SME sentiment sinks past neutral point to all-time low of 49.8
The latest SBF-DP SME Index, which measures the business sentiment of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has dipped to an all-time low of 49.8. This is the first time in its seven-year history that it has gone below 50.0, indicating a pessimistic outlook. It was just three quarters ago when the Overall Index hit its then-lowest at 50.0 for the Q2 2016 to Q3 2016 period. The Index – a joint initiative by the Singapore Business Federation and DP Information Group – was the result of responses from more than 3,600 SMEs on their sentiment for the next six months (Q1 and Q2 of 2017). The survey was conducted between October and November 2016.
Singapore Real Estate
Dark clouds, but silver lining too
At first glance, Singapore’s broader property market appears decidedly gloomy, with vacancy rates in offices and malls climbing and residential prices falling relentlessly. But according to analysts, various sectors of the market are showing signs of life, with increased office investments, robust luxury residential sales and a rejuvenated collective sales market. Still, one of the starkest signs of gloom – unless you are a patient buyer – has been the fall in private home prices. Including the third quarter this year, private home prices have sunk 10.8 per cent in 12 straight quarters since the peak of the third quarter in 2013. Rents have dropped to almost the same extent, by 10.7 per cent, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data. However, the sales volume has been rising, even though November saw a slightly cooler take-up. A total of 11,993 private residential units (excluding executive condominium units) were sold in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 9.8 per cent year on year.
Rochor residents in rush to move out as Dec 30 deadline looms
The clock is ticking for the last of the Rochor Centre residents. Just eight days remain for them to move out of the iconic 39-year-old rainbow-coloured blocks. The deadline given by the Housing Board is Dec 30. There are some 30 households who are the final holdouts. The other residents in the 567 units have vacated their flats, leaving the estate a veritable ghost town.
Property firm and its director fined for unlicensed work
A property management company and its sole director were yesterday convicted of unlawfully conducting estate agency work without being licensed by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). Franks Property was fined $115,000 while its sole director, Lim Koon Heng, alias Franks, 70, was fined $100,000. The fines are the heftiest meted out by the courts to a company and an individual for unlicensed estate agency work so far, said the CEA.
GLP fund receives US$32m injection
Mainboard-listed Global Logistic Properties (GLP) said before market opened on Thursday that a co-investor has pumped US$32 million into a fund established to hold a newly acquired US$1.1 billion logistics portfolio from Dallas-based developer Hillwood. The contribution from the co-investor, made on Dec 21, is deemed as initial syndication, and corresponds to 9.7 per cent of the aggregate capital contributions made to the fund.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Review policy on HDB flat owners buying private property
Home ownership has been a key pillar of Singapore’s nation building, and subsidised housing provided by the Housing Board is a cornerstone of this strategy. However, as young home owners progress in their careers and their families grow, many of them will aspire to acquire private property. When they do so, the benefit from the enhanced value of their subsidised homes will go some way towards helping them buy the property.
Hold sub-contractors to account for safety lapses
The Ministry of Manpower’s Business Under Surveillance programme is a commendable effort. Through it, the ministry helps poor-performing companies improve their workplace safety and health records by requiring them to develop and implement a robust safety and health management system. However, the ministry should take into consideration the trends of violations and recurrence (“Wake-up call on work safety“; Dec 21). Most of the time, sub-contractors, who carry out a large proportion of work at construction sites, do not comply with safety regulations.
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