The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 22nd June 2016

Singapore Economy

‘Many options’ for future development of Singapore
Underground power substations? Underground reservoirs?  Singapore still has many options for development despite its physical constraints, and one way is to build more infrastructure underground.  This subterranean potential is among the plans the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) is studying to make Singapore a vibrant global city and competitive economy, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

Future Economy team looks for novel ways out of land shortage
A Sub-Group of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) is looking at “innovative” approaches to overcome Singapore’s land constraints as the economy is being restructured.  Not only is it considering new technologies to make better use of Singapore’s road network, the group is also digging deep into solutions that involve putting utilities underground.  These approaches are crucial because Singapore’s economy is maturing and constraints on resources, including land and energy, are “starting to bite”, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

Increasing demand for contract employees: survey
While only one in three contract employees in Singapore is converted to a permanent position, they are increasingly being valued by employers, according to a survey by Page Personnel.  According to a spokesman of the PageGroup, the reason why contract employees are not mostly converted to permanent staff is because employees may not feel that they are the right fit for the job or the basic contract might have expired or they could be temporarily covering for someone who is on a long leave.

Investors hold back amid Brexit jitters
Brexit jitters continued to hit Singapore shares, forcing investors to sit it out until the outcome of tomorrow’s referendum is known.  The Straits Times Index (STI) closed down 0.41 per cent or 11.42 points at 2,789.45, weighed down by Singapore Press Holdings, which dipped 1.8 per cent or seven cents to $3.78, and Singtel, down 0.3 per cent or one cent at $3.84.  About 835.4 million shares worth $730.3 million changed hands.


Singapore Real Estate

HDB reminds EC developers against dangling pre-sale carrots
The authorities have weighed in on the issue of e-applications for executive condominiums (ECs), saying that developers of ECs are not allowed to offer incentives to buyers who have not booked units.  Developers are also required to engage independent auditors to audit their sale processes to ensure they fulfil their obligations.  A spokeswoman for the Housing & Development Board (HDB) said: “The Ministry of National Development (MND) and the HDB take a serious view of any malpractice by developers. Any feedback on malpractice by EC developers or their marketing agents is fully investigated. The authorities will not hesitate to take action against errant parties.”

Open economy forces government’s hand
You can’t have it all.  Industry players say that what makes Singapore so susceptible to housing bubbles is also its most attractive characteristics: its open, pro-business and globally connected economy, as well as its safe-haven status. This, in turn, has made it necessary for the government to be “interventionist” in erecting rules that keep property asset prices in check.

Market-calming moves, then and now
Two decades ago, policymakers introduced Singapore’s first “anti-speculation measures” – a comprehensive package of curbs that analysts thought would surely bring the property market to a standstill.  But when the market did stall later, these more-stringent loan conditions and new taxes and regulations weren’t the reason for it; instead, it was an event that no one foresaw at the time – the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Chilling effect

Home rents falling, but yields not plunging yet
Rents for residential properties may be falling, but yields – the annual rent as a percentage of the home’s value – have not yet plummeted like a stone as some fear.  Ms Germaine Ng, who just found a tenant for her three-bedroom condominium unit near Yew Tee MRT station, said yields are “slightly better” than leaving her money in the bank.  After three months of marketing, she managed to rent the unit out for $2,800 a month, down from $3,300 previously.

Low rents draw big names to Marina Bay office spaces
Several big potential office leasing deals involving relocations are in motion, as occupiers take advantage of currrent low rents amid a wave of new office completions to move into newer buildings in the Marina Bay area which offer greater space efficiency due to larger floor plates.  However, net office demand is not expected to increase much in the absence of any “category killer” to drive office demand, as JLL’s head of markets Chris Archibold puts it.

Troubled e-retailer Ensogo shuts Singapore operations
The online retailer Ensogo has abruptly closed its Singapore operations after its Australian unit hit massive problems back home.  Sources told The Straits Times that staff at the Singapore office in Kallang were told to go home when they arrived for work on Monday morning, with no prior warning given.  “They were chased out of the office and the doors were locked. Employees had been sitting outside the premises since 11am,” said a source familiar with the employees.  The website’s headquarters are in Singapore although the company is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).  Ensogo Singapore used to be known as – founded here in 2010 by two Singapore- based Germans – and took on its current name after it was bought by e-commerce platform Ensogo.


Companies’ Brief

OKP Holdings snags PUB drainage project
OKP Holdings’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Eng Lam Contractors, has won an S$18 million contract from national water agency PUB.  OKP Holdings said on Tuesday that under the 30-month contract, Eng Lam will upgrade the drains and culverts for the drainage system along Lorong 22 to Lorong 44 Geylang. The work, which commences on Monday, is expected to be completed by Dec 26, 2018.

Strong trading debut for fourth Frasers Reit
Frasers Logistics and Industrial Trust (FLT) shrugged off volatile market conditions to put in a solid trading debut on the Singapore Exchange yesterday.  The real estate investment trust (Reit) – Singapore’s biggest listing since 2013 – opened 1.7 per cent higher than its 89-cent initial public offering (IPO) price. It then rose to as high as 93 cents, before some profit-taking set in, and closed 0.6 per cent higher at 91 cents.


Views, Reviews & Forum

Despite EU flaws, continued membership is best choice for Britain
The British electorate decides on Thursday, in perhaps the most important decision facing the country since 1945, whether to leave the European Union (EU) after some four decades of membership. In a campaign high on hyperbole, the “Leave” leaders have failed – remarkably – to address the single most important question it needs to answer.

More consumer protection laws in renovation industry needed
Media coverage of the Jover Chew cheating case at Sim Lim Square last year generated greater public awareness of the blatant practices of black sheep in the retail industry.  That the Ministry of Trade and Industry will soon be changing consumer laws to protect shoppers better is heartening news (“Consumers to get more protection under proposed changes to law”: May 16). However, consumers need more protection not only in the retail industry but also in the renovation industry.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate 

Yellen makes subtle change to outlook for inflation, job market

Sterling’s fall after Brexit will be bigger than on ‘Black Wednesday’, says Soros

Brexit vote in the balance as polls differ over which side leads

UK businesses better off if Britain quits the EU

Uncertainty over Brexit vote dampens IPOs in London

Leaders, businesses across EU urge UK to Remain

Think of future generations, vote to stay in EU: Cameron

Li Ka-shing upbeat on China’s outlook

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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