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FINANCIAL SERVICES, MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Daily Briefing: Income ceiling of HDB flat buyers raised; Grab Financial plans Singapore-Philippines cross-border remittance corridor

And venture builder Antler will set up Indonesian office in 2020.

From Channel News Asia:

The income ceiling to qualify for the purchase of new housing board flats will be raised and first-time flat buyers will get more generous housing grants starting 11 September.

The household income cap will go up from $12,000 to $14,000 for families looking to buy a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat. This increased cap will also apply to HDB housing loans.

Those looking to buy an Executive Condominium will also benefit from a higher income cap, up from $14,000 to $16,000. For singles aged 35 and above the new income ceiling will be $7,000, up from $6,000.

The income ceiling was last raised in 2015.

The changes will give more home buyers access to affordable housing options, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday at an event to recognise HDB projects for their excellence in design, construction and engineering.

Read more here.

From DealStreetAsia:

Grab Financial, the financial arm of Southeast Asia’s most-valued ride-hailing startup, is looking to launch its first cross-border remittance corridor between Singapore and the Philippines in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to a top executive.

The move will allow users to remit money instantly and securely using their GrabPay wallets, Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial Group told DealStreetAsia, adding that remittances play an important role in Southeast Asia’s economy.

According to World Bank data, remittances reached a record high in 2018 and the Philippines is the fourth-largest remittance market in the world, valued at $46.91b (US$34b).

“This represents both a clear opportunity and an issue to resolve, as remittance is often a lengthy and laborious process from sender to agency to receiver. We are also looking to launch other remittance corridors in the near term,” he said.

The move to launch a cross-border remittance product came last November, shortly after it secured a $69m (US$50m) funding from Thailand-based KASIKORNBANK, making its entry into the Thai payment space.

Read more here.

From DealStreetAsia:

Singapore-based venture builder and early-stage venture capital firm Antler on Tuesday announced that it will set up an office in Indonesia in the first half next year, targeting to nurture at least 20 local startups annually.

“The programme will be kicked off in the first half of 2020 in Indonesia, and we will start with 50 founders to test it [the first programme] out,” Antler co-founder and managing partner Jussi Salovaara said.

Ahead of setting up an office in Indonesia, Antler last year appointed Stefan Jung as its Southeast Asia chief investment officer. Based in Jakarta, Jung previously served as managing partner at Lippo-affiliated VC firm Venturra Capital for four years.

“The reason why we chose Jakarta is simply because of the large and untapped potential. When we began in Singapore, we started looking outside of the city-state. If you look at the successful unicorns in the domestic market and any other regions, they have a presence here,” Salovaraa added.

According to Salovaara, Antler is now actively looking to induct a local and seasoned CEO for its Indonesian office.

Read more here.

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