The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 18 Feb 2021 (Thu)

Singapore Real Estate

Singapore minister flags risks of low rates on property market
[Singapore] Singapore’s deputy prime minister warned that low interest rates can lead to distortions in asset prices, amid speculation that the government may take fresh steps to cool the housing market. “The interest rates today are ultra low, and in some cases even negative, so this can lead to a significant mispricing of asset prices and a significant risk of investing in the wrong places,” Heng Swee Keat said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

Good Class Bungalows still seen as a sure bet by the ultra-rich. Are there risks ahead?
In spite of the economic damage wrought by Covid-19, Singapore’s Good Class Bungalow (GCB) market had a stellar 2020 with transaction value up 35 per cent from a year ago to S$1.05 billion. Market watchers expect positive momentum to carry through this year. As it is, caveats have been lodged for 11 GCBs worth S$302 million between Jan 1 and Feb 1 this year, data from List Sotheby International Realty showed.

Jansen Mansion makes second en bloc attempt at lower reserve price
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.

Pair of freehold shophouses along East Coast Road up for sale at S$7.8m
A pair of shophouses located at 425 and 427 East Coast Road has been put up for sale via an expression of interest exercise, with an indicative price of S$7.8 million. The price tag works out to about S$1,092 per square foot on the maximum allowable gross floor area of 7,140 square feet (sq ft), said sole marketing agent CBRE on Wednesday. It added that the development charge (DC) payable to maximise the plot ratio is estimated to be S$3 million, subject to the authorities’ confirmation on the development baseline, and review of DC rates every March and September.

Serviced apartment building in Novena up for sale at S$93m
A 15-storey residential building known as “12 on Shan” has been put up for sale with an indicative price tag of S$93 million, according to its sole marketing agent Showsuite Consultancy on Wednesday. The 78-unit serviced apartment development has a land area measuring 22,150 square feet (sq ft) and is zoned residential with a plot ratio of 2.8 in the URA Master Plan 2019. This works out to about S$1,367 per square foot (psf) on existing gross floor area.


Singapore Economy

NODX growth triggers optimism for 2021
Singapore exports appear to be off to a good start this year, and the pleasant surprise has left economists optimistic about the year ahead. Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew 12.8 per cent year on year in January, up from 6.8 per cent in the previous month, according to Enterprise Singapore on Wednesday. Although January’s showing is partly due to the low base from a year ago, it still far exceeded the 5.2 per cent growth that private-sector economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting.

Online sales set to grow despite planned GST on low-value goods
Singapore – The rapid growth in online sales presents a major challenge to governments and tax authorities worldwide. They are struggling to ensure that their tax regimes remain relevant to their purpose of taxing consumption of goods and services within their jurisdictions. Online sales are part of the global digital economy that is already vast and expanding fast.

New GST rule for imported goods won’t deter buyers
Goods bought online might be slightly pricier in the future in the wake of Tuesday’s Budget announcement, but this alone will not be enough to divert demand towards local shops. Home-grown retailers told The Straits Times they must continue to differentiate their products from those of overseas sellers if they want to stay competitive. Mr James Quan, co-founder of personalised notebooks and customised leather goods brand Bynd Artisan, said: “It’s really about how unique of a proposition you can offer and what kind of value-added services and advice you can give to customers.”


Companies’ Brief

Heeton warns of FY2020 loss due to Covid-19 pandemic
Heeton Holdings announced it expects to report a net operating loss for the year ended Dec 31, 2020 as its businesses were impacted by the continued spread of Covid-19. In a pre-market bourse filing on Thursday, the property developer said movement and travel restrictions have led to its malls and hotels experiencing decreases in rentals, room occupancies and rates, and corresponding revenue across the locations it operates in worldwide.

OUE expects FY2020 loss partly due to sale of US Bank Tower
Property player OUE expects to post a loss after tax for FY2020 ended December, partly due to a fair-value loss from its sale of the US Bank Tower. This reverses the S$321.8 million profit that it posted in FY2019. In a Wednesday bourse filing after the market close, OUE said that the FY2020 loss is mainly due to S$435.4 million in net fair-value losses on investment properties.

Corporate digest

Soilbuild Reit’s independent adviser says S$0.55 per unit offer is ‘fair and reasonable’
As Soilbuild Business Space Reit’s (Soilbuild Reit) appointed independent financial adviser, KPMG said the offer to take the Reit private at S$0.55 per unit is “fair and reasonable”, and recommended the Reit’s independent directors to advise unitholders to vote in favour of the scheme of arrangement. Since the Reit declared a Q4 distribution of 1.194 Singapore cents per unit, the scheme consideration has been adjusted to 53.806 cents per unit.

Prime US Reit posts H2 DPU of 3.42 US cents
A recently-added property and a pick-up in leasing momentum have buoyed office-focused Prime US Reit results amid the pandemic. The Reit posted a distribution per unit (DPU) of 3.42 US cents for H2 ended December 2020. This is 8.4 per cent higher than the comparable period in 2019, from its July 19 listing date to the year-end.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Ready to use the reserves if crisis worsens, to emerge stronger
Budget 2021 marks the first time that the Singapore government intends to draw on past reserves in consecutive financial years. Perhaps just as significant, however, was a hint that the reserves might be tapped later in the term – for rather different purposes. The government is proposing to draw up to S$11 billion to fund this Budget’s Covid-19 Resilience Package.

Aiming for a greener transport footprint
National budgets must not only address issues of the present, but also prepare a nation for the future. Arguably, one of the biggest nods to the future that came out of Budget 2021 on Tuesday was the slew of initiatives targeted at ensuring a cleaner and greener footprint for the transport sector in the future. Three measures, in particular, drove this point home.

Countries should maximise cooperation on climate action
Despite the pandemic and economic downturn, many governments and larger companies across the world are still moving ahead with action against climate change. The European Union (EU) redoubled its commitment to green recovery from the pandemic with a 750 billion euro (S$1.2 trillion) budget boost. In Asia, China, Japan and Korea have committed to net-zero targets. Sustainability efforts in Asean are also growing in areas such as renewable energy.

Green shoots emerge for Asia’s green growth
This past week saw several baby steps towards a more sustainable future for Asia. Thai Union Group, the world’s biggest producer of canned tuna, announced it secured its first sustainability-linked syndicated loan (SLL) of US$400 million (S$532 million). Six Chinese infrastructure firms, including Three Gorges Corp, issued the country’s first batch of carbon-neutral bonds totalling 6.4 billion yuan (S$1.3 billion).

Transforming Singapore beyond the pandemic
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s FY2021 Budget statement focuses on building a stronger Singapore that is economically vibrant, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered mega-shifts in the global economic landscape. Indeed, Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth has already been slowing down structurally even before the pandemic.

ESG investing requires true transparency and recognition that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach
In recent years, the investment industry has undergone a fundamental change in the way it approaches responsible investment. What is needed now is true transparency and a recognition that environmental, social and governance-focused investments (ESG funds) are not a homogeneous product. Only a few years ago, responsible investment was considered a niche activity, a European phenomenon.

S’pore, US reaffirm cooperation in defence, trade, cyber security
Singapore and the United States have reaffirmed their wide-ranging cooperation on defence and security, trade and investment, as well as cyber security, said Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan after a phone conversation with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Tuesday. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), in a statement, said Dr Balakrishnan expressed support for the US’ leadership role in tackling important global issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change…

Data of 129,000 Singtel customers, 23 enterprises leaked in cyber security breach
Personally identifiable information of 129,000 Singtel customers, including their NRIC numbers, as well as the data of 23 enterprises has been leaked in a cyber security breach of a third-party file-sharing system that the telco uses. Singtel is now reaching out to all affected individual and corporate customers (including suppliers and partners) to support them in managing the risks involved.

S’pore moves up to No. 4 spot in global online civility poll
People in Singapore had fewer negative online experiences, such as unwanted sexual contact, last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This helped the country jump four places to No. 4 in an annual study of how digitally civil societies are. It follows a general trend for 32 territories globally, according to the study by American tech giant Microsoft released last Wednesday.


Singapore Bugdet 2021

A targeted Budget needed to drive transformation and recovery
Singapore’s focus in the 2021 Budget is geared towards pockets of the economy hardest hit by the pandemic, unveiling targeted schemes that seek to drive companies as well as individuals to transform and prepare for recovery. This pragmatic approach could also help the city-state reach a more balanced fiscal position in the future, industry observers noted.

Firms need calibrated support to change structurally: panel
More calibrated support is needed to help companies change structurally or engage in more research and development (R&D) opportunities, said a group of four panellists at The Business Times’ Budget Roundtable. With Singapore facing an uneven path to recovery, they hailed the targeted schemes announced during Tuesday’s Budget speech to alleviate the impact on the country’s worst-hit sectors. But they also noted that certain measures will still need to be fine-tuned or extended to achieve results.

Reskilling workers key as Jobs Support Scheme tapers off
As the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) tapers off, the next few months will be critical for the labour movement, which will be working closely with workers in affected sectors so that they can upgrade their skills and transition to better jobs, said labour MP Desmond Choo yesterday. But if the sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic do not rebound, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) can make another push for more wage support for workers, he said in a roundtable discussion organised by The Straits Times and UOB, which was held in the ST newsroom.

Brokers’ take: Upside for aviation, consumer and manufacturing stocks from Budget 2021
DBS Group Research said it sees Tuesday’s Budget 2021 announcement as “more shots in the arm” for several sectors receiving targeted support. Retail Reits as well as aviation and supermarket stocks are particularly likely to benefit from certain measures this year, said DBS in a research report on Wednesday. With low-value import goods to be taxed for goods and services tax (GST) from 2023, DBS thinks retail Singapore Reits (S-Reits) stand to benefit in the medium term from a more level playing field between brick-and-mortar retailers and their online competitors.

Aviation sector to get additional wage support – but vaccination is key
The hard-hit aviation sector will get additional wage support from the government till September, making it a total of 50 per cent inclusive of the Jobs Support Scheme payout, the Ministry of Transport announced on Wednesday. The Aviation Workforce Retention Grant will offer players in the sector an additional 20 per cent of the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each Singaporean or permanent resident employee from April to June.

S Pass tightening: job take-up by locals to differ between industries
Mid-skilled locals will likely benefit from Singapore’s lower reliance on foreign workers in manufacturing, watchers have agreed – even in the face of the perennial complaint that such jobs are not attractive to locals. But the bump to their employability and wages may not be as easily replicated in other sectors, even though quotas there were already cut earlier.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

S’porean woman is sole community case
A 59-year-old Singaporean woman who works in an administrative role at engineering company Aibel was the sole community case reported yesterday, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) last night. She has been working from home since March last year, and all the people identified as her close contacts, including family members, have been isolated and put under quarantine, said MOH.

Singapore gets its first batch of Moderna vaccine
The first shipment of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine has arrived here, as Singapore ramps up its vaccination drive. A Singapore Airlines (SIA) freighter flew in from Brussels, Belgium, with the shipment yesterday. After a transit stop in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, the plane touched down at Changi Airport at about 1.40pm. The Moderna vaccine was delivered earlier than expected, with the Ministry of Health saying on Feb 3 that the first shipment would arrive around March.

WHO mission to Wuhan ends without answers
The World Health Organisation (WHO) team investigating the origins of the coronavirus has wrapped up its 28-day mission to Wuhan, China, without finding the origin of the virus. Experts believe the disease, which has recorded over 109 million cases and killed 2.4 million people worldwide, most likely infected humans from an intermediate animal host. After the first clusters of Covid-19 were detected in Wuhan in late 2019, the government put the city of 11 million people under a 76-day lockdown with strict restrictions on movement.

WHO reports 16% drop in global virus cases
Geneva • The number of new coronavirus cases reported worldwide dropped by 16 per cent last week to 2.7 million, the World Health Organisation said. The number of new Covid-19 deaths reported also fell 10 per cent week on week to 81,000, the WHO said late on Tuesday in its weekly epidemiological update, using figures up to Sunday.
*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

The pandemic emptied Europe’s cities – what will bring people back?

US manufacturing output rose by more than forecast in January

US retail sales surged 5.3% in January

US business inventories rise solidly in December

Vaccines for all Americans before Aug, says Biden

UK’s vaccine roll-out set to reach half the population by March

China’s retail, catering sales jump in Lunar New Year staycation

Japan’s exports, machine orders pick up, signalling gradual recovery

Indonesia kicks off jabs for 38.5m people

Thai economic outlook highly uncertain, fiscal policy should continue: BOT

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