The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 16th, 17th and 18th March 2019

Singapore Real Estate

Fatter commissions, Cross Island Line help boost Feb condo sales
Higher commissions to incentivise property agents may have worked some magic in helping to bolster private property sales numbers in February, which saw 455 homes sold, an increase of 4.4 per cent from January. This was despite the Lunar New Year festive lull and the absence of new launches.  A check with property agents suggested that certain projects such as Affinity at Serangoon, Garden Residences and The Tre Ver are offering average commission rates of over 3 per cent. Generally, commissions for new launches are said to range from 1.6 to 2 per cent.

More private homes launched last month
Buyers were spoilt for choice last month when developers released more new homes despite the festive month and a wary market.  There were 596 private homes launched in February – nearly 200 per cent more than the same month last year and up nearly 20 per cent from January’s 498 units.

Thousands pack showroom at Treasure at Tampines’ opening weekend
Singapore — Close to 7,000 visitors thronged the showroom of what is touted to be the largest private condominium launched in Singapore, with over 2,200 units set to go on sale.  Launched on Friday (March 15), Treasure at Tampines sits on top of the former Tampines Court, a Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) property which was sold en bloc for S$970 million in August 2017.

Peace Centre/Peace Mansion collective sale tender extended
The mixed development Peace Centre/Peace Mansion (PCPM) has extended its collective-sale tender closing date by three weeks, because the property’s owners are still awaiting approval from the authorities for a lease top-up.  The longer time frame is also aimed at giving developers more time to evaluate government land sale (GLS) sites now available in the market.

Council for Estate Agencies to get new head on April 24
The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) will have a new executive director on April 24 when Lim Chee Hwee from the Municipal Services Office (MSO) takes up the post.  Mr Lim, who is currently senior director of the programmes division at MSO, will take over the CEA top job from Lee Kwong Weng, who will retire after 37 years in the Public Service.


Singapore Economy

Singapore non-oil exports back in the black in February, defying economist expectations
Singapore’s export sector heaved a sigh of relief as it swung back into the black in February, buoyed by a rise in non-electronic shipments and surprising economists on the upside as most had expected a fourth consecutive month of decline.  Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew by 4.9 per cent last month, reversing from a worse-than-expected slide of 10.1 per cent in January, which was the biggest drop since October 2016. A Bloomberg poll of economists had projected that NODX would fall 1.6 per cent in February.


Companies’ Brief

Far East Orchard buys three more British student dorms
Mainboard-listed property player Far East Orchard has added three freehold properties to its British student housing portfolio, in a deal announced just after midnight on Saturday.  It paid £55 million (S$98.7 million) in cash for two purpose-built student housing assets in Bristol, and one in Liverpool. This is shy of a combined market value of £57.6 million as at March 4, according to a Jones Lang LaSalle valuation report commissioned by Far East Orchard.

Keppel Infra Trust ups equity fundraising to S$500.8m on strong demand
Keppel Infrastructure Trust (KIT) has upped the size of its latest equity fundraising to S$500.8 million from S$450 million, following strong demand from investors, it said on Friday.  The funds will be raised via a placement of units, and a preferential offering.

Hot stock: Oxley up 3% after S$1.03b offer for Chevron House
Shares in property developer Oxley Holdings rose 3 per cent on Friday as the counter resumed trading following a trading halt on Wednesday. This comes on the back of news that it could be selling Chevron House for S$1.025 billion, just 15 months after acquiring the office building in Raffles Place for S$660 million in December 2017.   As at 12.41pm on Friday, the counter was trading at 34 Singapore cents apiece, up 3 per cent, or one Singapore cent. Some 16.5 million shares exchanged hands, making it one of the most heavily traded counters on the Singapore bourse in early morning trade.

OUE buys stake in F&B player from Riady investment vehicle
Mainboard-listed OUE has picked up food and beverage outlet operator Superfood Retail as a new associate company, in a transaction announced on Friday night.  The property group paid about S$7.53 million for a 49.7 per cent interest in Superfood through its Oddish Ventures unit, with the price tag representing a valuation of roughly 6.9 times of Superfood’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the year to Dec 31, 2018.

Lippo Karawaci: S&P places CCC+ rating on review with ‘positive implications’; Moody’s affirms B3 rating
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) could raise its rating on real estate developer PT Lippo Karawaci by “one or two notches” on expected improvement in liquidity after the company completes a proposed rights issue, the rating firm said on Thursday.  S&P placed the Riady family-backed company’s CCC+ long-term issuer credit rating on review “with positive implications”. The credit rating and outlook are similar for Lippo Karawaci’s outstanding guaranteed senior unsecured notes.

China court dismisses OUE Lippo Healthcare unit’s claims in share transfer dispute
A Chinese unit of Catalist-listed OUE Lippo Healthcare is seeking legal advice after its claims against a former legal representative were dismissed by a Shanghai court, the board disclosed on Saturday night.  The subsidiary, Shanghai Yi Lin Medical Management Consulting, had sued former legal representative Fang Meiling for 3,000,000 yuan (S$604,400) in damages, over a commitment letter and share transfer agreement that she is alleged to have signed in breach of her duties to Shanghai Yilin.

Neo Group breaks ground on high-tech HQ and plans to lease space to F&B startups
Neo Group will be consolidating its operations at a new, high-tech headquarters and catering hub, expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.  The company, the catering brands of which include Neo Garden Catering and Orange Clove, on Friday broke ground for the facility, a 10-storey building at 30B Quality Road in Jurong; the building occupies 300,000 square feet and replaces the group’s current headquarters in the nearby Enterprise Road.

China Sunsine board ‘confident’ it will get industrial site despite open tender rule
The board of Mainboard-listed China Sunsine Chemical Holdings is confident that it will own a 534,000-square metre site in China’s Shandong province, despite the requirement for an open tender.  It told the bourse operator on Saturday night that the local government of Shanxian county has agreed to grant the industrial land to its Shandong Sunsine, despite a Chinese Ministry rule requiring any acquisition or disposal of land to go through an open tender process.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Taxing wealth: no silver bullet
Chia Ngiang Hong
Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)
Wealth taxation is a complex issue and raises a diversity of views and opinions regarding particular economic considerations and who ultimately bears the burden? Singapore is already adopting some form of wealth taxation through its progressive income tax and property tax structures.

As another mega condo launches, will there be enough demand in Singapore’s property market?
This follows the launch of another mega project earlier this month – Florence Residences, a 1,410-unit leasehold project in Hougang with an average selling price of nearly S$1,400 psf. Developed by Logan Property, this takes the site of another HUDC estate Florence Regency that was also sold en bloc in 2017.

Enlivening the Orchard Road shopping experience
The Singapore Tourism Board recently announced a multi-pronged plan to revitalise Orchard Road, with the highlight a proposed enhancement of connections between the open spaces and pedestrianising a section of the street.  Even if it is a partial pedestrianisation, it shows the Government’s effort to bring shoppers, particularly the locals, back to the street by enhancing the whole shopping experience.

The rail network beyond 2030: An MRT line linking north and east?
SINGAPORE — The Government could consider a rail link between the north of Singapore and the east as it mulls over rail projects beyond 2030, said transport analysts.  Rail connections may also be needed when the site of Paya Lebar Air Base is redeveloped after 2030, they said.

Banking on real estate know-how to invest
Growing up in a low-income household is a challenge for anyone but property executive Stewart Lim was fortunate in that his parents had a sound exit strategy – education.  His now-retired father used to work as a concrete-mixer driver while his mother is a clerk in a construction firm.

HDB owners flouting rules by adding extra ‘floor’
Need more living space? Property prices have gone through the roof, so buying a bigger place might be out, but why not add a few mezzanine floors in your existing home?  That is what the owner of a three-room Housing Board flat decided to do after being inspired by industrial-loft designs.

Illegal floor a blatant breach: BCA and URA
Investigations are ongoing into who was responsible for the illegal floor uncovered at The Alexcier building in Alexandra Road.  “The extensive unauthorised floor is a blatant breach of the regulations. Such contraventions will not be tolerated,” the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said.

Stink raised over parking spaces converted into toilets
Two public toilets have been built at vehicle parking spaces and common areas at the Oxley Bizhub, a light industrial development, seemingly in contravention of building rules.  The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) conducted a fire safety inspection at 61 Ubi Road 1 in October and found “unauthorised change of use” of the area.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US manufacturing sinks again in February: Fed

US at UN takes aim at China’s Belt and Road initiative

US new home sales fall more than expected in January

In NY, price of land for the dead can rise to US$1m

Citi-backed mortgage startup takes space at New York’s World Trade Center

London Leads Fall in Home Sales as Buyers Hold Breath for Brexit

China ready to use more policy tools to boost economy

China approves foreign investment law, possible US olive branch

China provides subsidies to lure talent to Greater Bay Area

China will allow cities to set their own property taxes

China’s home price growth slips to 10-month low, raises policy challenge

Hong Kong owner of Pacific island casino sued over forced labour, trafficking claims

Global gloom forces BOJ to temper its outlook

Risk of political disarray stalks Thai economy as elections near

Qatar approves foreigner property rule

Bank of Canada sees rising global debt as top threat to growth

End in sight for Greece’s long quest to complete national land registry


Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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