Budget to help firms prepare for long term
Budget 2017 will likely focus on preparing businesses and industries for long-term growth in line with policies outlined by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE). Mr Liang Eng Hwa, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry, told The Straits Times that the key task for the Government will be to execute the recommendations of the CFE, which was convened early last year to plan economic strategies for the next decade. “Necessarily, the focus will be on mid- to long-term transformations – how we can develop corporate capabilities, help companies leverage on the digital economy, help them explore overseas markets, and more rigorously upskill Singaporean workers,” said Mr Liang.
Singapore Real Estate
Geopolitical tensions could drive real estate flows to Asia: RCA
Uncertainty in Europe and the US could divert capital allocations for real estate into Asia, Robert White, founder and president of Real Capital Analytics (RCA) believes. In an interview with The Business Times on Tuesday, he said that institutional property investors are re-assessing the markets and countries that they are in. In 2016, the biggest declines in transactions have been seen in the traditional recipient markets such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and even the US to a lesser degree. The biggest gainers were second-tier markets such as The Netherlands, South Korea and Spain.
Industry cool to tweaking short-term rentals of private homes
Condominium representatives and industry watchers have panned the latest proposals by the government to reduce the minimum rental period for private housing and to create a new class of private homes for short-term rentals. Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong had offered scant details on these proposals on Monday, when he told Parliament that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) was studying the options before releasing more details. Until then, however, a key amendment to the Planning Act read on Monday will make it illegal for private homes to be rented out for under six months, in line with an existing URA guideline.
Prevailing market conditions may influence cost of new HDB flats: Lawrence Wong
Prevailing market conditions may affect prices of new HDB units offered under the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 7). He was responding to a question by Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang on the pricing mechanism of units under Build-To-Order (BTO) and SBF exercises and why prices could differ for the same flat in different exercises. Mr Wong explained that prices of balance flats may be slightly higher as they are closer to completion. The prices may also be updated if there is a change in prevailing market conditions.
Concrete chunks fall from ceiling of 43-year-old flat
They ignored the warning signs, even though they had had the problem before. In the wee hours of Monday morning, Madam Chen Xiuying was on her way to the toilet when concrete pieces from her kitchen ceiling landed in front of her. The 70-year-old told Shin Min Daily News yesterday that they fell just 2m away. Her husband, retiree Lee Zhanwu, said: “We had noticed two cracks of about 30cm before Chinese New Year but thought we would report them later on. We didn’t think too much about it.”
2 in 5 don’t pick HDB flat after being shortlisted
Two in five applicants for Housing Board flats between 2012 and 2016 did not go on to pick a flat after being shortlisted to do so. The most common reasons were that their preferred units had been snapped up, they wanted to apply for flats in other sales exercises, or they had changed their minds and wanted to consider other options. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said this in Parliament yesterday in response to Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC), who asked for the rate of rejection of flats under the Build-to-Order (BTO) or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) schemes.
First Sponsor profit jumps on partial divestment of stake in China project
A Sharp fourth-quarter fall in revenue dragged First Sponsor Group to a gross loss S$6.6 million for the three months ended Dec 31, 2016. But thanks to huge “other gains” of S$98.8 million stemming mainly from the partial divestment of its stake in a China project, the group posted a more than doubling in net profit to S$72.9 million for the quarter from S$31.9 million a year ago. First Sponsor separately announced on Tuesday a collaboration with Dutch property developer Provast to develop three residential blocks in Amsterdam Southeast.
UOL, SingLand confident of year’s first launch
UOL Group and Singapore Land are expecting “good traction” for the first project launch of the year, The Clement Canopy, on Feb 25. Showflats will open to public on Feb 11. At a press briefing on Tuesday, UOL deputy group CEO Liam Wee Sin said the developers are riding on the positive market sentiment: “We are seeing it quite clearly, seriously, in our launches. We are seeing a lot more traction across the board for all our projects.”
Frasers Tower attracts diverse sectors
Frasers Centrepoint Limited (FCL) said it has received interest for some 30 per cent of office space at new office development Frasers Tower, which was officially launched on Tuesday. This includes its first pre-lease commitment of 20,000 sq ft inked with regional serviced office provider The Executive Centre, which is taking an entire floor. The 235-metre tall development at Cecil Street will have a total 663,000 sq ft of net lettable office space in its 38-storey tower and 22,000 sq ft of net retail space in an adjacent three-storey retail podium featuring mainly F&B offerings.
Lippo makes S$103m takeover offer for Healthway Medical
Two weeks after buying into troubled healthcare group International Healthway Corp (IHC) through OUE, the Riadys have jumped ahead to seek control of IHC’s former parent Healthway Medical Corporation through an estimated S$103 million takeover offer for Singapore’s largest clinic chain. The offer could mean an exit for Healthway shareholders ahead of a potential convertible notes issue that is likely to be highly dilutive for them. Substantial shareholder Gentle Care has made a voluntary conditional cash offer for all the shares of Healthway at S$0.042 in cash apiece.
Perennial Real Estate’s Q4 profit falls 38% to S$25.56m
Perennial Real Estate Holdings on Wednesday posted a nearly 38 per cent fall in net profit for its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2016, to S$25.56 million, down from S$41.1 million a year ago. Revenue also fell some 24 per cent to S$21.5 million, compared with the S$28.4 million registered in the same period last year. Perennial said that the decrease was due mainly to lower rental revenue from TripleOne Somerset, as expiring leases were not renewed due to asset enhancement works which have commenced since Q2. Earnings per share for the quarter came up to 1.53 Singapore cents, down from 2.48 cents in the previous year.
Yanlord acquires additional stake in Shenzhen site for S$343m
Singapore-listed China residential property developer Yanlord Land Group said on Tuesday evening that it has acquired an additional interest of 19.9 per cent in Shenzhen Long Wei Xin Investment Co for 1.665 billion yuan (S$343 million) on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis. The net tangible asset (NTA) value of the acquisition based on the accounts at end-2016 was about 113 million yuan, Yanlord said. The NTA reflects the historical value of the land.
Views, Reviews & Forum
HDB should form its own lift maintenance unit
The launch of the Lift Enhancement Programme to improve safety is timely (“Town councils to get over S$63m a year to maintain, replace lifts”; Feb 3). Lifts are workhorses, providing uninterrupted service, and reputable manufacturers do not make bad lifts, though incompetent maintenance could cause failure. It is imperative that owners of large fleets have the maintenance capability to ensure reliable operations.
Strata title rules can be improved even more
The proposed changes to the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, aimed at curbing so-called “proxy wars”, are welcome (“Plan to limit proxies one can hold at condo meetings“; Feb 2). However, even with the amendments currently under consideration, there are more issues to be addressed. One such issue is the use of lots to count votes.
Surbana’s actions in axing staff not acceptable: Swee Say
The move by Surbana Jurong – a Temasek Holdings-owned infrastructure consultancy – to publicly label the 54 employees it recently axed as “poor performers” is unacceptable, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Tuesday. He made the comment in parliament in response to queries from two members of the House, Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng and non-constituency MP Daniel Goh. Dr Tan had asked for an update on the ministry’s investigations into the incident, while Associate Professor Goh of the opposition Workers’ Party wanted to know more about the due and fair process to terminate a worker due to poor performance.
CDLHT’s overseas business can mitigate domestic headwinds
A sizeable increase in hotel room supply in Singapore could mean that the local hotel industry will remain challenging for CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT) this year. Headwinds in the global economy are also lending to weaker corporate demand, especially from the oil & gas, offshore marine and shipping sectors. Singapore accounts for a sizeable chunk of CDLHT’s portfolio, translating to 62 per cent of its FY16 net property income (NPI). This is down from 66 per cent in FY15, due to a UK property acquired in October that year.
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Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate
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