The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 3 Mar 2021 (Wed)

Singapore Real Estate

Singapore developer asks for trading suspension as it deals with queries over Myanmar project
Singapore – Emerging Towns & Cities Singapore (ETC) on Tuesday night (March 2) requested that trading in its shares be suspended while the property developer conducts an independent review of its contracts with Myanmar government ministries and departments. ETC is among companies being called out by activists over its links to the Myanmar military, which seized power from the country’s elected government in a Feb 1 coup.

Fortune Park near Kovan MRT station up for collective sale at S$115-118m
Freehold 10-storey residential block, Fortune Park, has been put up for collective sale with an indicative price tag of between S$115 million and S$118 million, said sole marketing agent ERA Realty Network.Comprising of 68 apartments, the property has a land area of about 44,878 square feet (sq ft), which brings the price per square foot (psf) between S$1,140 and S$1,170 after factoring a 7 per cent bonus gross floor area (GFA) scheme incentive.

Upgrading of most pre-1987 flats done
The majority of the 320,000 eligible flats built before 1987 have undergone upgrading works under the Housing Board’s Home Improvement Programme (HIP). Of these, about 215,000 flats, spread across 230 projects, have completed upgrading works, while works are currently under way for about 96,800 flats, spread across 101 projects, said the HDB in an update yesterday.

1,700 flats surrendered to HDB over past five years
About 1,700 flats were surrendered to the Housing Board over the past five years, including 700 that were given up due to reasons such as break-ups or divorces. These figures were revealed by Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann in Parliament yesterday, in response to Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC). She said the 700 flats were surrendered to the HDB mostly because of changes in their owners’ circumstances within their five-year minimum occupation period (MOP).


Singapore Economy

Singapore PMI eases in Feb, but sentiment remains positive
Optimism appears to prevail among Singapore manufacturers, with the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in positive territory last month, although momentum appears to have tapered slightly. February’s PMI came in at 50.5, down 0.2 point from the previous month, according to the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) on Tuesday. This marks the eighth straight month of expansion for the overall manufacturing sector.

Lower-income group still bears brunt of wage deterioration: DBS
While economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis is gradually taking hold in Singapore, the lower-income group continues to fare poorly, both in terms of their earnings and savings, compared with other segments of society, showed a new report from Singapore’s largest bank DBS. The report also flagged that the uptick in unemployment among middle-aged workers could reflect issues such as bias, or a sign of them seeking permanent positions.

Firms restoring wages amid Singapore’s economy recovery: Experts
Singapore – Companies are restoring the wages of workers as the economy gradually recovers, experts said on Tuesday (March 2), after a report by DBS Bank found that the financial health of Singaporeans improved in the second half of last year. The report revealed that the share of customers who experienced a significant fall in income from pre-pandemic levels fell to 19 per cent last December, a decrease from 26 per cent last May.


Companies’ Brief

GuocoLand’s Midtown Modern to draw more families, retirees into city area
Bigger apartments at GuocoLand’s upcoming Midtown Modern condominium will target owner-occupiers from a buyer pool wider than typically seen in Singapore’s central area. This goes towards the property developer’s long-term aspiration of creating a “very vibrant community” within its mega Guoco Midtown integrated development, said GuocoLand Singapore group managing director Cheng Hsing Yao.

KKR-backed PropertyGuru weighs US listing via SPAC
PropertyGuru, the Singaporean online real-estate firm backed by private-equity firms KKR & Co and TPG Capital, is considering a US listing through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), said people familiar with the matter. The company is working with a financial adviser on the potential deal, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. PropertyGuru’s management is holding preliminary talks with several SPACs and aims to strike a deal as early as this year, said the sources.

‘Nongsa D-Town’ launched in Singapore-Indonesia tech park
Nongsa D-Town, a new “digital downtown” designed by Surbana Jurong, was launched on Tuesday at a virtual event officiated by Singapore and Indonesia’s economic ministers. Located in Batam, the 62-hectare development aims to digitally bridge tech companies and talents in Singapore and Indonesia, and will have the capacity to house 8,000 tech talents when completed.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

It’s evolution, not revolution, in economics
While they stare quietly at their models, macroeconomists are hearing the distant rumble of revolt. A year ago, the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz announced that capitalism was undergoing “yet another existential crisis”, with “neoliberal ideology” to blame. Now Robert Skidelsky has proclaimed the arrival of a “silent revolution in macroeconomics”. Martin Sandbu of the Financial Times prefers the plural, celebrating the “revolutions under way in macroeconomics”.

Protecting our future is not a zero-sum game
The prevalent focus on sustainability, as further evidenced by measures announced in the recent Singapore Budget 2021, has given rise to new terminologies. Two in particular stand out – “net zero” and “green premium”. Carbon credits, which are generated by activities that reduce or remove emissions such as afforestation, allow buyers to offset for the carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere. An effective carbon offsets market would play a crucial role in the race to the “net zero” goal. 

Budget debate: A good time to ramp up industry transformation – and measure its outcome
Singapore – The economic mantra goes like this: innovation is crucial to productivity, and productivity leads to growth. Hence governments around the world are right to channel resources into innovative and growing industries. But picking winners is an imprecise art. Pumping money into promising start-ups, for example, does not guarantee that they will scale up and become viable.

Myanmar situation ‘enormous, tragic step back’: PM Lee
The military coup in Myanmar is an enormous, tragic step back for the country, and the use of lethal force against civilians and unarmed demonstrators is just not acceptable, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday. And if the Myanmar population decide the government is not on their side, then the government has a very big problem, he added in an interview with the BBC.


Singapore Budget 2020

Take a holistic view of Budget support to stay competitive: business leaders
Firms in Singapore should take a holistic view in applying for and implementing the support schemes in the latest Budget, to truly make use of them to stay competitive throughout the pandemic. That means being clear about the business objectives and goals in developing new capabilities, as well as recognising the job redesign and training that may need to go with it, said business leaders at a virtual panel hosted by accounting software firm Xero on Feb 25 with support from the Singapore Business Federation.

S’pore to strengthen status as global tech and business hub
Singapore will strengthen its status as a global business and technology hub to ensure a sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing. Responding to MPs during the debate on his ministry’s budget yesterday, Mr Chan said the plan to enhance Singapore’s value proposition within the class of the few high-quality, high-trust global business hubs is part of a three-pronged strategy aimed at turning the challenges of the post-pandemic world into opportunities.

‘Wrong signals’ on openness could hurt Singapore
Singapore must be mindful not to send the wrong signals to the world and jeopardise its hard-won reputation for openness, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing warned in a parliament speech on Tuesday. Singapore’s ecosystem of global and local companies attracts even more firms to come here and tap this network, in a virtuous cycle, he said during the debate on his ministry’s spending plans for the new financial year.

Planned framework to upgrade core capabilities of trade groups
Singapore will embark on establishing the first competency framework to upgrade the core capabilities of trade associations and chambers (TACs), which in turn will support industry transformation, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said yesterday. The TAC Competency Framework will be developed by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI), with support from the Singapore Business Federation, Enterprise Singapore and SkillsFuture Singapore.

SLA will work closely with public to optimise state-owned spaces
From engaging the public on how to reuse state properties in areas like Changi Point, to converting under-utilised state land into community spaces, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) will continue to work closely with the community to optimise state-owned spaces. This was a point made by Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong yesterday during the debate on the Ministry of Law’s budget.

Almost 9,000 notifications for contractual relief submitted: Edwin Tong
Firms and individuals have submitted 8,655 online notifications for relief (NFRs) as at Feb 23, with the majority (66 per cent) relating to hire-purchase agreements for commercial equipment or vehicles, and leases or licences of non-residential property. This figure, shared by Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong on Tuesday, excludes NFRs served by individuals and businesses via other modes of service. Mr Tong was giving an update on the series of measures rolled out by the Ministry of Law last year to help businesses and individuals impacted by Covid-19. Reliefs were introduced through the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

Progressive wage model: MPs call for safeguards
More is being done to help low-wage workers through the progressive wage model (PWM), but safeguards must be in place to avoid passing costs to others and stop unscrupulous vendors from profiteering under the guise of rising wages. Mr Edward Chia (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) and Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) raised these issues at the start of the debate on the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) budget yesterday.

Licence fee waivers to be extended to aid tourism sector
Licence fee waivers for hotels, travel agents and tour guides will be extended to the end of this year as part of efforts to aid the recovery of the tourism sector. Responding to questions from MPs yesterday on how the sector would be supported given ongoing travel restrictions, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan said that some 7,000 tourism businesses had benefited from the Jobs Support Scheme last year, and companies in the sector will receive further wage support until September this year.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

Eight new Covid-19 cases, all imported; none in community
There were eight new coronavirus cases reported yesterday, taking Singapore’s total to 59,956. All eight were imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) last night. They included a student’s pass holder who travelled from Bangladesh and a work pass holder who arrived from India.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

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Schitt’s Creek mansion returns to market at a lower price

Australia’s economy expands at brisk pace in Q4

China’s Parliament to address long-term pitfalls as economy rebounds

Japan’s service sector shrinks for 13th month as emergency weighs: PMI

Dubai real estate market may bottom out next year, S&P says

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