The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 3rd, 4th and 5th February 2018

Top Story

Some en bloc projects running into technical road blocks
When it comes to en bloc sales, the deal’s not all sewn up when the site is awarded to a property developer.  The long-drawn collective sale process at Tampines Court shows that even after a buyer is found, the transaction can still be plagued with technical issues.  The Business Times understands that the sale process has been delayed as Sim Lian Group, the developer awarded the plot of land, awaits its Planning Permission (PP) approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).


Singapore Economy

Singapore still 2nd freest economy in the world; gap with top-ranked HK widens
Singapore retained its position as the second freest economy in the world for the 24th consecutive year, but the margin with top-ranked rival Hong Kong has widened further.  Singapore scored 88.8 points on the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation – 1.4 points shy of Hong Kong’s 90.2. Last year, the margin between the two cities was 1.2 point – up from 0.8 point the year before.

World manufacturing starts 2018 on strong note
Factories could be bracing for busy months in 2018, as the start of the year saw Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) figures of major economies keeping strong momentum, with some staying close to record highs.  Singapore’s PMI was at its highest since December 2009. In the region, the Nikkei Asean manufacturing PMI saw a return to growth in January after a subdued end to 2017.

Singapore firms urged to tap region’s potential
There is “enormous potential” across the region waiting to be tapped and Singapore companies should act sooner rather than later, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon.  To support businesses in their regional ventures, Singapore is working on trade agreements to facilitate the free flow of goods and services in the region, as well as working to remove impediments to cross-border investment, he added.

Time to relook foreign manpower restrictions?
Foreign labour restrictions have become part and parcel of doing business in Singapore. But in the run-up to Budget 2018, a segment of the business community is renewing calls to loosen manpower curbs in some fast-growing sectors.  Beyond short-term business needs there are also bigger issues at hand – including questions about Singapore’s ability to remain a dynamic economy and sustain income growth for its citizens in the long term.

Bond interest rates may determine market direction
Speculators on stocks and bitcoin learned this week that market “melt-ups” – greed-fuelled, rocket-paced rallies such as those of the last three months – are so-called because of how often they are followed by meltdowns.  With the biggest January gains since 2003, the stock market melted up at the start of the year and, last week, it melted down.

The future of insurance
In one episode of Netflix’s dystopian science fiction television series insurance company carries around a little contraption that allows her to tap into people’s memories. This highly useful device, when connected to a person’s temples, gives Black Mirror, an investigator from an a video replay of his or her memories of any given time and place.


Singapore Real Estate

Sentosa Cove penthouse up for auction in mortgagee sale
A two-level penthouse on the sixth storey of The Berth by the Cove is among the properties going under the hammer at Edmund Tie & Company’s (ET&Co) auction on Feb 28.  This will also be the first Sentosa Cove property to be put up for auction this year. It is a mortgagee sale – meaning a sale put up by the lender, usually because the borrower is facing difficulty servicing the mortgage.

Demand for shophouse units to remain strong in 2018: CBRE
Shophouses are a unique and interesting asset class in Singapore. This asset class, comprising narrow small terraced houses with a sheltered ‘five-foot’ pathway in front, is an icon of Singapore’s architectural history.  Many of these shophouse units were built prior to World World 2 and located in the old ity centres.

HDB switches to open kitchens for new flats
New Housing Board flats will now come with open kitchens, starting with this month’s Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise.  This means that the wall dividing a kitchen from the rest of a flat’s living space will no longer be offered under the Optional Component Scheme, where buyers pay for additional features such as floor finishes, sanitary fittings and room doors.

Masterplan of Singapore’s underground spaces ready by 2019
An underground masterplan that maps out Singapore’s underground spaces and their potential uses is set to be unveiled next year.  It will be released as part of the next Master Plan guiding Singapore’s development in the medium term, said Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) chief planner Hwang Yu-Ning.

Proposed home-sharing rules to be released for feedback by Q1
A consultation paper that sets out a regulatory framework for short-term accommodation will be released before April – a long-awaited move that could shed light on how home-sharing models like Airbnb can survive here.  National Development Minister Lawrence Wong told The Sunday Times the proposed regulations will be made public by the first quarter of this year, for feedback.

Bold moves in infrastructure: Thinking big pays off for Singapore planners
Whatever happened to Singapore’s Long Island Project?  A natural reaction to that would be, “What Long Island Project?”  Over time, it has become largely forgotten. But decades ago, urban planners envisioned building an island using reclaimed land off East Coast Park for recreation and with beautiful waterfront housing.  But this plan – known as the Long Island Project – has since been put aside as there was little demand for it, reveals the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) chief planner, Ms Hwang Yu-Ning, in an interview with Insight.

New ideas to feed a growing island
It was across the globe, in the Netherlands, where Singapore found an answer for land reclamation.  It is not to buy sand. Instead, the Government has been studying a 2,000-year-old Dutch reclamation method that can reduce the need for imported sand.  Known as empoldering, the method is expected to save Singapore 40 per cent in sand volume and construction cost, reveals National Development Minister Lawrence Wong – the first time such figures have been made public since works began in 2016.

Airbnb listings up 11% since S’pore ban took effect last May
Although it is against the law, Singaporeans continue to rent out their homes for short-term stays on the Airbnb online marketplace.  In fact, the number of listings for homes as well as single rooms and shared rooms has risen since the ban took effect on May 15, 2017.

Community facilities under one roof in Bedok
Singapore’s second integrated community hub opened in Bedok yesterday, bringing a sports centre, public library, community club, polyclinic and senior care centre under one roof.  Heartbeat@Bedok, which occupies a site roughly the size of three football fields, also has more than 30 retailers, including eateries.


Companies’ Brief

Frasers Property poised for growth
The word “Centrepoint” in property group Frasers Centrepoint’s name reflected the group’s history as its first project in Singapore in the 1980s was the Orchard Road shopping mall.  But since then, the group’s exposure in real estate has gone beyond retail. Its portfolio has evolved to one that cuts across asset classes and geographies, with its assets now mostly in properties that provide recurring income.

SingPost’s Q3 profit up on broad growth
Singapore Post’s third-quarter net profit rose 37.2 per cent to $43 million on better performance in its postal, e-commerce and property segments and from a one-off $6.9 million adjustment from changes in the United States corporate tax rate.  Excluding exceptional items, underlying net profit rose 11.9 per cent to $35.2 million for the three months ended December. Earnings per share for the quarter stood at 1.73 cents, up from 1.28 cents previously.


Views, Reviews & Forum

Millennials leaving the basement to buy homes
There are two themes I find endlessly fascinating about real estate. One is its enormous role in the financial crisis. The other is the steep decline in homeownership after the crisis.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the data, to see if there are any insights to be gleaned. Homeownership in the United States peaked in 2004, when 69.2 per cent of all US households owned their dwellings.

Understanding the different types of Reits
In the first part of this sector analysis last week, we examined the specific dimensions that drive the performance of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits). The four elements were level of demand (including future change in demand, market structure, long-term drivers, and corporate performance and track record.

Preparing for era of disruption
I recently had the pleasure to co-chair a panel discussion at UBS’ Wealth Insights event in Singapore. We covered a broad range of topics, from the macroeconomic outlook to Singapore’s property market.  But one area in particular left a lasting impression: innovation and its impact on Singaporean society and investors’ portfolios.  Taking a long perspective, the world’s foray into technological innovation has only just begun.

Long stays in interim flats for some who have trouble getting own homes
In 2015, salesman Tan Chin Chye moved into an interim Housing Board rental flat in Siglap.  As a sole breadwinner supporting his wife and newborn daughter, he earned a salary of $2,500 and did not qualify for the long-term Housing Board rental scheme, which targets lower-income families.  For reasons unknown to him, his applications to buy an HDB flat were denied.


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US dollar rises, but investors sceptical about lasting gains

Trump’s weak dollar upends Asian growth calculus

Non-economist takes over as Fed chief today

US stock slump hits day 9, worst in two years

Empire State Building joins landlords with retail space to fill

What’s on the block in China’s potential sale of the century?

Aussie property boom may be over as Sydney prices fall

Turning homes into a power plant

Attacking co-dependency


Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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