Govt to gather feedback on new housing initiatives: Lawrence Wong
While details of the newly announced housing polices are being worked out, the government will reach out to Singaporeans to gather feedback and understand their concerns to fine-tune the policies, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday evening. Speaking to the media at the sidelines of a public forum at shopping mall Bugis+, Mr Wong said the government understands Singaporeans are worried and unsure about what to expect, and have raised questions about the future of public housing, particularly as the building stock gets older and nears the end of lease.
Singapore and Zhejiang will commit to open trade with bilateral deals: Sim Ann
Bilateral working groups in five key areas are part of an expanded push the Singapore government is making to strengthen ties with China’s Zhejiang province. Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann, speaking at the Singapore-Zhejiang Economic and Trade Council Roundtable on Tuesday, noted that Zhejiang’s priorities align with Singapore’s “as we transform our industries and deepen urban management”.
DBS launches B2B portal for SMEs
DBS on Tuesday announced that it will be developing a business-to-business (B2B) platform to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to a new marketplace to sell their goods and services to large corporate and multinational companies (MNCs). The platform will also grant these SMEs access to supply-chain connections, as well as financing and payment solutions that are usually open only to large corporates or MNCs.
Singapore Real Estate
Singapore real estate will endure as popular asset class
Singapore property is likely to retain its lustre as a preferred choice for long-term wealth creation due to the city-state’s regional hub status, solid growth prospects and Asians’ deep-seated desire to own property. Analysts gave this affirmation as the dust starts to settle on the latest cooling measures which took effect on July 6. The amended rules saw higher Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and lowering Loan-to-Value (LTV) limits in a pre-emptive strike to prevent prices running “ahead of economic fundamentals” and “the risk of a destabilising correction later”.
Ground-floor retail rents to lead gradual recovery
Singapore’s retail rental market is expected to see a gradual recovery over 2018-2022, led by ground-floor rents, a Colliers International report said. Based on data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, overall Central Region rents dipped by 1.7 per cent year on year in 1H18, although ground-floor rents appeared to have stabilised.
Rise in number of properties up for auction
More properties were put up for sale by auction in the first half of the year but the sales value was down markedly on the same period in 2017 due to the lack of big-ticket landed units. Transaction value came in at about $39.6 million, a fall of 11.2 per cent compared with the same six months last year, according to a Knight Frank report.
HK family buys Club St shophouse for S$21.8m
A 999-year leasehold corner shophouse at 64 Club Street is being sold for S$21.8 million. The price works out to S$3,880 per square foot based on the estimated built-up area of 5,618 sq ft.
Phoenix Heights sold en bloc for S$33.1m
Phoenix Heights condominium in Bukit Panjang has been sold en bloc, in a S$33.1 million deal that defies last month’s property cooling measures. The bid from USB Holdings – which is owned equally by units of OKP Holdings, Chye Joo Construction, Hwa Seng Group and Ho Lee Group – was accepted on Monday, mainboard-listed OKP announced the next day.
Singapore’s architectural history under threat from redevelopment frenzy
[Singapore] A rush to tear down and redevelop buildings in Singapore has prompted calls to conserve ageing properties that symbolise the country’s recent history and economic rise. The land-starved island is known for its gleaming skyscrapers and contemporary architectural designs that punctuate its skyline like the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which looks like a surfboard perched atop three towers.
GIC acquires minority stake in Indian real estate developer
Sovereign wealth fund GIC is scooping up a significant minority stake in Indian developer Provenance Land, which owns a mixed-use development in central Mumbai, the company said on Wednesday. The development is situated on over four acres of prime freehold land in Worli, Mumbai. It comprises the 202-room luxury Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai; the 41-unit Four Seasons Private Residences Mumbai, which is under construction, and a proposed Class A office tower. A wholly-owned unit of Provenance Land will manage the development.
Sea’s loss widens on investment in Shopee e-commerce platform
Sea Ltd, operator of South-east Asia’s biggest gaming platform, posted a wider quarterly loss as it invests in building up e-commerce platform Shopee. The net loss was US$250.8 million in the three months ended June compared with a loss of US$92.1 million a year earlier, Singapore-based Sea said in an e-mailed statement. Total revenue at the company rose to US$183.8 million from US$101.5 million.
VIEWS, REVIEWS, FORUM & Others
Tech boom, competition for talent to support Asia-Pacific’s prime office rental growth
There are attractive prospects for the real estate market in the Asia-Pacific region, with improving structural and early economic upcycle drivers, and Asia-Pacific GDP expected to grow by 4.6 per cent year-on-year in 2018. The office markets in key developed Asia-Pacific cities – Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea – are expected to benefit from business growth in the medium term, particularly from technology, finance and business services.
Helping HDB flats hold value: Use supply and demand moves
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech was welcomed for its focus on critical concerns relating to housing and health. Economically, it laid to rest many uncertainties facing the occupants of ageing Housing Board (HDB) flats, as well as the elderly who are worried about healthcare costs. Politically, it was a master stroke for addressing concerns from the ground and coming up with practical solutions.
Size of HDB flats not addressed
The announcement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally (Every HDB flat to be upgraded twice; Aug 20) is laudable. But even after describing the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme and the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme, the question of size of the current Build-To-Order flats was not addressed.
Tread carefully for massive undertaking
The Prime Minister’s proposed solution to renew our ageing Housing Board flats via different schemes has never been tried before on this grand scale. The Home Improvement Programme (HIP), HIP II, the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme and the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme will tax governmental resources to the hilt.
Make lease buyback more senior-friendly
The eligibility conditions for the Lease Buyback Scheme are not elder-friendly (Lease buyback to be extended to all flats; Aug 21). For example, all owners must be 65 or older to be eligible.
Consider high-rise parking in Holland V
Closing 317 spaces in the main open-air carpark of Holland Village will affect the business vibrancy of the area to a great extent, and for seven long years too, till the new mixed-use development is complete (Holland V carpark closure postponed; Aug 14). It will not be the same, even with the walkways connecting two Urban Redevelopment Authority carparks in Holland Drive to Holland Village.
Singapore public transport system tops global list
Singapore residents are highly satisfied with the public transport system, which is among the best in the world, based on a report by consulting firm McKinsey. The June report, called Elements Of Success: Urban Transportation Systems Of 24 Global Cities, also lauded the transport system’s affordability and efficiency.
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