The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 1 April 2021 (Thur)

Singapore Real Estate

Analysts flag higher odds of cooling measures as Singapore private home prices rise for fourth straight quarter
The odds of a fresh round of cooling measures have been dialled up a notch, with private home prices in Singapore in Q1 rising for a fourth straight quarter. Singapore private home prices rose 2.9 per cent in Q1 from previous quarter, according to latest flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Thursday. The price rise comes after a 2.1 per cent increase in Q4 last year.

HDB resale prices rise 2.8% in Q1, with 53 million-dollar flats sold
Singapore – Housing Board resale prices rose for a fourth consecutive quarter, climbing 2.8 per cent in the first three months of this year over the previous quarter, according to HDB flash estimates released on Thursday (April 1). Year on year, resale prices were up by 8 per cent. Last quarter’s HDB resale prices are also just 5 per cent lower than their peak price recorded in the second quarter of 2013, said OrangeTee & Tie’s senior vice-president of research & analytics Christine Sun.

Q1 home price data could offer view into prospect of cooling moves
The Q1 2021 flash estimate for the private home price index will be the one to watch as it reveals how much property prices have climbed in recent months. The flash estimate will be released on Thursday, and the data updated later in April once the full set of statistics for Q1 is released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). A substantial – and sustained – uptick in private residential prices could strengthen the case for cooling measures after the index notched a 2.1 per cent gain quarter-on-quarter in Q4 2020. In Q3 2020, the increase was 0.8 per cent.

Nanofilm founder’s wife buys Nassim Road GCB for $128.8m
A Good Class Bungalow (GCB) in Nassim Road has been sold for $128.8 million to the wife of the founder of Nanofilm Technologies International – a local nanotechnology solutions company. Property website EdgeProp reported on Tuesday that Ms Jin Xiao Qun had bought the 32,159 sq ft property – about the size of 33 four-room Housing Board flats. The price works out to roughly $4,005 per sq ft. The seller is businesswoman Oei Siu Hoa – also known as Sukmawati Widjaja – who owns another GCB in the area.

The future of the CBD
The rental gap between offices in the Central Area and the Fringe Area typically narrows during a downturn and widens during an upcycle. However, with Grade A offices popping up in the fringes – such as Paya Lebar – the narrowing of the rental gap has eased in recent years. Data from NUS’ Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies (IREUS) looks at how the pandemic played out last year.

Singapore Economy

Jurong Innovation District to bring jobs and innovation: Tan See Leng
Over the next 18 months, the Jurong Innovation District (JID) is expected to account for 4,500 jobs, with 1,200 being new and 3,300 being existing workers relocating into the area, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng during his visit to the Sodick Singapore Techno Centre (SSTC) on Wednesday. Developed by the JTC Corporation, the 600 hectare JID will establish companies such as German conglomerate Siemens and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group in a single campus. Partnerships with institutes of higher learning are also nurtured, to create a talent pool in the community.

Still tough for some businesses, even as support tapers off
With economic recovery gaining traction, some Covid-19 support measures and schemes will lapse, while others will be limited by their size and scope starting from today. These include insurance relief for businesses and individuals, and the Jobs Support Scheme, which will cease for all companies except those in hard-hit sectors. Some financing schemes for businesses will also see enhancements cease, such as the Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan.

Wage subsidy scheme spurs many firms to hire more locals
A wage subsidy scheme launched in September last year has spurred many companies to hire more locals, including mature workers. The hiring has been widespread, spanning different sectors, signifying a broad-based recovery, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo while sharing the 20th edition of her jobs situation report yesterday. She said that, in all, some 27,000 local employers hired about 130,000 locals with the support of the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) in the scheme’s first three months.


Companies’ Brief

Keppel to explore creating value with extra funds unlocked from asset-light strategy: CEO
As Keppel Corporation continues to advance with its asset-light strategy, the group will explore how best to create value with the surplus funds unlocked. This could include returning some capital to shareholders over time, particularly in periods where growth opportunities may be fewer or priced inappropriately. This was what chief executive Loh Chin Hua said in an interview published in the group’s FY2020 annual report…

CDL can take flight again after shaking off albatross
Singapore – Nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote an aphorism which went, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. The phrase may be particularly appropriate for listed property group City Developments (CDL), which has gone through its own annus horribilis over the past year. The Covid-19 pandemic almost decimated its vast global hospitality business while its property development side suffered as the market dived.

URA, BCA announce new appointments to boards, effective Thursday
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Building Construction Authority (BCA) announced key appointments to each of their boards in separate statements on Wednesday.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Asean+3 to rebound strongly, but recovery outlook hazy, says AMRO
Growth in the Asean+3 region is expected to rebound strongly this year and moderate in the next, but the recovery will be highly contingent on the pace of vaccination programmes, the strength of external demand, and the extent of economic scarring caused by Covid-19, the Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) said on Wednesday. The Asean+3 group includes all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as China, Japan and South Korea.

Suez jam exposes trade vulnerabilities
The world heaved a collective sigh of relief when news broke on Monday that traffic through the Suez Canal had resumed, after a 400m-long tanker, which ran aground and became lodged diagonally across the canal for almost a week, was refloated. With over 10 per cent of global maritime trade passing through the Suez and few alternative routes for shipping goods between Asia and Europe, snarls in the global supply chain could have been huge.

More returning to the office – but also to a new future of work
From Monday, more employees will be able to return to their workplaces, as Singapore makes a paradigm shift: from work-from-home (WFH) as the default, to “a more flexible and hybrid way of working”, as last week’s official statement put it. Yet with surveys suggesting that a majority of employees prefer to work from home, this is perhaps a chance for employers to firm up their long-term stance on flexible work arrangements. As reopening continues, such decisions will increasingly depend not on what government regulations permit, but what works best for the firm – pandemic or not.

Firms should consider hybrid model of working: Indranee
With more employees returning to offices and work sites, the minister in charge of boosting Singapore’s birth rate has asked employers to look seriously at providing more flexible work arrangements to allow workers time and opportunity to attend to their elderly parents or young children. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, who oversees the National Population and Talent Division, suggested that even as Covid-19 restrictions ease further, companies here should consider offering staff a hybrid work arrangement that will permit them to spend some time working in the office and some time working from home.

Virtual AGMs now allowed in most countries
Countries across the globe have scrambled to find alternative ways to conduct shareholders’ meetings when the Covid-19 pandemic made face-to-face interactions challenging. The Singapore Report on Shareholder Meetings: The Rise of Virtual Meetings found that most markets now allow listed companies to hold virtual shareholder meetings; some had already permitted them before the onset of the pandemic, while others decided to keep them as a permanent feature.

Shareholder engagement a victim of 2020’s slew of virtual meetings
It was a year, not just of social distancing, but also of “investor distancing”, as virtual shareholder meetings here created more than just a physical chasm between companies and their shareholders. “The Singapore Report on Shareholder Meetings: The Rise of Virtual Meetings”, published on Wednesday, found that investor participation and shareholder engagement in Singapore took a beating in 2020, as listed companies, regulators and investors alike struggled to come to terms with a new way of conducting meetings.

Despite talk of travel bubbles, S’poreans prefer to wait and see
Recent talk of travel bubbles with destinations such as Phuket, Bintan, Australia and Taiwan has caused ripples of excitement among a travel-starved local crowd. But when it comes to actual bookings, would-be travellers are taking a more measured approach. Travel agents The Straits Times spoke to said prospective customers are waiting for the green light from both Singapore and the national tourism organisations of their would-be destination before they proceed with bookings.

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

22-year-old student is sole new community case
A 22-year-old permanent resident who is studying in Britain was the sole community Covid-19 case announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday. He is asymptomatic and was detected when he took a Covid-19 pre-departure test on Tuesday in preparation for his return to Britain. His test result came back positive on the same day, and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

*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 pending home sales fall most since April on low inventory

Biden set to unveil $2.7 trillion jobs boost

Low rates fuel biggest surge in US home prices since February 2006

Property fund with no property stokes anger at Commerzbank

Archegos fallout: global banks could lose over US$6b

Canada’s Westons trade food for real estate

Australia’s March home prices surge at fastest pace since 1988

China’s factory growth at its fastest in 3 months

Former HK leader signals housing as next big issue to tackle

Malaysia sees economy rebounding to pre-Covid levels by mid-2021

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