As Singapore retools, fresh takes on labour numbers
With reports emerging of layoffs in various sectors, expectations of an increase in unemployment are on the rise. But as Singapore enters a fresh phase of economic restructuring, such negative changes in labour market data – a rise in unemployment or workers staying jobless for longer stretches – may in fact signal that transformation is progressing as intended at the macro level. To be sure, “high unemployment is never a good thing for any economy”, DBS economist Irvin Seah cautions. High levels of joblessness can shake political and social stability, and demand higher levels of social spending – adding to fiscal pressures.
Singapore slips in global competitiveness rankings
Singapore has fallen to fourth place – from third a year ago – on business school IMD’s latest ranking of the world’s most competitive economies. This came as Hong Kong rose to top the annual scoreboard, unseating last year’s leader, the US, to third place behind Switzerland. Local economists were unruffled by the one-place drop in the yearly rankings shuffle but said the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2016’s analysis highlights perennial issues of high costs and talent attraction as growing challenges to Singapore’s long-term competitiveness.
Service sector decline is cause for concern
Last week’s growth figures turned out pretty much according to script, except for an unexpected twist that could turn an apparent boring storyline into a horror show. The economy grew by 1.8 per cent in the first three months of the year, in line with initial forecasts made by the Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI) earlier in April. The final figures last week showed that trade, unsurprisingly, continued to flounder. Trade contracted 9.7 per cent in the first quarter, while non-oil domestic exports, a key indicator of the health of Singapore’s export sectors, sagged 9 per cent.
Singapore Real Estate
Prices of completed private apartments up 0.3% in April
Prices of completed private apartments rose a marginal 0.3 per cent last month from March, according to flash estimates from the NUS Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI). This followed a revised 1.1 per cent price decline in March from February. Experts say the latest change was likely a technical rebound. None of the indices – for units in the central region, non-central region and small units of up to 506 sq ft – rose more than 0.5 per cent from March. “Taking the two months as a whole, prices still haven’t recovered to where they were in February,” said Mr Nicholas Mak, SLP International executive director of research and consultancy.
Straits Trading Building may fetch record psf price
A new per square foot record price for an entire Singapore office building could be set if a deal that is brewing for Straits Trading Building on Battery Road materialises. Indonesian tycoon and philanthropist Tahir is said to be in exclusive due diligence with a view to purchase the 28-storey, 999-year leasehold building for S$560 million. This translates to slightly more than S$3,520 psf based on the net lettable area (NLA) of 158,897 sq ft .
Lend Lease’s 391 Sydney homes sell out in 4 hours
All 391 apartments offered by Lend Lease Group at a project in Sydney were snapped up in just four hours last Saturday, indicating demand for inner-city homes remains buoyant despite looming oversupply. More than 400 potential buyers turned up in Darling Square, a development on the western edge of Sydney’s central business district, for the apartments that were priced from A$630,000 (S$625,000) for a studio to A$3.5 million for a three-bedroom penthouse, Lend Lease said in a statement.
URA directs GEM Residences to tweak triple-key units
Buyers of triple-key units at GEM Residences will get their apartments with only one kitchen instead of the three kitchens originally depicted in the floor plan of the sales brochure. The reason: the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has asked the joint developers to remove the kitchens from two sub-units in these apartments in keeping with “the approved floor plan”.
Small units the big draw at new launch
Newly-launched Gem Residences accounted for most of the new private homes sold last weekend, while other previously-launched projects recorded slow but steady sales. Developers Gamuda, Evia Real Estate and Maxdin sold 315 units or 55 per cent of their Toa Payoh project at an average price of $1,426 per sq ft (psf) over the period. About 300 of these units were sold at its VIP sales booking day on Friday. Under current market conditions, a sales rate of over 50 per cent of a project’s units in the first month is considered very good, experts said.
May BTO exercise: Demand outstrips supply for units in mature estates
New flats in the mature town of Ang Mo Kio drew strong demand from potential homebuyers in the latest Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercise, which closes on Monday (May 30). It is the first time in three years that new BTO flats have been offered in the mature towns of Ang Mo Kio and Bedok. As analysts predicted, demand has far outstripped supply. As at 5pm on Monday, demand for four-room units in Ang Mo Kio Court was tops, with 2,107 applicants for 234 units. This means there are nine applicants per flat. Five-room and three-generation flats in the project also saw keen interest, with about eight applicants per flat.
S-Reits hit by weaker market conditions
Challenging market conditions have hit Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts (S-Reits), say analysts.
While S-Reits are still a favourite of investors here as they consistently outperform the Straits Times Index (STI), 27 Reits and six stapled trusts listed here reported an average distribution per unit (DPU) growth of 1.8 per cent in the first quarter, according to a press release by SGX yesterday. The list excludes recently listed Manulife Reit, Fortune Reit which reports earnings on a half-yearly basis, as well as Saizen Reit.
Construction firm and developer KSH Holdings reported a 47.6 per cent rise in full-year net profit to $61.5 million for the 12 months to March 31. Full-year revenue dipped 0.3 per cent to $245.5 million, compared with the same period a year earlier. Full-year earnings per share was 13.72 cents, up from 9.18 cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share was 65.44 cents as at March 31, up from 55.79 cents a year ago.
What brands need to survive in a digital world
In early 2013, HMV – best-known as a bricks-and-mortar purveyor of CDs and DVDs – appeared to be a clear-cut victim of digital disruption. Debts totalling £347 million had driven the company to the edge of the abyss, endangering more than 4,000 British jobs. As one researcher noted at the time: “In the digital era where 73.4 per cent of music and film are downloaded or bought online, HMV’s business model has simply become increasingly irrelevant and unsustainable.”
Global Economy & Global Real Estate
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Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate
Grange Road condo selling at $1,440 psf (The Edge Property Dated 30 May 2016)
A three-bedroom high-floor unit at Spring Grove on Grange Road has been listed on TheEdgeProperty.com at $2 million, or $1,440 psf. The Edge Fair Value, a valuation tool on The EdgeProperty.com, puts the indicative value of the 1,389 sq ft unit at $1,598 psf.
How do recession and property refinancing affect you? (The Edge Property Dated 30 May 2016)
The world is entering a phase of slower growth — this is perhaps one of the more dangerous periods of its history. Since the financial crisis of 2008, the world has become more leveraged instead of less. Between 2007 and 2014, global debt increased by US$57 trillion. Total debt has grown from 269% of GDP as at 4Q2007 to 286% of GDP as at 2Q2014. Government debt has grown at a compound annual rate of 9.3%, way faster than GDP growth. And following closely behind is corporate debt.
One in six BTO flats monetised after MOP (The Edge Property Dated 27 May 2016)
New HDB flats, also known as Build-to-Order flats, have been a popular choice for couples and families looking to buy their first homes. For one, they are sold at a subsidised price, which is at a substantial discount to comparable resale prices. They are cheaper and come with a fresh 99-year tenure. There is also a sense of entitlement attached to BTO flats, as Singaporeans are entitled to purchase these flats only twice from HDB.
Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article