The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 12, 13 & 14 Sep 2020 (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

Thye Hong family sells Garlick Ave GCB plot
A deal is said to have been entered into for an old bungalow sitting on 101,550 square feet of freehold land along Garlick Avenue. The price is above S$90 million, but the precise price and the buyer’s identity are not yet known.

Skyscraper resale flat prices in Singapore hit new highs despite Covid-19 crisis
Pandemic or not, buyers are still paying top dollar for skyscraper HDB resale flats, particularly those at Pinnacle @   Duxton and other prime areas. New price records were hit even as the number of million-dollar HDB resale deals fell year-on-year in the first seven months as the pandemic took its toll on the economy and employment.

He placed a winning $1.07m bid for Bishan DBSS flat at start of circuit breaker
Within three days of viewing a 20th-storey flat at Natura Loft in Bishan Street 24, Mr Wong Jing Yean placed a $1.07 million bid on April 7, the start of the two-month-long circuit breaker period. It was the highest among several for the 120 sq m, or nearly 1,300 sq ft, Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) unit, with a panoramic view of the city skyline.

Reits (September 12-13, 2020)

Jurong Port expects cargo volumes to return to normal in coming months after current drop
“With construction effectively coming to a halt the last few months, there has not been any cement coming through because the cement silos are full . . . For steel, we’ve managed to find a storage space for steel companies to bring in their inventory, and they’ve also taken advantage of the relatively low steel prices due to the Covid-19 impact to stock up,” said Saw Kok Wei, JP’s president of business units.


Singapore Economy

Singapore continues to draw investments from global players including TikTok owner ByteDance, PayPal
Singapore’s business-friendly reputation continues to draw foreign investments – particularly from the technology sector – the dismal global economic climate notwithstanding. Among the firms upping their stakes in Singapore is German logistics firm DB Schenker, which in May started operating a high-tech warehouse in the free trade zone of the Airport Logistics Park of Singapore in Changi.

It’s still early days for rescue efforts aimed at mid-career job seekers
If recent policy moves are a gauge, mid-career job seekers have become a priority demographic for placement into Singapore’s labour market. For instance, the new S$1 billion Jobs Growth Incentive, which co-funds the salaries of new local hires, offers a higher level of support for workers aged 40 years old and above.

Malaysia looking to reopen border with Singapore in January 2021
Malaysia’s health ministry is looking to fully reopen the border between Singapore and Malaysia for daily commuters in January 2021, Malaysian media outlet The Star reported on Friday. In considering the decision, the ministry is taking into account the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s livelihoods, Health Minister Adham Baba said.

Singapore, Japan to launch green lane on Sept 18 for essential travel
Singapore will launch a green lane for essential business and official travel with Japan on Sept 18, the foreign affairs ministers of both countries said in a joint press statement on Friday. Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu said the green lane will help restore connectivity and support economic recovery for Singapore and Japan.

Singapore welcomes talks with Hong Kong to resume cross-border travel
Singapore’s Consulate-General in Hong Kong on Thursday said the Republic welcomes talks with Hong Kong on the gradual resumption of cross-border travel between the two sides. It added that given the strong business and social ties between the two cities, the resumption of cross-border travel will benefit both.


Companies’ Brief

CapLand private fund in exclusive talks to buy ABI Plaza
A private fund managed by CapitaLand is understood to be the frontrunner for ABI Plaza, a 12-storey freehold office building in the Tanjong Pagar area. Talk on the grapevine is that an entity linked to the private fund is in exclusive discussions to buy ABI Plaza at about S$206 million. This is significantly lower than the guide price of above S$280 million, when the property was put on the market in June.

Decathlon opens two-storey Centrepoint outlet
Decathlon is expanding its footprint in Singapore as its fifth experience store, Decathlon Orchard, opens its doors today. The Centrepoint outlet is the French retail giant’s first store in the Orchard Road shopping belt.

Keppel Reit acquires Sydney commercial property for A$306m
Keppel Reit has acquired a freehold commercial property in Sydney for A$306 million (S$305 million), the real estate investment trust’s manager said on Sunday. It entered into an agreement with Sydney-based Goodman Group to acquire a 100 per cent stake in Pinnacle Office Park, a freehold Grade A commercial property comprising three office buildings in Macquarie Park, the Reit manager said in a press release.

Mapletree Industrial Trust to buy US data centre for up to US$262.1m
Mapletree Industrial Trust (MIT) is proposing to acquire a data centre and office in the US state of Virginia for between US$200.6 million and US$262.1 million, subject to the calibration of terms. MIT’s manager said on Monday that it is targeting to complete the deal in the first quarter of 2021.

How Temasek unlocked value at Sembcorp
When Temasek Holdings reports its annual performance, it isn’t its total return or the views of its top executives about the global economy that I find most interesting. Instead, it is the seemingly unending list of up-and-coming companies around the world in which Temasek has invested that really arouses my curiosity.

Sinarmas, Mitsubishi, Surbana tie up for transit-oriented developments in Indonesia
A subsidiary of Sinarmas Land has entered into a strategic partnership with Mitbana, a joint-venture fund management company of Mitsubishi Corporation and Surbana Jurong. This is to develop smart and sustainable transit-oriented developments (TODs) in Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) City, Indonesia, Sinarmas Land and Mitbana said in a joint statement on Saturday.

Surbana Jurong pays tribute to Liew Mun Leong but no successor named yet
Surbana Jurong’s board of directors has accepted the resignation of Mr Liew Mun Leong as chairman, but did not name a successor. In a statement last night, the consulting firm’s group chief executive Wong Heang Fine said: “While the change in chairmanship has taken place unexpectedly, the board, management and global workforce of Surbana Jurong have the collective resolve to carry on with business as usual.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Improving worker welfare
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of S’pore (REDAS)

Uplifting lower-wage workers to ensure their wages are sufficient to meet basic living costs and providing a clearer pathway for skills upgrading with career/pay progression deserves greater attention. Proactive support for this important segment of our workforce – who generally are older Singaporeans, less educated and particularly vulnerable to technological changes – through the Progressive Wage Model will ultimately benefit all sections of society and help to narrow the income gap.

How employers can make work from home better
When it comes to helping employees balance work hours with relaxation, Acuity Insurance chief executive officer Ben Salzmann has an unusual tool at his disposal: a 20m Ferris wheel. Before the pandemic struck, he would regularly fire up the amusement-park staple inside the company’s headquarters in Wisconsin.

Pandemic fight needs global leadership
When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic six months ago this week, it was a much smaller menace. There were about 118,000 cases across 114 countries. Some 4,200 people had died, thousands more were fighting for their lives in hospitals.

Opening up safely with technology
A pilot programme, which requires people to use either the free TraceTogether tokens or mobile app to check in at certain venues, is a useful initiative. It is tied, ultimately, to the need to continue to open up society safely so that businesses and the economy can operate normally.

The new normal: How will Covid-19 continue to change the way we live?
Experts say that even with vaccine, life will not return to pre-Covid-19 normal for years. The Olympic Games as we know it will not happen next year, how helpful vaccines may be is still in question, and another lockdown like Singapore’s circuit breaker period would reflect a failure in public health response.

Firms here spend more on IT due to Covid-19 than in other countries
Companies here have spent more on IT compared with the global average as more employees work from home due to Covid-19. But firms here have also placed greater emphasis on cyber-security measures and the use of remote collaboration tools, a new study has found.

Global pandemic forces central banks to turn to unconventional monetary policy
Global central bankers are discovering that monetary policies they once viewed as unconventional and temporary are now proving to be conventional and long-lasting. Forced to think outside the box by the 2008 financial crisis and then again this year by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank (ECB) and most of their international counterparts have become more aggressive and innovative than ever in defending their economies from recession and the threat of deflation.

Heading towards more digital and virtual events
The Covid-19 pandemic during the first half of the year has triggered an onslaught of digital and virtual events, including in Singapore, but the winners and losers remain to be seen. Master event organiser and self-help guru Tony Robbins, who works with celebrities, top athletes, and Fortune 500 leaders, has for the first time launched a virtual edition of his wildly successful business and personal growth seminar.

What ‘average inflation targeting’ means for investors
Late-August saw the Federal Reserve (Fed) hold its keenly-watched annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium. Against a backdrop of the huge global uncertainty engendered by Covid-19, the focus on the conference was sharp.

Why the low-rate environment should be of interest to investors
On Aug 27, 2020, US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell announced a significant policy shift that will allow inflation to overshoot the 2 per cent target. Historically, rates were raised to keep inflation in check. The change in policy stance reflects the Fed’s concern that persistently low inflation may lead to a spiral of ever-lower inflation and inflation expectations.

Board guidance in layoffs
Retrenchments, at any time, are difficult moments in a company’s journey that warrant in-depth consideration at the board level. As the pandemic takes its toll on businesses, retrenchments across the different sectors have surged in recent months.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

49 new coronavirus cases; 40 from dorms
[Singapore] There were 49 new coronavirus cases confirmed as at noon on Sunday (Sept 13), the majority migrant workers in dormitories. Those outside the dorms comprised one community and eight imported cases, said the Ministry of Health, in its daily update.

Risk of bats in Singapore transmitting Covid-19 low, but precautions still useful: Experts
It is highly unlikely that bats in Singapore are carrying the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, but people who come into contact with one should still take precautions, two experts said. For example, residents who have bats flying into their homes should look out for any secretions and contamination from the animal and clean them as soon as possible. This is because bats can spread viruses through their faeces.

Over 3,500 tracking devices issued to those serving SHN
More than 3,500 tracking devices have been issued to those serving Covid-19 stay-home notices (SHN) outside of dedicated facilities, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) yesterday. Those who arrived here from 11.59pm on Aug 10 and are allowed to serve their SHN outside of facilities have been required to wear the electronic wristband device throughout their SHN period.

Coronavirus: Dorm operators say steps to prevent mixing among foreign workers not foolproof
Foreign worker dormitories have taken steps to limit residents from mixing with one another, but these are not foolproof, say dorm operators who point out that no number of rules will work if people do not adhere to them.

Lucky Plaza shops seek removal of weekend entry curbs
Two weeks after odd-even entry restrictions kicked in on weekends at Lucky Plaza, business owners have appealed to the authorities to relax the Covid-19 rules, which they said have severely affected their bottom lines.

Contact tracing to get a boost with distribution of new tokens
From Monday, the contact tracing process will get a speed boost, with the start of the nationwide distribution of the Singapore-made TraceTogether tokens. These free tokens are more user-friendly for those unfamiliar with smartphones, and will also help overcome several limitations of the app, said experts in technology and public health.

Collect free reusable masks from vending machines from Sept 21
Those who wish to collect their two free reusable masks may do so from vending machines from Sept 21 till Oct 4, said Temasek Foundation yesterday in an update on its latest mask collection exercise. Temasek Foundation, the social and charity arm of Singapore investment company Temasek, added that residents may collect masks on behalf of their family members and friends by bringing and scanning the barcodes of their respective government-issued IDs.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate 

Record-low US mortgage rates ignite housing rebound

E-commerce proving to be a life raft for sinking real estate

Billionaire brothers raise US property bet with LA project

US Fed to meet as congressional deadlock stretches onward

UK job cuts set to double last recession peak in coming months

British banks brace for deeper slump by pulling mortgage deals

In new development, New York buyers favour the boroughs

Upcoming FOMC meeting expected to focus on new inflation strategy: analysts

Greece to boost economy with 6.8b euro stimulus

China home price growth accelerates as credit growth picks up

China’s demand for condo butler service sparks 390% stock gain

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