The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 25th May 2016

Top Stories

Concern over rising workplace deaths
The number of workplace deaths this year has hit 32, six more than in the same period last year.  The latest took place yesterday, bringing to four the number of fatalities after stiffer penalties for employers with safety lapses came into force two weeks ago.  A man in his 50s died at his workplace in Kee Seng Street, a day after a 23-year-old construction worker was killed by a falling steel truss.  The prevalence of workplace fatalities has prompted the authorities to raise penalties for offenders, but observers say much more needs to be done to step up safe work practices and prevent further deaths.


Singapore Economy

Singapore economy grew 1.8% year-on-year in Q1 2016: MTI
The Republic’s economy expanded by 1.8 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2016, unchanged from the previous quarter and exceedinganalysts’ expectations, according to figures released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Wednesday (May 25).  On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis, the economy expanded by 0.2 per cent, down from the 6.2 per cent growth in the preceding quarter.  According to a quarterly survey released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in March, private sector economists had expected Singapore’s economy to grow by 1.6 per cent for the January to March quarter compared to a year ago.  The GDP growth forecast for 2016 is maintained at 1 per cent to 3 per cent, MTI added.

Asian markets fall on interest rate hike concerns
Asian markets slipped into the red yesterday as concerns over the impending interest rate hikes in the United States and dipping oil prices returned into focus.  The local Straits Times Index (STI) eased 0.6 per cent, or 16.7 points, to 2,750.23. This came as the Monetary Authority of Singapore told BSI Bank – which has been embroiled in a global money-laundering scandal surrounding Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB – to shut down its Singapore branch over “serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements”.  The downbeat sentiment here was not unlike that on Wall Street, which shed 0.05 per cent overnight ahead of a number of key economic data due out this week.

New labour guidelines call for ‘responsible retrenchment’
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which has been reiterating in recent months that it’s watching closely the economic and labour market situation, on Tuesday warned it will cut the work pass privileges of employers who unfairly retrench Singaporeans.  The warning came with the issue of beefed-up tripartite guidelines for managing excess manpower and responsible retrenchment that stress the need for employers to maintain a strong Singaporean core, and avenues to help workers displaced.


Singapore Real Estate

Hotel Grand Central selling hotel in Surfers Paradise for A$80m
Hotel Grand Central (HGC) on Tuesday said it has inked a deal to sell Hotel Grand Chancellor Surfers Paradise hotel in Australia for A$80 million (S$79.7 million) to an unnamed third party buyer.  When contacted, a spokesman said the buyer had made a good offer, which was “hard to come by”.  The hotel, situated in a highly competitive precinct, had also not been performing. It made only S$476,000 in net profit for the 12 months ended Dec 31, 2015.

Qingjian submits aggressive bid for Bukit Batok West site
Chinese developer Qingjian Realty seems to be on a roll. Fresh from clinching the Shunfu Ville en-bloc sale site in the Marymount area last week, it topped bids at Tuesday’s state tender closing for a commercial-and-residential site in Bukit Batok West.  Its top bid of S$301.16 million or S$634.57 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) was 8.3 per cent more than the next highest bid of S$277.98 million (S$585.73 psf ppr) from Robert Kuok’s Allgreen Properties.

SilverNeedle ties up with QIC Global to open Melbourne hotel
Singapore-based SilverNeedle Hospitality Group and wholesale funds manager QIC Global Real Estate will open a 300-room NEXT hotel in Melbourne’s central business district in 2019.  This deal – at a development cost of US$110 million – has QIC GRE as the investment partner and SilverNeedle Group as the project advisory and long-term hotel operator, they said in a joint press release on Tuesday.  This is Australia-based QIC’s first foray into hotel investment.

Sengkang mall finds its Compass again
The new name chosen for a suburban mall due to reopen this year after a facelift drew such a hue and cry that its owners have decided to go with a second new name.  Compass Point in Sengkang will be called Compass One, M&G Real Estate said last Thursday, instead of 1 Sengkang Mall, the winning entry from a naming contest held in October last year.  Netizens lost no time in criticising the winning choice, which received a $1,000 cash prize, for being boring and lacking in creativity, while many others asked that the mall keep its original name.  A second prize of $1,000 will be awarded to the entrant who submitted the new name, M&G told The Straits Times.

5 shops in Parkway Parade still staying shut
While most of Parkway Parade has re-opened for business since last Friday after a fire there two Sundays ago, five shops remained closed yesterday.  The shops that were still shut were on Level 2 and included clothing store Fox Kids and Baby, where the fire was believed to have broken out. Employees and contractors at the shops were seen cleaning their premises when The Straits Times visited the mall yesterday and on Monday.

3,770 BTO flats launched for sale
A total of 8,940 flats were launched for sale on Tuesday by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) under the build-to-order (BTO) and sale of balance flats (SBF) exercise in May, with one-quarter of the BTO flats located in the popular mature estates of Ang Mo Kio and Bedok.  Property experts are already expecting the BTO flats in these mature estates to be in high demand in this sales exercise for which application closes on May 30.

Group pushing to save Dakota Crescent
A group of architects is piecing together a conservation paper to save parts of Dakota Crescent, one of Singapore’s oldest public housing estates.  The group is led by Mr Jonathan Poh. The plan is to submit the paper to the Ministry of National Development (MND).  One option being suggested is conserving the entire area and re-adapting some of the blocks there for other uses such as food and beverage businesses and a hotel.

Why Singapore’s status as a shopping paradise is being eroded
Empty storefronts in Singapore’s prime shopping district may become a more common sight.  Vacancies in the city’s main Orchard Road area, a magnet for tourists lured by malls and Japanese department stores such as Takashimaya, have risen to a five-year high and across the island, they’ve soared to the highest since 2009.

Chinese fund raises Eu Yan Sang stake further
A Prominent Chinese fund run by billionaire Chinese financier Lei Zhang and backed by Yale University’s endowment and Stanford University has upped its substantial stake in traditional Chinese medicine retailer Eu Yan Sang International and spurred talk about its intentions, even as a consortium’s privatisation bid for the group unfolds.


Companies’ Brief

The Hour Glass’ full-year net profit drops 10% to $52m
Softer global demand for luxury goods and deteriorating consumer sentiment made a dent in The Hour Glass’ full-year earnings. Net profit fell 10 per cent to $52.3 million for the year to March 31 while revenue slid 4 per cent to $707.5 million.  The company attributed the profit fall to a generous $5 million donation made to advance special needs, community and cultural causes in Singapore, in conjunction with the nation’s 50th birthday last year.


Views, Reviews & Forum

Corralling black sheep of retail industry
A positive outcome of a notorious retail case, involving a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square, is that it opened consumers’ eyes to the tactics of reprobates within the retail industry. Such traders do a disservice to legitimate and fair-minded businessmen when they resort to devious means to extract money from shoppers, like Jover Chew did two years ago when he drove a grown man to his knees.  Put off by such incidents, people might be more inclined to take their chances at online shopping sites that offer better bargains and spell out their terms clearly. With e-commerce sales said to exceed US$1 trillion (S$1.38 trillion) worldwide this year, the last thing brick-and-mortar store merchants should do is dupe customers and make them beg for the return of hard-earned money.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Suzhou land sales halted as bids exceed limits

New-home sales in April surge to highest level since 2008

Indonesia opens doors wider to foreign investors

A $26.5 Million Mansion That’s Good for the Environment

EQT Partners puts UK ‘on ice’ till Brexit vote


Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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