and is passionate about development of youth sport in particular. After being a stay-at-home mum for the past 12 years, I’ve gone back to the workforce as a teaching assistant. I’ll be involved in the riding school out of school hours, and leave the riding to the experts!

What were the challenges of setting up a riding school in Singapore?
Setting up a company is actually really easy in Singapore, but the equestrian side is a bit more tricky. Most of the horses at Colts will be from overseas (Argentina and UK), so we had to go through the process of sourcing and buying the horses, quarantine in the country of origin, then shipment and quarantine again in Singapore.Overall, the experience has been great.

What is fantastic about being around these beautiful animals?
Horses are indeed beautiful, noble animals. Understanding their personalities, behaviours and how to make them perform is something that’s learned over time. But when it happens, it’s an incredible experience. We encourage everyone to give it a try!

Fast facts!
Location:
Turf City (104 Turf City Road)
Classes available:
• Mini Riding lessons for 5-8 year olds,
• Children’s Lessons for 9-14 year olds and
• Adult Lessons for 15+
• Group and individual lessons
• Regular practice ‘chukkas’ for kids and adults (Chukkas are the time periods a polo match is divided into)
• School holiday polo & riding camps

Great Australia Day BBQ 2019

4200+ people flocked to the Australian International School on 27 January for a hugely successful Great Australia Day BBQ 2019, Proudly presented by HSBC. It was another day of family fun and Aussie spirit as a happy crowd enjoyed delicious sausage sangers and pies, jumping castles, dunk tanks, slip ’n slides, fantastic food and drinks, live music, face painting and craft workshops.

ANZA’s sports and interest groups were out in force – demonstrating what our organisation offers its members and there were 40 lively market stalls and craft workshops.

Special thanks to our event partner AIS, all the volunteers and sponsors HSBC, Eastern Carpets, Expat Dental, The Entertainer and The Butcher. See you next year!

4 Must-Dos After Moving to Singapore

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  1. Create Your Dream Place

Whether you’re looking for a condominium in Holland Village or a quaint shophouse in Katong, rest assured that you’ll receive exclusive offers with our real estate partners from Propnex, ERA and Mutual Benefits. Found the perfect place, but need help sprucing it up with your own style? Our furnishing partners Esco Leasing and Romanez might be of help.

  1. Get the Lowdown on Singapore’s Education, Legal, & Tax System

You know what they say, the best advice is always free. Enjoy complimentary consultations across the legal and tax sector with our trusted partners. Get familiarised with Singapore law with Summit Law Corporation, and understand how the Singapore tax system works with Costline. Still deciding between an international school and a national curriculum school for your child? Our partners like Purry Consultant Services can point you in the right direction.

  1. Get Local With Your Lifestyle

Unlock a range of exciting offers with your HSBC card. Get offers on your mobile plans, fitness subscriptions, and even yacht charters! That’s not all — look forward to exclusive 1-for-1 ENTERTAINER with HSBC deals that let you savour Singapore’s exciting foodscape. Think Jamie’s Italian, Tenkaichi Japanese BBQ Restaurant and more!

  1. Find A Community To Call Home

Being away from home is much easier when you have a community you can rely on. That’s why HSBC is proud to be the Platinum Sponsor of ANZA’s Great Australian Day BBQ 2019! Join us on 27 Jan to participate in fun activities and stand to win exclusive gifts. Our Relationship Managers will also be present to answer any queries you might have.

If you would like us to contact you with more details, please click here to register your interest.

You can also join HSBC by simply crediting your monthly salary to an HSBC Premier or Advance account. Look forward to a suite of international banking services and partner privileges. Head over to www.hsbc.com.sg/expat for more details.

 

Cooking & Feasting with MasterChef’s Audra Morrice

When did you first want to be a chef?
From the age of 11, I used to bake during Chinese New Year or Christmas for friends and family. I’ve always dreamt of having my own little shop where I’d serve up freshly baked goods, run baking classes and sell branded goodies in beautiful little boxes. Delicious cookies, brownies, orange cakes…essentially everything I like to eat! It solidified when I joined MasterChef Australia in 2012 as a contestant. That was the pivotal moment that defined what I was going to do for the rest of my life: be a chef.

What is your new cookbook about?
Cook & Feast is a collection of delicious recipes with cross-cultural influences from my heritage, as well as my travels. I wanted to create recipes that would give people a reason to literally cook and feast with their friends and family.

Best part of being a judge on Singapore’s MasterChef?
Being part of a food revolution in Singapore. Viewers of the show become more knowledgeable about produce and ingredients and how to cook and that brings them back into the kitchen. On a different level, people sometimes need a little nudge to realise their dreams, and as a judge I can do that. I’m very thankful that as a former contestant I was pushed outside my comfort zone, because only then do you learn and truly realise what you’re capable of.

What did you think of the contestants?
We had an amazing diversity of individuals and I don’t just mean culturally. Everyone had different stories and most importantly they managed to weave that into the food they cooked. The best performers created food that they related to and represented. The winner, Zander Ng, was very clear in his vision, his cuisine, and who he was as a cook.

Where is home to you – Singapore or Australia?
I literally have the best of both worlds. Singapore is where I was born and raised, and it’s had the most amazing cultural influence on my love and passion for food. Australia has allowed me to explore and experiment with some of the greatest produce in the world, not to mention giving me the opportunity to kick start my cooking career. I am so blessed and proud to call both my home.

What do you love the most about both countries?
Singapore – My family, the richness of cultural diversity, which is the crux of my cooking, and the nation’s obsession with food.
Australia – The beautiful seasonal produce grown by hardworking, committed farmers, and the amazing landscape which has taught me that we need to eat, shop and manage our food cycle, to aim towards a healthy, sustainable future.

Have your two sons shown any flair for cooking?
They have been making their own cooked breakfasts since they were very young, around the age of six. Omelettes with sautéed kale and crispy chorizo were popular. My older son, who’s now 15, has recently taken a real interest in being able to cook a decent meal, which I’m thrilled about. He often comes into the kitchen while I’m cooking and asks to help. Between the two of them, he is definitely the more adventurous one, loves his food and will give just about anything a try! As for the little one, we are slowly making progress!

Where will we see you next?
I’m in the process of creating more pop-up dining events in Singapore, with the aim to establish one big event… watch this space! On a more personal level, this year saw me spend time back at my old school CHIJ, talking to the girls on being passionate about what they want to do and creating their own paths in life. I hope to spend more time with kids in 2019, mentoring them to be strong, resilient individuals, embracing experiences with an open mind and heart. And to remember that there are no mistakes or failures, each experience comes with great learning and clarity and will ultimately lead us where we want to go.

What are your resolutions for 2019?
I’ll keep it simple and totally achievable – to cook and feed more people my glorious food

Audra’s books can be purchased at all leading bookstores including Kinokuniya. Follow Audra on audramorrice.com.au/tv @audramorrice

Bali Dynasty Resort, Bali

3 nights’ stay for 2 adults in a deluxe room, including breakfast

PRIZE VALUE $650

A premier beachside resort in South Kuta located 10 minute drive from the airport. The property is fully integrated and offers six restaurants, five bars, three swimming pools including a kids’ pool with its own Kids Water Fun Zone and dedicated adults only pool, Ashoka Spa, exercise room, beach club, kids club, kids’ playground and teens club.

The unique layout allows for a subtle but effective division between the couples market and the family market. Couples can enjoy the famous Gracie Kelly’s Irish Pub and relax at the adults-only Lazy Pool, while kids enjoy a 56-metre waterslide flowing into their own pool and complimentary entrance to the Kids’ Club.

Terms and Conditions:

Not valid during high season (1 Jul – 31 Jul 2019), and long weekends.

Prior reservation is necessary and confirmation is subject to availability

Please quote this voucher number when making reservation

Please present the original voucher upon arrival to redeem your prize

This voucher has no cash value, not saleable and cannot be combined with any other promotions

Extension of validity will not be entertained

Valid between 19 May 2019 until 12 October 2019

Prize excludes flights & taxes

Prize is non-refundable & non-transferable

Sule Shangri La, Yangon

Three nights’ stay for two persons in a deluxe room including daily buffet breakfast at Café Sule.

PRIZE VALUE $650

Conveniently and ideally located in the heart of downtown Yangon, Sule Shangri-La, Yangon brings together Shangri-La’s unique Asian hospitality and personalised efficiency in service – making it your home away from home.

474 well-appointed rooms present large picture windows that frame the city, river or the Shwedagon Pagoda. While the décor references the past, guestroom amenities are thoroughly modern.

The hotel is also home to delectable cuisine. Café Sule is an international buffet restaurant, the Gallery Bar is a cosy pub with great comfort food, whilst the Peacock Lounge and Gourmet Shop offer a delicious variety of cakes and snacks, and premium coffee. Our signature restaurant, Summer Palace, serves delicious and authentic Cantonese cuisine.

Terms and Conditions:

Voucher number:19680

Subject to blackout dates

Period of booking: Period of stay: 24 May 2019 – 13 January 2020