The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 25, 26 & 27 Jul 2020 (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

Distressed properties sold via private treaty as auctions remain no-go
Property auctions remain no-go but that has not stopped auctioneer Joy Tan. During the two months of the circuit breaker (CB), Ms Tan, Edmund Tie’s head of auction and sales, managed to dispose of seven distressed properties totalling S$10.6 million via private treaty.

Office rents flat in Q2, but vacancy rises to 12.1%
Net absorption of office space in Singapore shrank by a record 55,000 square metres of net lettable area in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the island-wide office vacancy rate climbed to 12.1 per cent from 11 per cent at the end of Q1 2020, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Q2 net demand for retail space shrinks by record 93,000 sq m
The severe bruising of the Singapore retail sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic has been reflected in the latest official data on the retail property market. The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) rental index for retail space in Singapore’s central region slipped 3.5 per cent quarter on quarter in Q2 2020 – to its lowest level since the index began in 2011.

Singapore Q2 private home prices surprise with 0.3% uptick
Private home prices in Singapore edged up 0.3 per cent in a surprising turnaround from an initial flash estimate in early July which had the private residential property index declining by 1.1 per cent. However, this may be a one-off as most analysts expect economic headwinds and weaker employment prospects to put downward pressure on prices and volumes this year.

HDB flat resale volume plunges by 41.9% in Q2 amid circuit breaker
Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat resale transactions took a plunge in the second quarter of 2020 in light of the circuit breaker measures. The number of resale transactions fell by 41.9 per cent, from 5,893 flats sold in the first quarter of 2020 to 3,426 flats in the second quarter, HDB data on Friday showed.


Singapore Economy

Q2 GDP may be lowered from estimates as factories disappoint in June
Singapore factories ran out of steam in June, with the sector’s second straight month of output decline a blow to economy watchers. Industrial production fell by 6.7 per cent year on year, on a poor showing in the volatile biomedical cluster, according to preliminary figures released on Friday.

JB-Singapore RTS will bring economic benefit, but may not ease weekend congestion
The widely-anticipated train service linking Singapore and Johor Baru that is expected to be finalised next week will not only ease congestion on the Causeway, the connectivity will also bring economic benefit to both cities, economists told The Business Times.


Companies’ Brief

Analysts lift A-Reit’s target price on structural tailwinds, stable occupancy
Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust’s (A-Reit) diversified portfolio and potential accretive acquisitions are likely to help offset the uncertain outlook, although it will be weighed down in the near term by the further rental relief it provides to tenants.

Ascott Residence Trust to sell Guangzhou, Paris serviced residences for S$191.4m
Ascott Residence Trust (ART) has entered into conditional agreements to sell Ascott Guangzhou in China and Citadines Didot Montparnasse Paris in France to two unrelated third parties respectively, for a total of about S$191.4 million.

CapitaLand expects H1 total Patmi to sink 85-95% on share of CCT, CMT losses
CapitaLand on Monday updated its profit guidance for the six months ended June 30, 2020 with expectations that its total Patmi (profit after tax and minority interests) will be reduced by 85-95 per cent from the S$875.4 million recorded a year ago.

Citi appoints Lee Lung Nien as South Asia private banking chairman
Citi on Friday announced the appointment of banking veteran Lee Lung Nien as the South Asia chairman of its private banking arm. Mr Lee, a Singaporean, will assume his new role at Citi Private Bank (CPB) from Sept 1 and will be based in Singapore.

Far East Consortium’s acquisition of controlling stake in EHT falls through
Hong Kong-listed property conglomerate Far East Consortium International (FECIL) will not be proceeding with the proposed acquisition of a controlling stake in Eagle Hospitality Trust’s (EHT) manager, EHT’s manager said in a regulatory filing late Thursday.

Keppel says O&M unit’s impairments to hit Q2, H1 results
Keppel Corporation warned that its second-quarter and half-year results out next week will be “significantly and adversely impacted” by impairments relating mainly to its offshore and marine (O&M) unit. Keppel said its profit guidance yesterday followed a review of the assumptions used to assess the carrying values…

Keppel unit’s Qatar sewage-treatment contract terminated
Keppel Seghers Engineering Singapore, wholly owned by Keppel Corp, has ceased to operate and maintain the Doha North Sewage Treatment Works in Qatar with effect from July 25. This was a design-build-operate project awarded by Ashghal, the public works authority of Qatar.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Emerging stronger from the storm
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)

While the longer term consequences are still difficult to predict, the immediate market impact of the pandemic on real estate has been disruptive and severe. Companies are working hard to navigate the immediate crisis, prioritising the safety and well-being of staff, tenants and end users, while also facing tough business tradeoffs seeking a right balance between sustaining revenues, reducing costs, preserving capital and strengthening their competitive differentiation.

In the shadow of Covid
If the first six months of 2020 should offer any wisdom about the human race, it is that we are seldom prepared for scenarios that present high risks but have a low probability of happening. The Covid-19 pandemic is exactly such a scenario.

The gig economy compromised our immune system
There’s nothing arbitrary about an epidemic. While each disease is the product of a chain of accidental genetic shifts, the process that turns a novel infection into a devastating outbreak is as much social as biological.

Firms urged to give quality financial reports
Companies have been urged to provide high-quality financial statements amid the pandemic to keep investors well informed, said the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo).

NTUC proposes framework on responsible retrenchment practices
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is proposing the Fair Retrenchment Framework (FRF) to further guide companies on responsible retrenchment practices, amid an uncertain economic outlook. The FRF will complement existing tripartite advisory and guidelines on managing excess manpower and responsible retrenchment, NTUC said on Friday.

Digitalisation unlocks new markets in Asia and enables access to all
Digitalisation has been unlocking new markets across various industries in Asia, particularly for low-income individuals. New consumer segments are being captured, at an intense pace and immense scale.

PM Lee Hsien Loong’s crisis Cabinet a mix of continuity and change
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his new Cabinet yesterday, which sought to strike a balance between continuity provided by his senior colleagues, exposure for younger ministers and leadership renewal, as Singapore navigates its worst crisis since independence.

Going local can take tourism forward
Tourism contributes only about 4 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product but, last year, the industry employed about 65,000 workers across areas such as hotels and attractions. While the Singapore Tourism Board earlier had projected tourist arrivals to fall by up to 30 per cent this year, the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic could be far worse.

Plastic waste flowing into oceans could triple by 2040: Study
The amount of plastic waste flowing into the ocean and killing marine life could triple in the next 20 years, unless companies and governments can drastically reduce plastic production, according to a new study.

The energising spirit of empathy stirs in Singapore
Empathy is good for society and for business. It can be a way for organisations to identify and meet unmet needs and for Singapore to stay relevant.


Singapore Budget 2020

First half of special Workfare payout from Tuesday
Around 400,000 lower-wage Singaporeans will be receiving $1,500 from Tuesday, their first payout of the Workfare Special Payment. Announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech in March, the scheme provides eligible lower-income workers with a $3,000 cash payout that will be given in two equal parts this month and in October.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

481 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore, including 5 in the community
[Singapore] There were 481 new coronavirus cases confirmed as of Sunday noon, taking Singapore’s total to 50,369. They included five community cases, all of whom are work pass holders, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday.

Coronavirus: 4 in Bukit Panjang transport hub cluster are drivers
Four coronavirus patients linked to a cluster at Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub are all bus drivers, said transport operator SMRT yesterday. The cluster was first announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) last Friday night. According to SMRT, three of the drivers contracted Covid-19 in their households.

Risk factors for infection
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday that the risk of Covid-19 transmission depends on three main factors.

Stricter Covid control measures at popular spots
Popular public spots such as beaches and bars will see enhanced crowd controls and stricter enforcement against those who flout safe management rules, the task force on Covid-19 said yesterday. Five weeks into phase two of Singapore’s reopening, the authorities said there have been crowding and poor adherence to safe distancing measures at places such as stretches of East Coast Park and food and beverage outlets at places like Dempsey.

4 in 10 cases carried on with activities after onset of symptoms
Four in 10 confirmed Covid-19 cases here continued to engage in community activities after the onset of symptoms. Of these, about a third went to work, and many also visited shopping centres, supermarkets and hawker centres, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.

Covid-19 vaccine may only be available in end-2021: MOH
A vaccine for Covid-19 may only be available towards the end of next year, even though trials appear to be promising at this stage, a senior Ministry of Health (MOH) official said on Friday. This is because even if they have entered advance trial stages, delivering a safe and effective vaccine is still not guaranteed at this point…

Singapore could start Covid-19 vaccine human trials this week
Human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine could begin in Singapore as early as this week. The trial will involve 108 healthy volunteers of various ages in Singapore who will be injected with the vaccine developed by Duke-NUS Medical School and United States pharmaceutical company Arcturus Therapeutics.

No known case here of Covid-19 reinfection, but ministry on lookout
Nobody in Singapore is known to have been infected with Covid-19 a second time, but this is something the authorities are monitoring very closely. The Health Ministry’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak noted, however, that there is still not enough evidence to say with certainty that a person who has recovered from the virus has long-lasting immunity.

Time lag to resume work expected for workers cleared of coronavirus
Not all migrant workers cleared of Covid-19 will be able to return to work immediately. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday that some projects require staff from different firms to work together, but if some of those employees are not yet cleared, the entire operation can be held up.

All worker dorms expected to be cleared of Covid-19 by Aug 7
All migrant worker dormitories are expected to be cleared of Covid-19 by Aug 7 except for 17 standalone blocks in purpose-built facilities, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. These blocks will serve as temporary quarantine facilities for workers still serving out their isolation period.

Coronavirus: No go for weekend getaways in Malaysia any time soon for Singaporeans
Singaporeans are unlikely to be able to go on weekend holidays in Malaysia any time soon as travel requirements between both countries will remain stringent, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. Speaking at a virtual media conference yesterday, he added that the new cross-border travel arrangements put in place are meant for workers in essential services who need to travel to and fro between the two countries.

Singapore-Malaysia travel arrangements for permit holders, business travellers finalised
Singapore and Malaysia have finalised arrangements for long-term pass holders and travellers on essential or official business to cross the border – applications for which will kick off on Aug 10, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced on Sunday.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Rise in US jobless claims signals economic reversal

Britain to consider bolstering consumer protection in retail bankruptcies

Los Angeles luxury real estate market back in full swing after virus shutdown

Covid-19: Lessons from recovery of Chinese businesses

China’s rebound points to weakness in economy

Office vacancies in China’s cities soar even as economy reopens

Hong Kong recovery may take longer than expected: financial secretary

HK economy in dire straits as cases spike

SMEs in Indonesia most confident of surviving Covid-19: survey


Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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