The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 12th, 13th and 14th August 2017

Top Story

Singapore becomes IoT-ready as networks are rolled out
Very soon the humble electricity meter in your house will be having its own telecom network through which it will be able to connect to a back office and give details about your electricity usage. And your water meter may not be far behind. Both will help you save money by giving you smart information on usage.

Bungalows in the sky
Alibaba co-founder Sun Tongyu, Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho’s son Lawrence, and Singaporean venture capitalist Tommie Goh have something in common in Singapore: they own penthouses. Back in 2006, a consortium linked to the Ho family bought six penthouses at Marina Bay Residences for about S$90 million, including the uber penthouse on the top three levels of the 55-storey project. It is believed that the consortium continues to own most of the units, which are said to be where the Hos put up some of their high net worth clients when they visit Singapore.

Singapore Economy

MTI narrows GDP forecast for 2017; MAS keeps policy stance neutral
Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) narrowed its full-year gross domestic product (GDP) forecast upwards, reflecting a more confident stride amid an improving global and domestic environment and backed by a better-than-expected growth in the second quarter of 2017, led mainly by manufacturing.

Services sector makes comeback in Q2; manufacturing to moderate in H2 2017
An unexpectedly strong showing by the services sector, together with continued momentum in manufacturing, drove Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 from a year ago, surprising economists.

June retail sales surpass forecast with 1.9% rise
Retail sales in Singapore rose a stronger-than-expected 1.9 per cent in June from a year ago, despite a 5.6 per cent drop in car sales, as most other categories enjoyed growth. The month’s performance was also stronger than the 0.8 per cent increase in retail takings in May, revised down from a 0.9 per cent rise.

Number of businesses folding rose in 2015-2016
The number of new business entities (comprising companies and businesses) formed in Singapore has remained healthy in recent years, but cessations have risen with the economic slowdown of 2015-2016 and ongoing economic restructuring.

Job market still weak despite stronger economic growth
Singapore has been reporting more cheerful economic growth numbers this year, but this pick-up is not translating into a stronger labour market. Economists and government officials say the employment outlook is expected to remain lacklustre as growth is still uneven across sectors.

Export, trade growth eases in Q2; full-year growth forecast up
Growth in Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and total merchandise trade eased in the second quarter of this year but their performances so far are still better than expected, prompting the government to raise the full-year growth forecasts for both exports and trade.

Singapore ‘needs to stay united and economically successful’
If Singapore is not economically successful, no major powers will invite it to the discussion table, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing said yesterday, as he explained the need to always explore opportunities with countries like the United States, China, India and others.

Singapore’s productivity could improve this year: PM Lee
Singapore’s productivity could improve a little bit more this year, having achieved 1 per cent growth in 2016, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Aug 12). Speaking at a National Day dinner at his ward in Teck Ghee, Mr Lee pointed out that 2016 was the first time in several years that a positive productivity figure had been achieved.

Beyond Terminal 4, still ways for Singapore to soar as aviation hub
By 2035, the Asia-Pacific region is set to account for over three billion air passengers per year, boosted by Asia’s rising middle class. It would be a boon to Singapore, which has cemented its position as one of the world’s leading aviation hubs.

Singapore Real Estate

Leng Beng again calls for review of Qualifying Certificate policy
City Developments (CDL) executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng once again called for the government to ease land-banking measures for property developers, in the belief that this will help to regulate land and property prices, a view not shared by some industry players.

Property market picking up: CDL’s Kwek
In recent weeks, property veteran Kwek Leng Beng has seen positive signs in the property market. They have come in the form of text messages about rising unit sales from City Developments (CDL) group general manager Chia Ngiang Hong.

Shadow over Hong Kong property leaves Singapore developers ahead
Hong Kong’s property stocks are cheaper than Singapore’s, although not cheap enough to account for the risk that the world’s least affordable city could have a housing crash. That’s according to analysts and money managers from Nomura Holdings Inc to Janus Henderson Group Plc. In Singapore, some are seeing signs of a market bottom after years of home price declines.

M&A deals flourish in Singapore’s co-working market as competition heats up
Over the past three weeks, the local co-working market has seen two merger and acquisition (M&A) deals as operators, including prominent foreign players, jostle for market share amid increasing competition. New York-based co-working giant WeWork on Monday (Aug 7) said it was acquiring Singapore’s Spacemob as part of its US$500 million (S$681 million) push into Southeast Asia and South Korea. This follows a merger between local player JustCo and China’s naked Hub on Jul 18 to form what was claimed to be Asia’s largest co-working operator.

Tanjong Pagar Terminal cleared ahead of schedule
Singapore’s great port migration – which has major implications for both the shipping and real estate sectors – has crossed a key milestone well ahead of schedule. Port operator PSA Singapore has moved all its 500 staff from Tanjong Pagar Terminal to the newer Pasir Panjang Terminal and is dismantling the cranes, as part of plans for the even bigger move to the future mega-port at Tuas. The relocation – well ahead of the city port’s lease expiry in 2027 – means PSA might be ready to hand the 80ha site back to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) far earlier than expected.

Have Chinese developers created new dynamics in the Singapore property market?
When a residential site at Stirling Road in Queenstown was awarded for development following a record bid of S$1 billion in May, the spotlight fell on the winning consortium – Nanshan Group from China and Hong Kong-based Logan Property. Their successful bid continues a trend of Chinese interest in recent land tenders in Singapore.

When hotel guests need something, Aura delivers
If you see a waist-high metal cylinder zipping along a hotel corridor and riding the elevator on its own, do not be afraid. It could well be Aura, which will be at the service of guests at five hotels here in the next 12 months.

The Big Read: New laws could bring relief, but condo residents’ apathy a bigger problem
For years, horror tales abound in condominiums across the island: Illogical and draconian by-laws passed by high-handed management committees, and proxy wars waged by owners who try and garner hundreds of votes to push their agenda.

Kampung Admiralty welcomes its first batch of residents
Singapore’s first retirement community at Kampung Admiralty gave out keys to its first batch of residents on Saturday (Aug 12). The 11-storey complex – which integrates residential units, medical and surgical services, childcare and eldercare centres and shops – will be fully operational by early 2018. Certain facilities are already available for residents.

Farmers to compete on concept in new land tender
New farmland will be released later this month and, for the first time, the 12 plots for growing leafy vegetables in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah will be tendered out on concept and not price, the latter of which will be fixed.

Companies’ Brief

Analysts upbeat on property, tech after Q2’s mixed earnings
Singapore-listed companies exposed to global trade and the domestic property market could continue to do well in the latter half of 2017 after the overall market turned in a mixed set of second-quarter earnings, analysts said.

Kwek Leng Beng’s son to take over reins as CDL CEO from 2018
The resignation of Grant Kelley as CEO of City Developments (CDL) may have come as a surprise, but the promotion of Kwek Leng Beng’s son, Sherman Kwek, to take his place starting 2018 was something market watchers knew would eventually happen.

Ascendas Reit to sell No 13 International Business Park for S$24.8m
The manager of Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Ascendas Reit) said in a Singapore Exchange (SGX) filing on Friday that the trustee of Ascendas Reit, HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore), has entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Pension Real Estate Singapore Pte Ltd for the sale of No 13 International Business Park (IBP) for S$24.8 million.

Bukit Sembawang Estates’ Q1 profit plunges on lower sales and profit recognition
Singapore-listed property developer Bukit Sembawang Estates on Friday reported a significantly lower net profit for the three months ended June 30, 2017, dragged down by lower sales and a decline in profit recognition on development projects.

Wheelock Properties (Singapore) posts 3.4% rise in Q2 profit to S$36.5m
Wheelock Properties (Singapore) on Friday posted a 3.4 per cent rise in net profit for the second quarter ended June 30 to S$36.5 million from S$35.3 million in the same period last year.

Chip Eng Seng’s Australia unit to sell freehold office building for A$69m
Chip Eng Seng Corporation said on Friday its wholly owned subsidiary in Australia, CES Properties (Aus) Pty Ltd, has entered into an agreement to sell a tenanted freehold office building for A$68.8 million (S$73.7 million).

Hotel Properties’ Q2 profit rises 23% to S$16.3m on Tomlinson Heights sales
Hotelier Ong Beng Seng’s property firm Hotel Properties on Friday reported a net profit of S$16.3 million for the second quarter of this year, 23 per cent higher than S$13.2 million a year ago. Revenue for the three months ended June 30 rose 47 per cent to S$190 million, from S$130 million a year ago.

Haw Par Corp posts 7.3% rise in Q2 profit
Singapore-listed Haw Par Corporation on Friday posted a year-on-year growth in its second-quarter net profit, boosted by higher sales in its healthcare segment and absence of a one-off cost incurred. Net profit for the three months ended June 30 came in 7.3 per cent higher at S$51.9 million, while it rose 10.6 per cent to S$69.2 million in the first half of 2017.

Mapletree Logistics Trust enters into option to divest property for S$68m
The trustee of Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT), HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore), has entered into an option to divest the trust’s property at Tai Seng Drive for S$68 million. The property, purchased in 2006 for S$38 million, is a seven-storey warehouse. Situated on a land area of 8,968 sq m, it has a gross floor area of 23,844 sq m. As at March 31, 2017, the property was valued at S$31.8 million.

Metro’s Q1 bottom line boosted by contributions from associates, JV
Property and retail group Metro Holdings’ first-quarter net profit jumped by more than 160 per cent year on year to S$25.38 million as the bottom line was boosted by higher share of results from associates and joint venture (JV).

United Engineers’ Q2 profit rises 303% on revaluation gains
United Engineers Ltd (UEL) said on Friday its second-quarter net profit rose 303 per cent to S$45.3 million mainly due to revaluation gains from the group’s investment property assets. The group said revenue increased 9 per cent to S$121.9 million in the three months ended June 30, 2017, mainly due to a pick-up in China property sales.

Views, Reviews & Forum

HK’s smart city plans may be just all talk
There is a Cantonese saying in Hong Kong – dak goh gong ji, which means nothing but talk. That could be one way to describe the city government’s endeavours to turn Hong Kong into a “smart city” in a bid to catch up with similar efforts of some of its regional competitors, Singapore included. 

Cope with digitalisation through minimum viable transformation
Getting the best results from transforming your business to cope with digitalisation is not to aim for the Big Bang approach. Rather, by moving in bite sizes – such as through the idea of “minimum viable transformation” – companies will be able to adapt their business models around their shifting landscape and conditions more rapidly and efficiently, according to professional services firm Deloitte.

Safety, hygiene lapses at worker dorms
A foreign workers’ advocacy and welfare group has found that an employer embroiled in a salary dispute with 20 of his Bangladeshi workers had also failed to provide them with “safe and acceptable” accommodation.

Groups call for more handicapped parking spaces
Across Singapore, there are at least 6,000 government-run handicapped parking spaces. But this is hardly keeping pace with rising needs as the country rapidly ages, says the community of people with disabilities. The number of new carpark label holders alone stood at 1,758 last year. This is up 38 per cent from 1,273 in 2012, according to Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) figures.

Skyscrapers ‘pose fatal risk’ to migratory birds
Skyscrapers have become part of the skyline in land-scarce Singapore, but they are posing a problem for migratory birds. And buildings in the central and western parts of the island are the ones birds are most likely to crash into, a new study has found.

Singaporeans victims in Australian Ponzi scam
One victim lost $20,000, another more than $300,000, while a third pulled out his $43,000 when he suspected something was amiss. They were among more than 950 Singapore-based investors of a A$100 million (S$107 million) Ponzi scheme in Australia, involving 18 firms controlled by Australian Veronica Macpherson that were ordered to wind up last month.

A village for the second childhood
The “retirement kampung” coming up in Woodlands will possess an essential feature of real villages: proximity between the elderly and children. What Singapore’s first Housing Board retirement village seeks to recreate is closeness with the very young because the old feel valued when they become a part of inter-generational relationships. That sense of belonging is under pressure in nuclear families and, of course, not everybody has grandchildren.

Management concept ‘ambidexterity’ offers lessons for Singapore firms
The continuing relevance of Singapore in a world of intense transition has been attracting debate in recent months. It is a world moving from one that we have got familiar with and accustomed to, to one that is still emerging and, hence, ill-defined. For Singapore firms caught in the midst of intense transition, a look at a management concept known as “ambidexterity” offers some pointers on how to survive.

Singapore Sale no longer great, say shops, public
Despite this year’s strong digital push and special promotions, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) – which ran from June 9 to August 13 — barely made an impact, according to shoppers and retailers who spoke to TODAY.

Install parking meters in private estates
Motorists parking along the roads in private estates cause much inconvenience to people who live in the neighbourhoods. As parking spaces are scarce and highly desired in private estates, parking must come at a price. Parking meters should be installed and be charged by the hour.

Leasehold property buyers are owners, too
Residential properties with 99-year or shorter leases are common in the housing market in Singapore, as well as in other jurisdictions like Hong Kong and Canberra (Still unclear if HDB buyers are owners or lessees, by Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan, July 20; and HDB was describing a lease ownership, by Mr Cheah Wenjie, July 21).

Encourage more private home owners to speak out
When I collected a set of forms for filing a complaint to the Strata Titles Board (STB), I was surprised to be asked if I had a lawyer. This implied that the filing could exceed the $500 application fee, as a layman like me could not present the facts myself. Because of this, I did not proceed with my complaint. Hence, I agree with Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi (Can strata board charge lower fee? Aug 5).

Commentary: To benefit Singaporeans, Smart Nation must leverage big data, overcome privacy issues
As we head into the final third of 2017, it has become clear that one of the striking themes cutting across national-level discussions this year is the deliberate need for Singapore to truly charge forward in becoming a Smart Nation.

Commentary: F&B businesses cannot rely on fads to thrive
Businesses in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry need to think beyond “just” food, to think and act in business terms as brands that disrupt and challenge the status quo, as part of a movement for better food.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

UK employers see measly pay growth ahead, companies turn gloomy

Italy’s economic outlook improving, but challenges remain

Britain keen for Brexit talks to move to next stage

Russia sees recovery speed up in second quarter

China’s Economic Growth Dials Back

China tames ‘grey rhinos’ after shopping sprees

Hong Kong economy: 3-4% growth in 2017 seen attainable

Japan Q2 GDP rises annualised 4.0% on consumption, capex

India’s July retail inflation seen picking up for first time in 4 months

Tensions over N Korea could roil markets this week

New Zealand retail sales rise in Q2, boosted by international sports events

Crude revenue jump narrows Saudi deficit

Change or die: US malls confront Amazon era

Neighbourhoods in New York that play hard to get

Corporates muscle in on US house-rental industry

Manhattan landlords offer discounts to beat competition

Avoiding a Greek tragedy for Athens’ modernist architecture

Millions of improved homes needed in Myanmar to cut disaster risk – UN

Falling sales at JC Penney renews concerns about department store industry

Luxury condo with a twist in downtown Taipei

Weak consumer spending may hold off interest rate hikes

Rich Hamptons Buyers Don’t Want Mega-Mansions

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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