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 Mar 2021 (Wed)

Singapore Real Estate

Property development no longer offers healthy returns for shareholders
Developers’ profit margins from Singapore private housing development projects have thinned so much that shareholders may well ask management if engaging in this activity makes business sense. It would not be surprising if the top brass at some companies are asking themselves the same question. Pre-tax profit margins for some private housing projects are down to around 10-12 per cent, or even sub-10 per cent.

Sales of distressed homes take off as demand and prices converge
Sales of distressed residential properties may be moving at glacial speed but some are getting sold as buyers pay near the opening prices, either at auction, or by negotiation after the auction. A mortgagee property at The Ladyhill was sold above the opening price of S$7.055 million after the Jan 7 auction, said Sharon Lee, Knight Frank’s head of auction & sales.

New commercial building in Upper Changi Road North for sale at S$38m
A New commercial building at 933 Upper Changi Road North has been put up for sale via expression of interest with a guide price of S$38 million. The three-storey building has a built-up area of 18,986 square feet (sq ft), which works out to about S$2,000 per square foot (psf). The plot ratio is 1.4. Sitting on a freehold site of approximately 13,561 sq ft, the property includes 12 carpark lots.


Singapore Economy

Singapore won’t take investors for granted, say economic leaders
Singapore will never take its investment partners for granted, key economic leaders said on Tuesday, while pledging to keep the country connected and open to the world. “In a time of global uncertainty, we will distinguish ourselves by being a trusted partner, providing a safe harbour for capital, talent and intellectual property, while offering long-term policy coherence and consistency,” Trade and Industry Ministry Chan Chun Sing told a forum organised by media group Nikkei.

Singapore non-oil domestic exports grow at slower 4.2% pace in February
Singapore – Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) continued to expand, but at a slower rate in February, on the back of a rise in both electronic and non-electronic shipments, according to data out by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Wednesday (March 17). Nodx rose 4.2 per cent last month compared with the same period last year, moderating from the 12.7 per cent surge in January. It is also lower than the 6.1 per cent growth forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg poll.

Labour market ‘turned the corner’ in Q4 2020, but risks remain
Updated figures confirm that the labour market “turned the corner” in the fourth quarter of 2020, though risk factors remain, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo at Tuesday’s release of the Labour Market Report. These risks include the lack of a major reopening of borders, the tapering off of support, and mismatch between job seekers and employers.

Retrenchments hit smaller proportion of workers in S’pore, but more than doubled from last year
Singapore – A smaller proportion of workers was retrenched last year amid the economic upheavals caused by the pandemic compared with previous recessionary years. However, the total number of workers who lost their jobs surpassed figures not seen since the bust in 2001 and the Asian financial crisis in 1998, when more workers were laid off and the labour force was smaller.


Companies’ Brief

Desmond Sim tipped to succeed ET & Co’s Ong Choon Fah
CBRE’s head of research for South-east Asia, Desmond Sim, resigned last month and is heading for Edmund Tie & Company (SEA) Pte Ltd, where he is expected to succeed chief executive Ong Choon Fah, The Business Times understands. Ms Ong, a veteran property consultant, has been the group’s CEO since May 2015. In January this year, Edmund Tie & Co appointed Christopher Ng as its chief operating officer. He is the youngest son of Roland Ng, president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The senior Ng is the chairman of Edmund Tie & Co.

Corporate digest


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Rethinking the future of work after the pandemic
The pandemic has triggered a massive shift in global work patterns. We’ve learned new behaviours, adopted new technologies, and adjusted to new ways of working. We’ve also come to a deeper understanding of the fundamental role of place in how we work, especially how we work together. Organisations around the world are rethinking the future of the workplace based on experiences and learnings from the past year, with a particular focus on the well-being and connectivity of their teams.

How boards can reframe the AGM
Virtual annual general meetings (AGMs) were held in Singapore for the very first time last year for most listed companies. Initial concerns of poor attendance were unwarranted as some AGMs registered higher attendance rates than past in-person events. Yet, shareholders had varying experiences at the virtual AGMs – and many had found the experience wanting.

Asia-Pacific economies could hit pre-Covid-19 levels: Moody’s
The Asia-Pacific (Apac) region continues to lead global growth, with all economies tipped to rebound this year, according to a Moody’s Analytics report. In addition, economies in the region, except the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, are expected to recover past their pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. Apac’s gross domestic product (GDP) had already edged above its pre-pandemic peak in the final quarter of last year.

New highs in wealth management give Singapore banks a boost amid falling interest income, bad-debt fears
The focus on Singapore banks’ debt relief impact in the year of Covid-19 might have obscured how they hit new records in the area of wealth management in 2020. This business will continue to be a key growth driver for the Singapore-listed banks, and puts the trio in good stead as rising rates will provide a much-needed boost to their interest income as well. Fee income is likely to expand on improved sentiment and growing momentum of business activities, with potential for wealth management, in particular, to make up a bigger percentage of the pie as digital wealth tools become mainstream in banks.

Foreign interest in Asean set to return after herd immunity: Maybank KE
Though foreign ownership in Asean equities has dipped to near historically low levels, Maybank Kim Eng (Maybank KE) analysts are optimistic that investor interest in the region will rebound once Asean countries attain herd immunity. In particular, the analysts are positive on banking equities, with a special mention of Singapore real estate investment trusts (S-Reits), which analyst Thilan Wickramasinghe believes “is still too early to write off”.


Singapore Budget 2021

President approves draw of up to S$11b from past reserves
President Halimah Yacob on Tuesday formally approved the draw of up to S$11 billion from past reserves to fund measures needed to fight Covid-19, saying that this would allow Singapore to support workers and businesses as it works towards reopening safely amid the pandemic. In a Facebook post announcing her approval of the government’s Budget, she added: “While the outlook is still uncertain, I am confident that if we continue to stay united as one, Singapore will come through this crisis stronger and ready for the future.”


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

11 new coronavirus cases in Singapore, all of them imported
A four-year-old girl coming from Nepal was among 11 new coronavirus cases reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday. All of them were imported cases who were tested while on stay-home-notice or in isolation on arrival in Singapore. The new cases brought Singapore’s tally to 60,128.

Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to start being administered at four new vaccination centres
The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine will be administered at four new vaccination centres here starting on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced in a statement. The centres are Hong Kah North Community Club, Marsiling Community Club, Punggol 21 Community Club and Radin Mas Community Club. All other vaccination centres, as well as polyclinics and selected Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs), will continue to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

S’poreans and PRs in urgent need to travel can appeal for early jab
Singaporeans and permanent residents facing exceptional circumstances will be allowed to appeal for early vaccination against Covid-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday. These include individuals who have an urgent need to travel overseas to take up or complete a formal education or vocational programme, or to be based overseas for work, where remote learning or working is not an option.

Check in with a tap soon with SafeEntry Gateway system
The SafeEntry check-in to public venues will become a simpler and faster process from April 19 with a new tap-in system. The SafeEntry Gateway Box was launched yesterday at Nex mall in Serangoon Central by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO). It was trialled at the mall from Feb 15. To check in, visitors with the TraceTogether app or TraceTogether tokens can tap their devices on the gateway box, which is slightly larger than a smartphone

askST: Can I get the Covid-19 vaccine in Singapore if I have allergies or cancer?
Singapore – The Ministry of Health (MOH) eased Covid-19 vaccination guidelines last week, paving the way for cancer patients and those with allergies to receive the jabs. Announcing the move in a circular to Singapore medical practitioners last Friday (March 12), MOH said that it follows local and international clinical reports on the safety of mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US homebuilder sentiment falls to seven-month low on costs

Blackstone checks back into Extended Stay for another short hotel stay

US retail sales dip in February as weather impedes demand

Goldman veteran buys Jeffrey Epstein’s New York City mansion for US$51m: report

Chinese tycoon who lost US$32b tries to save empire

China to issue visas to foreigners who have taken Chinese Covid jab

Japan’s factory mood improves further in March: Reuters Tankan

Malaysia investment slump shows need for structural reforms: World Bank

Indonesia opens up sectors to woo investors, boost manufacturing

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