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The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 2nd September 2016

Singapore Economy

Businesses to enjoy single corporate ID for govt e-services
Businesses in Singapore will soon be able to use a single corporate digital identity to transact with government agencies online, such as to file corporate tax returns or to apply for permits.  This means businesses will no longer need to grapple with multiple login IDs (such as SingPass and EASY) when engaging with different agencies online, or have their employees use their personal SingPass IDs for corporate transactions.  CorpPass (short for Singapore Corporate Access) is a new digital identity that will come into play on Sept 15. It is also a one-stop portal for companies to grant and manage employees’ access to government e-services.

Singapore manufacturing PMI at 50 in August, below Asean’s 50.3
Conditions in Singapore’s manufacturing sector in August stayed flat when compared to July, marking the first stabilisation after a seven-month decline.  However, it fell short of the “precarious” improvement recorded in Asean’s manufacturing sector, figures published by financial information services provider IHS Markit on Thursday showed.  The Nikkei Singapore manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was at 50 in August, compared to the 50.3 reading as measured across seven countries in Asean, said IHS Markit. Readings above 50 denote increasing rate of growth from the previous month; those below 50 mean a quickening pace of contraction.

Singapore Real Estate

MAS kneads out refinancing knots posed by TDSR
With 5-10 per cent of households here estimated to be highly leveraged, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday refined rules behind its debt-to-income threshold – better known as the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) – so that such borrowers will have more flexibility in refinancing their property loans.  This extends from exemptions made in 2014 that were given to those who had bought properties before TDSR came into force. Consultants said the new rules will give little boost to demand in the property market, but create more room for refinancing by overleveraged borrowers.

Victoria Park Villas semi-Ds priced at S$4.4m to S$7.6m
In what is the only prime landed site to be awarded by the government since 1996, CapitaLand is launching 106 semi-detached houses for S$4.4 million to S$7.6 million each and three bungalows for S$11 million to S$12 million each in Victoria Park Villas this Saturday.  These 99-year-leasehold units in the District 10 project “could have gone for a million dollars more” each in better market conditions, CapitaLand Singapore CEO Wen Khai Meng told reporters.

Sale of rare Marina Bay land next to Asia Square set to fetch bumper price
The first sale of land in Singapore’s Marina Bay in nine years is set to fetch a bumper price as developers jockey for a piece of the sought-after financial district.  The 1.1 hectare plot may fetch more than S$1.8 billion, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc., or S$1,200 per square foot of gross floor area. That would make it Singapore’s most expensive land sale since 2007, when the Asia Square Tower I plot sold at S$2.02 billion, or a rate of S$1,409 per square foot.  “This will be a hotly contested plot,” said Christine Li, director of research at Cushman in Singapore. “Bidders could include sovereign wealth funds and aggressive bids from Chinese developers.”

Hotel room glut, soft corporate demand to hit hospitality sector
The increase in hotel room supply coupled with a weak corporate demand outlook will continue to present operating challenges to the hospitality industry in Singapore for the rest of the year, said analysts at OCBC Investment Research, which is keeping a “Neutral” rating on the sector.  “Given the weak RevPAR (revenue per available room) performance across the board … we remain pessimistic about the operating performance of hospitality assets for the second half of this year,” analysts Deborah Ong and Andy Wong wrote in a research report.

Micro-hotel Yotel plans first Asian property in S’pore
The micro-hotel, a concept that first gained traction in Europe with brands like Yotel and CitizenM at airports and in urban centres, is becoming more popular with travellers.  Yotel, which opened its first micro-hotel in London’s Gatwick Airport in 2007 and has others in Amsterdam and New York City, plans to expand in Singapore and Geneva, as well as in San Francisco, Boston and Miami.  Yotel, whose rooms at its New York City property are about 170 sq ft each, is expected to open its first flagship property in Asia next year with the launch of Yotel Singapore in Orchard Road. The 610-room hotel, to be located next to the Thai Embassy, is looking to charge S$200 to S$240 a night, its general manager Brendan Daly was reported by travel industry portal TTG as saying. This will be followed by another micro-hotel in Changi Airport the following year.

Companies’ Brief

CapitaLand’s Raffles City Chongqing on track, within budget
Exactly four years after breaking ground, CapitaLand’s massive Raffles City Chongqing project is on track and the first phase of the 24 billion yuan (S$4.9 billion) mixed-use development is expected to open in the second half of 2018.  The office towers will be the first to be ready, followed by the hotels and shopping malls in the middle of 2019, said the real estate developer’s president and CEO Lim Ming Yan as he gave a progress update on what is Singapore’s largest single development in China.

Uniqlo’s new regional flagship store a new addition to Orchard Road shopping scene
The much-awaited Uniqlo Southeast Asian flagship store, opening today at Orchard Central, is a bright spark amid a retail slump.  The presence of a new three-level store in Orchard Road is significant for shoppers, the local retail scene and Uniqlo itself, with Mr Taku Morikawa, chief executive of Uniqlo South-east Asia, pointing to Singapore as the centre of Asia.  “If we are successful here with the flagship, we can explore markets such as India and Vietnam,” he said, adding that the store will hopefully make the Singapore retail scene “more competitive”.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Handful of hotel, travel bookings cancelled
Hotels and travel agencies here have reported a handful of cancellations from foreigners intending to visit, amid mounting fears over the mosquito-borne Zika virus.  However, observers say that it is too soon to gauge the likely impact of the outbreak on the local economy.  Several governments, including the United States, Britain and South Korea, have issued travel advisories for those travelling to Singapore.  Mr Patrick Fiat, general manager of Royal Plaza on Scotts, said the hotel has received three cancellations since Tuesday. It waived cancellation charges for a pregnant Canadian woman.  “If the current number of cases increases, we may see the situation worsen,” he said.

Looking far and going deep: Futuring the Economy
Economists at Credit Suisse have concluded that Singapore’s competitiveness has deteriorated in recent years. They attribute this to three causes – elevated wages, negative inflation and a dependency on exports. 
The erosion of competitiveness is not a trivial matter ; rather, it is an existential consideration. The high level of services, infrastructure and even security that Singaporeans have enjoyed in recent decades and to some degree have come to accept as a norm are all contingent on economic prosperity. In other words, it has to be paid for on a continuing basis and doing so is dependent on a thriving economy.

Do heartland shops really need livening up?
Tuesday’s report begs the question of why it is necessary to liven up heartland shops (“$29m to liven up heartland shops in 17 areas”).  Businesses rise and fall with the roller-coaster economy. Some survive, some do not, and some merge and consolidate over time.  Businesses have to be left alone for entrepreneurship to be successful. This is especially so for old family businesses.  Spending $29 million on upgrading works and promotional events is an appalling business manoeuvre. Such a move, implemented with no understanding or interest in how these businesses run, may spell the end of old businesses.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

China’s PMI jumps in August, but private sector trails behind

China wealth management products rise to record 26.3 trillion yuan

China’s yuan weakens in cautious mood ahead of G20, US jobs data

China encourages more VC funding, promises foreign firms equal treatment

Manhattan luxury-condo builders fighting glut

UK investors prefer alternative property

Colony Capital Principal Lists Stunning Montecito Estate for $18.5 Million

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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