The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 28 Jan 2021 (Thu)

Singapore Real Estate

Singapore investment sales poised for robust recovery in 2021
Colliers International said it expects the return of Singapore’s property investment sales volumes to pre-pandemic levels, with an estimated growth of 20 per cent to S$29.7 billion in 2021. In its quarterly research report on Wednesday, the real estate services and investment management company noted that S$18.6 billion of the investment sales booked in H2 2020 alone made up three-quarters of the full year’s S$24.7 billion.

Private flat sales to foreign buyers fall to 17-year low
The number of private apartments in Singapore snapped up by foreigners fell to a 17-year low last year as travel restrictions and lockdowns in various countries deterred them from coming here. Purchases of units fell to 742 last year, according to real estate consultancy firms ERA Realty Network and OrangeTee & Tie. This is the lowest figure since 2003, when non-permanent residents bought 671 units, based on analysis of government data as at Tuesday, that takes into account new, sub-sale and second-hand apartments.

Shophouses beat slump in last year’s property investment sales
While the pandemic put a dent in overall property investment last year, shophouses proved to be an exception as the only other segment after commercial and mixed-use to improve from 2019. Prime shophouses are sought after as they offer capital preservation and stable rental income, said real estate consultancy Colliers International. It noted that 18 shophouses – each worth more than $10 million or $288 million in all – sold in the fourth quarter of last year alone.

Swiber’s headquarters in Jurong put on market for S$40m
Swiber Holdings’ headquarters, initially meant to be transferred to a new holding group (New Swiber), has been offered for sale via private treaty with a guide price of S$40 million. The troubled offshore and marine group had acquired the leasehold, five-storey office building at 12 International Business Park for S$37 million back in 2011, using internal resources and bank borrowings.

Brokers’ take: Higher office space demand from TMT to benefit Suntec Reit, say analysts
Analysts across four research houses are expecting rising demand for office space from the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector to benefit Suntec Reit as more technology giants look to set up their regional headquarters in Singapore. UOB Kay Hian and CGS-CIMB both reiterated their “buy” and “add” call respectively, on expectations that the positive rental reversions in the office sector will continue the uptrend in 2021.

UBS Asia-Pacific posts record growth in assets and pre-tax profit
“Location, location, location” may be the well-known refrain when it comes to property investment, but good timing can be just as important. This was shown in the latest data from Edmund Tie Research, which showed that a seller who scooped up a unit at The 101 on Beach Road after the Asian Financial Crisis found that the move paid off. The transacted price when the property was sold last month was roughly four times the original investment as the property changed hands for S$1.65 million (S$1,597 psf).

JTC unveils plans to spruce up wafer fab parks
Initiatives are being rolled out to improve conditions in the electronics industry with the aim of attracting more workers and boosting growth opportunities in the sector. Industrial landlord JTC Corporation unveiled plans yesterday to spruce up wafer fabrication parks. The four wafer fab parks here – in the North Coast, Woodlands, Tampines and Pasir Ris – are home to the country’s semiconductor and electronics industries, and accommodate 14 global semiconductor firms and over 18,600 workers. 


Singapore Economy

5-pronged plan to develop Singapore as global e-commerce hub: Chan Chun Sing
Singapore – The Government has a five-pronged strategy to promote Singapore’s status as a regional and global e-commerce hub, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Thursday (Jan 28). He said Singapore firms must position themselves to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities as consumer behaviour during Covid-19 indicates a permanent shift towards online shopping.

Singapore to continue prioritising development of human capital for financial sector: Minister Teo
To kick off the financial sector’s next phase of growth, Singapore will have to continue prioritising the development of local workers, said Minister of Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo on Wednesday. This will allow Singaporean workers to deepen their expertise and access new opportunities, and Singapore-based companies to expand their businesses alongside a growing local talent pool, she added in her keynote speech at the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) Awards 2020.

UOB expects an ‘expansionary but calibrated’ Budget 2021
UOB expects next month’s Budget will stay “expansionary but calibrated” to target specific industries and parts of society hit by Covid-19. Its research team tips an overall deficit of $12.5 billion or 2.5 per cent of nominal gross domestic product. The deficit for the 2020 financial year is pencilled at $74.2 billion after allocating almost $100 billion to combat the pandemic.

Singapore’s resident employment levels back at pre-Covid levels: MOM
Singapore’s resident employment figures have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels by end-2020, with unemployment rates falling for the second consecutive month in December, according to advance estimates by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Resident employment grew by 28,900 in the fourth quarter, moderating from the 43,200 seen in the previous quarter.


Companies’ Brief

Ascott Residence Trust H2 DPU falls 52% to 1.99 S cents; buys US student housing
Ascott Residence Trust’s (ART) distribution per stapled security (DPS) fell by 52 per cent to 1.99 Singapore cents for its half year ended Dec 31, 2020 compared to 4.18 cents a year ago, reported its managers on Wednesday morning. This brings ART’s DPS for the full year to 3.03 cents, down 60 per cent from its 2019 DPS of 7.61 cents and in line with its profit guidance issued on Jan 15. Revenue for H2 2020 fell 39 per cent on year to S$161.4 million as opposed to S$266.6 million a year ago.

Colin Low resigns as CEO of FHT’s managers after less than two years
Frasers Hospitality Trust’s (FHT) managers announced after trading hours on Wednesday that its chief executive Colin Low Hsien Yang has resigned – after less than two years in the role – to “pursue other professional interests outside the real estate industry”. His resignation is effective April 10, 2021. The managers are now recruiting someone to replace him.

Keppel Infra Trust still keen on Hyflux’s SingSpring stake
Keppel Infrastructure Trust (KIT) is still keen on acquiring the remaining 30 per cent stake in SingSpring Desalination Plant from Hyflux, and is in touch with Hyflux’s judicial managers regarding the process, said chief executive of KIT’s trustee-manager Matthew Pollard in an earnings call on Wednesday. “We are waiting for the process and will be participating potentially in the process that the judicial manager is running,” he added.

Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit H2 DPU up 4% to 3.13 US cents
Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit (KORE) posted a distribution per unit (DPU) of 3.13 US cents for the second half of its fiscal year ended December, up 4 per cent from 3.01 US cents in the corresponding period last year. This lifts the Reit’s DPU for FY 2020 to 6.23 US cents, some 3.7 per cent higher than 6.01 US cents in FY2019. Distributable income for the period rose 13.4 per cent year on year to US$29.5 million from US$26.0 million last year.

MCT’s revenue and net property income down in its nine-months year-to-date results
IN A business update, Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT) said on Wednesday after trading hours that its year-to-date gross revenue and net property income (NPI) for FY20/21 are down 1.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively on the back of Covid-19 rental rebates for eligible tenants. Year-to-date FY20/21 gross revenue stood at S$348.7 million, while NPI stood at S$275.9 million. Property operating expenses was also down 4.4 per cent to S$72.8 million in the year to date.

Aims Apac Reit to acquire Sime Darby Business Centre for S$106.6m
Aims Apac Reit is set to acquire Sime Darby Business Centre – a premium showroom and business-space precinct along Alexandra Road – for S$106.6 million. The total cost comprises the purchase consideration of S$102 million and transaction costs of approximately S$4.6 million. In a bourse filing on Wednesday evening, the Reit announced that its trustee, HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) Limited, had entered into a put and call option agreement to purchase the property from Aster (Alexandra) Pte. Ltd.

ESR-Reit cash call on the cards?
Could ESR-Reit be next to tap the equity market to raise funds, following such cash calls recently made by First Reit and Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust? After a failed bid to bring peer Sabana Shari’ah Compliant Industrial Reit (Sabana Reit) into its fold last month – due to a “lowball” offer price – ESR-Reit has nonetheless not given up on pursuing portfolio acquisitions to scale up.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Flexibility, adaptability are key in the age of mass digitalisation
The year 2020 marked a significant, lasting transformation that redefined how we do everything from administering healthcare and providing education, to conducting e-trades. These changes were enabled by digitalisation and the increasingly significant role that data plays across countries and industries – and Singapore was no exception. The country’s innovative use of technology for managing the spread of Covid-19 was also recognised by Gartner, and its TraceTogether app was awarded the 2020 Government Eye on Innovation award.

In the race against Covid-19 variants, how quickly can drugmakers respond?
(Financial Times) – It was the fastest vaccine development in history. But now pharmaceutical companies are preparing to do it all over again. With the emergence of worrying variants that could make Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 – more transmissible, more deadly or more resistant to vaccines, the drugmakers that responded in record time are rushing to head off new threats. Scientists are confident they can respond. The question is: how quickly?

Amid a global shake-up in economies, Asia beckons
Every day, we are bombarded with headlines and news flashes. Reading these pings, we could all be forgiven for asking: “Will this year be any different from the last?” Covid-19 infection rates are hitting record highs, with travel restrictions being further tightened and jobless rates facing a lagged hit. The geopolitical landscape appears as febrile as ever.

Looking towards a quiet – but no less festive – Chinese New Year
With Singapore having reached a delicate moment in both its Covid-19 situation and its gradual economic pick-up, social responsibility during the Chinese New Year (CNY) festive season will be crucial if the country is to stay on the route to recovery. At the end of 2020, the pandemic situation was seen as sufficiently under control for Singapore to move into the third and final phase of reopening.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

25 new Covid-19 cases in S’pore, all imported
There were 25 new coronavirus cases confirmed as at noon yesterday, all of them imported. The imported cases had been placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health. There were no new cases in the community for the fifth day in a row, and none from workers’ dormitories.

8 visitors a day and no shouting while tossing yusheng: 8 ways CNY will be different this year
Singapore – The rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the community and the formation of clusters over the last few weeks are a cause for concern, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (Jan 22). This could indicate that there is wider, as yet undetected, community transmission, warned MOH as it announced new restrictions to prevent a resurgence in virus transmission. Here are eight things to note, especially during the Chinese New Year period:

PM urges S’poreans to guard against new clusters during CNY
Singaporeans have to take precautions as they celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year amid the coronavirus pandemic, to guard against the risk of new clusters forming, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday. On his part, he will be having a small celebration at home. PM Lee said: “I am going to do my usual visits to essential workers who are still working away during this period… Then I will celebrate Chinese New Year with eight visitors – not more – from the family.”

Time taken to trace contacts of Covid-19 patients halved
Tracing the steps of a Covid-19 patient, such as where he ate lunch last week, can be laborious, often because many people cannot remember mundane matters. But technological tools such as TraceTogether and SafeEntry, introduced a few months after the pandemic hit Singapore about a year ago, have helped tremendously to make the process easier and faster, said contact tracers from the Ministry of Health (MOH).
*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

Europe’s economy lags China and US on pandemic recovery

UK high streets are emptying at the fastest pace on record

End of offices? New York’s business districts face uncertain future

Swiber’s headquarters in Jurong put on market for S$40m

IMF raises global growth forecast, betting on vaccines and stimulus

Las Vegas Sands hands reins to Robert Goldstein after Sheldon Adelson’s death

Ant IPO possible if issues resolved: China’s central bank

Nippon Express may sell Tokyo HQ building; sale could fetch over 100b yen

Hong Kong home prices post marginal gain in 2020

Philippine economy shrinks more than expected on weak demand

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