Singapore Q3 GDP grows 0.6% year-on-year, below expectations
The Singapore economy performed worse than the market had expected in Q3, expanding just 0.6 per cent compared to a year ago, according to advance estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Friday morning. This was slower than the 2 per cent growth seen in Q2. Private-sector economists polled by Bloomberg prior to the data release had a median growth forecast of 1.7 per cent year-on-year. On a seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter annualised basis, MTI said overall GDP contracted 4.1 per cent – a reversal from the annualised 0.2 per cent growth in the preceding quarter.
MAS maintains neutral policy stance for Singapore dollar
Singapore’s central bank said on Friday that it will maintain the current policy band for the Singapore dollar at zero per cent, even as the city state’s economic growth slows and inflation remains low. In its October monetary policy statement, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) wrote: “MAS will therefore maintain the rate of appreciation of the S$NEER policy band at zero per cent. The width of the policy band and the level at which it is centred will be unchanged.” The current policy band provides some flexibility for the S$NEER to accommodate the near-term weakness in inflation and growth, it added. The Singapore dollar weakened after MAS issued its statement, together with disappointing third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) results.
HDB deficit before grants shrinks 19% to S$1.6b as new supply tapers
The Housing Development Board’s (HDB) net deficit before government grants shrank by about 19 per cent in fiscal 2016 to S$1.6 billion as the public housing agency continued to reduce the pace of new builds. For the year ended March 31, 2016, the net deficit incurred by housing activities narrowed by 16 per cent to S$2.3 billion. Other activities, which include commercial rentals and agency businesses, posted a surplus of S$0.6 billion, 10 per cent lower year on year. HDB sells flats to Singaporeans at subsidised rates, and therefore tends to incur a higher deficit if more flats are put on the market.
Singapore Real Estate
Buying a condo? Make a trip to the virtual reality showsuite
Swivel your chair, and you turn away from the bedroom window with its view of the Singapore Flyer to the bedroom interior. You can’t feel the laminate board of the wardrobe or marble on the floor, but you can make out the texture of these surfaces from the resolution of the visuals. This is the virtual reality showsuite of Highline Residences at Kim Tian Road in Tiong Bahru, which is available for visitors to experience from this weekend. Highline Residences, which has done exceptionally well despite the subdued property market this year, selling about 88 per cent of the 320 launched units as at end-September, is launching another 30-40 three and four-bedroom units this weekend.
More households get CPF housing grants
More households received Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants in the latest financial year, in part due to recent policy changes that opened grants and public housing to more people. A total of 6,173 families benefited from one or more such grants in the year ended March 31, according to the Housing Board’s annual report released yesterday. This is up nearly a quarter from the 4,959 households that received similar grants in the previous year. Experts noted policy changes in the past year that introduced new grants and made more people eligible for HDB flats, such as raising the income ceiling from $10,000 to $12,000 for citizen households buying new flats from the HDB, or resale flats with the CPF Housing Grant.
10 years on, empty shopfronts at The Cathay highlight retail challenges
Even as experts suggest having more differentiation in malls to boost the local shopping scene amid slowing sales, retail centres which depart from the cookie-cutter model are also facing challenges. When The Cathay reopened in 2006 after a six-year hiatus and S$100 million refurbishment, it set itself apart from other malls by having tenants that were targeted at the mature crowd. Some of the popular names at that time included American-themed restaurant Billy Bombers and golf equipment retailer TaylorMade. But 10 years on, it appears to have suffered as much as other, more generic malls amid the sector-wide decline in consumer spending. Although the mall has expanded its scope, targeting a much younger crowd, empty shopfronts, shuttered units and dwindling crowds are a common sight.
Surbana Jurong buys security firm from Temasek
Urban development consultancy group Surbana Jurong has bought one of Singapore’s three licensed auxiliary police organisations from Surbana Jurong’s parent, investment firm Temasek Holdings, in a bid to add security and safety to its urban master plans, the group said in a press release on Thursday. Surbana Jurong, the largest urban, industrial and infrastructure consulting firm in Asia, said its acquisition of 100 per cent of Aetos Holdings was amid growing demand for physical development plans to factor in security and safety considerations.
Lian Beng’s Q1 profit slumps 60.8%
Higher unrealised exchange loss, impairment loss on Centurion Corp shares and lower contributions from its associates and joint ventures (JVs) led construction group Lian Beng to report steep declines in its fiscal first-quarter top and bottom lines. Lian Beng on Thursday reported a 60.8 per cent slump in net profit to S$12.7 million for the three months ended Aug 31, 2016. This compared with a net profit of S$32.3 million a year ago. Earnings per share fell to 2.53 Singapore cents, from 6.35 a year ago. Its revenue also plunged 47.8 per cent to S$70.8 million, due to a decrease in revenue from the construction and ready-mixed concrete segments.
Views, Reviews & Forum
First-time buyer: HDB resale or BTO?
The surest way to make money in real estate in the long run is to climb the “property ladder”. Here’s how it works. As soon as you can, buy the least expensive property in the best location you can afford. Over time, as your earning power increases, sell your existing home and trade up for a more expensive property. At this higher rung, buy the least expensive property in the best location you can afford. Over time, if you stay focused on climbing the ladder, you should find yourself sitting on a nice retirement fund commensurate with your lifestyle. The Housing and Development Board (HDB) makes it less expensive for first-time buyers to climb onto the first rung of the property ladder. It subsidises first-time buyers of HDB resale flats and Built-to-Order (BTO) units. Which route — resale or BTO — is better for you? It depends on your circumstances and the BTO project in question. The good news is that you can model your options to help you make a decision. Let us step through two real-life examples to illustrate this.
Global Economy & Global Real Estate
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Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate
Rejuvenating the Katong-Joo Chiat precinct
The stretch of East Coast Road flanked by Mountbatten Road on one side and Joo Chiat Road on the other has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. Many of the commercial buildings have changed hands, with some undergoing either massive refurbishment or redevelopment.
Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article