The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 13th September 2018

Singapore Economy

Asean needs to put pedal to metal on digital integration
South-East Asia must pick up the pace on digital policy even as the region presses on with initiatives for trade and e-commerce in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) 2025 blueprint. Arrangements around trade, logistics, e-commerce and payments were tackled at a gathering here of Asean economic ministers in late August.

Asean set to seize opportunities from 4th Industrial Revolution: PM Lee
Asean is in a good position to seize the opportunities that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring, and is already taking steps to do so, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday. He was speaking at the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Asean.

Asean must stay open to free trade, say leaders
Several Asean leaders yesterday stressed that openness to trade must remain a key priority and strategy for economic growth. Their message comes as countries grapple with the impact of disruptive technology on jobs and a rising tide of protectionism globally. Speaking at the opening plenary of the annual World Economic Forum on Asean, the leaders said countries can collaborate and ride on entrepreneurship and technology.

Lack of software developers hobbling growth
Singapore’s economy could grow by an additional S$1.6 billion annually – if companies can harness their software developer resources more effectively, a study commissioned by San Francisco-based financial technology company Stripe has found.

Enterprise Singapore’s investment arm seeks co-investors in agrifood startups
Enterprise Singapore (ESG) investment arm Seeds Capital is seeking co-investment partners for agrifood startups, under a call for partnership which was launched on Tuesday and closes on Oct 5, 2018.

Govt needs to take gentler, more progressive approach to land acquisition: Puthucheary 
While Singapore has historically adopted “very aggressive” approaches towards land acquisition and redevelopment, the Government needs to use softer and more progressive ways to do so in future, said Dr Janil Puthucheary on Wednesday (Sept 12).


Singapore Real Estate

Horizon Towers’ S$1.1 billion tender sale ends with no takers 
The tender for Horizon Towers – the first major en bloc exercise to close after July’s property cooling measures – ended on Wednesday without a single bid. While strong interest was not expected given the tough measures introduced on July 6, the absence of any bids from developers added to the disquiet in the en bloc market, especially big estates eyeing billion-dollar tabs.

No go for two big collective sale attempts: Horizon Towers and Faber Garden close without sale
Two high-profile collective sale attempts, with asking prices of more than $1 billion, have closed without a sale. Horizon Towers, a 99-year leasehold condominium at Leonie Hill, launched for sale at a reserve price of $1.1 billion just before the July 6 cooling measures were announced. The tender closed yesterday without a sale.

Retail sales fall in July after three months of growth
Singapore retail sales were down in July, according to the latest figures from the Department of Statistics. The year-on-year drop of 2.6 per cent, which was the first time that retail revenue has shrunk since March, came on the back of a 15.2 per cent plunge in motor vehicle sales. Estimated sales value was pegged at S$3.7 billion, with online transactions making up 4.4 per cent.

Centennial falling granite: Owner wins suit against designer, sub-con
Millenia Pte Ltd, the owner of Centennial Tower, has won its lawsuit against the skyscraper’s designer and builder Dragages Singapore and cladding works sub-contractor Builders Shop over the building’s granite cladding.

ARA in advanced talks for Manulife Centre
An entity linked to ARA Asset Management is said to be in advanced negotiations for the purchase of Manulife Centre in Bras Basah Road. This is after the exclusive due diligence period granted by the vendors to a potential buyer, British property group Chelsfield, lapsed early last month without a deal being sealed.

Singapore condo rents fall 0.1% in August from July; HDB rents rise 0.1%: SRX
Rents for Singapore condominiums and private apartments – which had been unchanged since May – notched a small decrease, while HDB rents continued their upward trajectory since July, according to the latest flash estimates from real estate portal SRX on Wednesday.

District 10’s Gisborne Light to seek S$37m in en bloc tender
District 10 freehold development Gisborne Light will be put up for collective sale in a public tender starting Sept 13, with an asking price of S$37 million, which translates to S$1,671 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).

Navigating choppy waters
The cooling measures relating to residential properties announced in July have caused many market participants to take a pause. The volume of private housing transactions is expected to ease while sellers are expected to be more measured with their price expectations. The en bloc sale gravy train has slowed. All these may not necessarily be a bad thing as some sanity returns to the market. As the various market participants take a step back, this creates space for them to make wiser decisions.

New normal for buyers, investors of residences
On July 5, 2018, the Singapore government raised the additional buyer’s stamp duty rates and lowered loan-to-value limits for residential property purchases “to cool the property market and keep price increases in line with economic fundamentals”. Taking into account rising interest rates and significant pipeline supply, the authorities felt that prices had increased sharply and, if allowed to persist, could lead to a destabilising correction. The decisive intervention by the government in the early stage of market recovery leads to several observations.

Condos embrace accents on lifestyle
After a 10.2 per cent decline in the URA non-landed residential property price index from Q3 2013 to Q2 2017, property prices rose by 9.3 per cent between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018. Among the three regions, the Outside Central Region (OCR) or suburban areas performed the best with the non-landed residential property price index in the OCR increasing by 10.4 per cent from Q2 2017 to Q2 2018. The price indices of both the Core Central and Rest of Central Regions rose by 8.0 and 7.9 per cent respectively in the same period.

Will CCR see clearer skies?
With effect from July 6, 2018, Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) buying their second or subsequent residential property have to face a 5 percentage point increase in additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD), while loan-to-value (LTV) limits have been lowered by 5 percentage points for all housing loans granted by financial institutions.

Plan B: Hitting the sweet spot in response to curbs
In a surprise move, the government announced fresh cooling measures on the evening of July 5 just as the Singapore property market was finding a firmer footing – an attempt to quell what was thought to be euphoria in the private residential sector. To be sure, the market had never quite ruled out the possibility of new measures. The spectre of property curbs loomed as the government had frequently said it would make use of various levers to achieve a more sustainable property market. However, the severity and timing of the measures which took effect on July 6 were largely unexpected.

Communal appeal of co-living
With co-working space growing by leaps and bounds in Singapore, the development of co-living seems like a natural progression in our new, disruptive world. However, the speed of growth of the co-living market in Singapore has fallen behind expectations until recently. The co-living market in Singapore saw unprecedented activity over the past 12 months with millions of dollars of funds being pumped into operators, enabling them to embark on an expansion spree. Have the co-living players finally found a niche market for themselves here?

Right time to buy landed property
With the scarcity of land in tiny Singapore, landed homes have long been perceived as one of the most resilient assets with the greatest upside in the local private residential market. However, the need for steady population growth has also given rise to the likelihood of a denser Singapore, to ensure the country remains economically viable.

The rise and rise of exec condos
New property measures were recently announced to cool the market and keep price increases in line with economic fundamentals. Potential buyers of executive condominiums (ECs) may emerge relatively unscathed from the property curbs. Apart from an increased 5 per cent down payment due to the stricter LTV (loan-to-value) limits, purchasers of new EC units will not be affected by the increased additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) as they are not allowed to own any other properties. We anticipate that ECs will continue to remain attractive among Singaporeans after the pre-emptive measures.

HDB resale flats to receive much-needed boost
Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats were in the limelight again earlier this year, when the matter of lease decay became a hot-button issue. Many flat owners were concerned over the value of their own flats, as it was mentioned that they would eventually become zero at the end of 99 years and that not all flats will be eligible for the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers).

Decentralisation to dominate office market in next decade
Another development cycle has passed and all the metrics show Singapore’s office market is on another upward cycle. Historically, the Singapore Grade A office market runs on a two-to-three year range rental cycle. This is very much to do with the short-run economic cycles and the tight control by the Singapore government over office land sales.

Taking a home loan amid rising interest rates
A residential property is the biggest financial asset most of us will own. Before purchasing a property, it is important to know how much you can borrow, understand the types of mortgage packages available, and what your options are when interest rates rise.

Shophouses: Investing in Singapore’s heritage
My childhood days were spent in a pre-war shophouse owned by my great-grandparents, who operated a traditional Chinese medical hall on the ground floor, and resided on the upper levels. I spent many a carefree afternoon playing with other children in the rear court, roaming along the five-foot way and hiding, up in the attic.

Getting bullish on central kitchens and offices
The July 6, 2018, cooling measures will put a dampener on residential collective sales, which have been driving big-ticket property transactions since the second quarter of last year. Given the volume of money in the global system in search of investible assets, investor attention may turn towards the industrial and commercial sectors, where regulations on the purchase and sale of properties are not as onerous as those applied to the residential sector.

Woodlands: Industry’s magnetic north
Given the recent cooling measures affecting residential property purchases in Singapore, some investors could turn to alternative real estate investment classes such as industrial properties. This segment has opportunities, areas of growth, as well as challenges. Location is also a very important consideration. One area in Singapore that is attracting the attention of investors and industrialists is Woodlands, in the northern part of the island.

Retailers bank on tech for footfalls
Singapore’s retail sector has been subdued since Q4 2011 when retail rents peaked; just as the famed integrated resorts were freshly completed, tourists from China came in droves and suburban malls flourished as they began to showcase similar offerings as those in the prime district of Orchard Road.

Experience landed living beyond convention
For over half a century, leading developer Bukit Sembawang Estates Limited (BSEL) has built over 2,500 residential homes in Seletar Hills, over 1,000 homes in Sembawang Hills and more in other locations. As one of Singapore’s pioneers in residential property development, Bukit Sembawang Estates Limited has established a reputation as a trusted developer of fine quality homes with great value.

Do your homework when venturing overseas
For those investing for inter-generational wealth transfer, the abundance of overseas properties with freehold tenure is a big draw. The spread of overseas property investment options is staggering. Locations range from Sydney to London to New York and many cities in between. The array of property types include the familiar segments such as residential, office and retail shops, and the somewhat exotic segments such as farms, hotel rooms, carpark lots, hostels, aged care facilities and real estate debt.

Househunt September 2018

No land for the dead? Golf courses, parks could be the solution 
Funeral parlour operators here could benefit from taking over just 10ha of some 1,500ha of land currently occupied by 17 golf courses, some panellists suggested, during a discussion on the future of the business in land-scarce Singapore. The industry is facing a space crunch as it is often relegated to operating in industrial estates, and leases are typically for only three years.


Companies’ Brief

Soilbuild joins US$5m early-stage funding round for fintech lender
Helicap, a Singapore-based platform that offers funding to alternative lenders such as peer-to-peer platforms, has found new backers in form of Soilbuild Group, having raised US$5 million pre-series A funding from the property firm and early-stage venture fund East Ventures, BT understands.

Buyer cuts purchase of SingHaiyi’s San Jose condo units from 141 to 34
Property developer SingHaiyi Group said on Wednesday that a bulk sale of its units in a commercial real estate project in the United States had fallen through. In December 2017, a buyer signed a deal to buy SingHaiyi’s entire share – 141 units – of Phase II in the Vietnam Town project in San Jose, California for US$95.3 million.

Low Keng Huat’s Q2 earnings soar to S$4.2m
Higher profits from development more than offset lower profits from investment at Low Keng Huat, giving the developer a sharp lift in its results for the second quarter. Net profit jumped to S$4.2 million from S$474,000 in the same period last year, it said in a statement on Wednesday. For the three months ended July 31, revenue leapt 472 per cent to S$77.9 million.

Keppel names new independent director
Keppel Corp has appointed Professor Jean-Francois Manzoni as an independent director with effect from Oct 1. With the addition, Keppel’s board will comprise 10 directors, of whom eight are independent.

ACRA moves service counters to Revenue House
Singapore’s businesses, companies and accounting regulator has moved its service counters to Revenue House at 55 Newton Road in a bid to serve citizens and businesses better, it said. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) announced on Wednesday that its service counters are now located at the new Taxpayer and Business Service Centre on Level 1 of Revenue House, along with those of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), SME Centre and CorpPass.



Guardians of our galaxy
There are plenty of buildings that stand out in Singapore, so why is there so much fuss about Golden Mile Complex, People’s Park Complex and Pearl Bank Apartments? Tell that to heritage specialists and architects who say that these are iconic structures that reflect visionary architecture, were designed completely by Singaporean architects and have shaped the visual character of our urban landscape. 

Foreign workers can now give feedback on issues in dormitories via new mobile app
Foreign workers will now be able to provide feedback on any issue or problem they may face in their dormitories via a mobile phone app launched on Wednesday (Sep 12). Called DormWatch, the app allows foreign workers to upload photos or videos along with a short description of the issues they face. Dormitory operators will also be able to communicate directly with the worker through the app and provide details on how the issues have been resolved.

Regulators need to tighten reins on fintechs
There are no signs of real haste from global regulators in keeping financial technology (fintech) firms in further check. Yet, it may be time for regulators here to expand their supervisory scope, as large fintech firms start to stake a claim on financial services in Southeast Asia.

Companies should calculate the costs of data breaches
Creating a secure and resilient cyberspace is becoming a more complex and costly challenge, with a growing need to protect our systems and data against criminal attacks that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The annual global cost of cybercrime is now US$600 billion or 0.8 per cent of global GDP. Data is the “new currency” and so long as it remains easier to steal than money, the cybercriminal will continue to profit. An increase in data protection and cybersecurity regulation does not yet appear to be taking full effect with organisations now suffering more, and larger breaches. Costs of data breaches rose last year by 6.4 per cent, indicating that many organisations are still not doing enough to protect their data.

How China can respond to a changing US
Visiting the US recently, I was told by virtually every American I met that attitudes towards China had shifted. This phenomenon, they claimed, cut across bipartisan lines as well as government, business and academic circles. The US was frustrated at not having shaped China in its own image, despite bringing the country into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and helping to enable its economic take-off. Instead, China had “ripped off” the US by taking advantage of it in trade and business. There was concern at how fast China was climbing up the global economic and technological ladder, and that its military was threatening to “elbow out” the US from Asia.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Japan’s booming July machinery orders point to accelerating capex, growth

Indonesia still a draw for startups despite depreciating rupiah

Trade war with US may cost China at least 700,000 jobs: JPMorgan

IMF officials in Argentina for crisis loan talks

Maduro looks to China to bolster Venezuela’s collapsing economy

After months of tensions, US and Germany talk trade

ECB to stay on course to curb stimulus even with wobbly growth

Trade jitters weighing on US business investment: Federal Reserve–fed-10710596

New York overtakes London as top financial centre: Poll

Oil prices up on concerns over Iran, slower US output growth

Brexit, bad news and weather take blame for UK housing woes

Late Saudi king’s widow allowed to keep London mansion

What powers Australia’s residential market

Malaysia’s market recovery augurs well for investors

London adjusts to higher taxes

Big dreams for tiny houses

Airbnb hits back at Paris ban threat

This Startup in WeWork’s World Is Targeting the 10- to 100-Worker Company

HNA Surrenders Hong Kong Office Space It Never Occupied


Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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