The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 28th September 2017

Singapore Economy

Singapore’s non-resident population falls by 1.6%, first drop in 14 years
Singapore’s non-resident population fell by 1.6 per cent to 1.65 million, the first drop in 14 years, mainly due to a decline in Work Permit holders.  The fall came from a weakness in the construction and the marine and offshore engineering sectors, the National Population and Talent Division said in its annual Population in Brief report released on Wednesday.

Many recipes but Singapore’s cashless appetite still not sated
Too many cooks are spoiling the broth in Singapore’s pursuit of a cashless society. Competition among e-payment players will improve user experience, certainly, but Singapore does not need another new e-wallet; it needs a standardised Quick Response (QR) code or Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal, observers tell The Business Times.

S’pore has more US investments than China-Japan combined
US multinational corporations have more money sunk into Singapore than in China and Japan combined, according to the latest data released by the US Department of Commerce.  And US MNCs are still investing in factories and offices here, though not so much through fresh capital injection than ploughing back the returns of their investments.

Four agreements inked to lift Singapore-Hungary economic ties
The “modest” economic relations between Singapore and Hungary may soon see some uplift, thanks to four Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) inked here on Wednesday.  Signed in the presence of visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Trade and Industry Minister (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang, they cover cooperation in trade, investment, technology and training and know-how between businesses and the trade promotion agencies in the two countries.

S’pore is top choice for expats for third year: Poll
Singapore is the world’s top destination for expatriates for the third year running but Switzerland is where they earn the most.  The battle for top spot was tight, with Singapore narrowly beating Norway. New Zealand is third, followed by Germany and then the Netherlands, according to an annual league table produced by British bank HSBC.  It polled 27,587 expats across the world, including 476 here, to compile a ranking of 46 economies.

Singapore’s competitiveness: The good, the bad and the ugly
Singapore remains one of the world’s most competitive economies across the board. Period. But if you prefer to nitpick, let’s do that (too).  After basking in the sweet spot of being second for at least five straight years in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) flagship Global Competitiveness Index, the city state slipped one notch to third spot in the latest 2017-18 rankings, switching places with the United States.

Singapore is No. 1 in Asia for gross financial assets
Singaporeans have net financial assets of about €89,570 (S$143,000) on average, putting the country at seventh among the top 10 richest nations, according to a new report yesterday.  It found that the net financial assets of households here rose 9.6 per cent last year – “the fastest rate in the last four years”.  Net financial assets are those such as bank deposits and insurance minus liabilities like loans.

Singapore Real Estate

Property market on verge of turning
Property market turnarounds do not happen overnight but there are increasing signs that a turning point is on the horizon. First, the buying fervour. New residential launches this year are seen testing the affordability limits of buyers given their higher prices; yet, each project launch has enjoyed a strong take-up. Not only so, the buying momentum has also spilled into previously launched projects – all this happening without much help from the government.

Higher land bids may fuel market recovery
The bidding of the land parcels in the H1 2017 government land sales (GLS) programme witnessed a record number of bids and historic high price quantums for land parcels zoned for residential use in the suburban areas.  In April 2017, the state tender for the land parcel at Toh Tuck Road set a new benchmark by attracting 24 bids, eclipsing the earlier 23 bids received for the Jalan Jurong Kechil land parcel in 2012, which has a 60-year lease and is slated for residential (and an option for retirement homes).

Prospects of landed homes looking bright as sentiment improves
The landed property market remains in the doldrums, after 15 consecutive quarters of price decline. In the first half of 2017, landed property prices fell 2.1 per cent, slightly less than the corresponding period in 2016, which saw a decrease of 2.6 per cent.  On the other hand, the non-landed segment prices have started to show signs of stabilisation with prices only falling 0.1 per cent in H1 2017.

Will mass-market condos yield expected returns for buyers?
So far, 2017 has been a remarkable year for the private residential market, as signs of a recovery have become clearer with a robust run-up in transactions and prices showing signs of bottoming out. Buying activity in suburban areas, where units are more affordable, has led the transaction recovery. But a question has also arisen as to whether buyers can yield their expected returns.

Tide turns for executive condos
When all 531 units of Hundred Palms Residences were reportedly sold within the first day of the launch in July, it was remarkable in more ways than one. Firstly, it may be the first time that all the units in an executive condominium (EC) project were sold out within one day. Secondly, this is only the second time in a decade that a major residential project launch achieved such a feat. Thirdly, it illustrated a turning point in the dynamics in the EC market.

HDB resale market abuzz with activity
Public housing continues to be the most affordable option for both newly married couples and permanent residents (PRs) who want to set up their home in Singapore. Recently, the market has seen increased activity in the resale segment, with the highest number of transactions – 6,001- concluded in the second quarter of 2017.  This is the first time that volume has hit the 6,000 mark since Q3 2012 when there were 6,560 transactions. Since 2014, the yearly transactions have steadily increased (Chart 1). In the first half of 2017 alone, 10,531 transactions were concluded, paving the way for more than 20,000 transactions by the end of the year.

Luxury condos – developers banking on local demand
Since 2016, there has been a gradual improvement in the number of overseas nationals buying into non-landed private residential properties in the Core Central Region (CCR). This followed a drop that coincided with the termination of the Financial Investor Scheme (FIS) towards end-April 2012. The FIS was then an alternative but popular avenue to gain Singapore Permanent Residency (PR) status and had been a source of overseas demand for real estate here.

Shaping business parks, mixed-use clusters for Industry 4.0
The industrial revolution started with steam power and mechanised tools, then electricity and assembly lines. Next, electronics and computers came along. We are now into the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 whereby the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced machine learning algorithms will come together to automate part or most of the manufacturing process, creating “smart factories”.

Singapore needs to reinvent retail scene
Recent retail sales data in Singapore showed positive signs of recovery but weak retail sentiment is seen persisting. Though retail sales in July went up 1.8 per cent year on year, there were other lacklustre indicators in the first half of 2017.  The Retail Sales Index (RSI), which has been trending downwards since 2014, reported a fall of 4.2 per cent in Q2 2017 compared to end 2016.

Property technology: disruptor or enabler?
At this year’s National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated the need for Singapore to become a “smart nation” using the latest technology, making life better for the people and more. There are plans to bring together the current piecemeal uses of technology cohesively nationwide to make Singapore’s economy more productive, our lives better, and our society more responsive to the people’s needs and aspirations.

CBD office rents set to rise
As business confidence strengthens, a turnaround in office leasing activity in the Central Business District (CBD) is on the horizon.  Prospects for Grade A office rents are looking slightly brighter after two years of weak demand. Gross effective Grade A rents grew by 1.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 as multinational companies took over swathes of space in premium buildings in Raffles Place and Marina Bay.

Decentralisation still a key long-term strategy
The Urban Redevelopment Authority recently called for public feedback in late August on the master plan proposal for Jurong Lake District (JLD) as it looks to take one step closer to transforming the area into the country’s second Central Business District (CBD).  Alongside earlier announcements in the year on the rejuvenation plans of Paya Lebar Central and the proposed remaking of Woodlands into the “Star Destination of the North”, it is clear that decentralisation – the policy to relocate commercial offices to regional/sub-regional centres outside the CBD – continues to be a key long-term strategy of the government despite moves by some firms to locate in the CBD.

BNP: S’pore home prices have bottomed, HK’s still ‘crazy’
Singapore home prices have reached a bottom and will rebound, while Hong Kong’s “crazy” housing market will continue to defy gravity, according to BNP Paribas SA.  “Very significant” income growth will drive the first leg of a recovery in home prices in Singapore, where property ownership as a proportion of household assets is near a record low, BNP’s Asia-Pacific head of research for financial institutions and property Wee Liat Lee said in an interview while visiting the city-state.

Companies’ Brief

Mandarin Oriental shares dive as Excelsior sale shelved
Luxury hotel chain operator Mandarin Oriental International has decided not to sell The Excelsior in Hong Kong for the time being, after a dissatisfactory tender process.  Richard Baker, Mandarin Oriental’s executive vice president and operations director for Asia, told The Business Times on Wednesday that “having considered the proposals recently received for the sale of The Excelsior, Hong Kong, none had met fully our expectations or transaction requirements”.

Roxy-Pacific rebuts reports that it demolished historic facade in Sydney
Property and hospitality group Roxy-Pacific Holdings said that it has been diligent in the planning, design and construction processes for The Hensley in Potts Point, Sydney, to ensure “absolute respect of the original building features of the building, with a commitment to preserving the history of the site and maintaining the safety of its workers and the general public”.

GLP moves investment in Qingdao, Tianjin, to assets in Chongqing, Shenyang
Global Logistic Properties (GLP) has shifted an investment in Qingdao and Tianjin toward assets in Chongqing and Shenyang, the logistic real estate developer announced on Wednesday after the market closed.  Indirect subsidiaries CLH (35) Pte Ltd and China Kunpeng Infrastructure Pte Ltd each sold 30 per cent of their stakes in Hangzhou Transfar Lixin Logistics Base Investment Development Co to their existing joint venture partner for 162.5 million yuan (S$33.3 million yuan).

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US dollar climbs on hopes of fiscal reforms

U.S. pending home sales drop 2.6 percent in August

A luxury building boom is transforming Montreal

Billionaire Burkle sued by hotel partner over alleged ‘coup’

Coming home to a shipping container

UK retail sales growth climbs to two-year high

China’s industrial profits jump 24%

Industrial Hong Kong town turns burgeoning arts hub

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Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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