The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 2nd, 3rd and 4th Jun 2018

Singapore Economy

Asean’s ’11th member’ dips a toe in the bloc
Asia-pacific law firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has launched an international trade and investment practice with partners at its three-year-old office here on the back of an uptick of interest in South-east Asia.  Increasingly, that interest hails from Down Under, the partners added. Investors seem to be paying closer attention to Asean, even as Australia was recently floated as a possible 11th member of the regional bloc.

Heng Swee Keat visits Singapore-Nanjing joint project
The Singapore-Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island (SNEHTI) lies just a short drive over a bridge spanning the Yangtze River, but Singaporeans making the journey might do a double take.  Greeting visitors arriving by car from the main Nanjing city are three replicas of the supertrees at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, the first sign of the Republic’s deep involvement in the 15.21 sq km island.

Singapore launches Digital Readiness Blueprint to help every last man cross the digital divide
Singapore – Imagine applying for financial help from the Government via an app that can “speak” to an applicant in Chinese, Malay, Tamil or English.  This future is not too far away as plans are underway to develop digital government services in Singapore’s four official languages, and explore the use of machine translation technologies until every last man is helped to cross the digital divide.

Robust policies will boost adoption of AI technologies: Heng
A robust regulatory framework that builds public trust and promotes experimentation and innovation is a key factor that will encourage the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday.  This will enable, rather than stifle, innovation, and can also help level the playing field, allowing startups with innovative ideas to compete, he added.

Singapore, India to deepen economic, defence ties
Singapore and India will soon launch a third round of discussions to update a key bilateral economic pact and will consider expanding their air services agreement to cater to the growing demand for air connectivity.  After wide-ranging discussions at the Istana yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the two countries had agreed to deepen economic ties and build on longstanding defence cooperation. 


Singapore Real Estate

Two Serangoon condos garner healthy first-weekend sales
Two property launches in Serangoon over the weekend garnered good response, testament to the still-improving sentiments in the residential property market, despite the fact that both projects were located just couple of hundred metres apart from each other.  Affinity at Serangoon by Oxley Holdings, to be constructed on the former HUDC estate Serangoon Ville site, sold 112 units out of the 300 that were launched in its phase one.

Hunt for Trump-Kim venue leads to old Singapore pirate hangout
[Singapore] Of all Singapore’s big hotels, only one shows all its rooms and restaurants are blocked out for the week surrounding June 12, when US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are due to meet in the city.  The booking crunch at the Capella, which sits in the middle of 30 acres of lawns and rainforest on the resort island of Sentosa, just south of the city, is among a handful of overt signs that Singapore is preparing for one of the most controversial summits since the end of the Cold War.

2 Bukit Pasoh shophouses sold for nearly $22m
The family office of Indonesian tycoon Prajogo Pangestu has bought a pair of adjoining freehold shophouses in Teo Hong Road in the Bukit Pasoh Conservation Area for nearly $22 million.  One of them is understood to have been sold by Mr Lim Chun Shuang, son of Mr Lim Hock San, president and chief executive of United Industrial Corporation.

Macly buys five terrace houses in Guillemard
Macly Group is buying five terrace houses in the Guillemard Road/ Lorong 28 Geylang locale for $20.55 million.  The five two-storey properties – comprising 331, 333, 335 and 339 Guillemard Road and 56 Lorong 28 Geylang – sit on a total freehold land area of 12,839 sq ft.

Demand up for home defect inspectors
There is a fresh item on the must-do list of new Singaporean homeowners: Spending a few hundred dollars to ensure their new homes are in good condition to avoid future repair costs.  Many are signing up for home defect inspection services once they collect their keys, fuelling a growth in an industry that has low barriers to entry.

10% of eligible Jurong homes have switched power retailers
Singapore – Customised electricity plans have been an option for some households in Jurong for the past two months, although only a fraction of those eligible have opted to buy electricity from a retailer other than SP Services.  Regulator Energy Market Authority (EMA) declined to provide official figures, but industry estimates show that about 10 per cent of the 108,000 households have switched retailers.

Japanese activist shareholder sells penthouse at a slight loss
A few big-ticket apartment and penthouse deals have been done recently.  Japanese activist shareholder Yoshiaki Murakami has sold his penthouse unit at The Boulevard Residence in Cuscaden Walk for S$15.8 million or S$2,234 per square foot (psf). This is close to the S$16 million that he paid for the 7,072 sq ft triplex unit, which has five bedrooms and an 11 metre lap pool, back in 2006.

Singapore co-working space company JustCo plans 100 centres in Asia by 2020
Co-working space operator JustCo plans to set up 100 centres by 2020 in Asia and is looking to acquire firms that complement its operations, the company’s chief executive officer Kong Wan Sing said.  “We are tapping into companies’ need for flexibility,” he told Reuters in an interview in Bangkok on Thursday.

JTC marks its 50th year with green pledge
JTC has pledged its support for Singapore’s Year of Climate Action 2018 as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations.  The state-owned industrial property developer’s pledge yesterday encompassed commitments that aim to optimise energy and water use efficiencies, cut the carbon footprints of new estates and use more solar energy to reduce grid dependency and the burning of fossil fuels.

3 workers injured after scaffolding collapses at Bukit Batok construction site
Singapore: Three workers were injured after a scaffolding fell from the ninth storey of a building under construction in Bukit Batok on Saturday (Jun 2).  The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it responded to the incident at 448B Bukit Batok West Avenue 9 at about 11.50am. All three workers, who are in their 30s, were taken to Ng Teng Fong Hospital.

Singapore incurring costs on HSR project as it awaits Malaysia’s clarification: Khaw Boon Wan
[Singapore] Singapore is continuing to “incur costs” on the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, while it awaits clarification from Malaysia regarding its intention to scrap the HSR, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Friday (June 1).  He was responding to recent media reports that the new Malaysian government led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad plans to cancel the project to build the 350km Kuala Lumpur-Singapore rail link.


Companies’ Brief

CapitaLand group CEO to retire on Dec 31
Lim Ming Yan, the president and group chief executive officer of mainboard-listed CapitaLand will retire from his appointments on Dec 31, 2018, the company said on Friday evening.  The 55-year-old, who joined CapitaLand in 1996, had given notice to the company’s board of his intention to retire. The board has accepted his resignation.

PropNex planning to raise S$40m from IPO: report
Propnex Realty, Singapore’s largest homegrown property agency, is said to be looking to raise S$40 million from a proposed Singapore initial public offering (IPO).  The company is targeting a market capitalisation of as much as S$250 million, a Bloomberg article quoted sources as saying on Friday.

CFO of Sasseur Reit’s manager retires, deputy CFO to assume role
The manager of Sasseur Real Estate Investment Trust (Sasseur Reit) on Friday evening announced that Richard Tan Liat Chew has retired from his role as its chief financial officer (CFO) with effect from June 1 but will remain as an adviser.  With Mr Tan’s retirement, the manager’s deputy CFO, Fred Chee Kin Yuen, will assume the role of CFO.Mr Chee holds a Bachelor of Accountancy and a Master of Applied Economics from the National University of Singapore and is a Chartered Accountant of Singapore. He joined the Reit’s manager as deputy CFO in March 2018.

ACRA approves Genting Singapore’s application to change domicile to Singapore and its name change
Mainboard-listed Genting Singapore said that the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA) has approved both the company’s application to transfer its registration from the Isle of Man (IOM) to Singapore and a change of its name on June 1.  Genting Singapore revealed its intention to seek shareholders’ approval for a domicile change in March 2018 at an extraordinary general meeting held on April 17, and a change in name from Genting Singapore plc to Genting Singapore Limited.

Centurion Corp plans to buy UK student housing project for £18.7m
Mainboard-listed specialty housing provider Centurion Corp plans to pick up a student housing property in the British city of Manchester, to the tune of £18.7 million (S$33.66 million).  The proposed acquisition of 121, Princess Street, announced on Friday, is expected to be done in July 2018, with Centurion to enter into a letting agreement with an agent at the same time.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

US, China deviating from global norms: Ng Eng Hen
Both the United States and China are deviating from global norms and acting on their own to protect their core interests, but this challenges the status quo Asia has benefited from, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday at the Shangri-La Dialogue.  It would be a lose-lose scenario for the world if the US and China are unwilling to work together on an inclusive, rules-based system, he said during a session on regional security cooperation.

Move to house students pays off
Centurion Corporation is a global accommodation business that owns, develops and manages purpose-built student and worker accommodation assets.  Set up in 1981 to make optical disks, and listed on the Singapore Exchange in 1995, Centurion took the bold decision in 2011 to diversify into the niche business of “specialist” accommodation, firstly for workers and subsequently including students. The move paid off.

Will Prima Tower landmark be conserved?
For the past 41 years, Prima Tower Revolving Restaurant in Keppel Road has been gently revolving on its perch 60m above ground, sited on top of tall cylindrical wheat silos.  The landmark, which offers sweeping views of the Singapore port and Sentosa, could be on the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s conservation radar, according to several sources.

The Big Read: No easy answers to HDB lease decay issue, but public mindset has to change first 
Singapore — When the lease of his three-room flat in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh runs out in 2066, first aid and swimming coach Low Mong Seng, 34, expects the Government to give him “something in compensation”.  “Either another shelter over our heads, or a lower lump sum amount (compared to the value of the property) for us to get another flat to stay in,” said Mr Low, who inherited the unit from his mother who died in 1995.

AI can take over some tasks but will not replace humans: Experts
Biomind, an artificial intelligence (AI) machine, can read MRI scans and diagnose neurological conditions like tumours in a second, its maker, Hanalytics, has claimed.  In contrast, a doctor will take an hour on average to study the images and draw up a report, the Singapore start-up said.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Trade, business deals void if tariffs implemented, China warns US

China slashes tariffs on wide range of consumer products

EU joins global battle against Trump tariffs 

Hiring spree nets better than expected new jobs in May

US construction spending records biggest gain in two years

US commercial real estate deal volume rises, but headwinds are blowing

LA tenants increasingly engaging in rent strikes

Finding your first New York apartment

Wall Street Firms Are Moving to the West Side. Here Come the Luxury Hotels

China’s manufacturing sector remains strong in May

Johor rethinks efforts to trump Singapore at tourism–10309370

Thai May headline CPI accelerates to 1.49%, beats forecast

Indian economy posts 7.7% growth, fastest pace in nearly 2 years

Last-ditch deal gets Conte sworn in as Italy PM


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