The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 31 July, 1, 2 & 3 Aug 2020 (Fri, Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

Foreign worker levy waiver, rebates to be extended
Firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors badly hit by the coronavirus crisis will get more help to defray their labour costs, with the Government waiving more months of the foreign worker levy and giving more levy rebates. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), announcing the extension of the support schemes yesterday, said that $320 million will be set aside to cover the rebates.

Singapore firms welcome foreign worker levy waiver, rebates but say they must restart work soon
For months since the start of the circuit breaker period in April, firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors have had to halt all work. With revenues ceasing while they continued to pay salaries and other overhead costs, many firms had to dig into their reserves.

Most landlords should get notice of Govt cash grant by mid-Aug
The majority of property owners with tenants that qualify for rent relief under the amended Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act should receive notices about their Government cash grants by the middle of next month, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) said yesterday.

Working from home is terrible news for landlords
Early on in the pandemic, reports of the death of the office appeared greatly exaggerated. But as Covid-19 lingers and second infection spikes dot the global map, something is changing in how employees and employers view the workplace: It is being seen as an option rather than a necessity for many white-collar workers.

Manpower issues pose biggest roadblocks for construction firms seeking to resume business amid Covid-19 pandemic
While many in the construction sector are eager to resume business, they say manpower issues remain one of the biggest roadblocks – with firms reporting that it is difficult meeting the stringent requirements needed to get workers cleared to return to work.

New co-working space caters to industrial needs in Singapore
Most co-working outfits in Singapore have attracted companies and freelancers alike with sleek designs and central locations, but a new player is catering to more industrial requirements, such as storage and logistics amenities. Workfriendly – a co-working space set up by Hong Kong-based self-storage firm Storefriendly – has opened a facility in Paya Lebar.


Singapore Economy

Grim business outlook extends to year-end: surveys
Singapore businesses face bumpy and uneven prospects in the next half-year, according to official quarterly surveys out on Thursday. That was even as sentiment picked up slightly from three months ago, when non-essential businesses were shuttered during a two-month “circuit breaker” or semi-lockdown.

Manufacturing, services firms in S’pore expect bleak second half
Firms in Singapore’s manufacturing and services industries remain pessimistic about the business outlook for the second half of the year, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and uncertain global trade and macroeconomic conditions.

Fitch Solutions sees Singapore dollar rising to S$1.38 to greenback next year
Fitch Solutions has revised its forecast for the Singapore dollar’s (SGD) average exchange rate this year to a stronger S$1.3950 per US dollar (USD), from its previous forecast of S$1.4250. The market insights firm also revised its average forecast for next year to S$1.3800 per USD, from S$1.4100 earlier.

RTS Link to boost Singapore-Johor investments
More than just easing traffic congestion on the Causeway, a cross-border train service between Singapore and Johor Bahru could increase business links between the two cities and allow Malaysian day workers to commute more quickly to Singapore, observers told The Business Times.

Crucial to revive air travel and preserve S’pore’s hub status: Ong Ye Kung
The top and immediate priority of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) is to revive air travel and maintain Singapore’s hub status, said its new minister, Mr Ong Ye Kung, yesterday. This requires a multi-ministry effort, as it involves negotiating reciprocal green lane arrangements with countries that have reduced their Covid-19 transmission rates, he told reporters at a ceremony to mark the resumption of work on the Johor Baru-Singapore rail link.


Companies’ Brief

GuocoLand aims to transform neighbourhoods with flagship developments
Cheng Hsing Yao thinks of architecture as inseparable from human life. The country head of GuocoLand’s Singapore operations began his career in public service and developed an appreciation for how public building and infrastructure policies interact with private initiatives.

Aspial’s first-half profit sinks 63% amid virus fallout
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on retailing hit home for jewellery and property player Aspial, with its earnings plunging in the first half. Net profit came in at $5.5 million for the six months to June 30, down 63 per cent from the same period last year.

Ascott brand lyf adds six new properties in 3 markets
CapitaLand’s wholly owned lodging business unit, The Ascott, is adding over 1,000 units across six new properties in Australia, China and the Philippines, under its co-living brand lyf. With the additions, Ascott will have a total of 14 lyf properties with over 2,700 units, the company said yesterday. Thirteen of these properties are slated to open between this year and 2024.

ESR-Reit’s buyout offer for Sabana Reit unit holders ‘too low’, draws criticism
Not everyone is pleased with ESR-Reit’s offer to buy out unit holders of Sabana Reit, and one investor is arguing that the implied offer price – which represents a 26 per cent discount to Sabana Reit’s book value – is too low.

Keppel breaches Temasek offer terms with S$697m record loss in Q2
Keppel Corporation surpassed even the worst forecasts to post a record quarterly loss of S$697 million, breaching certain conditions for Temasek Holdings’ S$4 billion pre-conditional partial offer for the conglomerate.

Temasek to decide by end-Aug on pre-condition for Keppel offer
The Temasek Holdings unit that last October made a voluntary pre-conditional partial offer for Keppel Corporation will decide by end-August whether to invoke the material adverse change (MAC) pre-condition based on Keppel’s second quarter results.

Sabana Reit explains S$54.7m decline in fair value of its assets
Market weakness and uncertainty have driven down the fair value of Sabana Reit’s investment properties, the manager said, after a regulatory query over the S$54.7 million decline in value reported in its half-year results.

Samsung operating profit up 23% in Q2
Seoul • Samsung Electronics said yesterday it expects a gradual recovery in demand for mobile devices and consumer electronics in the second half of the year, but risks remain due to the coronavirus pandemic and growing competition.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Rediscovering Singapore
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS
Singapore has its fair share of attractions and experiences, such as our varieties of hotels, tempting cuisines, nature reserves and farms, offshore islands, heritage trails, casinos, creepy night tours and many others to help boost domestic tourism. For the SingapoRediscovers campaign to be effective and impactful, safe management measures may have to be cautiously tweaked to drive to permit larger tour groups.

Jobs crisis may require more measures
With the circuit breaker having been in place for most of April and all of May, leading to widespread business shutdowns, the job numbers for the second quarter were expected to be grim, and that is how they turned out. The unemployment rate jumped to 2.9 per cent, from 2.4 per cent in the first quarter, the highest level in more than a decade.

When employees are also your customers
Even simple relationships are complex because virtually all of them involve some transactional element, however small. A mother’s love for her child may be complete, but she hopes for a good, loving offspring. She may hope for more than that, too, but even this small expectation of one of the most intimate relationships we can ever have is tied up with hope for some reward.

Decline of Singapore’s famed shopping strip shows city’s pain
A walk down Orchard Road shows just how badly the coronavirus pandemic has hit Singapore’s famed shopping strip. Gone are popular restaurants like Modesto’s, which shut last month after 23 years. Also missing are the queues of Chinese tourists outside Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Towards a fair and just Singapore in brave new post-Covid-19 world
Singapore has a new government, with most of the key jobs in familiar hands, some fresh faces and a few job rotations. The Prime Minister said it was a Cabinet of continuity and change, but going by the ministerial appointments, the emphasis was clearly on the first C.

Singapore banks face scrutiny on asset quality at upcoming Q2 results
Mounting concerns over asset quality are likely to take centre stage at the upcoming quarterly results of Singapore’s banking trio as companies brace for a prolonged crisis.

Singapore bank lending continues to slide in June
Bank lending in Singapore continued its decline for the fourth consecutive month in June, dragged down by business loans and consumer loans amid the uncertainty from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Loans through the domestic banking unit – which captures lending in all currencies, but reflects mainly Singapore-dollar lending – dipped 0.7 per cent from the previous month to come in at S$680.36 billion, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Thursday.

Singapore banks’ dividend cap to bring short-term pain, but higher payouts in end
Shares of Singapore’s local lenders extended their slide on Thursday, after the central bank asked them to cap dividend payouts. At the closing bell, DBS had dropped S$0.63 or 3.1 per cent to S$19.77; OCBC Bank had tumbled S$0.34 or 3.8 per cent to S$8.56, and UOB fell S$0.63 or 3.2 per cent to S$19.39.

SingPass to be upgraded to NRIC’s digital equivalent
National authentication system SingPass is undergoing an extensive upgrade that will allow it to secure high-risk online transactions such as bank account openings or fund withdrawals and transfers.

National Broadband Network is a part of Singapore’s success story
Singapore is often lauded for its robust infrastructure, its open and transparent financial system and robust regulatory environment. These are the commonly cited factors when we think about the Singapore success story.

Three ways to make the world immediately better after Covid-19
The scale of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic shutdowns it caused set in motion a series of debates and questions about what the world may look like once its stranglehold on society loosens: Will we travel less? Will we work at home more?

Coronavirus: Many small-medium enterprises in Singapore still struggling to survive
Singapore – Survival has become the primary concern for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here as they struggle to keep afloat amid the economic fallout from Covid-19. While some owners have begun frantically diversifying business offerings to find new sources of revenue, others have taken on odd jobs to make ends meet.

US, Chinese tech giants look to S’pore for IP services
Even as the United States leads in overall patent and trademark applications in Singapore, more Chinese companies are also filing here, posting the fastest growth rate among Asian countries in the last three years.

17 town councils formed after GE, and Sengkang is the newcomer
A total of 17 town councils have been formed following the recent general election, with the People’s Action Party (PAP) running 15 of them. The newcomer among the 17 is Sengkang Town Council (SKTC), which will be run by the Workers’ Party (WP).


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

PR linked to imported case is sole new community infection
A 33-year-old permanent resident linked to a previous imported case was the sole Covid-19 case in the community confirmed yesterday. She was one of 313 new coronavirus cases reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH), taking Singapore’s total to 52,825.

Balestier hotel, gym in Sengkang among spots most visited by Covid-19 cases
A four-star hotel in Balestier has emerged as one of the spots most frequented by Covid-19 cases in the community, with at least seven visits over a period of 12 days. Ramada by Wyndham Singapore at Zhongshan Park first appeared on the Ministry of Health’s list of places visited by Covid-19 patients last Saturday.

4 new Covid-19 cases linked to transport hub are drivers, interchange staff
The four new coronavirus cases at Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub are two bus drivers and two interchange staff, said SMRT yesterday. Tests showed that they were likely to have had past infections and are no longer infectious. However, all four are in isolation while awaiting Ministry of Health (MOH) instructions.

Businesses hail Singapore-Malaysia ‘green lane’, but worry about costs
Singapore companies have welcomed news of the official “green lane” arrangements confirmed on Saturday for business travel between Singapore and Malaysia.

Coronavirus: Limits on people at weddings, wakes to be eased from Tuesday
More people will be able to attend weddings, wakes and funerals from next Tuesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday. Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend wedding ceremonies, including the couple getting married but excluding the solemniser and vendor staff for the event.

Traveller with coronavirus ‘unlikely’ to have got it in transit here
Initial investigations have shown that a traveller who tested positive for Covid-19 in South Korea after transiting in Changi Airport was unlikely to have been infected in Singapore, said the authorities yesterday. “The source of infection remains unknown and investigations by the various authorities are ongoing,” said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in a joint statement.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Euro zone sees biggest contraction in Q2 GDP

Germany’s economic slump previews Europe’s challenge

US pending home sales exceed forecast as mortgage rates fall

Covid-19 slashes US GDP by 33% in second quarter, outlook shaky

Covid-19 surge is slowing US economic recovery: Fed chief

Nuclear ambitions at Britain’s biggest construction site

China factory activity up for 5th month, Japan snaps 4-month fall

Japan’s factory output rebounds, jobless rate dips as lockdown lifts

Japan Q1 GDP unchanged at 2.2% annualised contraction after 2nd revision

HK commercial lenders on edge as building values tumble

Covid-19 weighs on two of HK’s biggest retail landlords


Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article 

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