The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 19 Feb 2020 (Wed)

Singapore Real Estate

Joo Chiat conservation shophouse put on market with S$4.5m guide price
A conservation shophouse at 452 Joo Chiat Road is up for sale in the market with an indicative price of S$4.5 million, marketing agent CBRE said on Tuesday.  The guide price translates to about S$2,140 per square foot on the existing built-up area of 2,100 square feet (sq ft).

Cecil Street’s IOB Building up for sale at S$217.7m guide price
IOB Building, a six-storey office block with two levels of basement carpark at 64 Cecil Street, has been put up for sale by tender at a guide price of S$217.7 million, exclusive marketing agent Knight Frank said on Monday.

Singapore builders seeking legal advice as outbreak hits ops
Singapore construction firms are asking for advice about whether they have the option of invoking force majeure clauses in building contracts as the government turns away or quarantines Chinese labour to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, lawyers told Reuters.


Singapore Economy

Smaller deficit of S$1.65b for FY2019
Singapore is expected to register a budget deficit of S$1.65 billion for FY19, equal to 0.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The deficit is significantly lower than the S$3.48 billion deficit estimated a year ago, which would have been the largest since 2015.


Companies’ Brief

Wing Tai: Developers unlikely to drop prices despite virus outbreak
Singapore’s property market is in a good position to withstand the Covid-19 spread, says Wing Tai’s deputy chairman and deputy managing director Edmund Cheng. He believes property developers here are not likely to drop prices in a knee-jerk reaction as they have the wherewithal to wait for the crisis to pass.

EH-Reit to receive more rent from outperforming properties: EHT
Eagle Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust (EH-Reit), one part of the stapled group Eagle Hospitality Trust (EHT), will be able to receive more rent from any outperforming properties producing excess cash flow, EHT’s managers announced on Tuesday.

Sing Holdings posts 305% jump in 2019 earnings of S$45.4m

Mainboard-listed property development and investment group Sing Holdings made a net profit of S$45.4 million last year, up 305 per cent from S$11.2 million in 2018. Revenue in the 12 months ended Dec 31, 2019 was S$316.4 million, up 315 per cent from S$76.2 million in 2018.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Balancing near-term needs with longer-term transformation
In the lead-up to this year’s Budget announcement, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat hinted at an “exceptional budget for exceptional times” – and his two-and-a-quarter hour speech was definitely far from the ordinary.

Keeping calm and carrying on in times of distress
It is hard not to panic during times of distress. As Covid-19 cases continually inch up, there is a palpable feeling of unease. That’s why it was important that this year’s Budget was an assuring one.

A well thought-through ‘UNITY’ Budget
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat has unveiled a highly anticipated “UNITY” Budget.

Could the novel coronavirus trigger a recession?
THE rapid spread of the novel coronavirus is a tough blow for a world economy that seemed on the cusp of a modest revival. The extent of the damage, of course, depends on how soon and how effectively the outbreak is contained.

A Budget for and beyond the crisis
Yesterday’s Budget sets aside a substantial $6.4 billion to support businesses, workers, families and front-line agencies in the face of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. But Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has also signalled the Government’s determination to look beyond current difficulties through the Transformation and Growth effort…


Singapore Budget 2020

President Halimah Yacob concurs with rates of return on reserves
President Halimah Yacob has concurred with the rates to be used in determining how much of the nation’s past reserves can be used under the Net Investment Returns framework, she said yesterday. “As in the past, the Net Investment Returns Contribution forms a significant component of our Budget,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

FY20 Budget gears up to spend big with S$10.9b deficit
The expected overall budget deficit of S$10.9 billion for FY2020 is the highest in more than two decades, but economists say the budget plans outlined by the government on Tuesday are a sure sign of long-term prudent spending and fiscal resilience.

Singapore Budget tackles virus-hit economy, gears up for transformation
Even as Budget 2020 sets aside S$5.6 billion to help firms, workers, and households amid the Covid-19 outbreak, it retains a focus on the future, from economic transformation to climate change, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday.

Countering Covid-19, future facing
In the face of near-term global uncertainties, Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday unveiled a Budget aimed at cushioning the impact of Covid-19, enterprise transformation, tackling climate change, an ageing population and cost of living.

Heng makes a strong statement of confidence
What a difference a year makes. Early last year, Singapore was grappling with slower growth resulting from the negative effects of tariff hikes as trade tensions between the United States and China escalated. There were also concerns over a “no-deal” withdrawal by the United Kingdom from the European Union…

Sectors hit hard by virus outbreak welcome additional support measures
Sectors that are hardest hit by the Covid-19 outbreak will receive additional support from the government, such as through property tax rebates and rental waivers, which some players say should help cushion the impact of flagging demand.

Transformation and growth needed, but SMEs say they must survive first
Business in Singapore welcomed the government’s latest drive to spur further transformation and growth, but for some, business survival may take precedence at the current moment. Under the Budget announced on Tuesday, the government is expected to spend S$8.3 billion over the next three years…

Cash flow help and wage support useful, but SMEs still worry about jobs
Business lauded moves in the Budget that will help them with their cash flow needs at this crucial juncture, but they are not certain if the Enhanced Wage Credit Scheme and corporate tax rebate will be enough to save jobs in struggling companies.

Firms to get more help to innovate and go global
To enable businesses to grow and create jobs, a new package will help them enter new markets, innovate and adopt digital solutions. The Enterprise Grow Package will include new grants as well as enhanced versions of existing support measures, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

Private investors eye S$300m additional ammo to fund startups
Deduction Scheme to lapse: Under the scheme, an approved angel investor was granted 50 per cent tax deduction on the cost of investment. The S$300 million boost to the Startup SG Equity scheme could alleviate the pain that deep tech startups face in raising growth-stage capital, especially with dark clouds looming over the broader economy, industry players told The Business Times.

Tenants stand to benefit from 15% property tax rebates
In a bid to alleviate Covid-19’s impact on businesses, landlords of private commercial properties are looking to pass on savings from the 15 per cent property tax rebate, which was part of the Budget package delivered on Tuesday, to their tenants.

25% corporate income tax rebate among measures to ease companies’ cash flow
Businesses will get a rebate on corporate income tax and some enhanced tax treatments in moves aimed at improving their cash flow. Companies will be granted a rebate of 25 per cent of tax payable, capped at $15,000, for the year of assessment 2020 – a move that will cost the Government about $400 million.

Pushing back GST hike a right move amid challenging climate
The government’s decision to delay the increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to some time between 2022 and 2025 was welcomed yesterday, coming amid the current gloomy environment. On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the government will not raise the GST in 2021…

Singapore doubles down on tighter foreign worker quotas
After foreign labour caps in the services sector were tightened in last year’s Budget, the same fate has now befallen the construction, marine and shipyard and process industries. The limit on how many S Pass holders companies in these sectors can hire will be cut from 20 per cent to 15 per cent…

Jobs Support Scheme to subsidise wages of local workers
A new scheme will subsidise the wages of local workers to help employers retain them during the slowdown from the coronavirus outbreak, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday. The Jobs Support Scheme will offset 8 per cent of the wages of every employee who is a Singaporean or …

Companies get more control over training dollars
The latest changes to Singapore’s SkillsFuture efforts will give companies more control over matching training to workforce needs – an improvement on earlier measures, watchers told The Business Times on Tuesday.

Plans unveiled to help older workers stay employed
A slew of measures were unveiled on Tuesday to give a boost to jobs for mid-career and older workers who find themselves left insecure by corporate restructuring and technological disruptions. The measures run the gamut of expanded capacity for reskilling, incentives for hiring…

Rental waivers for hawkers, market stallholders
As part of the support package in this year’s Budget to help businesses weather the impact of the coronavirus, rental waivers will be given to eligible stallholders at hawker centres and markets, as well as commercial tenants.

Asean, China, India to feature more in exposure for tertiary students
Overseas attachments for tertiary students as part of pre-employment training are going to be slanted even more towards the growth economies in Asia. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said a new Asia-Ready Exposure Programme will be introduced to support Singaporean youth’s visits to cities in Asean, China or India.

Enhanced support for retirement, inclusivity
The government is helping seniors increase their retirement savings through the introduction of a Matched Retirement Savings Scheme and adjustments to the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS). Lower to middle-income Singaporeans aged 55 to 70 who have not been able to set aside the prevailing BRS

Care and Support Package worth S$1.6b to help households
An S$1.6 billion Care and Support Package was unveiled to help Singaporeans with their household expenses in the light of the economic slowdown and uncertainties of the Covid-19 outbreak, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech on Tuesday.

Observers support government’s push for electric vehicles
Budget 2020 delivered a pleasant surprise for climate-change watchers, who say measures to spur the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) are a step in the right direction, and that the government’s vision to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines in 20 years is achievable.



Covid-19: 8-in-10 Singapore-China flights cancelled
More than 80 per cent of the flights between Singapore and mainland China have been cancelled since the novel coronavirus outbreak, and passenger traffic from other regions have also started to fall, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Tuesday.

*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 homebuilder sentiment eases while staying near 20-year high

China sees fall in coronavirus deaths

Australian wages growth tepid, public sector drags

Hong Kong apartment rents sink to lowest in almost 2 years

Hong Kong heading for its first back-to-back recessions on record

Some Chinese property developers turning to short-term debt as virus hits cashflow

Hong Kong protests hurt Holiday Inn-owner IHG, sees pain from virus outbreak

HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs over 3 years, $139b in assets


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