The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 17 Feb 2021 (Wed)

Singapore Real Estate

Asian real estate outlook ‘optimistic’ on Covid-19 recovery in 2021: report
OCBC stock watchers have taken a “decidedly optimistic” outlook on Asian real estate investments, citing “undemanding valuations” and recovery from the Covid-19 downturn. The global roll-out of vaccines against the novel coronavirus is expected to gradually lift footfall and tenant sales in shopping malls, while more workers will return to offices.

Kovan’s Jansen Mansion in second en bloc attempt, reserve price lowered to S$19.8m
The owners of 999-year leasehold condominium Jansen Mansion are making a second attempt at a collective sale on Thursday, this time at a lowered reserve price of S$19.8 million from S$22 million in 2018. The new reserve price translates to a land rate of S$879 per square foot per plot ratio, inclusive of development charge and 7 per cent bonus balcony space.


Singapore Economy

Record deficit of S$64.9b for FY2020, amounting to 13.9% of GDP
Singapore is expected to register a record budget deficit of S$64.90 billion for FY2020, equal to 13.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). This marks the largest budget deficit since the country became independent in 1965, driven by lower revenues due to the dampened economic backdrop and significant spending to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.


Companies’ Brief

Broker’s take: Lim & Tan starts coverage on Bukit Sembawang at ‘buy’ with S$5.57 target
Lim & Tan Securities has initiated coverage on Bukit Sembawang Estates at “buy” with a S$5.57 target price, saying the counter is largely underpriced due to the undervaluation of over 90 per cent of its land bank. In a report dated Feb 1, 2021, the research house said it foresees that Bukit Sembawang will eventually monetise its land bank via property development, as seen in the recent releases of Luxus Hill and Nim Collection.

Ascendas India Trust buys Hyderabad building for S$92m
Ascendas India Trust (a-iTrust) has entered into definitive agreements to acquire aVance 6 from Phoenix Infocity for 5.06 billion rupees (S$92.03 million), said its manager on Tuesday. This will be the trust’s fifth building acquired from Phoenix, which sold the previous buildings to a-iTrust throughout the course of February 2012 to April 2017. About 98.3 per cent of its total floor area of 0.64 million square feet is leased to Amazon.

Corporate digest


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Budget to ‘build back better’; a pathway to sustainability
Covid-19 has clearly rattled Singapore’s economy. But Budget 2021 shows that the government is determined to focus on the positive with a strong emphasis placed on sustainability. Despite the country incurring a record budget deficit of S$64.9 billion – close to 14 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product – this year, choosing this rather difficult time to push ahead and strengthen Singapore’s economic, climate and resource resilience is a valiant move.

Businesses have to take a leap of faith for the future
We have been at war with Covid-19 for a year now, and it is not yet won. February 2020 saw the beginning of a global battle on many fronts, with aviation and tourism sectors the hardest hit. Looking ahead, nobody is able to predict for certain when this war against the pandemic will end. Many foresee it to be a long-drawn affair where more punches will be thrown, further affecting the economy and daily lives.

Thinking ahead, while tackling crisis
The Budget presented by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday had a eye on the challenges of both today and tomorrow. It was very much in the mould of the ameliorative Budgets passed last year to meet the threat from Covid-19, but also included plans and possibilities for Singapore’s economy, businesses and people in a post-pandemic world.

Investing in new areas, in good times or bad
As Singapore Budgets go, the latest fiscal package – aptly dubbed “Emerging Stronger Together” – pretty much ticks all the boxes for a trademark response for these times, when the economy has come through a bruising battle but it’s still far from certain that the difficulties and dangers have gone away. The financial plan not only caters to immediate needs, with an S$11 billion in continued relief for workers and businesses that are still struggling from the Covid-19 big hit,

Building a digital Silk Road in Asia
With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing and as countries around the world shift away from the traditional economy, this is an opportune time for Asia to boost its digital economic sector, including the opportunity to consider building a more integrated Asian digital economy through the various initiatives to enhance digital connectivity among Asian countries and to promote Asian digital trade and digital currency.


Singapore Bugdet 2021

Managing our finances: S’pore to draw on reserves for 2nd year to fight Covid-19
For a second year in a row, Singapore will dip into its past savings to pay for measures needed to fight Covid-19, with a draw of $1.7 billion on the reserves. The amount will be combined with $9.3 billion that was drawn last year but not used, with all $11 billion going towards funding the Covid-19 Resilience Package. Altogether, the expected draw on the reserves over the two financial years will come up to a total of $53.7 billion.

6 ways to emerge stronger
In his Budget statement yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat outlined six ways in which Singapore can emerge stronger from the crisis. Rei Kurohi and Prisca Ang capture his key points.

Deficit narrowed in FY2021
After extensive Covid-19 rescue measures rolled out across five Budgets in 2020, a smaller deficit is expected for FY2021 as the government looks towards long-term plans while offering more targeted relief measures to support economic recovery.

Targeted lifeline for listed firms in worst-hit sectors
Businesses in key sectors still knee-deep in pandemic pain will get help staying afloat from Singapore’s latest Budget measures, chiefly in the form of an extension of wage subsidies. This should put Singapore-listed beneficiaries from the aviation, hospitality and aerospace sectors in a better place to stomach the downturn; to a lesser degree, but no less significantly, the retail, food services, marine and offshore, as well as entertainment businesses, will be helped as well.

Budget 2021: S$11b for Covid relief, and even more to fortify future
While Budget 2021 puts S$11 billion towards continued Covid-19 relief – drawing on past reserves for the second straight year – it devotes more to the future, including S$24 billion to help firms and workers “emerge stronger” over the next three years. Last year’s Budgets and this year’s Covid-19 Resilience Package are about “preservation and adaptation” amid an emergency. But the focus this year is on structural change, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech on Tuesday.

Creating opportunities to build a stronger Singapore
Emerging Stronger Together – the theme for Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s Budget 2021 – highlights Singapore’s aspirations to continue to find opportunities within the crisis and accelerate its transformation journey to emerge as a digital, innovation-led economy in the post-crisis world. While the Budget addresses the immediate and exceptional challenges that businesses and Singaporeans face, it takes a more targeted, calibrated and fiscally prudent approach, after the government injected S$100 billion into the economy last year to cushion the impact from Covid-19.

GST hike to 9% will happen between next year and 2025
The planned goods and services tax (GST) increase will take place between next year and 2025 – sooner rather than later and subject to the economic outlook, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. The planned hike, from 7 per cent to 9 per cent, was announced in Budget 2018. Mr Heng had said in last year’s Budget that the hike would not kick in this year, in view of the economic conditions then.

Built environment sector anticipating greater digitalisation and collaboration
To enable the built environment sector to transform as a whole, not only does digitalisation need to take place, but changes in the way that players collaborate and how contracts are tendered should also happen, said industry experts. In his Budget speech on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the government will be launching the Growth and Transformation Scheme (GTS), starting with the built environment sector.

SINGA, green bonds to finance infrastructure, sustainability projects
In a first since the 1980s, the government will borrow to finance its infrastructure projects. This will primarily be done through the new Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (SINGA) bonds, which will finance major, long-term infrastructure developments. The government will also issue green bonds for sustainability projects, including green public infrastructure.

SINGA issues will deepen liquidity in local bond market
The sum of S$90 billion in Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (SINGA) bonds – including green infrastructure bonds – though a drop in the ocean of the global bond market, will go a long way to deepen Singapore’s bond market and institutional investor base, as well as develop much-needed expertise among banks and ratings agencies. This will help Singapore to cement its status as a green and infrastructure financing hub, market watchers say.

No major tax changes but fiscal prudence reiterated
Some observers had hoped to see more tax reforms and benefits in this year’s Budget, but were disappointed that these did not materialise. However, others whom The Business Times (BT) spoke to, welcomed the more targeted plans shared by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat after last year’s sizeable draw on the country’s past reserves.

Retail, F&B, nightlife operators find Budget measures wanting
Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the hard-hit retail, food and beverage (F&B) and nightlife sectors say they find that Singapore’s Budget 2021 falls short of its promise to help them “emerge stronger together” from the pandemic. While retail and food services are among the sectors that will benefit from a S$700 million extension of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), nightlife establishments will not get any targeted help in the latest Budget.

Wage support for aviation, aerospace and tourism sectors extended, but on smaller scale
The government will extend wage support for the hard-hit aviation, aerospace and tourism sectors for six months but the amount will be scaled down. Observers noted these measures are to mitigate and not negate the impact from the pandemic, so players themselves should seek ways to stay afloat.

Hiring support for 200,000 locals and training for up to 35,000 through Jobs Growth Incentive
The government is aiming to support the hiring of 200,000 locals while providing up to 35,000 traineeship and training opportunities this year through the next phase of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday. The wages of the 200,000 positions will be co-funded for 12 to 18 months by the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI), which has been extended by seven months to September, costing the government S$5.2 billion.

Jobs Support Scheme to be extended by up to 6 months
Wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) will be extended by up to six months to help businesses that remain badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic to retain workers, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. The subsidies – which range from 10 per cent to 30 per cent – will cover wages paid from April to September for companies in sectors worst hit by the crisis: aviation, aerospace and tourism.

S Pass cut is latest shake-up as planners woo locals for factory jobs
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat made good on earlier plans to trim the foreign worker headcount in manufacturing – but fresh quota cuts alone are not enough to woo locals into industry roles, analysts noted. More policy tightening could be in the cards for the mid- and higher-skilled foreign workforce. Mr Heng moved on Tuesday to lower the maximum share of mid-skilled S Pass holders that manufacturers can employ.

New electric vehicle measures expected to jolt sales
The car industry is looking forward to an uptick in sales of electric vehicles (EV), following plans announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat to spur Singapore’s switch to cleaner energy vehicles. Mr Heng announced in his Budget speech on Tuesday that S$30 million has been set aside over the next five years for EV-related initiatives entailing public-private partnerships. This could include measures to improve charging availability at private premises.

Petrol tax hike won’t see quick switch to electric vehicles: car rental firms
Raised petrol duties could end up hurting passengers of private-hire cars in Singapore, as car rental firms are unlikely to switch to electric vehicles immediately. Rental firms The Business Times spoke to said they would look into eco-friendlier vehicles only further down the road, citing a lack of affordability and infrastructure. To further discourage the use of petrol-powered vehicles, petrol duties were raised on Tuesday, by 15 cents per litre for premium-grade petrol and 10 cents per litre for intermediate-grade petrol.

Building a sustainable home: Carbon tax rate after 2023 to be reviewed
The trajectory and level of the carbon tax after 2023 will be reviewed by the Government in consultation with industry and expert groups, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. Details of the review will be announced during next year’s Budget to give time for businesses to adjust to any revisions, he said.
*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


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