The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th Jun 2018

Top Story

Singapore non-oil domestic exports surge 15.5% in May
Singapore’s exports logged another month of strong growth in May, as non-oil domestic exports (NODX) jumped 15.5 per cent over the same month a year ago thanks largely to non-electronic shipments.  May’s surge followed from April’s 11.8 per cent rise. The increase came as non-electronic exports outweighed sliding electronics shipments, according to Enterprise Singapore data out on Monday.

More luxury condos to cross S$4,000 psf mark
Luxury residential properties crossing the S$4,000 per square foot (psf) mark in Singapore’s prime Orchard Road district have been few and far between in recent years, but this could change, given the recent spate of record-setting land sales and upcoming launches in the district.  Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings said on Wednesday that it has purchased two freehold redevelopment sites for a total of S$593.5 million in Orchard Boulevard and Nassim Road.


Singapore Economy

Tharman concludes meetings with Kenya, Rwanda amid deepening ties in Africa
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has returned to Singapore after a four-day visit to Kenya and Rwanda to deepen Singapore’s engagement in the growing Sub-Saharan Africa region.  During the June 12 to June 15 trip, Mr Tharman, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, called on the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, at the State House in Mombasa.

Emerging demand for digital expertise on listed boards
Listed companies are adding digital voices to their boards to keep in tune with the evolving digital landscape and to better understand their competitors – the technological disruptors.  A compilation by The Business Times showed that seven blue-chip firms have appointed nine independent directors with digital expertise in the past four years.


Singapore Real Estate

$1.3m study under way to help rejuvenate Orchard Road
A $1.3 million study is under way to come up with measures to breathe new life into Orchard Road, and leading the charge is an Australian urban planning consultancy.  Work began in April, and the proposals by the firm Cistri in the six-month study will lay the blueprint for Singapore’s premier shopping district for the next 15 to 20 years.

5 land parcels for general agriculture up for tender
Five land parcels for general agriculture in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah were put on sale by public tender on Thursday by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).  Of the five, three land parcels may be used to farm food crops, seafood, cattle or goats for dairy milk and/or food frogs, AVA said in a statement.


Companies’ Brief

Ascendas Hospitality Trust to acquire three Osaka hotels for $126m
Singapore – Ascendas Hospitality Trust has on June 15 entered into an agreement with ES-CON Japan via Ascendas Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust (A-HReit) to acquire three hotels in Japan’s Osaka city for a purchase consideration of 10.29 billion Japanese yen (S$126.1 million).  The manager of the hospitality trust said that the acquisition of the three hotels, Hotel WBF Kitasemba West, Hotel WBF Kitasemba East and Hotel WBF Honmachi, will deepen its presence in Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city with a population of 2.7 million people.

Cromwell E-Reit manager’s CEO quits for other interests
Philip Levinson, the chief executive of Cromwell European Reit’s manager, has resigned to pursue other business interests, including providing advisory services to the real estate investment trusts’ sponsor, Cromwell Property Group.

Tiong Seng to boost prefab capacity with RM29.9m purchase of Johor sites
Tiong Seng Holdings’ has agreed to buy two vacant plots of land in Johor Bahru for RM29.9 million (S$10 million) to expand its prefabrication production capacity.

Ho Bee Land acquires freehold Grade A London property with £650m investment
Property group Ho Bee Land announced on Sunday that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Grandeur Property Investments, has completed its acquisition of Frasia Properties S.à.r.l for £650 million (approximately S$1.16 billion) in London.  Registered in Luxembourg, Frasia Properties S.à.r.l owns a freehold property known as Ropemaker Place, a 21-storey Grade A office building comprising approximately 602,000 square feet of commercial space.

PropNex seeks mainboard listing
Real estate agency PropNex is seeking a listing on the Singapore Exchange mainboard, lodging its preliminary offer document on Thursday.  Its initial public offering (IPO) will comprise a placement and a public offering, with cornerstone investors having also entered subscription agreements for a total of 50 million shares.

Weiye Holdings gets nod to delist from SGX
Weiye Holdings has been given the go-ahead to delist from the Singapore Exchange.  On Friday, the dual-listed company said that the SGX has no objection to the delisting, provided that approval has been obtained by the company’s shareholders, along with the fulfilment of some other conditions.

Keppel unit sells stake in Keppel Township Development (Shenyang)
Keppel Land China is selling its 100 per cent stake in Keppel Township Development (Shen-yang) (KTDS) for a total consideration of about 980 million yuan (S$205 million).  On Friday, Keppel Corporation announced that the buyer is Shenyang SUNAC Xinxing Enterprise Management.

Oxley unit invests in Vietnam companies
Oxley subsidiary, Oxley MK Holdings Vietnam Company, has subscribed for 49 per cent of the charter capital in MK Thao Dien Company for 19.6 billion Vietnamese dong (S$1.14 million).  MK Development Management Company holds the remaining 51 per cent.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Building lifestyle developments in China
Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments Ltd (APSIL), a Catalist-listed small-cap company backed by Singapore tycoon Oei Hong Leong, may be an unlikely candidate to pioneer new real estate offerings in China. But it is doing just that.  Determined to carve a niche for itself in the vast country where most blue-chip Singapore players are entrenched in first- and second-tier cities, the group is banking on lifestyle property development in third- and fourth-tier cities.

Emerging prime areas challenge traditional districts 9, 10, 11
Singapore’s traditional prime districts 9, 10 and 11 are being challenged in their position as the upper echelons of the private housing market not only by new prime areas such as Marina Bay but also by what List Sotheby’s International Realty terms “emerging prime areas” such as Tanjong Pagar and Ophir-Rochor Beach Road area.

Time to switch out of developer stocks?
Subdued sales at the recent launch of two condominium projects in Serangoon, in the north-east of Singapore, have stoked concerns that buying momentum may be running out of steam. But there are others who expect the momentum to pick up again after the typical lull period of June, which coincides with the school holidays.  Depending on which camp equity investors fall into, they could either see this as a time to switch out of residential-centric property stocks or to accumulate on recent share price dips.

Keeping an eye out for the extra premium
As a fresh university graduate in 2013 trying to get a foothold in the real estate sector, Mr Kenny Neo knew he had a steep learning curve ahead of him.  He joined ERA Realty Network soon after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from RMIT University in Melbourne.

Tendering out plots with 60-year lease may be the way to go
Almost every day, it seems, another housing estate or condo throws its hat into the en bloc ring.  It seems like not many have much of an attachment to their home, not when there is a windfall to be made from any upturn in market sentiment.

Prospects for Singapore commercial real estate looking up
Prospects for the Grade A office market are looking brighter after two years of weak demand.  Gross effective Grade A rents tracked by Cushman & Wakefield Research have grown by 10.7 per cent cumulatively since the recovery in the second quarter of last year, with multinational companies taking up swathes of space in premium buildings in Raffles Place and Marina Bay. 

Go beyond fines to solve parking problems in landed estates
In his letter, Mr Lim Boon Seng lamented the fact that private property owners often place objects to reserve parking spaces (Act against landed property owners who reserve parking spaces on road; March 21).  He was also upset by how the Land Transport Authority (LTA) had adopted “a community approach by advising residents to ensure the objects they place outside their homes do not pose a safety hazard or obstruct other road users”.

Asian dilemma: How to fund big projects
A toll station in southern Vietnam recently roused so much unhappiness that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered its operations to be suspended. The station in Tien Giang province had been erected on an existing trunk road, to allow a company to cover the $76 million cost of resurfacing a highway and building a bypass. Angry drivers paid the toll in 200-dong (1 Singapore cent) notes, causing tailbacks stretching several kilometres.

Commentary: An over-emphasis on home ownership can come at a cost to society. Time for a review of public housing policy
Its home ownership rate of more than 90 per cent of the population is one of the highest in the world and is much higher than the home ownership rates in developed countries.  Among developed urban centres like Seoul, Tokyo or Hong Kong, Singaporeans occupy a large per square foot per person of living space.

Insuring your home adequately 
Insuring your home seems easy: Pay the fire insurance that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) or your bank requires and forget about it until next year. There is a lot more than fire that can damage your home, though, so you need to consider doing more to protect yourself adequately.

Economy’s health: Call to look beyond GDP
Gross domestic product (GDP) has long been used as a measure of an economy’s health, but global bank Credit Suisse argues that different perspectives and other data should also be considered.  It noted in a recent report that some feel that GDP is not an appropriate measure to capture the policy issues facing societies. The bank also noted that few financial investors use it as a basis to make investment decisions.

Airbnb study says non-tourist areas gain from listings
Home-sharing platform Airbnb has released a study claiming to show how its economic contributions helped areas outside Singapore’s tourist district.  The move comes ahead of the outcome of a public consultation on regulating the home-sharing industry that closed on May 31.

Faster US rate hikes to have mixed impact on Singapore
The United States Federal Reserve’s decision to step up the pace of interest rate increases signals its optimism about the economy but will likely have a mixed impact on Singapore and Asia.  On the one hand, a stronger US economy spells good news for regional exporters. However, higher rates will push up borrowing costs in Singapore and the region.

Expect Dow to retest January record high
The risk-on sentiment is back in full force once again with small-cap stocks leading the way. Since May, the Russell 2000 index had broken multiple new record highs and advanced 3.8 per cent above the prior record high in January. Most of the main equity indices have also resumed their uptrend with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) being the laggard.

Singapore businesses not using AI either fear it or don’t get it
Businesses in Singapore are not using artificial intelligence (AI) enough and that’s only because they fear it or don’t get it, The Business Times (BT) has learnt.  Tan Poh Choo, operations director at SAS Singapore, a business analytics services company, said: “While we are seeing a growing level of AI adoption, many businesses tend to have a common misconception that intelligent machines replace human activity. There is still a lack of understanding around how AI operates, and more importantly, how it is used.”

Voice shopping gains traction, will disrupt retail
Hey, Google, order a large pizza! Alexa, I need vitamins!  Voice shopping using smart speakers and smartphone apps is starting to gain traction among consumers, opening up a new “conversational commerce” channel and potentially disrupting the retail sector.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Trump ignites trade war with China, triggering swift retaliation

Retail sales up 0.8% in May; weekly jobless claims fall

For US house flippers, reality meets reality TV

UK economy to grow at slowest pace since 2009: BCC

Britons go on spending spree to mark royal wedding, summer sunshine

UK housing market stuck in the doldrums

China’s economy slowing as Trump readies tariffs

China shows signs of losing steam as PBOC pauses after Fed hike

China real estate sales pick up as developers push projects to market 

Hong Kong’s central bank raises base rate 25 basis points after Fed hike

Swire in talks to sell stakes in two HK towers for HK$14b 

Malaysia power shift hits China infrastructure drive

Taiwan’s ‘garden in the sky’ ready for residents soon

Australia May jobs growth misses expectations as full-time employment falls

New Zealand to tax tourists to fund infrastructure amid tourism boom

Japan May exports rise 8.1% year on year: MOF

Japan seen skirting recession, but warning signs loom

Tokyo Disney operator to invest 250b yen to expand DisneySea

ECB to end bond buys but signals rate hike is distant

Google buys more land in Europe to build data centre

S Africa’s black majority battles apartheid urban planning


Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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