The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 18th, 19th and 20th March 2017

Top Story

HUDC era ends with privatisation of Braddell View
Twenty two years after the government first said it would privatise HUDC (Housing and Urban Development Company) estates, this chapter in Singapore’s public housing history has drawn to a close.  The last such estate standing, Braddell View HUDC Estate, was converted into a strata-titled estate under the Land Titles (Strata) Act on Friday.  This development came after the required support for the privatisation was obtained from 75 per cent of flat owners there.


Singapore Economy 

Measured Fed approach sends wave of capital inflows into emerging Asia ETFs
The US Federal Reserve’s loose demeanour has opened the gates for a wave of capital inflows into exchange traded funds (ETFs) linked to emerging Asian equities, according to a study by the Singapore Exchange (SGX).  Six of the 10 best performing ETFs in the first half of March tracked Asian emerging equity indices, SGX said. Those six funds, which tracked Indian and Indonesian indices, had an average month-to-date total return of 4 per cent.

Bright future for solar energy sector
In just two years, local solar company Cleantech Solar has become one of the biggest solar rooftop developers in Asia, counting big-name corporates such as Coca-Cola and Apollo Tyres among its clients.  The firm has 35 employees today, up from the three it started out with.  Its head of engineering and procurement Alan Khor believes there are more ways for the company – and the sector – to take off. It expects to be operating 100 mega watt peak (mwp) of solar assets by the end of the year, well up from the 30 mwp now.


Singapore Real Estate

Singapore tops in 2016 cross-border student housing deals
Singapore was the largest cross-border investor in student housing assets globally in 2016, much of it fuelled by GIC’s massive investment in the sector, which continues.  On Thursday, GIC announced a US$1.6 billion purchase of student housing portfolios in the US with partners, beefing up its investment there to almost US$3 billion in less than a year.  According to commercial real estate database Real Capital Analytics, some US$3.3 billion from Singapore has made its way into student housing in 2016, exceeding all other countries by leaps and bounds, although that was partly due to the city-state’s limited pool of domestic assets.

State Courts Towers construction in full swing
The first beam of the superstructure of the new State Courts Towers was hoisted into place yesterday morning.  In his address during the launch, Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon said that the existing State Courts building in Havelock Square near Chinatown has served well for the past 42 years, but it is unlikely to be able to support long-term demands.  He added: “To ensure that we have the necessary facilities and infrastructure to address our projected needs, expansion plans were made and the blueprint towards the construction of the new State Courts Towers was mapped out around 2011.”

Condo buyers lose cool over ‘massive’ air-con ledges
Oversized air-con ledges – some almost the length of a bus – in a newly built condominium in Sengkang have cast the spotlight on a loophole that allows developers to build them without having them counted as part of the gross floor area (GFA).  Yet, they are allowed to charge home buyers for that same space.  Each year, Singapore’s private property owners pay $780 million for air-con ledges, estimates consultancy International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong.

Opening of six-star hotel The Patina at Capitol building delayed by owners’ row
A six-star hotel in the heart of the city is still shuttered more than a year after it was scheduled to open, due to a dispute among its owners.  The Patina, Capitol Singapore, whose 157 rooms are spread across the Capitol Building and Stamford House in the City Hall area, was supposed to open by the end of 2015.  The luxury hotel was touted as having high corniced ceilings, dramatic archways and grand windows, and also houses a chocolate atelier and a Peruvian Amazon restaurant and bar.


Companies’ Brief

Keppel Land ups stake in Vietnam’s Saigon Centre
Keppel Land on Sunday said it has acquired an additional 16 per cent stake in the joint venture (JV) entities for Saigon Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for a sum of 845.9 billion Vietnamese dong (S$53.5 million) in cash to be funded by internal financial resources. The seller is Keppel Land’s Vietnamese partner, Southern Waterborne Transport Corporation.

AA Reit to issue S$50m 3.6% 5-year bonds
AIMS AMP Capital Industrial Reit, or AA Reit, said on Friday morning that it has strengthened its debt profile with a S$50 million issue of 3.6 per cent fixed rate notes due March 22, 2022.  The unsecured notes are in denominations of S$250,000. Net proceeds will be used to partially repay a credit facility of the real estate investment trust (Reit) due in November.  The chief executive officer of AA Reit’s manager, Koh Wee Lih, said in a press release that the coupon rate reflected “continued strong interest from our debt investors”.  The issuance will slightly extend the average time the Reit’s debt is due, from 2.1 years to 2.5 years.

CCT manager’s CEO builds on a woman’s strengths
Ms Lynette Leong, the chief executive officer of CapitaLand Commercial Trust Management – which manages the first and largest commercial real estate investment trust (Reit) listed on the Singapore Exchange – believes women possess many advantages that allow them to complement their male colleagues in the boardroom.  “We have plenty of qualities that can complement and provide a good balance to the male attributes – we need not act masculine or try to compete with men,” she said.

Hatten adds a distinct Malacca flavour on SGX
Fresh after completing their national service, siblings Colin and Edwin Tan were labelled “crazy” for buying overpriced land in a Malaysian state 10 years ago for commercial development – they drew incredulous laughs from friends and frowns from Mom for giving up tertiary studies (their pursuit of degrees would eventually be accomplished) to build the biggest mall and hotel in “sleepy” Malacca.  For sure, they must have also felt the sharp pang of fear that their gut-driven plan could fail.

Oakwood puts down roots off Orchard Rd
Mapletree Investments’ strong appetite for serviced apartments has kept Mr Dean Schreiber, the managing director of Oakwood Asia-Pacific, very busy since he started his role.  He told The Straits Times in an interview yesterday that he had just joined the company when Mapletree Investments first took a 49 per cent stake in it.  In the same deal, Mapletree signed a $5 billion joint venture with Oakwood Asia-Pacific’s United States-based parent company to open new serviced apartments around the world.


Views, Reviews & Forum 

Welcome move all round
This week’s topic: What do you think about the latest tweaks to the property market cooling measures? Should more be done to further ease the curbs?

Let banks decide on age cap for loan repayment
I applaud the Government for relaxing loan limit rules for anyone wanting to borrow money using their residential property as collateral (Borrowing money against property easier now for retirees; March 11).  The revised total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) no longer applies to the housing loan of a property where the loan-to-valuation ratio does not exceed 50 per cent. The new rules will give flexibility to retirees to monetise their properties in their retirement years.  The housing loan is a long-term financial commitment which requires monthly loan repayments.

Hot and bothered over condo’s cooling towers
In 1979, Madam Yap Choo Moi moved into the Leonie Towers condominium off Orchard Road.  Over the past four decades, the businesswoman has never installed air-conditioning in her home. Instead, she has relied on the condo’s central air-con system, which is serviced by cooling towers on the rooftop.  When the vast majority of her neighbours decided to have the ageing towers dismantled last year, Madam Yap, 67, objected – and hired a lawyer to fight her case.  She won.

Bedok Town Square a hit with residents
When Mr Lim Keng Yong was in primary school more than six decades ago, his hobby was to kick around a piece of rubber with feathers nailed to it.  Yesterday, Mr Lim, now 74, relived his chapteh-playing days at Bedok Town Square, a sheltered space that links Bedok Mall to the hawker centre next door.  “When I was young I could kick the chapteh 200 times. Today, not even 15. But the chapteh is not the same,” Mr Lim lamented, pointing at the mass-produced feathered shuttlecock at the game stall. “We used to make our own using rubber from old tyres and feathers from the chicken stall at the market.”


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Markets adjusting to end of low interest rate era

New US home construction rebounds in February

NYC Apartment Rents Need to Drop as Much as 15%, LeFrak Says

Asking prices for UK homes show solid gain in Feb-March: Rightmove

More to HK than housing, pollution issues

China home-price growth quickens in Feb; gains spread to smaller cities

China’s capital curbs find favour as risks to stability pile up

China to control credit flow into property

Forest City’s China showrooms reopen; ‘global buyers targeted’

Hong Kong’s richest men prove resilient against property curbs

Tesla wannabe LeEco to sell Silicon Valley site amid cash crunch: sources

Landed properties: Penang raises entry prices for foreigners

In Berlin, a grass-roots fight against gentrification

Late US billionaire’s record land gift lays Chile row to rest

Urban programmes risk getting cut by Trump’s Budget


Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate 

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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