The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 8 April 2020 (Wed)


Singapore Real Estate

Landlords not worse off with tax rebate law, says Heng
A new law that obliges commercial property owners to unconditionally pass on their property tax rebate in full to their tenants does not make these property owners worse-off, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

Landlords must pass on rebates to tenants in timely manner
Property owners will have to pass on the property tax rebates received to their tenants in the form of monetary payment or reduction in rentals in a timely manner and without conditions, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament yesterday, introducing new legislation meant to ensure support measures reach the intended recipients.

Limits for deferred loan payments waived: MAS
Certain limits for deferred payments on mortgages and consumer loans will be waived to help borrowers tide over the economic slump. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) clarified yesterday that the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) will not apply to deferment of mortgage repayments for residential, commercial, or industrial properties, refinancing of owner-occupied residential mortgages, and unsecured credit facilities such as credit cards and personal loans.

Shanmugam addresses concerns on rent deferment
The deferment of rent payment is meant to give tenants breathing space and short-term liquidity, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, but he stressed that it does not mean tenants do not have to pay rent.

Singapore office rents to decline amid Covid-19 pandemic
Market watchers are expecting office rents in Singapore to decline in the coming months, amid the coronavirus pandemic that is showing no signs of abating. “The office market has peaked, with Grade A central business district (CBD) rents falling by 0.5 per cent to S$10.61 per square foot per month (psf pm) during the first three months of 2020 over the last quarter of 2019,” Cushman & Wakefield said in a press statement on Tuesday.


Companies’ Brief

Chinese tycoon Tong Jinquan sells substantial stake in IReit Global to key unitholders Tikehau, CDL
Chinese tycoon Tong Jinquan has sold a substantial stake in IReit Global to the real estate investment trust’s key unitholders and strategic partners, Tikehau Capital and City Developments (CDL), for S$64 million.

Fitch Ratings cuts LMIRT outlook to negative due to coronavirus impact
Fitch Ratings has lowered its outlook on Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust’s (LMIRT) long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to negative from stable due to the coronavirus outbreak. The negative outlook is based on an expectation that the pandemic will impact operating earnings, with average occupancy rate dropping to around 50 per cent in 2020, Fitch Ratings said on Monday.

SPH holds off on investments, cuts interim dividend
Investment activity at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will be put on hold to conserve cash while the interim dividend will be cut, in view of the challenging outlook caused by the coronavirus crisis. The company made the announcements yesterday as it reported a 9.3 per cent fall in half-year net profit to $77.6 million.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Coronavirus: Three areas to watch to see if ‘circuit breakers’ are working
Singapore has implemented “circuit breakers” for four weeks, from yesterday, to try to stem the rise in Covid-19 cases. On Sunday, there were 120 new cases – the first time this number has exceeded 100 – and a big jump from the previous high of 75 new cases. As of Monday, 344 of the 1,375 people infected with Covid-19 have fully recovered. Six have died.

Will Singapore become bankrupt?’
A little girl’s question drew a resounding “no” from Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament yesterday. In this edited excerpt of his speech, Mr Heng stressed the importance of resilience and fiscal prudence to cope with the coronavirus crisis. He was rounding up debate on additional measures to help businesses and individuals cope with the pandemic. Three Budgets have been presented in 48 days to deal with the fast-escalating crisis.

It’s make-or-break time for Singapore
Singapore has finally shut schools and curbed non-essential physical interaction in an attempt to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission. The next month is a make-or-break time as residents decide on the fate of the nation.

Showing solidarity to help businesses, individuals survive Covid-19 challenges
The Covid-19 circuit-breaker measures have effectively kicked in, placing an even greater strain on businesses that are already finding it extremely difficult to survive in today’s climate of uncertainty. With the International Monetary Fund declaring that the world is facing an even greater downturn than the global financial crisis, Singapore, which is dependent on the global economy, cannot escape the economic effects of the coronavirus.

Why Singapore is Asia’s emerging hub for deep tech
Singapore outlined its vision for the country’s tech ecosystem during the Budget announcement in February this year. By injecting S$300 million into the Startup SG Equity co-investment scheme, the government seeks to accelerate development of deep-tech innovations in the country by providing startups in the field with greater access to capital, expertise and industry networks.

Registered societies, firms allowed to hold virtual AGMs
Registered societies and companies are now allowed to conduct annual general meetings (AGMs) through alternative means, to keep in line with safe distancing measures to fight the coronavirus under a new law passed yesterday.

Companies get more time to hold AGMs amid Covid-19 pandemic
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) are giving companies a 60-day time extension to hold their annual general meetings (AGMs). The move comes amid the Covid-19 pandemic which may see some companies having difficulties in holding their AGMs and filing their annual returns, ACRA said on Tuesday.

June seen as earliest possible window for polls after introduction of Bill
Singaporeans could go to the polls in June, said political observers, noting that this was the earliest possible window for the general election after the introduction of a Bill setting out arrangements for an election during the Covid-19 crisis.


Singapore Budget 2020


Singapore sets aside $60 billion for fight against virus: DPM Heng
Parliament yesterday urgently approved plans to heavily subsidise the wage bills of more than 1.9 million workers, support their families and keep businesses afloat, marshalling an extra $54 billion in Singapore’s fight against the coronavirus.

Job losses would be major cost to lives, society, says DPM
While saving lives is the Government’s topmost priority amid the Covid-19 pandemic, saving jobs comes next, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday. This is because when people are out of a job, there is a major cost to individual lives and to society, he told Parliament.

Help for firms to build resilience, position them for recovery
Building resilience among Singapore firms will position them for recovery and save jobs – which is a key thrust that underpins the economic support being provided amid the coronavirus pandemic. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday that Singapore is building economic resilience by ensuring that viable businesses are not permanently damaged but are able to preserve their capabilities for recovery.

S’poreans’ values critical to tackling next crisis after Covid-19, says DPM
Whether Singapore can tackle the next crisis after the coronavirus will depend critically on the values of its people, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. In his round-up speech yesterday after Parliament debated the supplementary budget, Mr Heng said he was grateful to be able to tap the “deep reservoirs of strength and resourcefulness” of Singaporeans, beyond the nation’s financial reserves.

More cash in hand for S’poreans – and family supporting them
This year’s Budgets provide direct support for families, with more for the lower income, to support a resilient society, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. He said he shared a concern raised by Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) that some Singaporean families may have non-citizen members who support the family but currently do not benefit from cash payouts in the Care and Support Package.

Increased income support for lower-wage workers
More workers will get help from the Short-Term Relief Fund during the coronavirus pandemic, as coverage is extended to half the resident workforce, up from 20 per cent previously. Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad announced the increased support in Parliament yesterday in the debate over the supplementary budget.

Firms with staff on flexi-work for at least 1 month can apply for grant
Companies implementing staggered work hours and telecommuting will have easier access to government funds. Firms will now need only to have staff on flexi-work arrangements for one month, instead of six, in order to qualify for the Ministry of Manpower’s Work-Life Grant.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation

Day 1 of shutdown sees city go quiet, but not in heartland
Eerie scenes played out across downtown Singapore yesterday, as usually crowded areas in the Central Business District and Orchard Road turned into ghost towns. City-bound trains had empty seats during the morning rush hour, traffic on the roads was lighter and malls were nearly empty.

Ban on social gatherings of any size in homes or public areas
Social gatherings of any size, in homes or public spaces, are not allowed under a new law on the coronavirus pandemic that was rushed through Parliament yesterday. The ban includes having private parties or gatherings with families or friends not living together, at home or in public spaces like parks and Housing Board void decks, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Proposed law does not alter sanctity of contracts: Minister
The proposed law to provide temporary protection for those unable to fulfil their contractual obligations due to the Covid-19 outbreak does not change the fundamental sanctity of contracts made in Singapore, Law Minister K. Shanmugam told Parliament yesterday.

Event deposits protected, but need not be refunded at once
New laws have been passed that will protect deposits for event-and tourism-related contracts from being forfeited if the booking is affected by the coronavirus outbreak. But these deposits will not have to be refunded immediately in every case, as making such payments could impose a severe financial impact on some parties, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday.

Over 7,000 advisories issued to the public for safe distancing breaches
More than 7,000 written advisories were issued yesterday to members of the public who breached the stricter safe distancing measures that kicked in on the first day of Singapore’s “circuit breaker” month. Most of the breaches occurred at hawker centres and markets, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said in a statement last night.

Coronavirus: Circuit-breaker mode – what you can and cannot do
With Singapore going into “circuit-breaker” mode from yesterday and home-based learning for students starting today, The Straits Times answers questions some still have about what they can do.

Banks here extend aid for retail, business customers
Banks in Singapore are extending additional relief measures to help their retail and business customers, in support of efforts rolled out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and financial institutions last week to ease the financial strain caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Task force to support foreign workers and dorm operators
An inter-agency task force has been set up to provide support to foreign workers and dormitory operators, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday. With the “circuit breaker” measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus kicking in yesterday, leading to the closure of most worksites, foreign workers are not able to go to work.

Task force to tap business leaders, prepare for recovery
The new task force set up to chart Singapore’s course beyond the coronavirus outbreak will comprise business leaders with rich experience in key areas such as digitalisation and connectivity, as well as broad perspectives on the global economy, the Future Economy Council said.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Europe weighs a half-trillion euro plan to stem coronavirus recession

US dollar is still king, even as coronavirus slams country

UK housing market on hold due to coronavirus crisis: Halifax

Signs that outbreak levelling off in New York, other areas

Airbnb raises US$1b to stockpile cash in pandemic

WeWork sues Japan’s SoftBank for backing out of deal

Rent strikes loom across Canada as coronavirus kills daily-wage jobs

China’s big developers shrug off short-term virus impact to splurge on land

China’s commodities industry shows signs of recovery

The hope in China’s uphill task to reboot its stricken economy

job ads dive most in decade in taste of pain to come

State of emergency in 7 Japanese prefectures


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