The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 9, 10 & 11 May (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

More time for up to 500 private home projects to meet deadlines
Up to about 500 private housing developments in Singapore could benefit from a six-month extension for the completion and sale of the projects’ housing units, said a Ministry of Finance spokesman. The extra time given to developers to meet conditions for additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) remission is among a slew of temporary relief measures rolled out earlier this week.

Singapore Reits: Faltering but not falling
Singapore real estate investment trusts (Reits) are a favourite among local investors. Perceived by some as an asset class on its own, Reits form a relatively sizeable position in the investment portfolio of a typical investor. The Reit market in Singapore kicked off in 2002 with the successful listing of CapitaLand Mall Trust.

SCAL to raise S$1m to help smaller construction firms cope with Covid-19
The Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL) has set up a Covid-19 assistance fund worth S$1 million to help its smalland medium-sized enterprise (SME) member companies. The money will come from contributions from the association’s members, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), and will work with Enterprise Singapore to tap onto the SG Together Enhancing Enterprise Resilience programme.

HDB resale flat volume falls 78% in April; only 423 units changed hands
Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flat volumes plummeted by 78.3 per cent in April from March to levels that observers said could be a historical low, as circuit breaker measures put in place to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus curb house viewings.

Some expats in S’pore asking for rental cuts
Expatriates in Singapore are often envied for their generous pay packets, but, facing the prospect of salary cuts as the coronavirus batters businesses, some are tightening their belts and asking for lower rent. Real estate agent Clarence Foo of Apac Realty unit ERA has come across seven such cases over the past month…


Singapore Economy

Over 8,500 business entities close shop in April; highest in recent years
A total of 8,663 business entities closed in April – more than double the number of cessations in March, as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to bite. In contrast, the number of business entities formed in April at 3,767 was the lowest since 2013.

Higher forced liquidations this year, with pandemic yet to do its worst
Even as the number of compulsory liquidations have gone up over the past four months, the true measure of distress that the global pandemic has had on Singapore companies will only be made clear from the third quarter, when subsidies and legal reprieve wear off.


Companies’ Brief

ARA H-Trust Q1 profit misses IPO forecast by 47.8% at US$8.1m
ARA US Hospitality Trust (ARA H-Trust) posted a gross operating profit of US$8.1 million for its first quarter, falling 47.8 per cent short of its initial public offering (IPO) forecast of US$15.5 million, the trust’s managers said in a business update on Friday.

Elite Commercial Reit posts Q1 DPU of 0.74 pence, 1.4% above forecast
Elite Commercial Reit’s distribution per unit (DPU) stood at 0.74 pence for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, 1.4 per cent higher than its initial public offering (IPO) forecast of 0.73 pence, according to its financial results released on Monday.

Manulife US Reit portfolio occupancy rises to 96.5% in Q1
Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust’s (Manulife US Reit) manager on Friday said the Reit saw an increase in occupancy to 96.5 per cent in Q1 2020 from 95.8 per cent the previous quarter. The Reit’s weighted average lease expiry (WALE) stands at 5.7 years. A minimal 4 per cent of its portfolio by net lettable area will expire in 2020, according to an operational update.

Covid-19 impact ‘largely confined’ to hospitality ops: Tuan Sing
Property developer Tuan Sing Holdings’ business operations impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak are “largely confined” to its hospitality segment, with its diversified portfolio across segments and regions ensuring a “high degree of resilience”, said the group in a corporate update late on Saturday.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)
Crisis will affect people in different ways but compassionate, timely and understanding response by top management, supported by effective line management, will have a positive effect on staff’s mental health. The key is to ensure that workplace culture has open communication and with clear and safe avenues for employees to reach out for help and decisions affecting employees to be communicated effectively.

Is the Covid-19 pandemic a good time to buy a property?
The news sounds surreal in the face of a global pandemic – new private home sales in Singapore jumped 57.3 per cent in February. Developers found buyers for 1,314 newly launched units that month, up 105.3 per cent from the 640 they sold in January and 187.5 per cent more than the 457 moved in February last year. The property “bull run” also spilled over to resale condominiums, with about 700 sold in March, up 17 per cent over February.

New economy will emerge from new normal after pandemic
The greatest global pandemic in over 100 years has created chaos, threatened lives and livelihoods and brought much of industry and commerce to a standstill. While the pandemic has created uncertainty, it has also created new markets and opportunities for the post-Covid-19 era. After all, this crisis has shown us how we can change the way we work and play.

Social distancing and personalised service make poor bedfellows
As travel vaporises with on-off lockdowns, airlines, airports, and hotels are pondering the future of hospitality in these fluid and fearful socially distanced times. While it may appear oxymoronic, professional hosts are examining how to safely distance yet offer hospitable warmth without turning everything into a set from 2001 Space Odyssey.

MICE companies struggling to survive, request more support
Despite increased financial support for businesses amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, companies in the meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) ecosystem are still struggling to survive and dreading the end of the circuit breaker when wage subsidies for them will revert to lower levels.

Firms prepare for changes in events landscape
The road to recovery for the meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sector remains uncertain, with restrictions on large events likely to remain in place after the extended circuit breaker ends. However, some companies have decided not to wait for things to return to “normal” before taking action. Recognising that the events landscape will never be the same after this crisis, they have already started developing new ways to take events online.

Singapore banks brace themselves for tough months ahead
Singapore banks posted lower earnings in the first quarter after bulking up their provisions to cushion against economic stresses brought on by the virus outbreak, and against some of their oil-and-gas exposure. Q1 is likely just a small glimpse of the pain to come, with banks likely to see flattish growth at best for the rest of the year and having to take further impairments down the line.

What you need to know about filing and paying your taxes
Tax filing season this year has been extended amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and income tax payments have also been deferred for some groups of taxpayers. This is what you need to know about filing and paying your taxes, with tips from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore for the employed, self-employed, taxi or private-hire drivers, and landlords.

Conducting company general meetings amid Covid-19 outbreak
Apart from affecting how we live and work, Covid-19 has also led to many changes among corporates. Regulators have had to make modifications to help listed companies comply with safe distancing and other measures put in place to flatten the infection curve in Singapore.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation

33 false positives from test kit error; first imported case in two weeks
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday that 33 Covid-19 cases from a laboratory were false positives due to an apparatus calibration issue for one of its test kits. Subsequent retesting at the National Public Health Laboratory confirmed that the cases, and two more that had equivocal results, were actually negative. No false negative results were found and immediate action was taken to rectify the situation, said MOH. The lab has stopped all tests and is working to resolve the issue.

Coronavirus curbs won’t all be lifted after June 1, says minister
Life will not go back to normal immediately after June 1, when Singapore’s Covid-19 circuit breaker period comes to an end, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong during a virtual press conference yesterday. While the Government will continue to monitor and assess the situation in the coming days and weeks as it decides what should be done after the circuit breaker, he stated categorically that there was no scenario where normalcy returns next month.

Firms ‘should not rush to reopen’ without safeguards
FIRMS that can reopen from May 12 should only do so with the required precautions, stressed National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at a multi-ministry taskforce on Covid-19 press conference on Friday. “Don’t be in a rush to reopen and neglect safe management practices,” said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the taskforce.

Coronavirus: Public urged not to rush out when measures ease on May 12
Even as barbers, hairdressers and some other businesses prepare to reopen from Tuesday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has urged people not to rush. “I know some people may not have had a haircut for some time, but there is no need to rush to go out to have a haircut on May 12,” he stressed. There will be lots of time to do what needs to be done, he said, adding that people should pace themselves.

Strict measures for firms to prevent new wave of coronavirus
It will be mandatory for all offices and even canteens to ensure that workers do not stand close together, to limit the chance of a coronavirus resurgence as the Singapore economy gradually opens up. Taxis too will have to progressively put in place a national digital check-in system for passengers, called SafeEntry, so that close contacts of infected cases can be quickly traced.

32 companies return Jobs Support Scheme payouts worth S$35m
SOME businesses here have either returned or donated the government payouts received from the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), as a form of solidarity with the local community amid the Covid-19 outbreak. As of May 9, 2020, 32 companies have returned the April payout of the JSS, amounting to a total of S$35 million which would be used for future payouts, said a spokesperson from the Ministry of Finance on Sunday.

Technology to help foreign workers in dorms monitor health: Josephine Teo
FOREIGN workers in dorms are getting help to monitor their health through telemedicine and a gadget that checks oxygen levels. About 8,000 pulse oximeters have been distributed so far and a further 12,000 will be given out, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Sunday. The devices monitor a person’s oxygen level and can help detect early signs of a deterioration in health.

Covid-19 facility at Tanjong Pagar Terminal begins receiving workers
A facility built at Tanjong Pagar Terminal that can house up to 15,000 patients or migrant workers with the coronavirus started receiving workers last Tuesday. When The Sunday Times visited the site yesterday, workers were seen wearing face masks and settling in. The Ministry of National Development said the partially completed tentage at the terminal can house up to 3,500 people.

Clearing smaller dorms of coronavirus will take time, says Lawrence Wong
The number of foreign workers living in dormitories who test positive for the coronavirus daily continues to be high in part because of an “active and aggressive testing regime” that sees more workers being tested each day, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. “We expect to still see these numbers for a few more weeks before they stabilise, but our strategy is working and we are making progress day by day in clearing these dormitories,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Coronavirus: Wearable dongle among options being explored to boost tracking
A contact tracing dongle that those without smartphones can take along when they go out is among the tech options that the Government is currently exploring as it seeks to boosts its ability to track the coronavirus outbreak.
*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

Reopenings mark a new phase: Global ‘trial-and-error’ played out in lives

Optimism holding up despite dismal US jobs data

German exports plunge 11.8% in March as virus hits demand

New Zealand business confidence sees small bounce in May: ANZ survey

Google affiliate axes plans for futuristic community

Coronavirus deals US job losses of 20.5m, historic unemployment rate in April

US Fed flying blind on economic outlook as businesses slowly reopen

Coronavirus: IMF downbeat on global economic forecast

Australia raises concern over possible China tariffs on barley

Australia’s worst economic slump expected: Central bank

Dubai Reit says irregular trading caused plunge in share price

The billionaire poker club behind China’s most indebted developer

China’s central bank signals more policy measures to support virus-ravaged economy

Japan moves to limit foreign investment in half of listed firms

Japan eyes more spending backed by 2nd extra budget to combat pandemic fallout

Earthquake hits off coast of eastern Japan, no tsunami warning

South Korea’s May 1-10 exports dive 46% as coronavirus wipes out global demand

Hong Kong company sells residential land at loss in rare move citing uncertain property market

HK home prices set to fall further, say experts


Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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