The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily – 9th and 10th August 2017

Singapore Economy​

Singapore is world leader in e-government penetration: survey
Singapore has retained its first placing in the world in terms of the quality of “e-government”, according to a joint survey conducted by Japan’s Waseda University and the International Academy of Chief Information Officers (CIOs).

Singapore’s economy to grow by ‘around 2.5%’ this year: PM Lee
The government expects Singapore’s economy to grow by around 2.5 per cent this year, which would be higher than last year’s growth of 2 per cent. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced this latest forecast of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in his annual National Day message on Tuesday evening.

Singapore Real Estate

Normanton Park to be put up for en bloc sale at a minimum S$800m
Normanton Park condominium is slated to be launched for collective sale on Aug 22 at a minimum price of S$800 million after more than 80 per cent of owners by share value and strata area approved the collective sales agreement (CSA) by Wednesday.

Private condo resale prices fall 0.5% in July
Resale prices of private condominiums and apartments fell 0.5 per cent in July, after rising 0.7 per cent in June, SRX Property data showed on Tuesday. By region, both the Core Central Region and Rest of Central Region (referring to the city fringe) recorded a price increase of 0.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively, while the Outside Central Region (referring to the suburbs) price index fell by 1.9 per cent.

Rents of private home in Singapore up 0.2% in July: SRX Property
Rents of private non-landed homes in Singapore rose 0.2 per cent in July compared to June, while rental volumes rose by 11.8 per cent from a month ago to 4,834 units, going by the flash estimates of SRX Property.

Manulife eyes US$2b more of Asian office assets
Manulife Real Estate is looking to invest over US$2 billion into office assets in Asia, following its maiden acquisition of a prime office building in Singapore’s central business district (CBD) in April. This target is set to double its direct real estate holdings in Asia from some US$2.2 billion currently. 

Singapore Reits chalk up average total return of 17.6% year-to-date
The average total return of all 31 of Singapore’s real estate investment trusts (Reits) with property assets in addition to the six stapled trusts was 17.6 per cent for the year to Aug 4. The Singapore Exchange (SGX) My Gateway report on Monday said total returns ranged from 8 per cent for Fortune Reit to 30 per cent for CDL Hospitality Trusts.

GuocoLand looks to rise in private home prices
Developer GuocoLand has trimmed the number of units put up for sale at its latest condominium, Martin Modern, in what is seen as a bet on private residential prices reversing course after years of decline. Other developers also appear to share the same sentiments.

Bukit Panjang’s integrated transport hub to open on Sep 4
The Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub will open on Sep 4 after a delay of two years, announced the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Tuesday (Aug 8). This is Singapore’s ninth integrated transport hub after the ones in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay, Clementi, Joo Koon, Sengkang, Serangoon and Toa Payoh.

‘Retirement kampung’ set to open in Woodlands
Singapore’s first Housing Board “retirement kampung” is partially open, with its building slated to be ready for residents by next month. Construction for Kampung Admiralty, which was launched in 2014, is nearly complete. Already, a pharmacy and parts of a medical centre were open for business when The Straits Times visited it this week.

Companies’ Brief

How S’pore’s oldest firms stay relevant
Singapore may have just turned 52, but many homegrown businesses have been around for far longer. Greatearth, Boustead, Drew & Napier, Braddell Brothers, Haw Par, Eu Yan Sang and Yeo Hiap Seng – to name a few – have existed for more than a century. 

GIC increases stake in Rothesay Life
Investment bank Goldman Sachs is exiting its 32.7 per cent stake in UK pensions provider Rothesay Life, selling to other existing shareholders which include Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

ThaiBev to buy KFC outlets in Thailand for 11.3b baht
Thai Beverage Public Company (ThaiBev) has agreed to buy over KFC outlets in Thailand, including some in the pipeline. It intends to pay 11.3 billion baht (S$463 million) for existing outlets – totalling more than 240. An additional amount will be paid for outlets under development. The final consideration in both cases will be determined “at closing”, said ThaiBev.

Centurion to buy 160-unit student housing in the US for US$70m
Centurion Corporation announced on Thursday plans to acquire College & Crown, a 160-unit student accommodation asset with 204 beds near Yale University in the US, for US$70 million (S$95 million). This follows its maiden entry in the US last month with a proposed acquisition of a portfolio of 1,936 beds across five student accommodation assets for US$136 million (S$185 million).

Centurion aims for HK presence with listing there
Centurion Corporation Limited hopes to establish its presence in the Hong Kong market and is trying to do this through a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange. It aims to increase its investor base and establish brand presence in Hong Kong.

GLP’s Q1 profit down 29% at US$144.2m on lower revaluations
Global Logistic Properties (GLP) on Tuesday posted a 28.9 per cent fall in net profit to US$144.2 million for the first quarter ended June 30, down from US$202.9 million a year ago. The mainboard-listed provider of logistics facilities attributed the fall in net profit to “lower revaluations this quarter”. It said that earnings excluding revaluations were up 131 per cent due to foreign exchange movements.

Q2 fair-value gain lifts Perennial; group upbeat on China healthcare
Perennial Real Estate Holdings, which recently led a consortium to consider the en bloc sale of AXA Tower for at least S$1.65 billion, on Tuesday reported a surge in its second-quarter net profit to S$17.1 million from S$0.6 million a year ago. The rise in earnings was mainly due to a fair-value gain of S$16.6 million from the revaluation of Xi’an North High Speed Railway Integrated Development Plot 4, said Perennial. 

Aspial jewellery business weak, overseas property on track
Weak consumer sentiment in Singapore continued to weigh on the jewellery segment of Aspial Corporation in its latest results announced late Tuesday night. However, the firm is making good progress in its real estate arm’s overseas property sales and construction, and its pawnbroking arm Maxi-Cash is holding steady.

Hotelier IHG posts slower Q2 RevPAR growth
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) reported slower growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in the second quarter, sending its shares down 4 per cent, as a later Easter weighed on its US performance. The operator of brands such as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental said RevPAR grew 1.5 per cent in the three months to June 30, down from 2.7 per cent in the first quarter and 2.5 per cent a year earlier. The Easter holiday, when there are fewer business travellers, fell in the second quarter of this year versus the first quarter of last year.

UOL’s whitewash resolution for share swap is ‘fair and reasonable’: IFA
The independent financial adviser (IFA) for UOL Group has advised shareholders to vote to waive their rights to receiving a mandatory general offer from Haw Par Corporation. In a circular dated Aug 8, the IFA, Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance, said that the whitewash resolution is “fair and reasonable” and that the “proposed transaction is on normal commercial terms and not prejudicial to the interests of the UOL Group and its minority shareholders”.

Fragrance Group’s Q2 profit rises 3.1%
Fragrance Group reported a 3.1 per cent increase in net profit to S$3.8 million for the second quarter ended June 30. Turnover rose 14 per cent to S$35 million from the previous year, mainly thanks to its property development and property investment segments.

Hong Leong Finance’s Q2 profit rises 89%
Hong Leong Finance’s profit for the second quarter ended June 30 jumped around 89 per cent year on year to S$20.87 million from the corresponding quarter last year. Net interest income and hiring charges rose 25.3 per cent to S$42.64 million. Interest expenses fell 30.2 per cent to S$31 million, resulting from a combination of a lower deposits base and lower applicable interest rates.

Bonvests’ Q2 profit rises 17.1% as lower expenses offset revenue slowdown
Bonvests Holdings’ second-quarter net profit rose 17.1 per cent to S$7.97 million, or 1.982 Singapore cents per share, as lower operating expenses helped to offset a slowdown in the rental, industrial and hotel businesses.

Boustead Projects’ Q1 profit falls 5%
Boustead Projects on Tuesday posted a 5 per cent drop in net profit for the first quarter to S$5.8 million, from S$6.1 million a year ago, on the back of lower other income and higher overhead expenses, and share of loss of an associate company and joint ventures.

BHG Retail Reit’s Q2 DPU flat at 1.35 cents
BHG Retail Reit’s distribution per unit (DPU) for the second quarter was flat at 1.35 Singapore cents, the company said in a filing to Singapore Exchange on Tuesday evening. Income available for distribution increased 4.4 per cent to S$4.92 million from the year-ago period as higher rental reversion and an increase in occupancy rates boosted results. This came despite the introduction of a nationwide VAT reform in China, which came into effect from May 1, 2016.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Signs of new vigour in the property market
Comments from CapitaLand’s chief executive officer Lim Ming Yan last week that there are signs the private residential market could be bottoming out made market watchers sit up for its positive tone from Singapore’s largest property player. The comments jive with a range of data pointing to an uptick in the market. The latest second-quarter numbers from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) show that prices fell 0.1 per cent, less than the 0.4 per cent in the second quarter. But is the market bottoming out to remain flat, or could Singapore even be embarking on a fresh property cycle?

Workplace safety: The next frontier
The year 2004 was a pivotal one for workers’ safety in Singapore. That was the year the Nicoll Highway collapsed on April 20, killing four workers and injuring three others. Just nine days later, the collapse of a steel structure at the Fusionopolis worksite on April 29 killed two workers and injured 29 others. A month later, a fire on board the ship Almudaina on May 29 at the Keppel Shipyard killed seven workers and injured three. These three accidents triggered a round of soul-searching.

ASEAN’s biggest challenge is to stay united: Tommy Koh
As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) marks its 50th anniversary this year, the biggest challenge for the regional group moving forward will be for it to stay united, said Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh. He was speaking to Channel NewsAsia in the Philippine capital Manila where day-long celebrations took place on Tuesday (Aug 8) to mark the milestone.

Cashless future? S’pore needs bolder, overarching plan
July was a good month for e-payments in Singapore. PayNow, the long-awaited, bank-agnostic fund transfer service supported by seven banks here, was launched. Stripe, the San Francisco payments tech company, said that Singapore Internet businesses can accept payments via Alipay and WeChat Pay using Stripe’s software, opening China’s massive consumer market to businesses here. 

Amazon’s Singapore play a precursor to S-E Asia e-commerce battle
Amazon has been mulling an entry into Singapore for some time and anecdotal evidence suggests it postponed a launch here at least once. The reason for that is not hard to understand: timing was of the essence. For Amazon, entering the Singapore market is not an end by itself. Rather, it is a stepping stone to the larger, lucrative South-east Asian market. More on that later.

Minimarts 2.0: Updating a traditional business
I was stuck on an hour-long bus ride in Shanghai two years ago during a tour with retailers from Singapore and decided to make better use of time. I logged on remotely into my store’s inventory system to check on stock, realised it was low on Yeo’s packet drinks and sent a purchase order to the supplier via WhatsApp.

Anti-globalisation: the new socialism of fools
According to mainstream economic theory, globalisation tends to “lift all boats”, and has little effect on the broad distribution of incomes. But “globalisation” is not the same as the elimination of tariffs and other import barriers that confer rent-seeking advantages to politically influential domestic producers. As Harvard University economist Dani Rodrik frequently points out, economic theory predicts that removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers does produce net gains; but it also results in large redistributions, wherein eliminating smaller barriers yields larger redistributions relative to the net gains.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US Q2 earnings boom may not last much longer

US productivity increases in second quarter; labour costs soft

US jobs openings surge to record high in June

Brexit inflation pushing British shoppers to cheaper goods, BoE survey shows

Evans sees Sept Fed balance-sheet move, tech sapping prices

Malaysia launches China-backed East Coast rail project amid concerns==

Indonesia’s retailers seek govt help to kickstart lacklustre sales

Indonesia’s June retail sales rise 6.3% y-o-y: survey

China’s import and export growth slows

China pledges to take on the ‘original sin’ of its financial system

China’s ‘Silk Road’ initiative lends urgency to India’s regional ambitions

China to spend US$1.5t on outbound M&A in next decade

Wealth tax under attack as richest Scandinavians prepare to vote

UK house price growth weakest in over 4 years: RICS

Westchester County in US bustling with developments

A tweak, not a teardown, for that just-right house

US housing market’s new dominant force: Baby boomers who won’t sell

Marriott poised for relief in NYC with construction surge easing

Alibaba, Marriott team up to tap Chinese tourism boom

Reits actually do better when rates rise, but not in Canada

SNC targets Canadian projects as Trudeau’s plan edges out Trump’s

Manulife US Reit beats Q2 forecasts; DPU of 1.58 US cents

China developers sink as the world’s biggest stock rally loses steam

Thanks to Brexit, the Irish countryside is more popular than ever

Architects, designers and refugees team up to build tiny houses in Berlin project

Indian state to give property rights to slum dwellers in ‘historic’ step

South Korea house prices cannot be sole cause to hike interest rates

Hotelier IHG revenue per room growth hit by timing of Easter holiday

GE saves money by delaying Boston HQ tower construction

In tough retail landscape, Payless emerges as rare bankruptcy survivor

At $350 Million, Beverly Hillbillies Mansion Is Most Expensive in U.S.

A Dreamy, Rustic Italian Life Can Be Yours for $3.76 Million

The Hotelier Who Reinvigorated a New York Neighborhood Heads to Vegas

Additional Articles Of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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