The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 23rd February 2017

Singapore Economy

Singdollar bond scene sizzles with latest issue raking in S$4b of orders
The Singapore dollar bond market is sizzling – Wednesday’s S$500 million bond sale by Commerzbank AG is said to have taken orders approaching S$4 billion as investors clamour for yield.  Bankers say that after a rather tepid start to the year, the market is now seeing a confluence of factors – yield-hungry cash-flush investors and companies seeing the risks of interest rates hikes increasing are happy to deal.  “Perfect weather to print deals,” said Clifford Lee, DBS Bank head of fixed income.

Singapore Real Estate

Not a concrete jungle: Singapore beats 16 cities in green urban areas
When it comes to urban tree density, Singapore stands at the crown.  The City in a Garden outshone 16 cities from all around the world, in a study by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the World Economic Forum (WEF). Almost 30 per cent of the Republic’s urban areas are covered by greenery.  This puts Singapore ahead of Sydney, Australia, and Vancouver, Canada, both of which are tied for second place with 25.9 per cent.

TripleOne Somerset office space up for sale
The rare offering of an entire floor of 15 office units in the premium Orchard Road area is expected to attract keen interest from investors.  All of the seventh floor of Somerset Tower in TripleOne Somerset has been put up for sale for about $41.56 million via an expression of interest.  The indicative price translates to about $2,650 psf for the 15,683 sq ft space, marketing agent CBRE told The Straits Times yesterday.  TripleOne Somerset – in Somerset Road – is a prime integrated development with two premium-grade office towers and a retail podium next to Somerset MRT station.

Companies’ Brief

Centurion launches student housing brand
Listed accommodation provider Centurion Corp is making plans to take its student accommodation business to the next level. On Wednesday, it launched a new brand for its student accommodation properties called “dwell Student Living” (dwell).  As a fairly new entrant which only entered the student accommodation space about 21/2 years ago, it has stuck largely with purchasing existing assets and refurbishing them.  The launch of a brand thus poses new possibilities for its business model, for example, the potential for third-party management.

Genting Singapore reverses loss with earnings of S$159 million in Q4
Genting Singapore swung into the black with a net profit of S$159.19 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2016, compared to a net loss of S$7.75 million a year ago.  Including S$29.71 million apportioned to holders of perpetual securities, net profit would have come to S$188.9 million.  The improved performance in Q4 was underpinned by higher gaming revenue due to higher rolling win percentage in the premium player business as well as the group’s revised strategy to focus on better margin business.

FEHT posts weaker Q4 DPS of 1.12 cents on soft sector
Lower revenue led by a soft sector meant that Far East Hospitality Trust (FEHT) posted a fourth-quarter income available for distribution of S$20.2 million, down 2.3 per cent year on year.  Distribution per stapled security (DPS) for the three months ended Dec 31, 2016, was 1.12 Singapore cents, down 4.3 per cent year on year.  Revenue in Q4 dropped 4.6 per cent to S$27.5 million, due to reduced revenue contribution from hotels and serviced residences, as well as marginally softer performance of the retail and office spaces.

London-based asset manager MVN ups Vard stake to 6.01%
MVN Asset Management has acquired a further 806,000 shares of Vard Holdings at S$0.27 apiece, boosting its stake in the Singapore-listed yard group to 6.0119 per cent.  Vard said in a filing to Singapore Exchange on Wednesday that the purchase was made on Tuesday.  MVN first emerged as a significant shareholder in Vard on Jan 18 after buying over 1.19 million shares, lifting its stake then to 5.0188 per cent.

Lower revenue, absence of fair value gain hit Fragrance full-year profit
Lower property development revenue, plus an absence of substantial fair value gain on investment properties, weighed down results for Fragrance Group for its full financial year.  Net profit plummeted 89 per cent to S$7.5 million from the previous year, the group said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Wednesday evening.  As a result, earnings per share sank to 0.11 Singapore cent from 1.02 Singapore cents in the year-ago period.

Qingjian Realty ropes in Singtel for its Internet-ready EC
Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group on Wednesday laid the foundation for what it touts as Singapore’s first Internet-ready executive condominium (EC), with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with telco Singtel and lifestyle app hiLife.  iNz Residence will improve on the smart living features first seen in the Visionaire, launched last year by Qingjian Realty as the first EC with smart homes. Units will be equipped with fibre broadband and the hiLife mobile application, allowing home-owners to use their smart homes’ capabilities from the moment they obtain their keys.

GIC announces joint US$1.05bb investment in Washington DC offices
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC said on Thursday it has formed joint ventures with investors to buy over 2.1 million sq feet (195,000 sq m) of office assets in the Washington DC metropolitan area, in an investment of more than US$1.05 billion.  Investors include affiliates of real estate developer Beacon Capital Partners, GIC said in a statement.  One of the joint ventures includes the purchase of Lafayette Centre, a 789,000 sq feet complex of three multi-tenant buildings located in the Central Business District submarket.

CDL posts lower Q4, FY16 earnings on absence of one-time gain, weak market
Absence of the substantial profits recognised in the year-ago period from the second Profit Participation Securities (PPS) platform weighed down on City Developments Limited’s (CDL) fourth-quarter net profit.  Net profit for the three months at end Dec 2016 fell 40.6 per cent year on year to S$243.8 million, and down 15.5 per cent to S$653.2 million for the full year, amid tough market conditions.

Soilbuild Q4 profit falls 38% to S$3.5m; to pay S$0.0125 per share dividend
Soilbuild Construction Group’s fourth-quarter net profit fell 37.6 per cent to S$3.5 million, or 0.52 Singapore cents per share, amid weaker revenues.  The construction company is declaring a final dividend of 0.5 S cents per share and a special dividend of 0.75 Singapore cents per share. Soilbuild stock was untraded on Wednesday, but was last bid at 22 S cents.

Cache Logistics Trust expands in Australia with A$22.25m Melbourne warehouse acquisition
Cache Logistics Trust is in the process of acquiring a single-storey warehouse with ancillary office space in the suburb of Melbourne, Australia for A$22.25 million (S$24.27 million).  The proposed acquisition will be funded by net proceeds from the recent divestment of Cache Changi Districentre 3, the trust manager ARA-CWT Trust Management said in a release on Wednesday evening.

SICC looks to a new S$60 million clubhouse to replace soon-to-be-lost facilities
The Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) looks set to build a new S$60 million facility called the 5 Acre Woods Clubhouse by July 2020.  The move to build the new clubhouse is in anticipation of the expiry of leases for the land on which its current Bukit clubhouse sits, as well as the Sime Course in 2021, and the Bukit Course in 2030.  In February 2014, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) offered SICC a new lease for one of the two 18-hole courses at the Bukit location until 2030. The SLA indicated, however, that the other 18-hole course at the location would have to be run as a public course upon the expiry of its lease on Dec 31, 2021.

Views, Reviews & Forum

IPF scheme in right direction, but SMEs must not be passed over: industry watchers
Industry watchers expressed concern that the International Partnership Fund (IPF) announced in Singapore Budget 2017 may not benefit smaller enterprises, even though further support to help companies become globally competitive is a positive step.  Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Monday that up to S$600 million of government capital will be set aside to co-invest with Singapore-based firms to help them scale up and internationalise, with a focus on the Asian region.

BTO v Resale flat: What adds up for first-timers?
Young home-buyers have cheered Monday’s Budget which announced generous increases in grants for resale flats.  The enhanced Central Provident Fund Housing Grant, previously capped at $30,000, has been raised to $50,000 for first-timers who turn to the resale market for four-room and smaller flats. And it has risen from $30,000 to $40,000 for five-room and larger flats.  Including the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) and Additional CPF Housing Grant, couples buying a four-room or smaller flat can get up to $110,000 in subsidies.

Balancing competing land-use demands requires trade-offs
It will always be a challenge to strike a balance between retaining iconic landmarks and using the land for residential purposes (“Preserve icons that build history and define culture” by Dr Wong Wen Tsung; Feb 17).  Finding the right balance is never easy. There is a constant need to provide residential housing estates, childcare centres, schools, hospitals, parks, transport amenities, eateries, markets and eldercare facilities.  This cannot be done without trade-offs, due to our finite land resources.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

U.S. home sales hit 10-year high, prices soar

Hedge funds lose bid to quash Fannie, Freddie profit grab

Hudson River tunnel project to take seven years to complete

China home price growth eases for 4th straight month

Income and property tax cuts in Hong Kong’s new budget

Hong Kong’s economy to grow 2-3% in 2017, helped by global recovery

Australia’s Fairfax Media to demerge real estate arm

Australia’s central bank sees danger in high household debt

Evidence mounts that speculation is behind Toronto’s property bubble

AccorHotels beats 2016 forecasts; Sarkozy to head int’l strategy

Dubai to build world’s first rotating skyscraper

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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