The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 17th February 2017

Top Story

Singapore economy grows 2% in 2016 after sharp uptick in Q4, 2017 forecast kept at ‘modest’ 1-3%
The Singapore economy expanded 2 per cent last year – slightly stronger than earlier estimates of 1.8 per cent – on the back of a turnaround in the manufacturing sector.  Growth is expected to come in at about the same pace this year, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). Official estimates tip an expansion of between 1 and 3 per cent for 2017.  For the fourth quarter, growth accelerated to 2.9 per cent year on year – its fastest pace in more than five years as manufacturing and rebounded. This compared to the 1.2 per cent rise in the third quarter and the earlier estimate of 1.8 per cent growth for the fourth quarter.

Income inequality gap narrows, household income growth slows
The gap in income disparity in Singapore is the smallest in a decade while the average household income from work per household member grew at a slower pace in 2016.  The Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, dropped to 0.458 in 2016 from 0.463 in 2015. It was the lowest level since 2006, said Singapore’s Department of Statistics’ (DOS) latest Key Household Income Trends 2016 released on Thursday.  After accounting for government transfers and taxes, the Gini coefficient fell to 0.402 in 2016 from 0.409 in 2015, reflecting the redistributive effect of such transfers.

Singapore Economy

IE S’pore: Internationalisation ‘core’ to sustaining country’s growth
Local e-commerce Shopback is busy spreading its wings across the Asia-Pacific, with Indonesia and Taiwan among the latest additions to the marketing platform’s global footprint.  Sembcorp Development, a business unit of energy, water and marine group Sembcorp Industries, has expanded its operations in countries such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam.  These are among the many companies that International Enterprise (IE) Singapore has supported over the years in the ongoing effort to help more Singapore enterprises go global.

A balancing act of near and long-term demands
Budget 2017 is widely expected to provide the policy response to the long-term growth blueprint presented last week by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), but just as closely watched will be how it addresses the immediate pressures and challenges facing businesses and workers.  Economists and tax experts told The Business Times that they expect it to set out practical steps and targeted moves to relieve near-term concerns, and is likely to be business friendly.

Finance sector emerges tops in Singapore 1000 rankings
Singapore’s largest 1,000 companies have seen a fall in combined revenue and profit in the 2017 ranking period but the finance sector experienced double digit revenue and profit growth.  According to the latest Singapore 1000 (S1000) rankings released on Thursday, the combined revenue of Singapore’s top 1,000 companies fell by 8.3 per cent to S$2.8 trillion compared to the 2016 ranking period. This was attributed to a S$329 billion drop in the revenue of the commerce-wholesale fuels sector, which was a result of the rapid drop in oil prices.  The combined profits of the S1000 companies fell by 5.4 per cent to S$165.4 billion, mainly due to decreased profits in the property and manufacturing sectors.

Singapore Real Estate

Lifting of property cooling measures seen unlikely
Those hoping for any lifting of property cooling measures may be in for a non-event if the projection of market experts rings true. This is because most industry watchers expect the government to let market forces play out before intervening.  Also, tax consultants are not expecting major revisions to other property taxes, though some hope that the government will see it fit to re-introduce tax remission for vacant properties given the tough rental market and review property tax on vacant private land. This echoes some of the recommendations made by the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore.

Companies’ Brief

OUE launches takeover offer for IHC
Indonesia’s Riady family is on a shopping spree of sorts.  Their mainboard-listed property group OUE on Thursday launched a surprise takeover offer for International Healthway Corporation (IHC), valuing the Catalist-listed nursing home owner at about S$175.9 million.  This comes just a week after OUE bumped up its stake in IHC to 21.83 per cent on Feb 8.  The latest move also comes hot on the heels of its Lippo Group conglomerate’s S$103 million takeover offer on Feb 7 for IHC’s related firm Healthway Medical Corporation (HMC).  And then there was also Lippo’s S$48.3 million takeover bid for bread maker Auric Pacific Group, which also happened on Feb 7.

Mapletree Investments acquires Oakwood Worldwide
Mapletree Investments has acquired US-based Oakwood Worldwide for an undisclosed sum as the Singapore real estate company seeks to boost its corporate housing and serviced apartment business.  Mapletree plans to leverage Oakwood to expand in the corporate housing and serviced apartment business, focusing on markets across the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

Groundbreaking ceremony held for Yoma Central in Yangon
Singapore-listed conglomerate Yoma Strategic Holdings and First Myanmar Investment (FMI) held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new development Yoma Central in downtown Yangon, Myanmar, on Thursday.  Announced in 2012, the collaborative project between Yoma Strategic, FMI and several other partners was stalled by red tape for several years. When completed, the integrated real estate development designed by prominent architect Cecil Balmond will comprise luxury residences, two office towers and a business hotel.

Chip Eng Seng flags better local housing vibes
Construction and property development group Chip Eng Seng flagged improved sentiment in the Singapore residential property market to explain why it was launching its latest condominium project.  “The results of new residential property launches in H2 2016 were more encouraging than H1 2016,” it said. The firm will be “leveraging on this improved sentiment” for its latest 720-unit Grandeur Park Residences development in Tanah Merah, which goes on sale in early March.

Perennial appoints new COO-cum-CEO for healthcare business arm
Perennial Real Estate Holdings said on Friday it has appointed a new group chief operating officer (COO) and CEO for its healthcare arm with the stepping down of the incumbent.  With effect from March 6, Liak Teng Lit will be the new COO and CEO for Perennial Healthcare Pte Ltd. He is replacing Goh Soon Yong, who will step down on the same day due to personal pursuits.

CapitaLand Mall Asia to buy 4 properties in Tokyo for S$636.3m
CapitaLand’s shopping mall arm, CapitaLand Mall Asia, will buy four office and retail properties in Japan for S$636.3 million, inclusive of transaction costs.  The acquisition, which will strengthen CapitaLand’s foothold in Greater Tokyo, is expected to increase the group’s total asset size in Japan to about S$2.5 billion. It is also expected to be immediately accretive, contributing a net operating income of about S$25 million per year, providing CapitaLand with a stable source of income.

Frasers Centrepoint unit to issue inaugural series of securities
Frasers Centrepoint Limited’s subsidiary FCL Treasury proposed on Thursday to issue its inaugural series of securities, comprising S$348 million in aggregate principal amount of fixed rate notes.  The Series 1 Notes will be issued in registered form and in denominations of S$250,000 each and mature on Feb 23, 2027.  The interest rate for the Series 1 Notes is fixed at 4.150 per cent per annum payable semi-annually in arrear.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Long and short of home rentals
One should not foreclose the growth of the “sharing economy” because new technology to support peer-to-peer economic interaction might yield valuable uses and opportunities. But in some areas, like lodging and transport, where large operators (backed by venture capitalists) dominate, notably Airbnb and Uber, it’s better to call it a “digital matching economy”. By setting aside the favourable connotation of “sharing”, one might be able to take a truly hard-headed look at just how to regulate this phenomenon in one sector (like home rentals) and how to offer more leeway in another area (for example, private-hire car services).

Stay with current short-term rental rules
I take my hat off to the Ministry of National Development (MND) for deciding on making Airbnb-style rentals illegal.  It will certainly prevent residential estates from having to put up with unwelcome transient visitors.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Where a city sees decay, a fight to save a community

Developer to pay taxes for buyers of Manhattan condos

US housing starts exceed estimates after a stronger December

US home builders’ sentiment slips in February

Equity seen as game-changer in Spain

China outbound investment retreats as capital controls bite

Hong Kong widens lead over Singapore in free economy ranking

Australians able to service mortgage debt, says RBA official

Malaysian economy up 4.5% in Q4 on domestic demand

Toronto home sellers pull out as Bank of Montreal warns of housing bubble

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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