2017 growth hits 3.5%; PM looks to new year with confidence
Singapore’s economy expanded 3.5 per cent in 2017 – more than double initial forecasts – thanks to an upswing in global growth, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his New Year message on Sunday. While 2017 “has been a good year”, Mr Lee said, Singapore must continue strengthening its position at home and abroad to gear up for the challenges that 2018 will bring.
Big property deals surge to 10-year high in 2017
Sales of big-ticket property transactions of S$10 million and above in 2017 surged to their highest level in a decade. This, however, was short of the record achieved in 2007, show latest figures from Savills Singapore and CBRE released separately to The Business Times. According to Savills Singapore’s preliminary tally as at Dec 27, investment sales of property reached S$35.64 billion, up 57.3 per cent from the S$22.66 billion in 2016. This was the best since the record S$41.1 billion during the 2007 property boom.
Singapore’s November bank lending up 0.6%
A drag in lending to financial institutions in November led in part to weaker gains in bank lending in Singapore for the month, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Friday showed. Loans through the domestic banking unit – which captures lending in all currencies but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending – stood at S$654 billion in November, up from S$650 billion in October.
Consumer stocks favoured as Goldilocks works her charms
After a triumphant Year of the Rooster when Asian markets are up anywhere from 20 to 40 per cent, investors are in a bullish mood. Despite rich valuations all around and the threats of higher interest rates, investors remain charmed by Goldilocks, the little girl who liked porridge that was “just right”.
Tourism sector likely ended 2017 on strong note
Ask hotel owners and others in the tourist industry about last year and the prospects for 2018 and they will likely give you a thumbs-up; ask retailers and you might get a big frown. The two sectors are intertwined to a great extent, yet their fortunes have veered widely over the past 12 months. While visitor numbers have kept surging and are tipped to go even higher this year, the cash registers at local shops remain muted, with sales flat and recording only marginal increases.
2017 surge helps ring in optimism
It has been a year of high drama to say the least for the Singapore economy – going from the cusp of recession to its fastest pace of growth in almost a half-decade. This remarkable turnaround was thanks largely to surging global demand for electronic gadgets, a factor expected to continue driving growth this year. The pick-up in activity is fuelling optimism among economists, corporates and other market watchers about the year ahead, yet there are lingering concerns over Singapore’s longer-term growth prospects.
3 tech keys to unlock cash flow issues
It is that time of the year for well wishes and good cheer. But for some of Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it may also be a time to reflect on finances – what worked well, what didn’t, and what other options are out there to ease business growing pains in the new year. The financial difficulties faced by Singapore’s SMEs have been widely talked about last year. In Spring Singapore’s SME Financing survey released recently, delays in customer payments were cited as the top challenge expected for 2018.
Crowdfunding platforms to have code of practice
A code of practice for crowdfunding platforms will be launched next month to ensure that those who give online can do so with greater peace of mind, Commissioner of Charities (COC) Ang Hak Seng told The Sunday Times. Given the growing popularity of crowdfunding websites, the new code will help build a safer online-giving environment, said Dr Ang.
Singapore Real Estate
Nascent property recovery has legs, but en bloc fever likely to abate
At long last, Singapore’s property market is picking up after enduring more than three years of price declines, and its recovery looks set to continue this year, market watchers say. But while this nascent recovery has legs to run, it is not sprinting yet. And this is why the risk of a premature end to this recovery remains low for now. Still, analysts’ price forecasts this year are broad-ranging – from 3 per cent to as high as 15 per cent.
Underpass to Bukit Panjang MRT station to open in Q1
A new underpass that will give residents in nearby Housing Board blocks sheltered access to Bukit Panjang MRT station will open in the first quarter of this year, after a delay of more than a year. The 100m linkway, which will serve as the third entrance to Bukit Panjang MRT station, was first slated to open in December 2016, but it was pushed back due to construction challenges.
Tender to operate Singapore Expo launched
A change of management for the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre may be on the cards by the end of the year, with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) calling for proposals for the management and operation of Singapore’s largest exhibition venue. A public tender was launched on Dec 6. The 20-year contract for the facility has been held by Singex Venues since 1999 but will expire at the end of this year.
Smoother transactions with HDB resale portal
The HDB resale portal – a site that streamlines the buying and selling of resale flats – is being launched today, marking one of the biggest transformations to the HDB resale market processes in decades. All flat sellers and buyers must switch to submitting their resale applications on the portal, which can be found on the HDB InfoWeb at www.hdb.gov.sg. They can log in using their SingPass.
$1.9b spent on sprucing up ageing HDB flats
More money has gone into helping Housing Board residents spruce up their ageing flats and make them more elderly friendly. As of March, the Government has spent about $1.93 billion on the HDB’s Home Improvement Programme (HIP) and $40 million on the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) initiative, up from $1.47 billion and $30 million respectively in March last year.
Workplace deaths fall to 13-year low
Fewer workers lost their lives in accidents last year, as workplace deaths dipped to a 13-year lowamid an ambitious push to halve the current fatality rate. According to fresh figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), 41 workers died on the job in accidents, including falling from height and being hit by vehicles. It is the first time the figure has gone below 50 since 2004. From then until 2016, each year saw between 55 and 83 workplace deaths.
Chip Eng Seng Corp unit to invest in Ho Chi Minh real estate development
Chip Eng Seng Corporation announced a proposed investment in a real estate development project in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam which will be carried out through a loan agreement and a share purchase agreement. The company’s subsidiary in Vietnam, Viet Investment Link Joint Stock Company (VietLink) entered into a loan agreement with Giai Loi Investment Joint Stock Company to provide Giai Loi with a loan of approximately US$18.8 million.
Oxley Holdings responds to SGX queries on its investment in Australian firm
Property developer Oxley Holdings provided further details of its recent investment in Australian firm Pindan Capital Mermaid Beach (PC Mermaid Beach), in response to queries from the Singapore Exchange (SGX). In a filing to the SGX, Oxley said that PC Mermaid Beach was a dormant entity and had a paid-up capital of A$100 (S$104) and no assets, prior to its acquisition of a development site on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Gaw Capital keen on more S’pore properties
Hong Kong private equity property group Gaw Capital Partners (GCP) is keen to expand its presence here after investing around $500 million in Singapore in recent years. It made its intentions clear last month when it completed the $342 million acquisition of PoMo, a nine-storey office and retail block in Selegie Road.
Manulife US Reit rides millennial wave
It is not quite Manhattan, but the area of New Jersey across the Hudson River from New York’s pulsating financial centre is teeming with the lifeblood of the future: Millennials. For Manulife US Reit, that is the demographic foundation that supports its optimism about its two acquisitions in the district.
CapitaLand’s subsidiaries and associates divest stakes in six malls in India
CapitaLand Limited said its subsidiaries and associates have agreed to divest their respective stakes in six malls in India and in the property manager of these malls for S$71.5 million. The six malls, which have been sold to Prestige Retail Ventures Limited, are each held under a special-purpose vehicle. The malls are in Bangalore, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Mysore, Cochin and Udaipur.
Soilbuild Reit sells Tuas property for S$55m
The trustee of Soilbuild Business Space Reit has signed a put and call option agreement to divest to SB (Pioneer) Investment its Tuas property, commonly known as KTL Offshore after its tenant, for S$55 million. The buyer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Soilbuild Group Holdings, which is the sponsor of Soilbuild Reit. The property is currently leased to KTL Offshore under a lease agreement which expires in August 2021.
Global Yellow Pages acquires majority stake in blockchain firm FundPlaces
Global Yellow Pages (GYP) on Friday said that its subsidiary is looking to acquire a majority stake in proptech company FundPlaces, and that it would do this by subscribing for new shares representing about 50.11 per cent of the company for S$2.004 million. FundPlaces uses blockchain technology to operate an online platform, which allows investors to invest in the development, financing and ownership of real estate projects globally.
China International unit pays settlement to avoid dispute
China International Holdings had agreed to enter into a settlement agreement of 105 million yuan (S$21.6 million) despite believing that the claim is “baseless and unmerited”, so as to avoid a protracted dispute with the municipal and district governments in China.
Views, Reviews & Forum
There’s no place like a rent-controlled home
As if New Year’s Eve isn’t wonderful enough, it’s also the night I’m getting kicked out of my apartment. I’ve had a magical year, a year of living in a gorgeous two-bedroom apartment overlooking Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, for the same price as my previous place in East Harlem, which I shared with a lovely roommate and his disrespectful cat, Bobbi.
Time ripe for banks to adopt fintech solutions
The financial industry has experienced a decade of change since the global financial crisis upended traditional business models and cut profit margins to the bone. Many banks have slimmed operations and aggressively cut costs. However, many banks continue to struggle with low profitability amid fierce competition and ever-stricter regulatory requirements.
Global Economy & Global Real Estate
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