The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 4th, 5th and 6th March 2017

Top Story

Woodlands pilot to allow more flexible use of industrial space
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and JTC will be piloting new land use guidelines at a multi-tenanted building to be developed by JTC and located within Woodlands North Coast on a site zoned Business 1-White.  Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran had raised this point in his speech in parliament on Friday, saying the move is in response to demand for more flexible use of industrial space.

Singapore Economy

Q4 corporate earnings mixed, but estimates are already at trough
Singapore-listed companies turned in a mixed set of results for the final quarter of 2016, but two years of downward expectation revisions could be near an end, analysts said.  Of the 237 companies with December year-ends that had reported their fourth-quarter results as at 9pm on Friday, 172 posted profits compared to 65 that announced losses, or about eight in the black for every three in the red, according to data compiled by BT.

Singapore gives fiscal boost to firms and workers to go further
Singapore is doubling down on efforts to tap into external markets and beefing up its domestic sectors to ensure that the economy can grow steadily.  From facilitating the flow of innovative ideas and entrepreneurial talent to a financing scheme for small local firms taking on infrastructure projects elsewhere and helping such firms get the know-how and tools to scale up, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) unveiled a barrage of initiatives aimed at helping local companies grow and reach deeper into markets overseas.

Singapore opens doors and access to funds for foreign entrepreneurs
While economies elsewhere are shutting foreign talent out, Singapore is making moves to poach some of the world’s brightest minds to feed its ambition to become the next Silicon Valley.  The city-state’s government officials announced on Friday a slew of initiatives aimed at beefing up its startup scene, as the economy moves into a higher-value, innovative space.

Market decides rents; but govt will step in when necessary
The government will continue to keep a close eye on business costs, even as it took the stance of letting market forces set the price of rentals.  Private sectors will be allowed to provide “the responses to supplying the demand”, said Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang during the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Committee of Supply debate yesterday.

Singapore Real Estate

Singapore millennials favour investing in property
Singapore’s millennials, defined as those who are currently between the ages of 25 and 34 years, favour investing in property as a means to achieve financial security. But their satisfaction with rental yield is the lowest in Asia.  The latest Manulife Investor Sentiment Index (Manulife ISI) survey has found that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Singapore millennials aim to purchase local property, with two out of five intending to do so for investment purposes to generate rental income.

New HDB block designs to factor in childcare needs
While mega childcare centres in standalone buildings are being set up to help meet growing pre-school demand, the Government has also been making advance plans over the past year for larger centres in upcoming Housing Board blocks.  This includes centres offering 200 places – double the number offered by most of those in HDB blocks now. The actual capacity will vary from project to project and could be fewer than 200, depending on the project scale and other space and design considerations. “Nevertheless, they will be, on average, larger than recently completed centres,” said Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) chief executive Eugene Leong, 41, in his first media interview since taking on the role in 2015.

Retailers snag prime spots for flagships amid lower rentals
Rising vacancies and plunging rentals in shopping malls may be a headache for landlords, but it is not all bad news for retailers who have taken advantage of lower rentals to snag prime locations for their flagship stores.  More than 10 flagship stores were set up islandwide last year, noted property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield’s research director Christine Li. This is the highest number since the global financial crisis in 2009, she said.

More seniors opting for shorter two-room leases
Given a choice, many elderly applicants are opting for shorter leases under the Two-room Flexi Scheme, figures from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) show.  And with the encouraging response so far, the board will launch more Build-To-Order projects with such flats.  In BTO and Sale of Balance Flats exercises for which flat selection has been completed, 85 per cent of elderly buyers who have booked flats under the scheme opted for short leases, said the HDB.

Soaring Hong Kong office rents now triple those of Singapore
Hong Kong’s office rents are almost three times higher than those in Singapore as property markets in the two cities diverged sharply in recent years, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield.  The gap has boosted Singapore’s appeal as a competitive business hub and made it a more attractive location for companies to house their regional headquarters, said the report released on Friday.  Hong Kong’s office rental premium over Singapore – in US dollars and after adjusting for inflation – has reached 195 per cent as at end-2016, according to an analysis done by Cushman & Wakefield.

$900m urban training area in the west to hone soldiers’ skills
A new training area the size of Bishan town will be built in western Singapore to let soldiers hone their urban and coastal defence fighting skills in realistic settings.  One sector of the 88ha area – dubbed Safti City – will be packed with shophouse clusters, high-rise interconnected buildings, low-rise residences, basement carparks, a bus interchange and even an MRT station with multiple exits.

New option for more exposure to Reits in Asia
Investors keen to get more exposure to real estate investment trusts (Reits) in Asia will have another option in an upcoming exchange-traded fund on the Singapore Exchange.  The Asia ex-Japan Reit ETF by Nikko Asset Management (Nikko AM) and Straits Trading will track the performance of large- cap, well-managed Reits in the region outside Japan, Australia and New Zealand.  An ETF is a listed and tradable fund that replicates the performance of a selected index or commodity. In this case, it is benchmarked to the FTSE Russell Epra/Nareit Asia ex-Japan Net Total Return Reit Index.

Companies’ Brief

Surbana to help with low-cost, affordable residential projects in Myanmar
Surbana International Consultants (Myanmar) on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association (MCEA) to be the latter’s lead technical consultant for low-cost and affordable housing projects in Myanmar.  The signing is timely as the MCEA has been working with the Union Government to meet the demand for low-cost and affordable housing amid rising home ownership in the country, Surbana Jurong said in a press release. it said.

Mid-scale Hilton opens to changing S’pore tourist profile
With the change in visitor profile and Singapore aggressively targeting middle income guests in the past two years, it is timely for American hospitality group Hilton to open its first Hilton Garden Inn here.  This was revealed by its global head John Greenleaf.  Hilton Garden Inn Serangoon opens in May, despite the total inventory of 63,850 rooms across 413 hotels already existing in the island republic.

Mapletree Industrial Trust wins S$60m BTS data centre project
Mapletree Industrial Trust (MIT) on Sunday announced that it will develop a build-to-suit (BTS) data centre for an established data centre operator at an estimated cost of S$60 million. The data centre development project, MIT’s third such project, will be located in Singapore’s West region.  The six-storey purpose-built data centre with a gross floor area of about 242,000 square feet will be fully leased to the client for an initial term of more than 10 years with staggered rental escalations and renewal options, said MIT’s manager Mapletree Industrial Trust Management in the announcement.

Chip Eng Seng sells 420 units of Grandeur Park Residences
Construction and property development group Chip Eng Seng Corp sold 420 units – or more than half of the project – over the first weekend sales of Grandeur Park Residences in the heart of Tanah Merah.  “We are happy with the sales performance, which is within expectations,” Chng Chee Beow, executive director of CEL Development, told The Business Times.  The condominium project is undertaken by Chip Eng Seng’s property development arm CEL Development. The weekend sale includes two commercial shops.

Court dismisses Perennial’s winding-up application for Capitol entities
The High Court has dismissed Perennial Real Estate Holdings’ (Perennial) application to wind up its joint entities with Pontiac Land unit Chesham Properties. These were the entities that developed the Capitol integrated development project.  Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh acknowledged the deadlock between the shareholders, but accepted Chesham’s argument that it would not be just and equitable to wind up the companies because there is an exit mechanism available to Perennial under the constitutions of the companies which provide one party to offer to sell its shares to the other at a fair value.

Ascendas-Singbridge, partners break ground for former CPF building
Redevelopment work on the former CPF Building at 79 Robinson Road began on Friday with a ground-breaking ceremony held by the Ascendas-Singbridge Group and its joint-venture partners Mitsui & Co Ltd and Tokyo Tatemono Co Ltd.  This project marks Ascendas-Singbridge’s maiden office development in Singapore’s Central Business District and Tokyo Tatemono’s foray into the Singapore market.

Far East buying GCB in King Albert Park for S$43.8m
Property heavyweight Far East Organization is buying a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) on a freehold site of over 39,000 square feet at 16 King Albert Park.  The plan is to amalgamate the site with four adjoining plots the group already owns before redeveloping the enlarged site of over 100,000 sq ft into several bungalows which the group will hold as an investment property for rental income.  Far East is paying S$43.8 million for 16 King Albert Park, translating to S$1,117 per square foot (psf) based on the freehold land area of 39,228 sq ft. The group’s existing four plots add up to 69,803 sq ft.

Views, Reviews & Forum

A close watch on land prices
The recent rise in charges imposed by the Government when developers enhance the use of a property site – such as building a larger project – points to improving sentiment in some real estate sectors.  Interest in buying land among developers and investors is strong.  By and large, analysts do not expect the move to have a major impact on the property market, but they note that it shows the Government keeps a close watch on land prices.

Lessons in sustainability from Tianjin Eco-City
Tianjin Eco-City can drive innovation and greater environmental awareness and achievement in Singapore (“S’pore, China ink pacts to deepen cooperation in bilateral projects”; Feb 28).  The eco-city’s per capita water use target is 120 litres per day, about 15 per cent less than Singapore’s target of 140 litres per day by 2030. It also aims for 20 per cent of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. Can Singapore have similarly ambitious targets?

What CPF grants are there for flat buyers?
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant for families, also known as the Family Grant, is for eligible first-time house-hunters with an income ceiling of $12,000 buying resale flats or executive condominiums directly from the property developer.  Previously capped at $30,000, the grant was recently raised to $50,000 for those buying four-room or smaller resale flats, and to $40,000 for those buying five-room or larger resale flats.

Passions find pride of place in cosy home
A two-bedroom unit at Landmark Tower has been the object of Mr Adrian Loo’s affection for 16 years.  Over the last 20 years, Mr Loo has invested in a handful of properties, but this 16th-floor unit in Chin Swee Road is the place he calls home – a cosy and comfortable setting which reflects the passions and the personality of a single man in his early 50s.  The unit has an unobstructed view of lush greenery within its precincts, and of the Marina Bay area in the distance. In the evenings, the sweeping views of the city can be breathtaking, Mr Loo says.

Increase in CPF housing grants will bring families closer together
Views on the impact of the increase in Central Provident Fund housing grants for first-time applicants for resale flats vary (“Bigger resale grant a shot in the arm for weak market: Analysts”; Feb 22).  Based on the principle of supply and demand, other things being equal, it is likely that there will be some price increase, as resale flats have become more affordable, which will lead to more demand.  Still, the increased grant helps young families and even their older folks, who may need help to top up the money for such flats — so long as the expected increase in resale prices does not nullify the increase in grants.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

March rate hike likely, but banking outlook still not certain

At Manhattan’s biggest condo project, 100 sales is just a start

$28m for Grey Gardens

Uncertain times in London commercial property

Morgan Stanley might sell its 12% stake in ‘Walkie Talkie’

Chinese Property Investors Could Exit U.S. as Asia Beckons

China sets 6.5% growth target, with eye on stability

China markets chief exits crisis mode with cautious reforms

Foreign investors ‘leery of going into China’

Bandar Malaysia set to take shape, with initial $3.2b funding

Vancouver home sales up 59% in February

Sydney Housing Worries May Mean RBA Will Hold Rates

Myanmar seeks to revive Dawei development

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

Scroll to Top