Slow economy leaning on private home prices
Monday’s official Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) flash estimates of a 1.5 per cent drop in Singapore’s private home prices in the third quarter surprised analysts who were expecting the market to have stabilised. It also erased any glimmer of hope there might have been of the market bottoming out after several quarters of mild price declines. Most believed that buying sentiment took a turn for the worse with the poorer economic showing and fears of an approaching recession.
Growing stability seen in HDB resale market
Signalling growing stability in the public housing market, 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. The HDB resale price index is still 9.8 per cent below the peak in the second quarter of 2013. “From the demand side, there is still much dry powder in the market, and many have felt that the market has bottomed out,” said Lee Nai Jia, head of research for South-east Asia at Edmund Tie & Company.
Singapore’s PMI finally expands with Sept reading of 50.1
Singapore’s manufacturing sector expanded marginally in September, according to the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management’s (SIPMM) purchasing managers’ index (PMI). The 50.1 reading – a 0.3-point increase from the previous month – marks the first above-50 reading after 14 consecutive months of contraction. The slight improvement was due to higher readings in new orders, new exports, and factory output.
MAS unlikely to ease monetary policy this month: Analysts
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will likely stand pat on its exchange rate-based monetary policy this month, most economists told Channel NewsAsia ahead of the central bank’s final scheduled policy review for the year. While the outlook for the Republic remains dim amid global headwinds, the situation does not seem dire enough to justify further easing, these experts said. “Things are not great but they seem more like different shades of dull, instead of flashing warning lights,” said Bank of Singapore’s chief economist Richard Jerram, adding that the city-state is likely to see gross domestic product (GDP) figures between 1.5 and 2 per cent this year.
MAS and 5 polytechnics team up to groom young fintech potential
In the latest sign of its financial technology (or fintech) ambitions, Singapore is starting them young. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has partnered the five local polytechnics to review and enhance their banking and IT-related curricula so that they are aligned with developments in the field. Sopnendu Mohanty, MAS chief fintech officer, said on Monday that the initiative seeks to nurture a pool of skilled manpower for Singapore’s growing fintech sector, and will be a key area of focus in the SkillsFuture drive for the financial sector.
More payment delays among firms in Q3; construction hardest hit: credit bureau
Payment delays, notably in the construction sector, have worsened over the year, according to the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau’s (SCCB) latest payment statistics released on Monday. Prompt payments deteriorated strongly, accounting for only 42.18 per cent of total payment transactions in the third quarter of this year, compared to a year ago when 51.05 per cent paid at least 90 per cent of their total bills on time. Slow payments have also risen markedly, accounting for more than two-fifths of payment transactions in Q3 2016.
Online hiring falls for banking sector, but strong in hospitality, IT
With a slowing economy and the Government warning of a bleak jobs market ahead, the latest data from an online employment index released on Monday (Oct 3) showed that there was a sharp decline in online job ads for the banking, financial service and insurance (BFSI) sector, as well as for real-estate professionals.
On the other hand, there was a jump in hiring activity for the hospitality sector and the IT and telecommunications industries, the Monster Employment Index (MEI) Singapore revealed.
Singapore Real Estate
Q3 property investment sales slip in absence of Q2’s Asia Square deal
Big-ticket property transactions, or what are termed investment sales of real estate, fell in the third quarter of this year from the high base in the preceding quarter (which was bolstered by the S$3.4 billion sale of Asia Square Tower 1). That said, property consultants are looking beyond the quarter-on-quarter drop and highlighting a generally rosy forecast for the full year. Savills Singapore estimates the value of investment sales in Q3 2016 at S$4.6 billion – down 36.8 per cent from S$7.27 billion in Q2 2016. It generally uses S$10 million as the minimum transaction size for its definition of investment sales, although it includes Government Land Sales (GLS) and private-sector collective sales that are below this value.
Strong interest in two new condo projects
Two new condominiums boasting competitive pricing and good locations brought buyers out in force despite the fragile economic outlook. More than 500 people have submitted cheques as an expression of interest in the 519-unit Forest Woods in Lorong Lew Lian, City Developments (CDL) said yesterday. Eager buyers also snapped up 280 out of the 626 available apartments when The Alps Residences in Tampines Street 86 was launched for sale on Sunday.
Lapse in RTO deal sends Saizen Reit tumbling
A lapse in the framework agreement for a reverse takeover (RTO) of Saizen Reit by Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby sent the Reit on a dive on Monday. Units of Saizen Reit tumbled 27 per cent to 4.3 Singapore cents, a 52-week low, after 7.13 million shares changed hands. Saizen Reit has become a cash trust since it sold its entire portfolio of Japanese regional residential properties to Triangle TMK in March for 44.66 billion yen (S$517.3 million). Most of the proceeds from the sale were paid out to unitholders via a special distribution.
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