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 & 18th April 2016

Top Stories

Singapore developers stay sanguine about top China cities
While skyrocketing property prices in top Chinese cities have prompted China to rein in the rage, Singapore developers with substantial exposure to these cities remain unfazed.  Many are still bullish about their prospects in China and are looking to raise their exposure further. Yet, they are keeping close tabs on market conditions when it comes to timing residential launches.  CapitaLand China CEO Lucas Loh said the group has a launch-ready pipeline of over 7,300 units in China this year, which will be released for sale depending on market conditions and subject to regulatory approval.

Sing$ easing unlikely to boost exports
Many firms do not expect Thursday’s light touch of monetary easing to stoke export growth here.  This is not surprising, as Singapore’s goal in managing its exchange rate is to control imported inflation, and not trade growth.  OCBC economist Selena Ling said: “I don’t think the move in itself will make us more competitive. The reality is that global growth is so sluggish, unless you’re talking about an outsized depreciation of 15 per cent to 20 per cent, it won’t make a difference.”

Sing$ surprise not a bad idea
The central bank’s decision to change its exchange rate policy, to one that will involve a zero appreciation of the Singapore dollar, took most economists by surprise.  Many had expected the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to keep the previous policy of allowing for a modest and gradual appreciation of currency. This outlook was buttressed by the fact that the economy managed to log 1.8 per cent growth in the first three months of the year according to the advance estimates, beating market expectations of 1.6 per cent growth.  So what gives?

Shoppers rein in spending on US goods as Singdollar weakens
Shopping online for goods in the United States has suddenly become pricier for consumers here after regulators moved to curb the appreciation of the Singdollar.  The surprise decision by the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Thursday has already sent the greenback higher, making those products on look a little less of a bargain.  The Singdollar fell by as much as 1.2 per cent against the US dollar yesterday before strengthening to about $1.358.

Singapore Real Estate

New private home sales hit 8-month high
Demand for new private homes shot up to an eight-month high last month on the back of better market sentiment and a surge of new launches.  There were 843 new homes sold last month, more than double the 303 units moved in February and the highest monthly sales since 1,655 homes changed hands last July, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data released yesterday. The figures exclude executive condominiums (ECs).

Will ‘new’ Funan still have the IT factor?
With less than three months before Funan DigitaLife Mall rolls down the shutters for a three-year revamp, many of its shops have made arrangements to move on.  Nine of 10 stores The Straits Times spoke to said they are moving to places such as Bugis Junction, Suntec City Mall, Plaza Singapura, Velocity and that other IT mall, Sim Lim Square.  Worldwide Computer Services is one of the two that will move to Sim Lim Square. Its managing director Muthiah Nagappan said: “In Singapore, if anybody wants to buy electronics, only two buildings are very famous, so we have no choice if Funan is closing.”

$17.5m offer to buy decades-old Beauty World Food Centre
A mystery buyer has offered $17.5 million for the ageing Beauty World Food Centre in Bukit Timah.  The sum was offered by investors through real estate agency PropNex, whose spokesman told The Straits Times that the final amount is still being negotiated.  The figure was reported by Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao yesterday, but PropNex declined to name the buyer.  If the sale is confirmed, the new operator could redevelop the outdoor hawker centre, located on the fourth floor of Beauty World Centre, into an air-conditioned food court.

Companies’ Brief

Ascott Reit posts 1.1% rise in Q1 distributable income; DPU dips
Ascott Residence Trust (Ascott Reit) on Friday posted, for the first quarter of 2016, 1.1 per cent year-on-year rise in distributable income to S$27.3 million and a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.75 Singapore cents, down from 1.76 Singapore cents a year ago.  In March, Ascott Reit raised S$100 million through an equity placement by issuing 94.8 million new units at a price of S$1.055 per unit to partly fund its second acquisition in New York. Excluding the effect of the equity placement, its first-quarter DPU would be 1.76 Singapore cents.

CapitaLand Mall Trust’s DPU up 1.9% for Q1
CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT) had a solid start to the year with the contribution from a newly acquired mall helping push up its distribution to unitholders.  CMT’s gross revenue rose 7.4 per cent to $179.8 million in the three months to March 31 over the same period a year earlier, while net property income jumped 8.6 per cent to $127.9 million.This led to a 4.2 per cent increase in income distributable to unitholders to $96.7 million. Distribution per unit was 2.73 cents, up 1.9 per cent compared with a year ago.  Earnings per unit was 3.15 cents for the first quarter, 6.4 per cent ahead from a year earlier, while net asset value was $1.88 per unit as at March 31, down from $1.89 at the end of December.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Investors spooked by ‘overvalued’ properties
A perceived inflation of Singapore property prices is deterring high-net worth investors here, according to findings from a survey commissioned by Legg Mason Global Asset Management (LMGAM) on Friday.  The survey, which polled some 5,370 affluent investors in 19 countries between last December and January this year, found that 78 per cent of core investors – defined as those aged between 40 and 75 – agreed that local property prices are “overvalued”.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

$23m price tag for new Chicago penthouse

IMF: China may have $1.8 trillion of risky loans

Tax benefits of US homeownership no longer a draw for buyers

Tech threatens US property agents’ commissions

Activist calls for more development in San Francisco

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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