The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 1st, 2nd and 3rd April 2017

Top Story

Flash estimates show HDB resale prices fall 0.6% in Q1
Housing & Development Board (HDB) resale flat prices fell 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 from Q4 2016. This came after four preceding quarters of negligible movements in prices.  This was according to flash estimates released by the HDB on Monday.  Data for the full quarter will be released on April 28.  HDB also said that next month, it will offer about 4,600 Build-To-Order flats and about 3,000 balance flats for sale.

Singapore Economy

MAS to stick with current policy stance despite recent stronger data: economists
Forget the solid pace of Singapore’s economic growth in recent months.  That’s not enough to make Singapore’s central bank think about tweaking its exchange rate policy any time soon, or even this year at all, said economists.  In fact, instead of a near-term monetary tightening, one of them even expects the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to ease the policy band even further – a move often seen as a response to weakening growth.

Singapore’s February bank-lending growth strongest since November 2013
Bank lending in Singapore in February 2017 points to a trend of higher access to funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with loan growth gaining from the month before at the strongest pace since November 2013.  Bank lending in February grew 1.7 per cent from a month ago, compared to the flat growth in January, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Friday showed. Loans through the domestic banking unit – which captures lending in all currencies but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending – stood at S$627 billion in February, up from S$617 billion in January.

Singapore market cap hits 21-month high at S$954b at end of Q1
The market value of Singapore-listed stocks ended the first quarter of 2017 at a 21-month closing high, rising for the fifth straight month to finish at S$954.4 billion.  Buoyant stock prices, as seen in the Straits Times Index’s 2.5 per cent month-on-month climb, lifted total market capitalisation by 2.6 per cent versus February, and by 8.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter. Compared to a year ago, total market cap increased by 12.6 per cent.

Hunt continues for undervalued companies
Privatisation fever on the local bourse is not abating, with five takeover bids launched in the first quarter and one more possible offer being finalised.  In contrast, there have been just three new listings on the Singapore Exchange so far this year, namely Kimly, Dasin Retail Trust and Samurai 2K Aerosol.  Household names no longer feature strongly in the delisting camp after prominent exits last year, which included Tiger Airways, Osim International, Eu Yan Sang and SMRT.

Singapore Real Estate

Unwinding property curbs gives Singapore developers new headache
Singapore’s recent unwinding of some property curbs, which initially appeared to boost prospects for developers, may instead be creating new problems.  After regulators closed a tax loophole that allowed developers to offload apartments in bulk to institutional investors and wealthy Singaporeans, many of the city’s builders now face an unpalatable choice: discount unsold luxury homes or pay stiff penalties for missing government-mandated sales deadlines.

Mercatus close to sealing Jurong Point purchase
In the biggest property investment sales transaction so far this year, Mercatus Co-operative, an NTUC social enterprise, is close to sealing a deal to buy Jurong Point for S$2.2 billion, BT understands. The price reflects a net yield of about 4.2 per cent. It also translates to S$3,343 per square foot based on the 658,000 square feet of commercial net lettable area (NLA) in Jurong Point to be sold by an equal joint-venture between Lee Kim Tah Holdings and Guthrie GTS.

Ensuring new buildings along ECP blend in
Additional design guidelines will be imposed where appropriate on new development sites along the East Coast Parkway (ECP) to ensure the new buildings integrate well with the surroundings.  The move comes as the “ECP corridor becomes more developed with higher-density developments”, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) told The Straits Times.

Renewal plans for Woodlands, Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris finalised: HDB
Renewal plans for Woodlands, Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris have been finalised and are ready to be presented to residents to gather their feedback, announced the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Sunday (Apr 2).   The rejuvenation of the three towns was first announced in 2015, under the Remaking Our Heartland programme. In drawing up the plans, HDB said it had actively engaged residents and stakeholders to seek their views and suggestions.

Tuas mega port may have lively area for leisure
The Tuas mega port, slated to open in phases from 2021, may be more than a hive of container traffic. Cafes, retail stores and even a jogging track overlooking the hustle and bustle of trade are being considered in a bid to optimise land use and add vibrancy.  The plan, which is being studied, is to construct an elevated area 42m above ground to house such and other amenities.  This area, which would be partly open to the public, could be as big as 150ha, or the size of about 200 football fields.

Singapore Art Museum gets $90m makeover
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) in Bras Basah Road will be undergoing a major $90 million revamp to enlarge and improve the space for an enhanced visitor experience.  The revamp will add “double-volume” spaces to house large-scale installations, as well as enhance facilities for technologically demanding works which use multimedia.

Dempsey retailers feel the pinch of slowing economy
Expatriates are the denizens of Dempsey and when their wallets are lighter, it can give retailers there a headache.  Take furniture shop Woody Antique House, located in the trendy Tanglin Village, part of Dempsey. Sales usually pick up in the second half of the year, after the post-Christmas and Chinese New Year lull, but not last year.

Grand old family villa in Kovan to be demolished
84-year-old Kovan property too costly to maintain, family in tie-up to build condo. Just off Kovan Road sits a grand old dame which has housed four generations of a Tamil family.  The Lakshmi Villa was built 84 years ago by Mr Doraisamy Kuppusamy, then the Civil Superintendent of the Singapore General Post Office.  There is a love story behind the 22, Hillside Drive home.

Companies’ Brief

GuocoLand scaling up in UK, Australia while keeping tabs on core markets
Even as GuocoLand Ltd is ramping up its scale in the UK and Australia, compelled by the need to diversify its earnings stream, the developer remains upbeat about its core markets Singapore, China and Malaysia in the next two years.  A stocktake of its businesses following a spate of senior management changes in the past two years has also sparked a shift in the way the Singapore-listed developer operates in its existing markets.

Sembcorp launches Global Asset Management system
Sembcorp Industries has launched a system that allows it to collect and analyse data from businesses and assets all around the world, boosting its efficiency and also minimising down time during unplanned outages.  This comes as the Committee on the Future economy recommends Singapore companies to embrace digital technology.

Fullerton Heritage banks on technology to raise its game
The Fullerton Heritage is banking on technology to boost productivity, improve processes and cut down on manpower dependence amid a more challenging operating environment.  General manager of The Fullerton Heritage, Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, reckons working smarter and being innovative is key to maintaining its edge.

CEO offers S$0.215 or stock per share to delist TEE Int’l
TEE International chief executive Phua Chian Kin is offering 21.5 Singapore cents or new equity per share to take the company private through a scheme of arrangement, the engineering and real estate group announced on Saturday.  Mr Phua is making the offer through wholly owned vehicle Oscar Investment. Under the proposed scheme, TEE shareholders may receive cash or one new share in Oscar for every TEE share held. It was not disclosed how many shares of Oscar have already been issued.

Yang Kee’s $150m Tuas logistics hub under way
Yang Kee Logistics has started building a $150 million logistics hub in Tuas South Link 1.  The 66,000 sq m facility will comprise five storeys of warehouse space, workshops, office units, food and beverage outlets, rooftop parking and two floors of automated container depots.  It also includes a special framed architectural structure with an automated crane hoisting system, making it the world’s first multi-storey automated container depot.

Fewer building deals hit Low Keng Huat’s Q4 earnings
Property developer Low Keng Huat on Friday reported an 80 per cent plunge in net profit to S$6.3 million for its fourth quarter ended Jan 31, 2017.  This compared with the S$32.1 million in net profit that it reported a year ago, and the fall was mainly driven by a decrease in third party construction contracts.  Revenue slumped 51 per cent to S$10.2 million, from S$20.9 million a year ago, affected by zero or lower turnover across its business segments.

Developer to ‘hang up his boots’
Real estate veteran Han Cheng Fong said he has recouped his costs – and then some – from his mixed- use project Western Plaza in Chengdu, and will be looking to “hang up his boots”.  The former chief executive of DBS Land and Fraser & Neave said his Chengdu project, the first development under his own steam, was completed last year and is almost fully sold.  The project comprises four office towers with retail space, making up a total floor area of about 75,000 sq m, as well as an 18-storey hotel with more than 300 rooms.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Time to end HDB’s en bloc scheme?
The Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers), which was introduced in 1995, may well have served its purpose.  It is time for the scheme to be reviewed and, perhaps, discontinued (Buyers who pay high prices for old flats face reality check; March 29).  Sers was launched against the backdrop of a rising property market, when it was economically justifiable for the Government to demolish old flats on sites that were not well utilised, so that the land could be freed to develop property that could, in turn, generate a good revenue for the state.

Asia set to ride on momentum of an upswing
Economic cycles are an investing reality. Financial markets rise, peak, decline, bottom and start all over again. Sometimes this occurs in the span of five to seven years, while at other times, like the secular global bond bull market, the upswing has lasted for over 30 years. For investors, a right call on the cyclical positioning of markets can make all the difference to portfolio returns.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate 

Personal spending cools as inflation reaches Fed’s goal

America running short of small apartment buildings

Changing of the guard in US foreclosure rankings

Breaking out of the beige box into a vivid world of colour

Survey: Asian consumers most optimistic in emerging markets

China’s factory activity expands further in March

China posts rise in output, employment figures

Xiongan is China’s new special economic zone

Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam pledges more affordable homes

HK warns of home loan risks as prices soar: report

Forest City’s Chinese buyers in limbo over developer’s penalty clause

Australia sets record for economic growth

Aussie regulator caps new interest-only lending at 30% of total home loans

Australia creaks under the weight of its own success

Australia home prices speed ahead in March, leave regulators lagging

Australia sticks with blunt tools to battle housing bubble

Australia Home Prices Rise Most in 7 Years Amid Bubble Concern

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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