One of Singapore’s best-loved celebrity couples, Mediacorp Artiste Pierre Png and former actress-turned-hair salon boss Andrea De Cruz are also astute property investors.
The loving couple, who celebrates their 15th wedding anniversary this year, currently owns two properties in Singapore. They also have a sound wealth investment and management strategy in place, making them the perfect pair to be Redbrick Mortgage Advisory’s first-ever celebrity ambassadors.
The Redbrick Team: Pierre, congratulations on the success of Hollywood hit ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ where you were very well received as Michael (husband to actress Gemma Chan’s character, Astrid). What was your Hollywood experience like?
Pierre Png: It’s been quite surreal and unbelievable. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be in a Hollywood movie, what more to play myself – a true blue Singaporean. I’m very proud to represent the country and hopefully, more come out of this. As more and more interviews come out, I’ve realised that I’m part of a big movement and a cry for diversity. It’s more than I bargained for and I’m more than happy to take on the challenge.
Can you share with us your home ownership/investment journey so far? How many homes you’ve bought and sold so far?
We have bought three properties as a couple. Sold one, currently live in one and are renting the other out.
Tell us about the first property you and Andrea bought.
Our first property we bought together was our matrimonial home, a condo unit in the Bukit Timah area.
What do you look for in a home?
Location is key when we are looking to buy simply because we always see owning property in Singapore as an investment, and often take into consideration the possibility of selling it when the time is ripe.
And what do you look for in an investment property?
Proximity to amenities, the size of the property and location.
99 years leasehold or freehold?
Freehold. They tend to command higher premiums than leasehold properties. The scarcity of freehold land parcels could contribute to even higher premiums since the Singapore government has since ceased the release of freehold land parcels.
Condo or landed property?
Both. We currently own one each. It’s easier to rent out a condo apartment because tenants prefer having the facilities.
Stay in the heart of the action, or far from the madding crowd?
At the moment, far from the maddening crowd but in the future, as we age, we hope to be closer to amenities. We like Tiong Bahru. It has such an old-world charm to it and you get really good food. That will be a nice place to stay in. If Andrea is still running Cinq Studio salon at Scotts Square when we’re older, it’d be nice to live in town and walk everywhere, although living expenses will likely go up.
Do you plan to buy a property overseas?
We’d like to look into apartments in Melbourne because there’s a steady stream of students who rent them. Andrea’s previously studied in Melbourne University so she really loves the city.
Would you describe yourselves as savers or spenders?
We’re a good mix of both. We make sure to always save for that rainy day and spend wisely on items that hold value or appreciate in value.
Tell us about your best investment so far.
The properties we’ve bought. We’ve always managed to go in at the right time and have not seen losses.
Your most indulgent purchase?
A Porsche for Andrea, in British racing green. Green seems to be her new favourite colour lately. We also recently found out that green is apparently her lucky colour!
What is your wealth management strategy?
We are often all ears when we hear of good investment tips and try to find ways to grow our savings rather than leave it in the bank to earn measly interest rates.
What do you prefer to put your money in: property, buying shares, fixed deposits, bonds… etc? Why?
In land scarce Singapore, property is always a good investment when you go in at the right time, and do that we have. We hold some government bonds that have held steady and give good dividends, and occasionally put our monies into fixed deposit accounts when good interest rates are being offered.
Congratulations on being named Redbrick Mortgage Advisory’s first celebrity ambassadors. What do you like best about the service they offer to clients?
I’m really impressed that it’s a one-stop shop. You can get quotes from 16 different banks just by using their website. It’s really efficient, time saving and it’s free of charge. And they take care of the paperwork too!
What advice would you offer to home buyers?
We recently bought a new home, a landed property. Our own agent really didn’t do much other than make the appointments for us after we scouted and sent her screenshots of the details. The seller’s agent did all the work. Although private property buyers like me don’t have to pay any commission to my agent, the seller’s agent had to split his commission with my agent, which I thought was unfair.
For HDB flat buyers, they’d have to pay a commission even if their agent didn’t do a good job. So buyers should try to save where they can. If the Redbrick guys can help you to find a good financing deal, do it for free and help you to save up to $10,000, that will help you save a great deal that you can put into your renovation or furniture!
Finally, what is one tip you’ll give to people who want to accumulate wealth?
Know the products you are buying into well, and don’t go into anything you are not familiar with. Never leave your monies in the hands of friends or family to invest because when things go sour and you lose on your investment, the relationship too will go sour.
Image credits: Mediacorp, Pierre Png & Andrea De Cruz.