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, 3rd and 4th September 2017

Top Story

Latest bout of en bloc sales could yield over 12,000 new homes
About 12,000 new private homes could potentially be generated from the 10 residential collective sales that have been transacted since last year as well as another seven launched whose tenders have yet to close or be awarded.  While the above analysis by JLL suggests a substantial supply of private homes that could be launched – mostly in the second half of 2018 and in 2019 – the property consulting group is not alarmed. It argues that this will be timely as the pipeline supply of unsold uncompleted private homes has dwindled to 15,085 units as at the end of the second quarter of 2017 – from 21,489 units a year earlier, and the recent peak of 39,184 units as at the end of the fourth of 2011. These figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) are for projects with planning approvals.

Sharp rise in DC charges for non-landed homes amid en bloc fever
With collective-sale fever heating up in Singapore, the development charge (DC) rates for non-landed residential use has been raised by a sharp 13.8 per cent on average.  DC rates went up in 116 of the 118 geographical sectors by between six and 29 per cent, with the biggest increase of 29 per cent applying in Tampines Road, Hougang, Punggol and Sengkang.  The changes to the DC are for the period between Sept 1, 2017 and Feb 28, 2018.

Singapore Economy

More regions aboard Singapore-China project
The Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI), a joint project between Singapore and China, has expanded its network.  Three more Chinese regions have come together to partner south- western Chongqing in the initiative, bringing the joint project one step closer to meeting a key objective to boost growth in the less-developed western area of China.

Singapore, Japan investing more in each other
Japanese firms in Singapore divested US$19 billion last year, but the cut-back appears to be a one-off move. The Japanese are now back pumping money to expand and build new factories here, investing a total of US$2.8 billion in the first half of this year.  Meanwhile, egged on by more foreign investment friendly policies just implemented by Tokyo, Singapore’s direct investments in the world’s third biggest economy continued to surge. Singapore-based companies poured US$3.3 billion into Japan in January-June 2017, more than they did for the whole of 2016, according to data released by the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), the country’s official trade and investment promotion agency.

Challenges SMEs face in going cashless
Singapore is making a concerted push to go cashless, but for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), cash is still king.  Merchants told The Straits Times that adopting e-payments can be costly especially for small players and pointed out that, unlike in other countries, cashless payments have not yet become a part of everyday life here.

Singapore Real Estate

Owners driven by fears of hike in GLS supply
Owners in some developments are racing to launch collective sale tenders for their sites – driven by fear that the government could increase land sales in the first half of next year, which would mean more competition for en bloc sales.  Colliers International managing director Tang Wei Leng said: “It is a strange thing. En bloc sale owners are so united in their belief that the government is going to step up the release of land from H1 2018 and therefore they have to rush. They have to let their property be made available for tender to the developers before January 2018.”

En bloc surge has legs if pricing stays realistic
The current activity in en bloc sale transactions has legs but a number of factors could end the party, including owners’ rising price expectations.  Historical data from JLL shows that a surge in collective sale transactions typically spans about six to eight quarters.  “At the moment, we are still seeing very strong demand for land from developers,” said the property consulting group’s regional director of capital markets, Tan Hong Boon. The current heightened activity in the collective sales market could probably last until the end of next year, he reckons.

Too many deals, too few en bloc lawyers
En bloc lawyers are having to turn down deals because their plates are full. Such is the renewed fervour in the residential collective sale market, a contrast from the past couple years when few deals were launched and even fewer succeeded.  Dentons Rodyk & Davidson senior partner Lee Liat Yeang says there is a shortage of en bloc lawyers in the market.

More upside ahead for developers: Analysts
The share prices of property developers are likely to keep rising as market sentiment continues to pick up, according to analysts.  The sector has been extremely buoyant since the start of the year, with the Real Estate Developers Index up about 25 per cent.  “While stocks were generally off their peaks in June, we believe any near-term corrections in prices would be good re-entry levels to reconsider adding to property developers, given our positive stance on the residential sector,” DBS Group Research said in a recent report.

S’pore is 2nd-biggest Asian investor in global real estate
Singapore was the second-biggest Asian investor in offshore real estate in the first half, according to consultancy CBRE.  Institutional investors, property and private equity firms here ploughed US$6.8 billion (S$9.2 billion) into global real estate in the six months to June 30, up 20 per cent from the US$5.6 billion invested in the same period a year earlier.

Structural walls of HDB flats may leave room for flexible layouts
Structural walls in the middle of a Housing Board flat may soon be a thing of the past, allowing home owners to make the most of the space they have.  At Woodleigh Glen, a Build-To- Order (BTO) project in Bidadari ready in 2021, all 1,000 units will have their structural beams and columns tucked to the edges, so that residents can reconfigure the internal space according to their needs.

Solar-ready roofs for new HDB blocks
The Housing Board is reaffirming its commitment to promote sustainable living by redesigning the roofs of new blocks so solar panels can be more easily installed.  As of now, 18 projects have been earmarked, including ongoing projects in Punggol, Bidadari and Bukit Batok.

Hey, where’s the fountain?
Several unit owners at Braddell condominium E Maison have raised the question of design features that had been advertised earlier but did not feature in the completed project.  The topic came up at the condo’s first annual general meeting (AGM) recently. While the meeting broke up over a disagreement surrounding a vote for members of the management council, several owners had voiced their disquiet about certain design features.

Companies’ Brief

Keppel Land on the hunt for new chief
Keppel Land is looking for a new chief following the resignation of current chief executive officer Ang Wee Gee, who is leaving on Dec 31, 2017, to pursue other interests.  His departure comes after more than 26 years of service, the last five as CEO of Keppel Land.  Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation, who is concurrently chairman of Keppel Land, will assume the role of executive chairman of Keppel Land starting Jan 1, 2018, the company said in a filing to the bourse operator on Sunday.

Self-storage firm Beam, cashes in on vacant industrial space
The oversupply of industrial space in the market bodes well for Beam Space, says Anna Chew, CEO of the one-year-old warehousing and logistics startup, in a recent interview with The Business Times.  The “storage concierge” company – an integrated self-storage company that provides add-on services such as transportation, delivery and mobile inventory keeping – is taking advantage of the high-vacancy environment to lease space at attractive rentals.

Manulife US Reit to undertake rights issue to partly fund property acquisition
Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust (Manulife Reit) will undertake a rights issue of over 299 million new units at the issue price of US$0.695 per rights unit to raise about US$208 million to fund a proposed acquisition in New Jersey.  The Reit on Sunday said in a release that it will acquire from John Hancock Life Insurance Company the 30-storey Class A office building in Jersey City known as 10 Exchange Place, for US$313.2 million.

Surbana Jurong, partners ink MOU to develop infrastructure in Laos
Infrastructure consulting firm Surbana Jurong has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Singapore-based Mekong Group and Laos’ Phongsavanh Group to develop infrastructure projects in Laos.   The partners aim to support the government’s plan to transform land-locked Laos through infrastructure projects and to attract investments through strategically planned townships and industrial growth clusters, they said in a statement released on Friday.

Singapore firm investing $206m to build Guangxi logistics park
A Singapore company will invest an initial one billion yuan (S$206 million) to build an integrated logistics park in southern Guangxi.  Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing yesterday attended the launching ceremony for the park in Nanning city, the capital of the autonomous region.  In a short opening address, he noted that the park could play a key role in supporting the Southern Transport Corridor, a network of railways linking Guangxi to western Chongqing.

S’pore-based firm finds room for growth in HK’s co-working space
A whisky bar for networking, sleeping pods for naps, and hot desks to zone in on projects.  These will be part of Kafnu, one of the latest co-working spaces in Hong Kong to be opened next month and the first by Singapore-based company Next Story Group.  Next Story’s primary business has been in hospitality, but it is now looking to co-working and co-living as its next engine for growth, tapping into “pent-up demand” for such facilities in Hong Kong, chief marketing officer Morris Sim told The Business Times.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Why own an office when you can share it?
Sky-high office prices and changing attitudes about flexibility at the workplace are driving the growth of co-working spaces in Hong Kong, say operators of such facilities and real estate analysts.  Co-working spaces typically offer a range of short to mid-term shared office set-ups such as hot desks that have hourly, daily or monthly rates.

Cash is not king in a Smart Nation
Singapore prides itself on being at the forefront of technology and innovation but, when it comes to paying for goods and services, the adoption of electronic payments has not taken off as fast as it has in countries such as China and India.  Consumers here still prefer cash options such as notes and coins; some continue to use cheque books.

Contractors’ association’s portal helps foreign workers find new employer
Foreign workers play an important role in contributing to Singapore’s built environment.  It is imperative that all employers take responsibility for their general welfare, including paying salaries on time.

High time for construction industry to embrace high tech
Singapore likes a plan. Its success was largely built on having a master plan that linked city planning with business and social requirements. This year, the real estate industry gets its own plan: an Industry Transformation Map (ITM) developed by the government, outlining Singapore’s jobs and growth strategy for the sector.

Find ways to encourage condo owners to attend AGM
The letter “Well-run condos usually have poor AGM attendance” (Aug 24) is rather interesting.  It says condominiums “usually have many investor-owners, and it has been the norm for the majority not to attend the annual general meeting, especially if the management council runs the condo well”.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Houston home prices may rise, post-Harvey

Yahoo’s first CEO and his wife are selling their mini-utopia for US$19.4m

This airline has some Florida real estate it wants to sell you

Underground and overwhelmed? Brighten up your basement digs

Brexit offers UK office-buying boon: AustralianSuper

China’s factory growth rises, but services growth slows

Call to slap property tax on China homes to curb prices

Ghost cities haunt stability dream in far west China

Shanghai’s historic temple on the move

5,000 Malaysian hotels start imposing tourism tax

In Vancouver, property pays better than stocks or bonds

Western Australia puts out welcome mat for S’pore, Malaysia, China

Pyongyang property market booms despite UN sanctions

Frankfurt luxury flat prices rise on hopes of Brexit banking bonanza

Russian billionaire sells Zaha Hadid building

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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