The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 10th, 11th and 12th March 2018

Singapore Economy

Economic agencies have flexibility to let in needed foreign skills
The criteria for hiring foreign professionals has tightened, but economic agencies can exercise some flexibility in allowing companies to bring in the talent they need, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Friday.  However, this flexibility applies only to companies which give fair consideration to local workers, and want to hire talents with skills that are in demand globally, but lacking in Singapore.

SGX eyes global partnerships, growth beyond IPOs
Despite the ever-suspicious anti-trust scrutiny on potential suitors among global stock exchanges, Singapore Exchange (SGX) remains steadfast in its pursuit of partnerships.   Loh Boon Chye, chief executive officer of South-east Asia’s largest stock and derivatives market, is “very excited about partnerships” – even though critics say that its slew of global Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) have yet to bear fruit.

Singapore firms better placed to tap opportunities: Minister
The sweeping trade deal signed yesterday in Chile has unlocked considerable potential for Singapore firms, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said yesterday.  Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang, who was in Santiago for the signing, noted: “Singapore companies will be better placed to tap growth opportunities and increased market access in the Asia-Pacific.

Sans US, smaller CPTPP gains, but it will still lift members’ trade
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has unlocked opportunities for Singapore firms, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Friday, after the 11-member trade pact was inked.  Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang, who was in Santiago, Chile for the signing, said: “Singapore companies will be better placed to tap growth opportunities and increased market access in the Asia-Pacific.

Singapore Real Estate

AI-enabled portal UrbanZoom aims to improve housing market data transparency
Techpreneur Michael Cho believes that the man in the street should have equal access to housing market intelligence as the real estate agent – and for free.  That was the motivation that drove him to create UrbanZoom – an online artificial intelligence (AI) enabled research portal that includes an auto-valuation tool and other useful transaction data designed to be user-friendly for home buyers and sellers in Singapore.

Singapore’s strata office market gains momentum
The strata office market seems to be rousing in the last half a year. While the sales volume and pricing are still lower than the pre-TDSR period of 2013, activity seems to have steadily returned since 2015. At the peak of its cycle in 2012, property sales of strata-titled offices were at an all-time high with a record S$2.29 billion worth of new and resale strata offices traded – almost three times more than the sale transactions of S$760 million in 2017.

Tanjong Katong bungalow market on a roll
A string of large freehold bungalow deals have been sealed in the past few months in the Tanjong Katong area.  These include transactions in Boscombe, Branksome, Lyndhurst, Wilkinson and Arthur roads. Some of these are old bungalows that were bought by families already living in the area for redevelopment into their new homes.

Goodluck Garden sold to Qingjian for S$610m
Goodluck Garden, a 210-unit residential development on Toh Tuck Road, has been sold collectively to the Qingjian Group of Companies for S$610 million.  This is the second-largest en bloc deal to be awarded this year, after Park West’s S$841 million transaction in January.  Based on a potential gross floor area of 46,840.08 sq m, the sale price translates to a land price of about S$1,210 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). Due to a high development baseline, a development charge will not be payable for the 10 per cent bonus balcony and this will lower the land price to S$1,100 psf ppr.

Koh Brothers unit wins bid for Toho Mansion
KBD Ventures, a subsidiary of construction and property developer Koh Brothers, has won the en bloc tender for Toho Mansion on Holland Road for S$120.43 million, or around S$1,805 per square foot per plot ratio. The freehold site, with an area measuring 4,427.8 sq m and a plot ratio of 1.4, can be redeveloped to a project with potential gross floor area of 6,818.7 sq m, including a 10 per cent bonus balcony area, Koh Brothers said in a filing with the Singapore Exchange early on Friday.

Faster resale transactions on revamped HDB portal
Almost 21/2 months after the launch of a revamped HDB portal, resale transactions are being completed in as short as eight weeks – half the time taken in the past to seal a deal.  The time saving comes from eliminating one of two appointments with the HDB, during which forms and checks were completed. Instead, they are now done online.

No one wants to buy these HDB flats
For sale: A rare 150 sq m executive apartment in a peaceful neighbourhood, surrounded by amenities like hawker centres and minimarts, and only a two-minute walk from Queenstown MRT station.  At $798,000, the 22-year-old unit seems like a good deal, as HDB flats of a similar size in the vicinity were sold at between $860,000 and $1.16 million in the last year.

Changes to parking provisions will be shot in the arm for car-lite vision
Singapore is making yet another stride in going car-lite, this time with proposed bill amendments that will give the Land Transport Authority (LTA) more flexibility in calibrating parking provisions in private developments.  This will pave the way for fewer carpark spaces in upcoming housing precincts such as Kampong Bugis, Holland Plain and Bayshore as well as Jurong Lake District.

Companies’ Brief

Perennial to buy Pontiac unit’s stake in Capitol Singapore for S$129.6m in cash
Perennial Real Estate Holdings is buying Pontiac Land affiliate Chesham Properties’ stake in the Capitol Singapore for S$129.6 million in cash.  Perennial will also discharge loans by Pontiac Land’s Chesham to Capitol Singapore amounting to S$368.6 million, and all interest accrued on the said loans; and make ancillary payments of S$3 million to Patina Hotels & Resorts, it added.


Airbnb must play by Singapore’s residential market rules
Airbnb’s quest to get its business off the ground in Singapore has been nothing short of self-serving, even after the rules on short-term rentals have been made clear to the company and its clients (Airbnb hopes for official role in S’pore; March 7).

Extend delayed income assessment for BTO flats to current buyers
I applaud the Government for listening to the needs of young couples who are serious about settling down yet face financing difficulties (HDB speeds up flat-buying process for young couples; March 7).

Town councils to take legal action only as last resort
Residents who run afoul of town council bylaws or fail to pay service and conservancy charges (S&CC) will face court action only if they fail to settle their offences through new protocols.  The new approach of making legal action a last resort is part of a slew of new initiatives unveiled by the State Courts yesterday at their annual Workplan seminar to refine court processes and better serve users.

Iconic buildings up for sale: Time to bid adieu to faded landmarks?
Mr Kea Chee Tong opened his first shop at Golden Mile Tower in 1972 at the age of 29, selling stainless steel Seiko watches.  A year later, he moved to the livelier People’s Park Centre in the heart of Chinatown and diversified his business to gemstones and gold jewellery.

Court dismisses PropertyGuru’s copyright lawsuit
The biggest property listing portal in Singapore which said a rival had infringed its copyright had its claims thrown out in the High Court yesterday – a decision that lawyers said would significantly shape intellectual property law here.  Last September PropertyGuru took to court, claiming it had, among other things, infringed its copyright by reproducing photos bearing the PropertyGuru watermark on the website without permission.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

NY-centric office real estate seen overpriced compared to West Coast

Toys ‘R’ Us liquidation threatens to curb toymakers’ innovation

Flippy the fast food robot temporarily decommissioned for being too slow

Elon Musk says his hyperloop plan will give pedestrians priority over cars

Asia’s big developers ‘more vulnerable’ to shocks, BIS warns

China’s February factory inflation slows

China’s parliament abolishes two-term limit on presidency

China ready to retaliate over Trump’s tariffs

China aims to become trade and economic giant by 2050

China will defend rights but will not initiate trade war with US

Strong HK property market a bulwark for HNA forced sale

Busiest February for Toronto developers as sales begin to slide

Tourism industry courts LGBT travellers

KL accused of rescuing 1MDB’s skyscraper project

Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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