The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 24th February 2017

Top Story

Debate on fiscal sustainability turns to land sale revenues, GST hikes
A discussion on Singapore’s budget threw up a robust debate on its fiscal sustainability with economists talking about politically sensitive measures such as dole-outs to struggling firms, public transport fare control and delinking GST hikes from political considerations.  Some also pondered over whether the government should start considering tapping past reserves and monies from land sales to boost its fiscal position – two sources not included in annual budget statements.

Higher grants: No rush to cancel earlier HDB resale transactions
The two largest property realtors in Singapore have yet to receive any cancelled prior sale submissions for resale flats following the announcement of bigger housing grants for first-time HDB buyers in the Budget reading on Monday.  Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced in Parliament that young couples buying a resale HDB flat for the first time will be enjoying higher subsidies of up to S$50,000.


Singapore Economy

Leveraged ETFs expected to return in Q2: SGX

Leveraged and inverse exchange traded funds (ETFs) could make a comeback on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in the second quarter of this year, but some fund issuers are taking a cautious approach amid concerns about investor suitability.  Luuk Strijers, head of products for SGX’s equities and fixed-income business, told The Business Times that products with such structures are expected in the coming quarter, but he declined to disclose their underlyings.

Singapore fintech investment down 65% in 2016: KPMG
In 2016, there was a 65 per cent drop in overall investment in Singapore-based fintech companies, down from US$605 million to US$214 million, according to a KPMG International study Pulse Of Fintech.  Interestingly, the number of deals decreased by only two to 28 during the same period, indicating an overall fall in average deal value.

Singapore rattles sharing economy with rule changes
Singapore, a keen early adopter of the sharing economy, has fired a warning shot across the bow of Airbnb and Uber with tighter rules that could shake up their business models and growth ambitions in Asia.  The rules, some say, are a sign that even governments sympathetic to companies that allow citizens to rent out their expertise or property have a hard time striking the right balance between encouraging disruptive technologies and keeping them in line.

Singapore consumer prices up for 2nd straight month
Singapore logged its second consecutive month of positive inflation in January, on the back of gradually recovering oil prices.  The consumer price index – the main measure of inflation – rose 0.6 per cent last month compared with the same month a year earlier, according to figures released yesterday by the Department of Statistics.  This came after a record two-year spell of negative inflation from November 2014 to October last year, and a reading of 0 per cent in November.


Singapore Real Estate 

Smaller public projects to start earlier to boost construction sector
The $700 million worth of infrastructure projects that will get off the ground earlier will be smaller public projects, such as the upgrading of community clubs, sports facilities and police posts.  The move is to “help smaller firms tide over this period of economic slowdown”, the Finance Ministry said yesterday.  It was elaborating on Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s announcement in the Budget speech on Monday that public projects will be brought forward to start in the 2017 and 2018 financial years.

App launched for ‘smart condo’ residents
Developer Fantasia Investment has only one project under its belt here but the firm sees plenty of opportunity in the local property sector.  Managing director Wang Lian said yesterday: “It’s not so easy to predict Singapore’s market in the short term, but in the long term, we are confident that the market here has good value.  “Singapore is a strategic city for us, as South-east Asia is the next hope. In China, the property market is even worse; there’s no longer value there.”

Companies’ Brief 

Global Premium Hotels gets delisting offer of 36.5¢ – a 14% premium
The chairman of Global Premium Hotels is planning to take private the mainboard-listed company which owns the Fragrance Hotel chain, to help the company cut compliance costs and have more flexibility in managing the business.  JK Global Capital Pte Ltd, an investment holding company owned by Global Premium chairman Koh Wee Meng, is offering 36.5 Singapore cents per share for the shares he does not yet own.  The offer price represents a premium of 14.1 per cent over the closing price of 32 cents on Feb 20, the last full trading day before the announcement, and 23.3 per cent above the six-month volume-weighted average price.

CDL plans to spruce up flagship office building
Property and hotels group City Developments Ltd (CDL) is planning a major refurbishment of its flagship Singapore office property in Raffles Place, turning an imminent outflow of some tenants into an opportunity to spruce up the ageing building.  CDL deputy CEO Sherman Kwek, speaking to reporters after the group posted weaker fourth quarter and full year earnings, said works at Republic Plaza are likely to begin in Q4 2017 and may stretch up to four to five years in a phased revamp.

Sembcorp Industries’ Q4 profit more than doubles to S$147.5m
The turnaround in the profitability of its marine business and a better performance from the urban development division helped Sembcorp Industries more than double its net profit for the fourth quarter.  And while the proposed carbon tax in Singapore will be a financial burden, Sembcorp will be better positioned to recover the costs compared to competitors given its additional income from selling steam from its cogeneration plant, and its use of natural gas, a more energy-efficient fuel, said its CEO Tang Kin Fei.

Banyan Tree plans luxury homes for elderly
Mainboard-listed Banyan Tree Holdings said it planned to offer luxury homes to the elderly in markets such as China, expanding into the nascent wellness sector.  This comes as the luxury resorts operator posted on Wednesday a Q4 net profit of S$8.4 million, reversing from a net loss of S$18.4 million a year ago for the three months ended Dec 31, 2016. Earnings per share for the quarter was 1.11 Singapore cents, up from a loss of 2.41 Singapore cents per share for the same period the year before.

Ascott partners SMU to launch first living lab
CapitaLand’s wholly owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited, has launched its first living lab to field test its newest brand, lyf, that is designed for and managed by millennials, in partnership with the Singapore Management University (SMU).  Ascott will simulate a lyf product at SMU, named lyf@SMU, to test out various co-living concepts, enabling its students to be the first in the world to experience and shape upcoming lyf properties.

BHG Retail Trust Q4 DPU beats forecast
BHG Retail Trust Management racked up a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.31 Singapore cents for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2016, exceeding its own forecast by 0.8 per cent.  This came on the back of S$10.3 million in net property income, beating its forecast by 1.1 per cent.  But gross revenue of S$15.79 million was 4.5 per cent below forecast amid China’s nationwide reform on value-added tax that came into effect from May 1, 2016 and a weaker yuan against the Singapore dollar.

Q4 gains boost Genting shares
Genting Singapore’s shares jumped 5.1 per cent yesterday after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that were better than expected.  Lower bad debt provisions for high rollers and other cost-saving steps led to a sharp turnaround in the firm’s fourth-quarter as well as full-year earnings.  In the wake of better-than-forecast results, the Resorts World Sentosa operator has attracted more generous comments from analysts.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Trump’s immigration crackdown could sink US home prices

U.S. house prices to rise; analysts wary of deregulation: Reuters poll

The towering cost of protecting Trump Tower

China can stabilise homes prices, tax plan under way: govt

China’s US$9 trillion moral hazard too big to ignore

Hong Kong property stock rally gathers pace on earnings outlook

Olympic Housing Boom Fades Before Tokyo Games Even Begin


Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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