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, 12th and 13th September 2016

Top Stories

US investments in Singapore swell in 2015
US direct investments in Singapore surged last year, although the pace of increase eased worldwide, as the latest figures released by the US Department of Commerce show.  Still, the slowdown in the global economy, which puts a speed bump in the way of overall US investment growth, also took a toll on US investment income here, dragging it down with US returns in the rest of the world.  US investment income in Singapore, which jumped to US$28.77 billion in 2014, was lower at US$22.89 billion last year – even lower than 2013’s income of US$26.53 billion.

S’pore investment income from US rises to US$928m
Singapore’s investment income from the US jumped from US$853 million in 2014 to US$928 million last year, even as Singapore companies cut back on investments there.  Singapore’s cumulative direct investments fell by over US$1 billion to US$19.42 billion up to 2015, after climbing steadily from US$16.82 billion in 2011 to US$20.53 billion in 2014, the US Department of Commerce’s latest figures show.  The biggest chunk – US$8.75 billion – of Singapore’s investments in the US was in manufacturing. A significant US$1.32 billion was in wholesale trade.

MBS moves more swiftly to remodel its hotel rooms
With its hotel operating at almost full capacity throughout the year, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is in the midst of giving each of its 2,560 rooms in all three towers a facelift.  The S$8 billion integrated resort (IR), which opened in phases from April 2010, has already completed the refurbishment of around 1,000 rooms in Tower 3.  Work will begin on the 1,500-plus rooms in Towers 1 and 2 in early 2017, and those are expected to be all done by the end of that year.

Singapore Economy

MAS unlikely to ease monetary policy in October: Economists
The outlook for Singapore’s economy is hardly upbeat, but the central bank is unlikely to weaken the Singdollar to help lift growth, economists say.  Most think the outlook is not yet dire enough to warrant a change in exchange rate policy when the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) meets next month.  Singapore’s central bank uses the exchange rate as its main monetary policy tool to strike a balance between inflation from overseas and economic growth.

Singapore Real Estate

Holland V’s Cold Storage space sold
The owner of Rio Casino in Macau, Loi Keong Kuong, and his family are buying the space leased to Cold Storage on the ground floor of the freehold Holland Road Shopping Centre, sources said.  The price, at slightly more than S$61 million, works out to S$4,976 per square foot (psf), based on the total strata area of 12,260 sq ft. The space comprises seven strata units, all of which are leased to Cold Storage under a long lease that expires in 2020.  The property is being sold by entities controlled by members of an Ng family that is said to have developed the four-storey mall in the 1970s.

FHT acquires Novotel Melbourne for A$237m
Frasers Hospitality Trust (FHT) is acquiring Novotel Melbourne located on a prime shopping street in Melbourne for A$237 million (S$245.4 million), with the transaction to be funded entirely via a rights issue.  This marks FHT’s first hospitality asset in Melbourne and its fourth in Australia.  The trust manager announced on Friday night that it is offering 441.55 million new stapled securities at 60.3 cents per stapled security to eligible unitholders to raise gross proceeds of S$266.3 million.

Tengah to feature novel smart technologies
Smart technologies will be used to develop Tengah, the first public housing estate project in Singapore since Punggol.  Computer simulation software will employ 3D models to simulate the interaction of urban microclimatic conditions such as wind flow, temperature fluctuations and solar irradiance with one another, as well as their combined effect on the surrounding urban landscape.  This means that planners from the Housing & Development Board (HDB) could use findings from the simulations to determine the ideal configuration of buildings for improved wind flow, lowering ambient temperatures.

Adelphi tenants laud sleaze cleanup
Next to the Supreme Court and St Andrew’s Cathedral, just steps away from Parliament, there used to be an area filled with sleazy massage parlours offering “specials” – code for sexual services such as erotic massages.  These had sprung up aggressively over the past seven years, mainly in the basement level of The Adelphi, which is in Coleman Street in the heart of Singapore’s civic district. The parlours attracted male tourists and well-dressed office workers from the Central Business District.

Companies’ Brief

Ascendas Reit buys two Australian properties for A$168m
Ascendas Reit said on Friday it has acquired a business park in Sydney for A$143.4 million (S$147.4 million). The property, located at 197-201 Coward Street, Mascot, was purchased from Frasers Property Australia.  This follows the purchase of another Australian portfolio of 26 logistics properties by the Reit for A$1.01 billion from GIC and Frasers Property Australia in September last year.  The Reit on Friday also said it has forward-purchased a logistics property – Stage 4, Power Park Estate, Dandenong South, Melbourne – for A$24.8 million from Goodman Dandenong Trust.

Receivers take control of IHC’s Australia properties
Singapore-listed medical property developer International Healthway Corp (IHC) appears to have reneged on bank borrowings that have cost it two major rent-making properties – and possibly a third – raising questions as to whether the group may have been more pressed for liquidity than it has disclosed to shareholders.  The Australian Financial Review reported yesterday that Australian lender Westpac has appointed receivers to two office properties owned by IHC in Melbourne, and that a third property, Geelong Medical Centre, is understood to be under the control of receivers through the National Australia Bank.

Views, Reviews & Forum

L Capital Asia has faith in Chinese consumer market
L Capital Asia continues to view China as a strong growth market for its investments, thanks to healthy mainland demand for lifestyle and consumer products even as the economy there slows down.  This month, the Singapore-based Asian private equity arm of fashion giant LVMH will see Sasseur – a Chinese outlet mall developer and operator that it invested in in 2014 – open its sixth mall, this time in Xi’an in north-west China.  An outlet mall features multiple brands with lower prices. Nine such malls by Sasseur will be up and running by the end of next year, and L Capital Asia chairman and managing partner Ravi Thakran is excited about the company’s outlook.

Homes delivered via courier – in flat packs
Order your homes online, and have them delivered to you in IKEA-style flat packs. Such a housing model may well come to Singapore one day.  Already, such complete “prefab” houses – as opposed to just prefab walls and rooms – have been popularised by San Francisco-based startup Avava Systems, which in August unveiled Britespace, its range of high-end, flat-pack homes that come with a living area, kitchen, bathroom and elegant wood finishes. The homes range from 264 to 480 square feet and cost no more than US$225,000.

Keeping the property market stable
The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s latest intervention in the property market will help two groups of people. First, those with an existing property loan for the home they live in; and, second, people with an existing investment property loan. The fine-tuning of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) rules will make it easier for such borrowers to refinance their mortgages and pay off their debts at lower interest rates. The move should help nudge the market in the right direction. This is to improve access to property ownership without fuelling an investment frenzy that could turn into a property bubble which affects the wider economy.

Most homes too small for maid’s own room
Ms Sheena Kanwar of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics said a study found that having their own rooms to sleep in was a crucial factor for good mental health among maids (“Training needed for maids tasked to care for elderly”; yesterday).  However, the vast majority of Singapore’s population cannot afford large homes to allow maids to have their own rooms.  Many homes these days are also much smaller than before, with some private apartments’ kitchens so tiny that only one or two people can be in one at the same time.  Some families have their aged parents living with them, thus, it is difficult to accord maids a room of their own, given space constraints.  Should housing developers put more thought into allocating a room for maids in their designs?

Paperless deeds a step forward
The vision for completely paperless property transactions may seem abstract, but home owners can already benefit from changes made in this area.  The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) launched a new online service – MyProperty – last week that allows home owners to view their own property title information for free.   Previously, owners had to pay for this information via the SLA’s website or over the counter.  Most home owners do not actually keep their titles as their properties tend to still be under mortgage, so the titles are stored with the bank or the Central Provident Fund Board.  The SLA’s shift towards a paperless system means all property transactions could eventually be carried out online.

China’s great policy dilemma: More growth or less debt
As China’s economic growth slows, problems from its past dynamic growth have started to surface. The financial sector is most concerned about China’s rising debt, which increased from some 150 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 to 250 per cent today.  China’s current debt-to-GDP ratio is certainly very high, but not the world’s highest. It is about the same as that for the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union, though much lower than Japan’s. The composition of China’s debt is also different from the debt pattern of other developed economies. In particular, its levels of household debt and public/government debt, both at about 40 per cent of GDP, are still relatively low by international standards.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Australians grapple with less work, low pay

China’s factory deflation eases in August

China regulators put brakes on onshore debt issues

China’s inflation trends point to steadying economy

Communities take charge in Scotland’s land reform ‘revolution’

Tattoo parlours, e-cigarette shops take up UK’s vacant retail space

Manhattan’s peak season for leasing favours renters

Airbnb revamps its anti-discrimination policy

A $12 Million Florida Plantation to Live the Robber Baron Life

Manhattan Developer Shvo Accused of $1 Million Tax Evasion

Hong Kong losing status as China’s ‘great mall’

Political paralysis stalls Spain’s building sector

UK govt cancels plans to privatise Land Registry

Selling a seven-storey basket is no picnic

Investment firms say yields are in Asia and EM economies

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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