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 July 2017

Top Story

URA private home price index eases 0.3% q-o-q in Q2 2017 in 15th consecutive decline
Prices of private homes in Singapore eased 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of this year over the first quarter, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) flash estimate.  This compares with a quarter-on-quarter drop of 0.4 per cent in Q1 2017.  The latest drop is the smallest q-o-q decline since the URA’s benchmark private home price index peaked in Q3 2013.  The index, which has eased for 15 consecutive quarters, is now 11.8 per cent below the peak.  URA said on Monday morning that prices of non-landed private residential properties fell by 0.9 per cent quarter on quarter in the Core Central Region (CCR) or prime areas in Q2, after easing 0.4 per cent in Q1.

HDB resale prices dip 0.1% in Q2, following a 0.5% decline in Q1
Resale prices for public housing dipped 0.1 per cent in the second quarter over the first quarter of this year, flash estimates from the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) index showed on Monday.  This followed HDB resale prices falling 0.5 per cent in the first quarter as transactions fell 9.6 per cent quarter on quarter to 4,530 in the first quarter.  Data for the full second quarter, together with more detailed public housing data, will be released on July 28.

Singapore Economy

Banks offering bras, buffets, facelifts while you check your balance online
The future of banking in Singapore is well nigh upon us. Some may blanch at the thought, but shopping online will soon be an offering from your bank.  The three Singapore banks are raring to go, they have told The Business Times. They are just waiting for the green light from the regulator to launch online shopping malls. In the meantime, why not check out what others have already done?

Equity crowdfunding still a relevant, dynamic financing tool
Equity crowdfunding remains a relevant and dynamic market even with the advent of cryptocurrency crowdfunding, which is believed to be the latest innovation in crowdfunding, says Jon Medved, chief of OurCrowd, an Israel-based crowdfunding platform backed by UOB.  For one thing, equity crowdfunding continues to fulfil a funding need among startups, he tells The Business Times in an interview. It allows small, innovative companies to easily raise funds from accredited investors globally – despite their lack of collateral or track record, which many banks still demand before they offer a loan.

Singapore firms band together for HSR projects
Six Singapore companies are teaming up to participate in high-speed rail projects starting with the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (KL-SG HSR).  The six companies brought together by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore are Clifford Capital Pte Ltd, DBS Bank, Sembcorp Design & Construction, SMRT International Pte Ltd, Surbana Jurong Pte Ltd and Singapore Technologies Electronics Ltd (ST Electronics).

May bank lending flat but better numbers likely in months ahead
Bank lending growth in Singapore was flattish in May, as weaker lending activity to financial institutions partly offset a spurt in lending for trade-related activities.  But this comes amid expectations of stronger economic growth in the months ahead, which should lead to business lending picking up. Loans through the domestic banking unit, which captures lending in all currencies but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending, stood at S$633 billion in May, up from S$631 billion in April, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Friday showed. This translates to a 0.3 per cent gain between the two months.

Singapore Real Estate

Government increases industrial land supply in H2 to 13.9 ha
The government will step up the supply of industrial land to 13.9 hectares (ha) in the second half of the year, compared to the 11.25 ha it made available in the first half, which works out to a 24 per cent increase.  It will also waive the building-specification requirements for small industrial plots of one ha or less, but successful tenderers and subsequent owners will be barred from subdividing such developments into smaller strata units for sale for the duration of the whole tenure.

Carving up small industrial plots outlawed
Strata sub-division of small sites in the Industrial Government Land Sales programme is now outlawed for the full period of the lease, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said yesterday.  Until now, “successful tenderers or subsequent owners” as they are dubbed could subdivide the land for sale to other companies five years after receiving the Temporary Occupation Permit.

Minimum lease of private homes halved to three months
The shortest possible time to rent someone’s private home has now been halved – from six months to only three.   But that does not mean good news for homeowners who wish to sign up with home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb and Roomorama. Short-term stays of less than three consecutive months, including those facilitated by these platforms, are still not allowed, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Friday.

HDB invests $5.3m in research to enhance estate services
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two other parties for a S$5.3 million research programme that will look for ways to monitor the performance and reliability of key mechanical and electrical services in housing estates.  The agreement was inked with Imperial College London and A*Star’s Institute for Infocomm Research at the Urban Sustainability R&D Congress on Friday, and is part of the HDB’s drive to leverage smart technologies to develop sustainable homes for the future.

Former Zouk site, Fourth Ave plot now available on reserve list
Land-hungry developers can now start making applications for the release of two 99-year private housing sites that have just been made available on the reserve list by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.  Most industry observers consider the choicer plot to be the one in Jiak Kim Street along the Singapore River – as first-storey commercial use is allowed, albeit only within three conserved warehouse buildings that once used to house Zouk. The nightspot has since relocated to Clarke Quay.

Tenants of office tower told to leave by year-end
Tenants at a 44-year-old office tower in the financial district have been told to pack up and leave by the end of the year as its owner has plans to redevelop the plum site next year.  Some tenants who have recently moved in, spending up to $100,000 on renovations, are unhappy to be forced out so soon.  The owner of the 28-storey building, Hub Synergy Point, at the corner of Enggor Street and Anson Road, sent out notification letters to the 30 or so tenants late May.

Tampines Court eyeing $960m in collective sale bid
Home owners at Tampines Court have jumped on the collective sale bandwagon, with plans to put the privatised property up for sale for $960 million.  If successful, it would be the biggest collective sale deal for a former Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) property in a decade.  Marketing agent Huttons Asia told The Straits Times that the tender will be launched on Tuesday, having secured approval from about 82 per cent of the owners for the collective sale.

Singapore malls adding more and more eateries to counter retail space slump
Singapore’s shopping centres, intent on keeping units filled and luring back patrons, are renting space to eateries far beyond industry norms in what observers say is a glimpse of how malls are coping with the online onslaught on brick-and-mortar stores.  The often-billed shopping paradise, with Asia’s highest retail space per capita, has seen vacancy rates and rents near their weakest in at least six years – metrics which place its malls among the worst-performing of the region’s bigger economies.

New cycling network to boost Jurong connectivity
Travelling within the western part of Singapore has been made even easier with the launch of a 15km cycling network in Jurong East yesterday.  The network connects Jurong East, Chinese Garden and Lakeside, and makes Jurong Lake District the eighth cycling town here, besides existing ones such as Punggol, Tampines, Pasir Ris and Yishun.

Cool project underway: Singapore to develop road map to reduce urban warming
An “ambitious” project that began quietly at the start of this year could bring some relief to Singaporeans who have found themselves wilting in the heat of a concrete jungle.  Temperatures are rising because of climate change, but Singapore is hotter than it should be because of the urban heat island (UHI) effect.

Companies’ Brief

CapitaLand revving up expansion plans
CapitaLand Limited is set for more active land-banking and acquisitions as part of its expansion plans following the opening of four integrated projects in China in April, including three Raffles City projects.  The group’s third Raffles City private equity fund that closed last October at US$1.5 billion still has some US$1 billion of dry powder waiting to be deployed after investing into Raffles City Shenzhen. Another US$2 billion worth of assets can be snapped up by the fund, assuming a 50 per cent leverage.

Mapletree Logistics sells two Japanese warehouses for 13.5b yen
Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT) is selling two warehouses in Japan for 13.5 billion yen (S$165.4 million), figuring that the flexibility of cash on hand is worth more than holding old properties with limited upside. The warehouses are being sold to Godo Kaisha Asset Toshi Jigyo 4 Go.  The 10-year-old Zama Centre in Kanagawa prefecture has 41,170 square metres of gross floor area, while the 43-year-old Shiroishi Centre in Hokkaido has 11,181 sq m of gross floor space.

ICL gets EGM nod for purchase of stake in holder of China park rights
Real estate firm Imperium Crown Ltd (ICL) has received the green light at an extraordinary general meeting on Friday to acquire a 60 per cent stake in Global Entertainment Media (GEM) as it banks on China’s growing tourism industry.  GEM, via subsidiary Linyi Yin Sheng, owns 80 per cent of Fei County Wonder Stone, while the remaining 20 per cent is held by a state-owned enterprise. Fei County Wonder Stone, in turn, holds the operating rights to the Wonder Stone Park – a tourist attraction known for its naturally occurring limestone rocks and boulders – for a 50 year period ending 2067.

Race to buy GLP narrows down to two groups
The race to buy Global Logistic Properties is now between a Chinese consortium backed by the company’s management and a rival group led by Warburg Pincus, sources said ahead of a Friday deadline to submit bids for the US$10 billion-valued firm.  An acquisition offers a chance for bidders to grab control of Asia’s biggest warehouse operator which counts Amazon among its clients and is benefiting from rising demand for modern logistics facilities, driven by a boom in e-commerce business.

GK Goh raises stake in Croesus, eyes higher offer price
The swing voter in Blackstone’s bid to take Croesus Retail Trust private has raised its stake in the Japan-based retail business trust even as it remains undecided on whether to tender its units to Blackstone.  GKG Investment Holdings (GKGI), which holds the single largest stake in Croesus, scooped up about nine million units for close to S$10.6 million at an average price of S$1.177 on June 28, filings to the Singapore Exchange late on Thursday showed.

First Sponsor acquires Dutch heritage brand’s hotel portfolio
Mainboard-listed property developer First Sponsor Group is acquiring Queens Bilderberg (Nederland) – a Dutch heritage brand that owns a portfolio of 17 hotels across the Netherlands – for 171.4 million euros (S$270.2 million).  First Sponsor said on Monday that the acquisition presents an opportunity for the group to acquire “multiple quality properties, including properties with good capital appreciation potential in the Netherlands at an attractive price”.

One of Oxley’s hotels at Stevens Road will be Mercure instead of Ibis
Oxley Holdings will not be having an Ibis brand hotel in Stevens Road after all.  Instead, the hotel will operate under the Mercure brand.  In a statement on July 2, the company said its wholly-owned subsidiary, Oxley Gem, had registered two businesses: Novotel Singapore on Stevens and Mercure Singapore on Stevens.  They will be the names of the two new hotels on Stevens Road which are targeted to commence operations by the end of 2017.

Fragrance Group to buy hotel in Torquay, Britain for S$13.6 million
Fragrance Group’s subsidiary Fragrance UK-Torquay has agreed to acquire a hotel in Torquay, Britain for 7.6 million pounds (S$13.6 million). The Palace Hotel – located at Babbacombe Road in the seaside resort town in Devon – is one of the largest and most prestigious hotels in Torquay.  The hotel is also the former home of the Bishop of Exeter.  A luxury hotel since the 1920s, it is close to the centre of Torquay, the harbour and beaches.

Views, Reviews & Forum

New HDB flats: Why singles pay $15k premium
Reader Stanley Ong asked why singles have to pay a $15,000 premium over married couples when applying for a two-room Housing Board flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme.  Housing reporter Ng Jun Sen answered.  When anyone buys a new Housing Board flat, he or she already enjoys subsidies that have already been factored into the flat’s price.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Investors waiting to see if bull market wobbles get more pronounced

US housing stocks seen rallying as millennials age

US wins bid to seize Iran-owned tower

Trump budget plans cut funds for affordable housing in US

Wealthy new DC residents blame rich newcomers for housing cost hike: poll

China opens bond market to foreign investors

China factory growth fastest in three months

Japan’s 2016 land prices up, led by big gains in cities: govt survey

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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