Singapore needs an economy driven by new ideas: Ong Ye Kung
Using an analogy of the world as an airport, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung said yesterday that the Singapore economy has to be more than only a “control tower” where corporate headquarters are sited and where strategic planning is done. It should also become a “runway” where ideas are conceived, business plans are developed, and products and services eventually launched. The shift needs to be fuelled by different skills, risk appetites and new ideas, said Mr Ong, who also gave a preview of what the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) — tasked to chart the way forward for the economy — will recommend.
S$4.8b of SGD bonds redeemed early even as S$785m in default
Cordlife Group has asked bondholders to a meeting early next month to get their approval to redeem their debt ahead of maturity, an event which has received little publicity amid the chatter on bond defaults. In fact there’s the danger of collateral damage threatening bonds issued by companies with strong balance sheets with some of the prices of these bonds falling to distressed levels. Year to date (Oct 18) S$17.4 billion worth of bonds have been redeemed, including a chunk redeemed ahead of their scheduled maturity, compared with S$785 million of bonds which have defaulted, restructured or are in the process of restructuring.
Singapore Real Estate
Value buys lure buyers back to private housing market
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released earlier this month the flash estimate of its private property index for the third quarter of this year. Many were surprised by the estimate, which showed a 1.5 per cent price decrease, the steepest decline since 2012. Perhaps as a consequence of the continued price falls, buyers have been entering the market, with 4,352 caveats lodged from July to September. Although this is not the final figure for the third quarter, it is already higher than the 4,159 units transacted in the corresponding period a year ago.
3 private projects on preview this weekend
Investors reading the tea leaves on the state of the private residential market can expect fresh clues to emerge this weekend with three new projects on preview. The trio are neatly spread across the main regions and price points, with boutique development 38 Jervois in the prime District 10, Queens Peak on the city fringe, and Parc Riviera in the suburbs. Going by brisk sales at recent launches Forest Woods and The Alps Residences, analysts expect home hunters to pick up smaller units again at upcoming projects. “The underlying demand is still there, but buyers are looking for value. It is still a play on unit sizes and overall quantum,” said Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research for Singapore and South-east Asia.
Alternative workspaces taking off among Singaporeans
Instead of a cumbersome three-hour daily commute to and from his firm’s laboratory across the Causeway, Mr Preston Koh’s journey to his workplace now takes all of 10 minutes — on foot. The marketing manager at the Asia Air Movement and Control Association has been working from the Smart Work Centre in the Toa Payoh Public Library — a stone’s throw from his home — since it was set up in 2014. Smart Work Centres are alternative workspaces with professional facilities located in residential estates. Two other such centres are located in the Geylang East Public Library and the Jurong Regional Library, and a new one is slated to open in Tampines next year.
Suntec Reit Q3 DPU up despite lower revenue
Lower revenue from conventions and the sale of Park Mall eroded third-quarter earnings for mall and convention centre owner Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust, though distributions for the period still came in higher year-on-year. For the three months ended Sept 30, 2016, Suntec Reit posted a distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.535 Singapore cents, up from 2.522 Singapore cents the previous year, it said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Thursday. Net property income for the three months ended Sept 30, 2016, slid 2.1 per cent to S$57.23 million on the back of a 4.3 per cent drop in gross revenue to S$82.37 million from the preceding year.
Ascott Reit’s Q3 DPU at three-year high
Holding up a sterling report on Thursday, Ascott Residence Trust (Ascott Reit) said its distribution per unit (DPU) for the third quarter ended Sept 30 rose 14 per cent from a year ago to 2.35 Singapore cents, the highest DPU recorded in the past three years. Unitholders’ distribution grew 21 per cent to S$38.7 million, the highest distribution recorded in a quarter since the Reit was launched 10 years ago. This came on the back of realised exchange gain of S$3.3 million from the repayment of foreign currency bank loans with the divestment proceeds from Fortune Garden Apartments.
A-Reit’s Q2 healthy despite industrial weakness
Ascendas Reit (A-Reit) managed to turn in a healthy set of financial numbers as management adopts different ways to mitigate the industrial market weakness, which CEO of the manager Chia Nam Toon says is worse than a year ago. A-Reit posted a 3.1 per cent drop in distribution per unit (DPU) to 4.03 Singapore cents for its second quarter ended Sept 30, 2016. But this was due to the year-ago distribution including a one-off S$6.5 million upfront fee for some credit facilities. Excluding this, DPU would have grown 3.6 per cent, it said. Total amount available for distribution rose 12.3 per cent to S$112.5 million. Net property income came in 23.1 per cent higher at S$152.4 million, while gross revenue rose 12.5 per cent to S$205.4 million.
CDL unit exits entire interest in Summervale Properties for S$977.6 million
City Developments Limited (CDL), through its wholly owned subsidiary Sunmaster Holdings, has entered into an agreement to exit its entire interest in Summervale Properties, which owns Nouvel 18, a 156-unit luxury, freehold residential development on Anderson Road, for S$977.6 million. CDL said that it has unlocked value in Nouvel 18 through its third Profit Participation Securities (PPS) platform. It will not hold any interests in the ordinary shares and preference shares in Summervale post completion of the transaction.
Frasers Centrepoint Trust Q4 DPU slips 1.5% to 2.815 cents
Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) on Friday morning reported a distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.815 Singapore cents for the three months ended Sept 30 (Q4 2016), marking a 1.5 per cent fall from last year’s 2.859 cents. The trust, which manages malls such as Causeway Point, Northpoint and Changi City Point, saw distribution to unitholders slip 1.2 per cent to S$25.9 million in Q4 2016, down from S$26.2 million.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Meeting needs of industrial space
The Housing Board’s several thousand industrial units will all be administered by JTC Corporation from the beginning of 2018. This means businesses looking to expand will need to work with only one agency instead of two as is the case now. That should cut down on administrative processes and duplication of work. The consolidation – it will involve moving HDB’s 10,700 industrial units and 540 industrial land leases to JTC – comes at a time when the Government is encouraging firms to innovate and try out new business models.
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Additional Articles of Interests — Local & Overseas Real Estate
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