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 October 2016

Top Story

Singapore private home prices drop for 12th quarter, decline accelerates to 1.5% in Q3: Flash URA data
Singapore home prices dropped for a 12th quarter, extending the longest losing streak on record, with the slow decline accelerating in the third quarter.  An index tracking private residential prices fell 1.5 per cent in the three months ended Sept 30 from the previous quarter, capping the longest series of quarterly losses since 1975 when prices were first published, according to preliminary data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Monday (Oct 3).  Private home values have dropped 10.9 per cent from the peak in 2013. Prices prices dipped by 0.4 per cent in the second quarter of this year, following a 0.7 per cent decline in the first quarter.

Singapore Economy

Singapore to amend company laws
Stepping up efforts to fight dirty money, Singapore plans to amend the company laws to make it an obligation for companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) to obtain and maintain information on beneficial ownership, said a senior minister.  Companies and LLPs will also be obligated to make the information available to law enforcement authorities upon request as part of Singapore’s push to better meet international standards, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) are working on the details of the proposed “obligation” which will require amendments to the Companies Act and the Limited Liability Partnerships Act, she said in her opening address at the Securities Investors Association of Singapore’s (SIAS) Investors’ Choice Awards presentation ceremony on Friday.

Small gasps of life in August business lending
A little life in business lending might have crept into August after the months of ho-hum lending activity earlier this year, but comes as business demand stays weak amid uncertainty over the US elections and the eurozone.  Business loans rose 1.6 per cent in August from July to S$357 billion, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Friday.  To be clear, the pace was a shade slower than the 1.9 per cent expansion from June to July, as blips in stronger lending in the trade and financial sectors wore off.  However, lending in the building sector rose strongly in August, growing 1.3 per cent to S$120 billion from a month ago and reversing from a contraction in July. This is the single-largest contributor to business lending, at one third.

Making Great Singapore Sale great again
With the relevance of the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) in doubt, going by falling retail sales, questions have been raised about what went wrong with the sale.  Many consumers have pointed out that the annual sale of 23 years is not that great, as the discounts offered here are not as steep compared with those in sales overseas.  They also lamented that the discounts are mostly for older merchandise. A possible reason for this is that Singapore has no seasons.

Hotels face headwinds in H2 despite growth in visitor arrivals
The hotel industry is likely to feel continued pressure this year, as a slowdown in the growth of visitor arrivals, economic headwinds and increasing hotel supply keeps hoteliers on their toes.  Still, the influx of visitors for this year as a whole is expected to surpass – or in the worst case, match – the 15.2 million travellers that came to Singapore last year, say market watchers.  Preliminary data from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) showed that industry-wide hotel occupancy for the January-to-July period remained strong at 85 per cent, inching up 0.6 percentage point year on year.

Singapore Real Estate

HDB resale prices stay flat for second straight quarter in Q3
HDB resale prices were unchanged in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, based on flash estimates from the Housing & Development Board.  This is the second straight quarter that HDB resale prices have stayed flat, in what is seen as a sign of continued stabilisation of the public housing market.  The HDB resale price index is still 9.8 per cent below the peak in the second quarter of 2013.

Industrial rents could dip 6-8% in Q4: Knight Frank
Average industrial rents island-wide could fall 6-8 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2016, as industrialists continue to take bold consolidation and relocation steps to cope with challenging business conditions, a Knight Frank report released on Friday said. Rentals have fallen 4.4 per cent cumulatively for the first half of this year, according to official data from JTC. Rental statistics for the third quarter are not released yet.  But according to Knight Frank’s own basket of properties that it tracks, overall industrial rents fell 1.2 per cent quarter on quarter (q-o-q) in Q3 to S$2.08 per square foot per month (psf pm). The decline was broad-based, across most locations.

Gloomy days for strata office market
A resale at the recently completed PS 100 commercial block posted a loss of about $430,500 late last month – a stark sign of the lacklustre strata office market.  The building in Peck Seah Street sold all 100 of its office units on its launch weekend in 2012 at the height of the market.  PS 100 was completed in the fourth quarter of last year and only about 20 units are occupied.  The 517 sq ft unit went for $1.73 million at launch but was sold at $1.3 million on Sept 20.

S’pore’s first regional centre presses on
Tampines, once a sleepy far-flung neighbourhood, is today a vibrant commercial hub – teeming with activity through the day and evening.  It was Singapore’s first regional centre and now has 200,000 sq m of office space and 112,000 sq m of retail space, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).  Although it is the nation’s original regional centre, Tampines is likely to keep with the times and continue to evolve, even as newer, shinier peers pop up in Jurong, Woodlands and Seletar in the future.

From backwater to thriving hub
The remaking of Jurong Lake District – earmarked as the second Central Business District – took another leap forward last week with the shortlisting of five planning teams to help devise its masterplan.  They were selected from 35 teams that submitted ideas after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) put out a call for proposals to transform the area into a “district of the future”, with a new business precinct and High Speed Rail terminus.  One of the five teams will be appointed as consultant by January, and will work with the URA and relevant agencies to flesh out a detailed plan for Jurong Lake District that will feature car-lite, innovative urban spaces and a mix of commercial and residential developments.

Keen interest in Reits amid low interest rates
Real estate investment trusts (Reits) have been gaining significant market traction amid the low interest rates of recent years.  Three years ago, there was just one Reit in the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) – CapitaLand Mall Trust – which was also the very first Reit to list on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), in 2002.  Then, in June 2014, Ascendas Reit joined the STI, and almost two years later, in March this year, CapitaLand Commercial Trust joined.

840,000 HDB households to get next U-Save
Around 840,000 Housing Board households will this month receive the next instalment of the GST Voucher – Utilities-Save (U-Save), which can be used to offset their utility bills.  Those in one- and two-room flats will receive $65, while those living in three-room flats will receive $60.  Eligible four- and five-room households will receive vouchers of $55 and $50 respectively, while executive and multi-generation flats will receive $45.  Distributed quarterly, the U-Save rebate is expected to cost the Government $190 million a year.

HDB chairman James Koh to retire; succeeded by Bobby Chin
Mr James Koh Cher Siang will retire as Chairman of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Friday (Sep 30) after nine years in the position, the Ministry of National Development (MND) and HDB announced in a joint news release.   Mr Koh will be succeeded by the board’s current deputy chairman, Mr Bobby Chin Yoke Choong.   HDB and MND said Mr Koh, who has been HDB’s chairman since 2007, guided HDB to achieve a stable public housing market in recent years, by increasing the supply of home ownership flats, giving out more housing grants, and putting in place demand-side measures to bring balance back to the housing market.

Ultrasound checks on sunbreakers at 4 Tampines HDB blocks
From Friday (Sep 30), the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will use ultrasound scanning equipment to check the condition of all sunbreakers in Block 201E Tampines St 23, as well as the surrounding blocks 201A, 201B and 201D on Tampines St 21.  The checks come after a sunbreaker on the fourth storey of block 201E gave way last Sunday. The dislodged sunshade has been removed and taken to a laboratory, where investigations are still ongoing to determine the cause of the incident.

More malls to experiment using ‘smart’ technology for cleaning, security services
Robots that mop and clean and systems that manage queues and use face-recognition software are among the tools that malls here are experimenting with, in order to “smarten” facilities management to provide a high level of comfort and security for their users.  IMM Building, for instance, was first to offer a centralised dishwashing service for food-and-beverage tenants in the mall last November, thus improving productivity and freeing up space within the premises while it re-deployed workers who do dishwashing. Surrounding malls, including Westgate, JCube and The Star Vista, also tap this service.

High prices for DBSS units in Ang Mo Kio
Three units at premium public housing project Park Central @ Ang Mo Kio have been resold, with the priciest going for $980,000 – at least 40 per cent more than it originally cost.  The deals were closed last month, and were for five-room units at the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) development.  Experts said the central location near Ang Mo Kio MRT could have contributed to their premium.

HDB reawakened: Japanese duo lends new perspective on S’pore homes
A flat left almost devoid of furniture and reserved for poetic musings. Another, a three-room home converted into a “family-friendly” gym, complete with exercise equipment and a glass wall to record one’s fitness routine. Others with corridors jointly decorated by neighbours to usher in festivities.  These are just some of the 118 Housing Development Board (HDB) flats — “a lucky number” — that two Singapore permanent residents (PR) from Japan have carefully documented over three years for an upcoming photo book.

Companies’ Brief

270 units at The Alps Residences sold
MCC Land, the Chinese developer of the 626-unit The Alps Residences in Tampines, sold 270 units on the project’s launch day on Sunday, the company said in a media statement.  The one-bedroom and two-bedroom units made up 88 per cent of the units sold. Prices of the one-bedroom units were between S$491,000 and S$538,000; those of two-bedroom units went for at least S$693,000, and for as much as S$806,000.  The four-bedroom units went for as much as S$1.44 million.

Lee Rubber sells Lavender shophouse block
LEE Rubber Company is selling a stand-alone block of 11 adjoining conservation shophouses in Lavender Street for nearly S$55.56 million.  A fully-owned unit of Lee Rubber that owns the freehold interest in the property will carve out a 99-year leasehold interest for the buyer, Broadway Textile. Broadway is located at Textile Centre along Jalan Sultan nearby and is understood to have a part occupation/part investment strategy for its Lavender Street purchase. The company’s management could not be reached for comment on Friday.  CBRE brokered the transaction. The price works out to nearly S$1,229 per square foot on the existing gross floor area (GFA) of 45,212 square feet.

Views, Reviews & Forum

What’s up with HDB lifts?
When an elderly Housing Board resident lost a hand in a lift accident last October, it turned out to be the first in a spate of accidents that have plagued HDB lifts over the last year.  Madam Khoo Bee Hua, then 85, had stepped into her lift in Jurong and pressed the lift button without realising that her dog was outside – while she was still holding its leash. As the lift rose, her hand is believed to have been pulled through a gap in the doors.  The worst of the incidents since then came this May when Mr Lim Hang Chiang, 77, died when his mobility scooter fell over while backing out of a lift that was not level with the ground floor.

Lift upgrading no longer a hot-button issue
A decade ago, Housing Board lifts were making headlines. Tempers flew, but the problem was not with existing lifts. Rather, it was over lifts yet to be built.  In the early to mid-2000s, lifts were a hot political topic, thanks to the Housing Board’s $5 billion Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP).  The scheme was for blocks built before 1990, which did not have lifts that stopped at every floor.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Global IPO activity to slow in ’16 due to geopolitical uncertainty: EY

Manhattan Luxury Rent Prices Are Growing at Their Slowest Pace Since 2010

UK economy flying blind after Brexit vote

Britain to pull Brexit trigger by end-March, says PM May

Britain lays out plans to leave EU by early 2019

Britain sets out £5b homebuilding boost

No fire sales of UK properties on low default risk: Experts

Caixin PMI points to stabilising China economy in Sept

China Homes Beat Stocks, Wine as Buying Frenzy Stokes Bubble

Yuan ranks ahead of yen, pound in IMF basket

Australia home prices keep rising in Sept: CoreLogic

Barcelona’s urban planning experiment

Vancouver aims to curb short-term house rentals

Indonesians line up to beat deadline for tax amnesty

Indonesia’s tax amnesty ‘exceeds expectations’

Saudi billionaire sells Toronto Four Seasons

Japan still mired in stubborn deflation

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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