The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 14th August 2018

Top Story

Singapore economic growth eases to 3.9% in 2nd quarter
Singapore’s economy appears to be slowing down, growing less than it did in the previous quarter, with further headwinds expected in the second half of the year. However, it is still being propped up by a buoyant manufacturing sector.  The economy grew 3.9 per cent year on year in the second quarter – lower than the 4.5 per cent growth it had clocked in the first quarter – according to the latest Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) figures released yesterday.


Singapore Economy

Tighter monetary policy still on the cards as core inflation climbs
Trade tensions threaten Singapore’s growth for the second half of 2018, but some economists still say the door to further monetary policy tightening in October remains open.  Unless external conditions deteriorate sharply, a gradual normalisation of monetary policy cannot be ruled out as domestic demand continues to firm and core inflation climbs, they added.

Forecasts raised after big jumps in NODX and trade growth
Non-oil domestic exports jumped 9.4 per cent year on year in the second quarter, up from 1.1 per cent in the first, driving government planners to raise the NODX’s full-year growth forecast from 1-3 to 2.5-3.5 per cent.  Similarly, the projection for total merchandise trade growth in 2018 is upgraded from 3-5 to 5-6 per cent after a stronger showing that saw overall trade expanded 10.2 per cent in April-June – against 2.5 per cent in the first three months of the year.

Construction looks to turn corner with slower 4.6% Q2 decline
The tide may be turning for the ailing construction sector, which has been a persistent drag on growth, a government economist has said.  Construction shrank by 4.6 per cent year on year in the second quarter, with the decline easing from 5.2 per cent in the quarter before, according to figures from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday.

Young firms added more to net jobs than maturing, old ones for 2009-2016 period
Young firms contributed more than maturing and old firms to net job creation over the period of 2009-2016, found a study by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).  Specifically, young firms – described as those five years and below – contributed 2.7 percentage points to the average annual net employment growth of 2.3 per cent over the period. This compares with the combined contribution of maturing and old firms, or those above six years old, which came in negative at minus 0.4 percentage point.

Startups’ chances of success flat over the years: study
The probability that new firms in Singapore will succeed has remained largely constant since 2001, though the increasing number of startups means each cohort contains more potential successes, according to a report by Ministry of Trade and Industry economists Chia Keat Loong and Reuben Foong.  Founder experience, export activity and intellectual property ownership were found to be associated with higher chances of success.

Factory-less exporters one reason behind output-export gap
The rise of the “fab-less” semiconductor company was one reason for the recent gap between Singapore’s electronics output and exports, official economy watchers confirmed.  Falling prices also drove down the value of the Republic’s electronics exports in the first half of the year, according to the latest Economic Survey of Singapore, released on Monday.

‘Faster first half, slower second half’: Singapore’s economy to lose speed ahead, say experts
Singapore: The Singapore economy will likely hit speed bumps in the second half of 2018, with analysts expecting a “fairly significant” slowdown on the back of a confluence of factors, including escalating global trade friction stemming from US protectionist measures.   Official data released on Monday (Aug 13) showed the economy logging a better-than-expected growth of 3.9 per cent in the second quarter from a year ago. For the first half of 2018, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis.


Singapore Real Estate

Investment sales in Singapore seen matching last year’s record high
Real estate investment sales in Singapore is expected to match last year’s record of S$40 billion, thanks to bumper sales already clocked in for the first half this year.  This is according to a latest quarterly report by Colliers International, which tracked all private property sales transacted at S$5 million and above, as well as successfully awarded state land tenders across all property segments.

Wangz Hotel being sold for S$46m
Wangz Hotel, the distinctive barrel-shaped aluminium-clad building at the corner of Outram and Tiong Bahru roads, is being sold for S$46 million.  This works out to S$1.12 million per room for the six-storey freehold boutique hotel, which opened in late 2009.

Lum Chang-LaSalle joint development unveils Tekka Place in Little India
An upcoming integrated development at Serangoon Road had its name and branding unveiled yesterday. Tekka Place, jointly developed by Lum Chang Holdings Ltd and a fund managed by LaSalle Investment Management Asia, will have an emphasis on arts and culture, with dedicated spaces to host exhibitions, artwork and performances.  Its developers have been engaging with the Singapore Tourism Board and community stakeholders such as the Indian Heritage Centre and LaSalle College of the Arts.

When Raffles reopens, a culinary delight awaits
The Raffles Hotel closed its doors last December for its first renovation in almost 30 years. The extensive work updates the entire 130-year-old property, even adding new buildings.  So important to the high-class social fabric of Singapore is the hotel that a starring role in the soon-to-open summer blockbuster, Crazy Rich Asians, was non-negotiable.

UrbanZoom launches API access to property auto-valuation tool
UrbanZoom, a homegrown artificial-intelligence-enabled research portal for HDB and condominiums, on Monday announced that it has enabled API access to its proprietary auto-valuation tool, Zoom Value, which has been tested and used by several Singapore government agencies and companies.   API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows different applications to talk to each other.


Companies’ Brief

Haw Par Q2 profit up 60% to S$82.1 million
Singapore-listed Haw Par Corporation on Monday posted a 60 per cent increase in second-quarter net profit to S$82.1 million, on the back of higher dividend income from strategic investments, and higher interest income.  Earnings per share (EPS) came in at 37.2 Singapore cents for the quarter, versus 23.4 Singapore cents in the year-ago period.

Banyan Tree Holdings reports narrower loss of S$5.3m
Banyan Tree Holdings reported on Monday that its net loss for the second quarter ended June 30 narrowed to S$5.3 million from a loss of S$12.3 million in the year-ago period.  The better performance was mainly attributed to higher operating profit from the property sales segment as a result of higher revenue coupled with higher other income, lower salaries and related expenses, and lower administrative expenses. Revenue contracted 2 per cent to S$68.4 million from S$69.8 million a year ago.

Boustead Singapore Q1 net profit quadruples
Boosted by better operating performance and sizeable other gains, infrastructure engineering company Boustead Singapore Limited reported a quadrupled net profit of S$12.2 million for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, from S$2.9 million from a year ago.  Revenue rose 18 per cent from S$90.3 million to S$107 million.

Cromwell E-Reit beats forecast with 7-month DPU of 0.0253 euro on light-industrial strength
Cromwell European Reit (Cromwell E-Reit) will distribute 2.53 euro cents per unit for the seven months ended June 30, 3 per cent higher than its forecast amid better income from its light-industrial portfolio.  The pan-European industrial and commercial real estate investment trust (Reit), which was formed and listed in November 2017, posted revenue of 72.8 million euros (S$114 million) in the seven months ended June, 2.2 per cent higher than the forecast given in its initial public offering.

Hong Lai Huat inks deal for mixed-use development in Phnom Penh
Mainboard-listed real estate firm Hong Lai Huat Group Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodian investment and development company The Royal Group to jointly develop a mixed-use development in Phnom Penh.  The development will be located on a freehold plot of land of 8,221 square metres that is located in the Cambodian capital’s affluent Toul Kuok district. The site is also close to the country’s largest university, The Royal University of Phnom Penh.

UE net profit falls 76% to S$11m in Q2
United Engineers (UE) on Monday posted a second-quarter net profit of S$11 million, down 76 per cent from S$45.4 million last year as revenue fell 23 per cent to S$96.2 million.  This was mainly attributable to lower revenue from property development, and the absence of contribution from its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business which was divested towards the end of 2017, the company said.

Courts posts Q1 net loss of S$2.21m
Courts Asia posted a net loss of S$2.21 million for the first quarter ended June 30, compared with a net profit of S$6.05 million a year ago.  Revenue declined 3.6 per cent to S$179.8 million from S$186.6 million. The group’s profitability was impacted by new consumer protection regulations in Malaysia as well as impact from higher impairment levels in the Indonesia business and the adoption of the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (International) 9 on a group level.

No Signboard’s Q3 earnings plunge 79.1%
No Signboard Holdings, best known for its chain of No Signboard Seafood restaurants, said its net profit fell 79.1 per cent in its fiscal third quarter as higher costs and expenses exacerbated a decline in revenue.  Profit attributable to shareholders was $761,142, or 0.16 cent per share, in the three months ended June 30, down from $3.6 million, or 0.79 cent per share, a year ago. For the nine-month period, net profit decreased 57 per cent to $2.7 million, or 0.58 cent per share.



Outdated ideas on home ownership and land shortage are crippling us
With the recent cooling measures introduced for the private residential market, discussions around the decaying value of Housing Board (HDB) flats aged over 40 years have quietened down for a while.  While the Government has said this is an issue it will study, as resolving it requires serious trade-offs, my concern is whether we may be tempted to kick the proverbial can down the road for future generations to inherit the consequences. As a society, we may be too wedded to outmoded ideas to tackle the issue realistically.

Enabling smart transportation in today’s interconnected world
The Asia-Pacific is leading the world’s smart city evolution, with a number of cities across the region rolling out smart city initiatives and investing to build a better place for their people to live and work. In fact, a staggering US$63.4 billion has been earmarked for investment in smart city technology in the region, reflecting the overwhelming efforts by cities there to promote smart city transformations.

Holland Village carpark closure postponed
Businesses at Holland Village have been given a temporary reprieve, as its main open-air carpark, which was slated to close yesterday to make way for a mixed-use development, will now remain in use until the end of October.  Temporary pedestrian walkways will be built by then between the enclave and two alternative carparks.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US economy seen strong in 2018, to slow in 2019: CBO

Seattle erupts over plan to tear down iconic theatre for apartments

Nikki Beach wants to remake itself as a chill resort brand

China’s slower credit growth underscores worries over economy

China okays US$15.7b in new urban rail projects, seen quickening infrastructure spending

Unsold Land in Crowded China Cities Points to Property Slowdown

India’s July inflation eases, central bank may hold on rates

70.5m kroner mansion sale in Denmark tests a record set in 2008


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