The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 16, 17 & 18 Jan 2021 (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

Singapore government to ensure property market is in line with economic fundamentals
The Singapore government is monitoring the developments in the property market “very closely”, and will adjust policies if necessary, to maintain a stable and sustainable property market for Singaporeans, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee. Speaking at the Building and Construction Authority-Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore Built Environment and Property Prospects Seminar 2021 on Monday, Mr Lee said that the government has, over the years, put in place several measures to ensure that prices in the private sector housing market move in line with economic fundamentals.

2021 construction demand forecast at S$23-28b; public sector to drive bulk of demand: BCA
The total construction demand in 2021 is projected to recover to between S$23 billion and S$28 billion, said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on Monday. This is up from 2020’s demand of S$21.3 billion based on preliminary estimates, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Public sector projects are also expected to drive this year’s demand – to between S$15 billion and S$18 billion, or some 65 per cent, with an anticipated stronger demand for public housing and infrastructure projects, said BCA.

OrangeTee & Tie CEO thinks cooling measures unlikely; weighs in on HDB ‘lottery’ effect
Residential property prices in Singapore will probably go on a stable and gradual uptrend, instead of “shooting up”, due to a K-shaped economic recovery. That’s according to OrangeTee & Tie chief executive officer (CEO) Steven Tan, who does not expect the government to intervene in the real estate market and introduce cooling measures in the near future.

Investment property sales set to return to pre-Covid-19 levels
Property investment volume in Singapore is expected to return to pre-Covid-19 levels this year as the vaccination programme is gradually rolled out amid optimism for overall economic growth, Cushman & Wakefield said in a report last Friday. The commercial real estate services firm projected total sales for this year to be in the range of $18 billion to $20 billion as investors “stand ready” to put out more capital in anticipation of growth and better returns, which will aid the recovery of the investment sales market.

Developers expected to continue milking positive market conditions to push new projects this year
After topping their 2019 sales performance last year despite the pandemic-induced recession, developers are poised to continue their new project launch momentum this year. JLL Singapore’s senior director of research and consultancy, Ong Teck Hui, noted that for the whole of 2020, an estimated 10,883 private housing units were launched for sale – only 4.1 per cent fewer units than in 2019 – as developers took advantage of positive market conditions to clear unsold inventory.

New private home sales highest for December in eight years
The pent-up buying momentum did not let up in December, as buyers continued to drive sales of new private homes to their highest level for that month in eight years. The rush to snap up deals in what is normally the festive season lull comes amid expectations that prices will be heading up as the economy recovers from the vaccine roll-out amid the ongoing pandemic.

Normanton Park sells about one third of 1,862 units on first day
About a third of the residential units offered at Normanton Park were sold at an average price of S$1,750 per square foot on the first day of sales, developer Kingsford Huray Development said on Sunday afternoon. Of the 600 residential units sold, 80 per cent are one- and two-bedroom units, it said in a press statement. Three commercial units were also taken up.

Residents face water seepage woes after downpours
Some residents are battling water seepage issues in their homes after heavy rain in recent weeks, with many turning to town councils and contractors for help. MP for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng told The Straits Times that, in the past two weeks, he has received 20 to 30 rain-related water seepage complaints from residents – which is “a lot more” than previous wet seasons.

BHG to open new concept at Robinsons’ former Raffles City space
Department store operator BHG Singapore is taking over the first two floors of the space formerly occupied by Robinsons Singapore at Raffles City Shopping Centre. Robinsons used to occupy three floors spanning roughly 85,000 square feet (sq ft) at Raffles City before it closed the store last weekend, exiting the retail scene for good after years of losses.

Reits (Jan 16-17, 2020)


Singapore Economy

WEF targets Marina Bay Sands to host Singapore summit: sources
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is aiming to attract around 1,000 delegates for its Singapore summit in late May and wants the iconic Marina Bay Sands (MBS) complex to host the event, two sources familiar with the organisation’s plans said. The sources, who did not want to be identified as negotiations are ongoing, said the plans for the May 25-28 event were still fluid given the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic raging across the world. The WEF and MBS declined comment. Singapore’s trade ministry did not immediately have comment.

Economy recovering, but jobs outlook uncertain
Singapore’s economy is on the mend after suffering its worst recession last year, but the employment outlook remains clouded. Even after encouraging data for November, there are enough reasons to be cautious about any surge in hiring intentions, at least until global travel can safely resume. The overall unemployment rate declined from 3.6 per cent in October to 3.3 per cent in November – the first drop since the first quarter of 2018.

Singapore non-oil exports surge 6.8% in December to snap two-month decline
Singapore – Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) posted its first gain in three months in December, mainly helped by shipment of non-electronic goods such as specialised machinery, non-monetary gold and measuring instruments. Nodx surged last month by 6.8 per cent year on year after a revised 5 per cent drop in November and a 3.1 per cent decrease in October, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said on Monday (Jan 18). Before October, Singapore saw four consecutive months of Nodx growth.

Fewer businesses wound up last year in spite of pandemic
The pandemic dealt a fatal blow to many businesses last year, yet the overall number of firms that went belly up defied expectations to fall to its lowest level in five years. The shutters came down on 43,335 business entities last year, notably fewer than the 47,504 in 2019, noted Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) data.

Not-so-festive season for food manufacturers with supply crunch, missed opportunities, higher costs
Ongoing supply chain issues and unpredictable demand due to the coronavirus pandemic are making it hard for food manufacturers and suppliers in Singapore to do their usual roaring business during the peak festive seasons. For some, the supply chain issues resulted in missed opportunities to capitalise on demand from locals unable to travel over the holidays.


Companies’ Brief

GL shares soar to 10-month high after proposed privatisation of firm
Shares of mainboard-listed GL Limited hit a 10-month high on Friday, following news of a proposed privatisation. This came after the hotel operator lifted its trading halt during the midday break. The UK hotel operator’s counter hit an intra-day high of S$0.71 as at 1.10pm on Friday, Singapore time, up 26.8 per cent or S$0.15. The last time the counter closed near this level was on March 11, 2020.

KKR looks to Singapore as key investment market for new US$1.7b Asia real estate fund
Investment firm KKR, which recently closed a US$1.7 billion fund, has set its sights on Singapore as one of the core markets for the fund which is targeting real estate investments in the Asia-Pacific. With the city-state on the path to recovery, KKR’s head of Asia-Pacific real estate, John Pattar, expects to gain exposure to the Singapore market within the next two years, with an eye on the office and retail sectors here. Some 10-15 per cent of the US$1.7 billion raised under the KKR Asia Real Estate Partners (AREP) fund could be a reasonable amount to deploy in Singapore, although he stresses this is not set in stone.

Lian Beng Group to buy BreadTalk IHQ building in S$118m sale-and-leaseback deal
A consortium led by mainboard-listed Lian Beng Group is set to buy the BreadTalk IHQ Building in Tai Seng in an S$118 million sale-and-leaseback deal. BreadTalk Group, which was privatised by its founders last year, will rent the property as an anchor tenant for an initial 10 years. It can then either extend its lease by another five years at market rate or buy back the building at a mutually agreed price.

Sembcorp names ex-CEO of CapitaLand as new independent director
Sembcorp Industries has appointed Lim Ming Yan as a non-executive and independent director, with effect from Monday. Previously the president and group chief executive officer of CapitaLand Limited, Mr Lim spent a decade leading CapitaLand’s growth and expansion in China. He currently holds 11 directorships on top of his new appointment at Sembcorp, including one as chairman of Workforce Singapore, which oversees the transformation of the local workforce and industry for economic growth.

Secondary fundraisings portfolio acquisitions continue into 2021
S-reits raised a total of S$4.5 billion in secondary fundraisings for the entire year in 2020, of which S$3.0 billion was raised through placements and another S$1.5 billion in rights issues. Secondary fundraising activities were largely undertaken to fund portfolio acquisitions in the second half of 2020, despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. Three of the largest secondary fundraisings were by Ascendas Reit, Frasers Centrepoint Trust and Mapletree Logistics Trust totalling over S$3.0 billion in rights and placements.

Woh Hup chairman Yong Nam Seng dies aged 92
Singapore – Construction firm Woh Hup’s chairman Yong Nam Seng died on Saturday (Jan 16) aged 92. Mr Yong took over the reins of the Singapore-based company from his father Yong Yit Lin in the 1950s. The older Mr Yong, who was originally from China, founded Woh Hup in 1927 after moving from Malaysia to Singapore in pursuit of government construction tenders. He was fatally shot on May 25, 1950.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

The lottery effect – fair or foul?
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)

I note that the policy intent is for social integration and inclusiveness on an ongoing basis. Thus, HDB flats generally have to be affordable over the lease tenure. Prime land costs more. So, you either have to give a much higher subsidy to bring down the flat price (initially, and let the lucky first-timers benefit) or create a different category or product that will fall within the affordable range.

Mice sector restarts with hybrid events, amid much exploring
When Singapore raised its alert level in response to the potential spread of Covid-19 on Feb 7 last year, event company Hydse started receiving cancellations or postponements of contracts. And while a few events went ahead before the circuit breaker was imposed last April, “June was bad”, said project director Nazran Ahmad. “In fact, the entire circuit breaker, we took a hit,” he recalled. For about four months from last April, Hydse had only a handful of events, which were mainly virtual, with revenues at about 10 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels.

Business travel – the end of the road?
Mr Ian Woodroofe has notched up a business trip “probably every week” – often overseas – for more than 20 years. Trips were always business class and he had two or three loyalty cards for airlines and hotels. But as the coronavirus spread last year, the senior executive at United States transport and defence infrastructure company Cubic was grounded. His San Diego office was promptly closed and all travel cancelled. “I haven’t travelled since March,” he says.

Back to the workplace of the future
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world over the past year, disrupting businesses and upending livelihoods, as well as bringing about considerable changes to the way we live, work and travel. At the same time, the outbreak has exposed systemic weaknesses and revealed opportunities to improve the way things were previously done.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

2 community cases linked to para-vet form new cluster
The two community cases announced yesterday are linked to a Singapore Police Force para-veterinarian who was earlier confirmed to have Covid-19, forming a new cluster with four cases. The first case, a 44-year-old Singaporean man, works as an administrative officer with the police at 2 Mowbray Road, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). He had a dry throat on Jan 7, but did not see a doctor.

All travellers to S’pore to take PCR test on arrival from Jan 25
Singapore is tightening its border restrictions amid the worsening Covid-19 situation around the world, including the spread of new variants of the virus. All travellers, including Singapore citizens and permanent residents, will have to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test when they arrive in Singapore. This takes effect from Jan 24, 11.59pm, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday. The new requirement comes on top of the current stay-home notice (SHN) requirements, which include a PCR test at the end.

No need to introduce TraceTogether-only check-ins yet, retailers told
Retailers who have started to roll out TraceTogether-only check-ins have been told to hold off for now by the authorities, after many businesses around Singapore were found to have jumped the gun by switching on the function and putting up posters displaying the new requirements. This meant that members of the public could not enter some establishments unless they used the TraceTogether (TT) app or token to check in.

More airlines receive approval to transit passengers at Changi
Several more airlines have received approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to stop over at Changi Airport with passengers who are en route to other destinations. At least three airlines – German carrier Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines and Garuda Indonesia – resumed ferrying transit passengers this month, according to checks by The Straits Times.

Experts divided on effect of new strains on effort to curb virus
The world went into a tizzy last month with the emergence of a new strain of the coronavirus in southern England. It was said to be more infectious and able to spread more easily. But this was not the first, nor will it be the last mutation of the virus that has spread globally over the past year, infecting more than 95 million people and killing more than two million.
*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


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US joblessness spikes with 1.2m jobless claims in first week of year

British PM plans to host in-person G-7 summit in June

UK house prices dip as sellers seek deals before tax break ends: Rightmove

Covid-19 pandemic lops US$2.5b in NYC property tax revenue

Private equity firms seize on IPO boom with consumer assets

Bitcoin claws back most of losses after early-week plunge

Britain invites G-7 leaders to Cornish resort for June summit

Wealth gap widens for Britain’s young with surge in house prices

No interest rate hike any time soon, says Fed chair

Pandemic drives Spain’s real estate companies online

Buying frenzy caps record year for Canadian housing market

Canadian dollar drops, posts weekly decline on greenback short-covering

Electronics companies in the region still lag China: report

China’s 2020 property investment rises 7% y-o-y

China new home prices up moderately in December

China becomes only major economy to avoid Covid-19 recession in 2020

Malaysian businesses reposition to target local consumers

Scroll to Top