The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 27, 28 Feb & 1 Mar 2021 (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

Development charge rates up 0.3% for non-landed residential use, 1.5% cut for commercial use
In tandem with the improving Singapore private housing market, the government has upped development charge (DC) rates for the landed and non-landed residential use groups for the half-year period starting March 1. However, it is trimming DC rates for commercial use for the second consecutive time, albeit by a moderated 1.5 per cent on average, following the 3.6 per cent reduction during the previous revision that took effect Sept 1, 2020.

Property taxes are likely first stop for wealth tax review
A review of wealth taxes to fund growing recurrent spending could centre on property taxes, with cooling measures potentially adjusted in tandem, say tax analysts. However, they recommended a calibrated approach to any adjustments, so as to protect Singapore’s competitiveness as a wealth hub. Having handled the pandemic fairly well, Singapore could even afford to wait a little longer and reap some benefits if other countries raise taxes first to fund Covid-19 measures.

Singapore’s wealth-related taxes
As Singapore grapples with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has said that it will review wealth taxes. Typically, wealth taxes are those levied on assets such as cash, bank deposits, shares and property.

Over 2,000 BTO flats in Bidadari estate completed
More than 2,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) Housing Board flats in Singapore’s newest large estate, Bidadari, have been completed, with families progressively moving into their new homes. These flats are spread across three projects – Alkaff Vista, Alkaff LakeView and Alkaff CourtView – which were launched for sale by the HDB in 2015.

Two-room HDB flexi flats a big hit with seniors
Two-room flexi flats have proved popular with seniors, with more than half of the buyers aged 55 and above, figures revealed yesterday. Singles have been the second largest group purchasing the units since they were introduced six years ago, the Housing Board said. As at Dec 31 last year, about 34,700 two-room flexi flats had been launched for sale since they were rolled out in 2015.

Minister explains how agencies assess environment impact
Developers of projects near sensitive areas such as nature reserves and others with significant biodiversity, marine or coastal stretches, or those with potential transboundary impact, are subjected to greater scrutiny, National Development Minister Desmond Lee told Parliament yesterday. These developers are required to engage in an in-depth consultation process with multiple public agencies to review the project’s potential impact not only on the environment, but also on traffic, public health and heritage.


Singapore Economy

Counter protectionism by uniting to uphold global trading system: Chan
Those who believe that economic integration is key for global recovery must work together to counter protectionism, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said yesterday. Speaking at a virtual conference organised by the South China Morning Post, Mr Chan said the rules-based global economic order that has benefited countries large and small faces profound challenges, including geopolitical tensions, fiscal strain and widening income disparities both within and between countries.

Decline in services revenue in Singapore eases to -7.9% in Q4
The decline in service businesses’ revenues eased in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to data from the Department of Statistics’ (Singstat) Business Receipts Index on Friday. Business receipts fell by 7.9 per cent compared to the same period a year ago. But this marked an improvement from the third quarter’s decline, which was revised to -10.2 per cent – worse than the -9.5 per cent earlier reported.

Global chip shortage should buoy Singapore factory output in H1 2021, watchers say
The global chip shortage helped to boost a low-base effect, taking Singapore’s factory output to a better-than-expected surge in the new year. Industrial production rose by 8.6 per cent year on year in January, according to Economic Development Board (EDB) figures released on Friday – more than twice the median forecast of 3.6 per cent in a Bloomberg poll.

Singapore needs 1.2m more digital workers by 2025 to remain competitive: report
Singapore will need 1.2 million additional digital workers by 2025 – a 55 per cent increase from today’s levels – to remain competitive, according to a new report commissioned by Amazon Web Services (AWS). This translates to 23.8 million digital skills training from 2020 to 2025, said the report, which noted that digitally skilled workers currently represent 63 per cent of Singapore’s workforce.


Companies’ Brief

CapitaLand and CDL’s earnings may rebound in 2021, but will that lift their share prices?
For CapitaLand and City Developments (CDL), 2020 was a year to forget. This past week, as both these leading property development groups reported dismal results for their respective FY2020s, they emphasised that they were in good shape to seize new opportunities, and urged investors to focus on the future potential of their businesses.

CDL charts next steps for Sincere, hotels after S$1.92b loss
City Developments Limited (CityDev: C09 0%) is focusing on a new chapter of growth and transformation, having booked substantial impairment losses on Sincere Property Group, hotels and investment properties.  The road ahead for the Singapore-based real estate giant may include unlocking “deep value” in its London subsidiary’s hotel portfolio, nursing Sincere back to health, a potential Singapore listing of a new real estate investment trust (Reit) with UK commercial assets, and growing its presence in the private rented sector.

CDL’s ‘game-changing’ China deal turns out to be more difficult than expected
When City Developments Limited’s (CDL) investment in Chinese developer Sincere Property was announced last April, the move was described as a “historic transformational deal” and “game-changing investment”. Barely a year later, things have gone south. The Singapore developer has written off almost all of its $1.8 billion stake in Sincere – and the size of the impairment surprised many.

UOL full-year profit dives 97% to S$13m; better second-half more than offsets H1 loss
UOL Group’s FY20 net profit plunged 97 per cent to S$13.1 million, from S$478.8 million a year earlier. This was due mainly to attributable fair-value losses on its investment properties and other losses totalling S$246.7 million, compared to gains of S$165.1 million previously. The group suffered a decline in fair value on its commercial properties and serviced suites such as Pan Pacific London and Pan Pacific Melbourne, due to the impact of the pandemic.

Yanlord H2 profit shrinks 3% to 2.1b yuan
Yanlord Land Group’s net profit edged down 3 per cent to 2.1 billion yuan (S$431.8 million) in the half-year ended December 2020, from 2.2 billion yuan in the corresponding period of the previous year. Lower other operating income and other gains, share of loss of joint ventures and a decrease in fair value gain on investment properties dragged down a 35 per cent rise in revenue during the same period.

Centurion sinks into the red with S$3.8m net loss for H2 FY2020
Centurion Corporation, with its purpose-built worker and student accommodation (PBWA and PBSA respectively) assets having been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, expects to see a slow recovery in occupancy for most of its markets in the year ahead, it said in an earnings call on Friday.

Sias requests offer price revision, two-week extension for GL offer
Investor watchdog Securities Investors Association (Singapore), or Sias, has called for GL’s offeror to ” seriously reconsider” improving the offer price to reflect the true value of GL. This came after shareholders highlighted their concern that the current offer price of S$0.70 per share “significantly undervalues” their shareholdings, and that the offer is not fair – an opinion affirmed by the independent financial adviser (IFA) W Capital Markets.

Index that profiles climate conscious Reits
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the already significant growth in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing globally. According to Morningstar, net inflows for US sustainable open-end and exchange traded funds reached US$51.1 billion in 2020. Global assets under management leveraging ESG data has also doubled in four years to reach US$40.5 trillion in 2020, as shown in an Opimas report.

Corporate digest


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Spurring sustainable mobility
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)

A balanced approach is needed to optimally address the issue of mobility vs evolving environmental changes. Government has initiated multiple policies to realise the car-lite vision through regulating the car population, improving and expanding public transport systems, integrating micro-mobility modes of transport and encouraging use of public transport, walking and cycling.

To get digital transformation right, focus not on tech but on culture
During a recent conversation with a friend who is thinking of taking up a digital transformation role in a big local organisation, I heard myself say: “Transformation is not about technology, it’s about culture.” That’s what I’ve thought for a while but never said out loud. Some of you may agree but many of you, I suspect, will not. After all, so much of what’s written about digital transformation focuses on technology.

Half-hearted approach to digitalisation risks Asean business recovery
Singapore – South-east Asia’s prominence within global manufacturing, trade and supply chains has been fuelled by a large and low-cost workforce, shifts in production and the region’s booming consumer base. However, these favourable demographics will not be enough to sustain growth, particularly as other Asian markets – including India and western provinces in China – emerge as strong competition.

Meeting all the needs of the country within a small city
Singapore is both a city and a state, which means that all that it needs has to be located within the city, says Minister for National Development Desmond Lee. In explaining the unique challenges the nation faces in striking a balance between development and the conservation of green spaces, he says: “Unlike other countries with huge nature cores outside their cities, far from human reach, we are very unique in our requirements, in our tensions.”


Singapore Budget 2021

Budget debate: DPM Heng reminds the House of hard truths
Singapore – “Please do not put words in my mouth.” If there was one thing that stood out in a couple of the exchanges that followed Mr Heng Swee Keat’s Budget round-up speech on Friday (Feb 26), it was that the cerebral, soft-spoken Deputy Prime Minister seemed genuinely angered. The first subject of his ire was the Workers’ Party’s Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC), who sought clarification on why Mr Heng was “dismissive of soft capital”.

S’pore must resist borrowing for recurrent expenditure: Heng
While Singapore will look to borrow for long-term infrastructure, it has to resist doing so for recurrent expenditure. If not used productively, borrowing can often lead to high debt and low growth, which would affect investor confidence, businesses’ cost of funding and the country’s long-term growth, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. Responding to MPs’ support for borrowing for long-term infrastructure, he stressed that the Government’s approach to borrowing is a carefully calibrated one.

Govt must make good on sum if reserves are used for investments
Should there be a need for Singapore to use its past reserves to fund economic investments, the Government would have to do its best to make good on the amount drawn, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. He told the House that he expects to fund government expenditures for the remainder of this term without a further draw on past reserves. Even then, given the highly uncertain global outlook, there is a need to think ahead and plan how Singapore can respond if the situation evolves, he said, as he explained the circumstances under which Singapore might have to tap past savings.

Reserves play key role in stabilising economy: DPM
Singapore’s reserves play a critical role in stabilising the economy during crises and shocks and in providing a steady steam of revenue, and any decision on the use of the strategic assets is not taken lightly, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. “We have inherited a strategic asset for the long-term survival and success of Singapore. Protect it, nurture it and never squander it.”

GST hike needed for rising health, social safety spending
The goods and services tax (GST) has to be increased to fund rising recurrent spending in key areas such as healthcare and to provide for more social safety nets, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. A $6 billion Assurance Package set aside in last year’s Budget will ensure that lower-income households will pay less than those who are well-off when the GST goes up, said Mr Heng, who set out in detail in his Budget round-up speech why the upcoming tax hike cannot be delayed or dropped.

Raising productivity only way to improve jobs and lives: Heng
Raising productivity is the only way to continually improve the jobs and lives of Singaporeans, which is the ultimate goal of the country’s economic growth, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. Responding to MPs’ comments on the Budget statement, Mr Heng noted that the $24 billion set aside for business and worker transformation over the next three years is about pursuing Singapore’s medium-to longer-term economic priorities, even as the country tackles its immediate challenge.

S’pore must press on with plans for next growth phase: DPM
With a narrow window of opportunity in which to transform its economy, Singapore has to press ahead with planned investments in order to secure its next decade of growth, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. Doing so would enable the economy to provide jobs in new areas even as it restructures, and enable the country to emerge stronger after the Covid-19 pandemic has passed.

JSS aimed at offering timely support to all firms
The Covid-19 pandemic took its toll on firms across the board and the Jobs Support Scheme’s (JSS) main priority was to ensure that all of them received timely support, Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong said yesterday. The JSS was thus rolled out as a “broad-based scheme without the need for onerous applications”, which especially helped small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), he told Parliament during the debate on ministries’ budgets.

Job security is about staying employable, says DPM
Job security is about staying employable and not just staying employed in the same job, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat noted yesterday. He added that the Government will continue to strengthen the ecosystem so people can continuously gain new skills and be prepared for future jobs. “To help workers capture these opportunities and enjoy the fruits of growth, we have moved into helping workers get into growth areas, and equipping them with skills to secure sustainable livelihoods.”

Five ways digitalisation has helped Singapore combat pandemic woes
The nation’s digitalisation efforts over the years have placed Singapore in a good position in the fight against the pandemic, said Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday. Here are five areas where digitalisation efforts have helped the nation cope in this pandemic, according to the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group.

Multiple layers of support to help S’poreans: Heng
From vulnerable segments of the population to the middle class and women, different groups of Singaporeans have been affected in different ways by the pandemic, and the Government has taken a customised approach to help them, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. There are the broad-based, permanent schemes that provide a safety net for all Singaporeans.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

Dorm resident is only local virus case; 10 imported
A 31-year-old dormitory resident was the sole locally transmitted case yesterday, alongside 10 imported cases. The male Bangladeshi national works as a delivery assistant at Chng Woodworking, and stays in a dormitory in Kranji Way. He is linked to a previous case confirmed last Monday, a colleague at the same workplace, and has been in quarantine at a dedicated facility since that day.

Singapore’s Covid-19 vaccination drive boosts hopes for some normalcy
Singapore – Hopes that life can return to some sort of normalcy is growing stronger by the week, as more Covid-19 vaccination centres spring up across Singapore. It has been about two months since Singapore rolled out its vaccination programme.

Close to 90% of eligible residents on TraceTogether
Close to nine in 10 eligible residents here have joined the Government’s digital contact tracing programme, despite a recent public backlash over privacy and trust issues. About 4.7 million people have the TraceTogether app or have collected the TraceTogether tokens, and this has allowed the authorities to shave days off the contact tracing process, said Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament yesterday.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US urban office market, stung by pandemic, hopes tech firms drive comeback

US approves Johnson & Johnson jab

Landlords eager for Covid-era revamps find growing appetite from investors

Mortgage rates hit 6-month high, threatening US housing boom

London’s West End turns dead end as shoppers leave Oxford Street

UK government to guarantee mortgages to help young buyers

Australia’s home prices, job ads surge as recovery blitzes expectations

China’s economic recovery slows amid holiday disruptions 

Japan to lift state of emergency in six prefectures ahead of schedule

Businesses in Johor support reopening of border with S’pore

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