The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 27th, 28th, 29th May 2017

Top Story

Coworking spaces set to proliferate and become a real estate asset class
Coworking spaces are set to multiply across Singapore in the near term and become a real estate asset class.  While there are already more than 50 such spaces here, observers point to a young, still-growing and competitive market as new types of coworking operators emerge and existing ones launch new spaces.


Singapore Economy

Digitalisation top challenge for family businesses: KPMG
Digitalisation is the top concern faced by family businesses in Singapore, but it is also the most misunderstood, according to findings by KPMG.  A study of 100 local family-owned businesses found that 64 per cent consider digitalisation the biggest challenge, followed by manpower at 62 per cent, and innovation at 61 per cent.

April factory output beats forecasts with 6.7% growth; focus now on weaker clusters
Singapore’s factory output in April performed better than expected, but economists are saying that it is near its peak performance. This is because the electronics cluster’s expansion, which has driven much of overall output growth, is expected to slow down.

Some retailers cut prices, even before GSS
The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) starts on June 9 but some retailers have jumped the gun.  Department stores Robinsons and Metro, furniture store HomesToLife, and baby supplies stores Mothercare and Kiddy Palace have already started offering mid-year promotions.  Mothercare’s managing director, Mr Pang Fu Wei, said holding the sale early to beat competitors yielded “very positive results” last year. Its sale this year runs for eight weeks, from May 17 to July 16 – two weeks longer than last year’s.


Singapore Real Estate

Reits Symposium strikes an optimistic tone for digital future
Retail sector naysayers may yet have to mince words as heavyweight real estate investment trusts (Reits) prepare to muscle through the digital storm. Such was the rallying cry from notable speakers at the Reits Symposium 2017 on Saturday.  The annual conference, jointly organised by ShareInvestor and the Reit Association of Singapore with the support of The Business Times, received 26 Reit firms and more than 1,100 attendees.

BCA seeks to cut number of foreign workers
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) wants the industry to do more with less, and plans to slash the number of foreign workers by nearly a third by 2020.  At the same time, it will ensure that quality is not compromised, and is set to tighten the rules on building facade maintenance.  In an interview ahead of his departure from the role of BCA chief executive next month, Dr John Keung said the authority wants to slash the number of rank-and-file foreign construction workers here by 20 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020.

New cycling paths to link city to housing estates
New paths are being laid for those looking to cycle from home to the city – and within it.  Singapore plans to soon build a comprehensive cycling network with bicycle paths connecting housing estates in the north, south, east and west to the city centre.  A key part of this web is the 450m Bencoolen Street, with a cycling path that will connect to Queenstown in the west, Bishan and the North-South corridor in the north, and the central area cycling network in the city.

3 households in acquisition dispute finally accept govt payout
The occupants of three Merpati Road freehold homes, which were acquired for redevelopment in August 2010, have finally accepted compensation from the state after initially resisting and missing the original deadline to move out by end-August 2015.  The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has since taken physical possession of 33, Merpati Road, in MacPherson, as its owners are no longer occupying the property.
Meanwhile, the remaining occupants of 27 and 29, Merpati Road are in the midst of packing up and moving out.

Lim Chu Kang farmers perplexed by 3rd lease extension
The third time’s the charm, or so the saying goes. But some farmers in Lim Chu Kang may beg to differ.  About two weeks ago, they were told their leases had been extended by another two years to 2021 – the third extension in four years.  But while their rice bowls can continue feeding them for the extra years, farmers say they are caught in limbo as the repeated extensions add uncertainty – it would be too risky to plough investments into a plot of land with an expiry date. Many simply end up playing a waiting game.

Foldable bikes, PMDs on buses, trains all day
Commuters will be able to continue taking their foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) with them on buses and trains all day, after a trial ends this month.  The six-month trial by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and public transport operators showed most commuters were accepting of such practices, LTA’s deputy chief executive for public transport Jeremy Yap said yesterday.


Companies’ Brief

Bukit Sembawang Estates posts 67.2% drop in Q4 profit
Bukit Sembawang Estates Limited marked a 67.2 per cent drop in net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 31 to S$2.26 million, due mainly to higher other operating expenses and tax expense.  Other operating expenses jumped 151.5 per cent from a year ago to S$6.59 million, mainly due to additional allowance for foreseeable losses on development properties of S$5.8 million for Paterson Collection.

KSH posts 33.4% slump in full-year net profit to S$41m
Contractor-cum-developer KSH Holdings reported a 33.4 per cent drop in net profit for the year ended March 31 to S$40.98 million, dragged by lower group revenue and share of results of associates.  Revenue slipped 18.8 per cent to S$199.26 million, mainly due to a 19.1 per cent decline in contribution from the construction segment. Notwithstanding the lower construction revenue, gross profit margin for the segment improved to 21.5 per cent in fiscal 2017 from 15.1 per cent in fiscal 2016.

Singapore’s Royal Group sells Sydney hotel for A$140m to Chinese consortium
Singapore’s Royal Group has agreed to sell one of its prized assets, a five-star hotel in Sydney, to a Chinese real estate consortium for what is believed to be a record price for non-central business district hotels in Australia at A$140 million (S$144 million).  Royal Hotels Australia Pty, part of Singapore’s Royal Group, said it inked the agreement to sell InterContinental Sydney Double Bay to Shanghai United Real Estate and Zobon Real Estate Group. “The sale of this asset followed our strategy of recycling capital following the initial stabilisation period,” said Royal Group managing director Peter Wilding.


Views, Reviews & Forum

Yishun residents build ‘wall’ to keep out nuisance neighbour
Residents at a Yishun Housing Board flat said they are at their wits’ end after being harassed by a neighbour for over a year, with one family going as far as to build a “wall” barbed with cacti on the common corridor for protection.  The metre-high barrier, which has a latched gate and is made from scrap materials, has so far been effective, said residents.  But the Nee Soon Town Council has asked for it to be removed as it is a fire hazard.

Stores find own ways to beat retail slump
Lifestyle store Megafash gives its Suntec City outlet a makeover every month to get office workers in the vicinity to visit the place regularly.  Accessories store Pivoine posts photographs of its upcoming collections on Facebook to drum up hype before they are launched, drawing customers from as far as Yishun to its store at One Raffles Place.  They are among a group of retailers who are beating the retail slump in their own way, whether it is by offering unique products, personalised service or experiential concepts.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Global M&As may hit new high by Sept: facilitator

Fannie Mae slams the door on abuses in foreclosure trade

Luxury Montauk estate next door to Warhol’s hits market at US$48m

Manhattan luxury-home sellers are getting the message: cut the price

US malls focus on experiences to woo disappearing shoppers

BlackRock to pay US$1.25b rent over 20 years for New York HQ

Hot home markets in London see price cuts

China moves to stabilise currency, retreating from effort to ease control

China considers changing yuan-fixing formula to curb volatility

Chinese shoppers are flush with hidden income

Chinese agriculture firms turn to buying or leasing farms abroad

Home sales thrive in China’s remote cities

China’s residential development sites a draw

Hong Kong property cooling moves set to fail as shadow lenders fill the gap

Developers sidelined in Moscow’s planned US$50b programme to resettle residents

New metropolis built on Palestinian hopes


Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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