Decline in prices of private homes attracting more buyers
The decline in private home prices is wooing buyers back to the market and giving agents something to cheer about after a few lean years. Take agent Daryl Ou, who hit his sales target for the year in June. “I managed to close more transactions this year; they have increased about 50 per cent year-on-year… I see more opportunities because of renewed buyers’ interest and several upcoming project launches,” said Mr Ou, an associate district director at Huttons Asia.
Rents drop with vacancies on the rise
Finding tenants for her four investment properties never used to be much of an issue for investor Jenny Yang, but those days of easy money are long gone. Two of her units – a studio apartment in Novena and a two-bedroom unit near Lavender MRT station – remain vacant after the tenants, both foreigners, returned home in recent months. “In the past, before one tenant moved out, I would get another offer, especially for the Lavender unit… now it’s slower.
Dispiriting Q3 stupefies market, underscores need for reforms
Just how critical the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) is was underscored on Friday, after official data showed that Singapore’s GDP grew only 0.6 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter – marking the slowest pace seen since the 2008/2009 global financial crisis. The dismal performance – which included larger-than-anticipated sequential contractions of 17.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent in the manufacturing and services sectors respectively – undershot even the most bearish of consensus forecasts, and left private-sector economists stupefied.
Singapore banks still hiring despite slowing economy
While global banks are slashing Asia positions – especially in investment banking – banks operating in Singapore have thousands of vacancies, mainly in compliance and information technology. Several banks told The Business Times that while recruitment may not be as hot as last year, they are still looking for hundreds of new employees.
Economists see MAS preference for near-term easing
Singapore’s central bank left its monetary policy stance untouched on Friday, but is already hoping for a weaker Singapore dollar which may result in an easing move soon, economists said. They noted that despite Friday’s weak estimates on growth and inflation, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) chose to leave its neutral policy stance untouched. But it stated clearly its preference for a weaker Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER), they argued.
Weak sentiment persists, but SMEs still expecting to keep headcount: SCCCI report
Business sentiment among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore remains weak, as they continue to struggle against global economic headwinds and weak market conditions. Some 80 per cent of SMEs face a reduced or flat profit margin in 2016 compared to last year, while 66 per cent say that revenue is expected to decline or remain the same, according to the SME Survey Report 2016 by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI). But despite this, SMEs are still keeping their workforce intact, with 85.4 per cent of them expecting to either add staff or remain the same in 2016. This is up from 83.7 per cent recorded last year.
S’pore retail sales down in August
In yet another sign of economic gloom in Singapore, local retail sales for the month of August tumbled from the previous year with declines in every segment except motor vehicles, figures out Friday from the Department of Statistics (DOS) showed. The dismal set of numbers underscored lacklustre advance official estimates for the country’s third-quarter economic output growth, that were also released Friday and showed that the services sector contracted slightly in July through September from the previous year. The retail sales index excluding cars fell 6.5 per cent year-on-year, led by declines in sales of computers and telecommunications equipment (down 19.6 per cent); watches and jewellery (down 15 per cent); and clothes and shoes (down 11.2 per cent).
Singapore Real Estate
Sales of landed homes climb to over 3-year high in Q3
The number of landed homes that changed hands in Singapore during the July-to-September quarter rose to the highest in more than three years, as a steep decline in prices drew buyers who had been sitting on the fence. The buying momentum will be sustained if sellers continue to be realistic in their pricing as the limited supply of landed properties and their potential for long-term capital appreciation makes them an attractive real estate segment, analysts told TODAY. In the recently concluded third quarter, total transactions in the landed housing segment – which includes detached, semi-detached and terrace homes — climbed 17.5 per cent from the previous three months to 436 units, the highest since the second quarter of 2013, figures by property firm Edmund Tie & Co (SEA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed.
Two ultra high net worth investors buy more property in S’pore
Two ultra high net worth foreign property investors in Singapore are expanding their presence here. In the luxury condo market, a Hongkonger and Singapore permanent resident who co-founded a jewellery business in the Special Administrative Region is understood to have picked up a duplex penthouse at Nassim Park Residences for S$21.2 million. The 6,878 square feet penthouse – which has four bedrooms, a family area and its own swimming pool – that Naina Buxani is buying is just two doors away from an earlier penthouse that her husband, Mahesh, acquired last year. Earlier this year, Mrs Buxani also bought two four-bedroom units in the luxury freehold development, which was completed in 2011.
2 new condo projects to open showflats
Two new condominium projects – in West Coast and Queenstown – will open their showflats this weekend in the hope of capitalising on good sales at recent launches. Prospective buyers can visit the showflat of EL Development’s Parc Riviera in West Coast Vale over the next two weekends, ahead of its sales launch next month. The other project vying for buyers is Queens Peak in Dundee Road, in Queenstown. It will open for preview on Saturday, with the sales launch scheduled for Nov 5, its developer Hao Yuan Investment said.
HDB calls tender for solar panel installation across government agencies
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has called a solar leasing tender – the second combined tender led by the board, it said in a joint press release with the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Sunday (Oct 16). The tender, which was called on Oct 10, will aggregate demand for the installation of solar panels across nine governmental organisations such as the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Education and the National Environment Agency. A total of 636 HDB blocks and 31 government sites including Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, Bishan Fire Station and Ngee Ann Polytechnic will be installed with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, at a capacity of 40 MWp. That is equivalent to powering around 10,000 4-room HDB flats.
Homeowners can get renovation deposits covered up to S$50,000
Those looking to renovate their homes no longer have to fear a shoddy job or an unreliable interior designer. Home renovation platform Qanvast announced last Monday that it is now offering home owners who engage one of its recommended interior designers a protection of 50 per cent of the renovation contract value or up to S$50,000, whichever is lower, as compensation, should something go wrong. The homegrown start-up, which helps connect home owners to interior designers, said this amount is more than all other home renovation protection schemes available in Singapore.
Blackstone, GIC said to be shortlisted for DLF’s assets in India
Blackstone Group LP and Singapore sovereign fund GIC Pte have been shortlisted to purchase a 40 per cent stake in the rental property arm of DLF Ltd, India’s largest listed developer, people with knowledge of the matter say. The funds were chosen to proceed in the bidding for the interest in DLF Cyber City Developers Ltd being sold by DLF chairman KP Singh’s family, according to the people. The holding could fetch more than 100 billion rupees (S$2.07 billion), the people said on Friday, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
Raffles Hotel revamp leaves some tenants in the lurch
Some tenants at Raffles Hotel are up in arms over having to vacate their premises at short notice for a revamp of the building. But it is not just the short three months’ notice that has upset them. They have to leave by Jan 16, two weeks shy of Chinese New Year, when sales tend to be higher. Raffles Hotel Singapore announced the restoration works on Tuesday, the same day that the tenants were told they would need to leave.
Goodwood Park Hotel’s holding firm makes offer for minorities’ stakes
Hotel Holdings, which is the Khoo family’s holding company of the now-delisted Goodwood Park Hotel, on Friday launched a voluntary unconditional cash offer for all the remaining shares in the company that it does not own at S$43 per share. The offer values the company at S$1.85 billion. The offeror currently owns 24.24 per cent of the company, and has received irrevocable undertakings from parties representing a further 75.43 per cent. This means they collectively own 99.67 per cent of the company.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Curbing ‘lottery gains’ of flats may backfire: Experts
Imposing tighter resale conditions on public flats in prime areas may not deter buyers from cashing in, and may even lead to other problems, said property experts. They were responding to National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who said in a Straits Times report last week that the Government is considering measures to mitigate the “lottery effect” of such flats, which tend to reap hefty profits when they hit the resale market. Possible measures include lengthening the current minimum occupation period (MOP) of five years, shortening the usual 99-year lease and imposing a higher resale levy.
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