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, 26th and 27th March 2017

Top Story

Not all old HDB flats qualify for Sers: Wong
Don’t bet your money on buying an old HDB flat in the hope that the government will buy it back for redevelopment. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong had this warning for homebuyers, especially young couples, which he expounded on in a blog post on Friday.  His advice? Choose a flat with a lease long enough to last one’s life expectancy. Leave shorter-lease flats to buyers who are going through a transition in their lives, and are not ready to commit to a longer lease just yet.  Mr Wong’s concern was sparked by a recent Lianhe Zaobao article which highlighted the high prices of several short-lease HDB flats in the resale market.

Singapore Economy

Govt pledges to work with businesses to prep for future economy
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Friday outlined ways the government will work together with the business community to prepare for the future economy.  The government will continue to strengthen Singapore’s value proposition as a base for companies to access the growing region, help companies seize new growth opportunities and develop workforce, he said.  Mr Teo, also the Coordinating Minister for National Security, was speaking at the 180th anniversary dinner of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.

February factory output growth beats 10% analyst forecast
Economists in Singapore are keeping a close watch on a scheduled monetary policy statement due early April, following Friday’s release of factory output data that showed a broader uplift for the manufacturing sector.  This isn’t because they expect a policy shift, but because they need to read the tea leaves on whether a tightening move will happen later this year.

Banks, telcos, e-commerce players hurt the most by fraud: report
Financial services, telecommunications and e-commerce are the three industries that incur the most losses due to fraud and identification (ID) thefts in the region.  And the cost of fraud on businesses is projected to rise, driven by growth in the use of the Internet, mobile and e-commerce, as well as riskier Internet domains, said Experian, an FTSE 100 global information agency based in Dublin.

Singapore dollar bulls gather in swaps as MAS policy meet looms
Singapore’s interest-rate markets are signalling gains for the local dollar as bets grow the nation’s central bank will avoid easing policy next month and some economists are starting to forecast tightening in October.  The city-state’s two-year swap has fallen below its US counterpart this year, sending the gap to minus 9.6 basis points on March 20, the lowest level since June 2012.  Because the nation’s central bank uses the exchange rate as its policy tool, rather than interest rates, the negative spread indicates expectations the Singapore dollar will strengthen to compensate for lower domestic rates.

MAS likely to keep status quo on exchange rate
The economic outlook is brightening and inflation is on the rise but the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is expected to leave its exchange rate policy unchanged when it meets next month, economists say.  This is because the pickup in economic activity has been limited to export-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, while the broader labour market remains weak.  Uncertainties remain over the outlook for international trade, amid rising protectionism worldwide.

LTA shelves govt-run bicycle-sharing plans
A government-backed bike-sharing scheme has been shelved after several private firms began offering such services this year.  The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that it “reassessed” its plans given that the firms, local start-up oBike as well as China-based ofo and Mobike, are already looking to roll out “many thousands” of pay-as-you-use bicycles over the next two years.

Singapore Real Estate

Phase 1 of Park Place Residences snapped up
Park Place Residences at PLQ, a Lendlease high-rise condominium project, took off with brisk deals on its first day of sales on Saturday.  By the end of the day, 215 units of the 429-unit development were snapped up – representing over 100 per cent of the planned Phase One sales.  This made the condominium one of the most successful private condominium launches in recent years.  It was the third one to hit the market this year, after The Clement Canopy in Clementi and Grandeur Park Residences in Tanah Merah.

Former HUDC estate Rio Casa to be up for en bloc sale
Amid the recovering market sentiment, Rio Casa, a privatised HUDC estate at Hougang Avenue 7 (formerly called Hougang N3), has reached the requisite 80 per cent consent needed for a collective sale.  The sales committee is targeting to launch the estate for sale by tender in April. The tender will likely be open for a month.  When contacted, Ian Loh, head of investment and capital markets at Knight Frank, which is the marketing agent, said: “It is absolutely fantastic that we obtained 80 per cent consensus in less than three weeks.”

Founder of Japan’s Quijote empire buys villa on Sentosa Cove
The maverick founder of Japanese discount retail group Don Quijote has bought a villa in Sentosa Cove for S$21.25 million or S$1,886 per square foot based on the land area of 11,268 sq ft.  The house which Takao Yasuda bought is along Lakeshore View and fronts the Serapong Golf Course, with views of the lake and overlooking the sea. Its built-up area is around 8,500 sq ft – spanning two storeys, an attic and a basement.

Neptune Court committee must repay estate fund
Members of the outgoing Neptune Court Owners’ Association (NCOA) management committee will have to pay more than $420,000 to the condo’s estate fund by this week, following a High Court decision last week.  The court ruled that the committee did not follow proper procedures when it decided, without permission from its residents, to use $427,700 from the fund to pay for legal fees for a failed defamation suit against 26 residents.

Companies’ Brief

New JW Marriott hotel rides on technology for productivity
JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach is new on the scene, but is already doing its part to accelerate the transformation of the hotel sector – by getting on board the government’s Hotel Industry Transformation Map (ITM).  The 634-room luxury hotel has “taken the initiative to implement new technologies and processes to improve the efficiency of its operations, as well as the overall guest experience”, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry and for National Development Koh Poh Koon.

New top execs at StarHub, Cambridge Industrial Trust manager
Over at CIT, former Standard Chartered banker Adrian Chui has been appointed chief executive of the real estate investment trust’s manager, Cambridge Industrial Trust Management.  Shane Hagan, who has served as the acting CEO since Philip Levinson’s resignation in November 2016, will resume his original role of chief operating officer and chief financial officer. At StanChart, Mr Chui ran both the South-east Asia real estate advisory and the Singapore corporate banking divisions.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Roll-up mortgage a better option for asset-rich retirees
Term loans, in whatever form, entail collateral, but the report on Hong Leong Finance’s scheme for retirees did not include any mention of it (HLF targets asset-rich retirees with new term loan; March 23).  If the retirees are using their paid-up property as collateral, they would, in fact, be financing their spending via debt.

Leonie Towers case: Condo owners want to take cooling towers spat to court
The spat between Leonie Towers residents and a lone dissenter over the bid to tear down the condominium’s cooling towers is set to be taken to the High Court for a final decision.   At an extraordinary general meeting held last Friday, owners voted by a 80.9 per cent majority to appeal against the Strata Titles Board’s decision earlier this month.

Big data spells big opportunities here
“My boss told me to bet my future on big data,” said Ms Goh Sok Kim. And bet on data she did when she accepted a newly created role as head of Citi’s data innovation office in Asia 18 months ago.  The banking group is one of a growing number of firms which believe that mining the data of customers, such as their feedback and past purchases, is strategic to their business.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

NY skyscrapers adapt to climate change

Pennsylvania town with a population of 60 up for sale

London landlords selling off properties amid Asian demand

Asean’s green finance takes root

China central bank urges tighter mortgage checks, no fake divorces

China Vanke core profit up 19% on record sales

Capital curbs hit Forest City’s Chinese buyers

Airbnb won’t find a home in China anytime soon

Malaysia inflation surges to highest in more than 8 years

Australia urges people to move to rural areas

Trump resort will respect Bali customs, says business partner

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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