The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 7th, 8th and 9th January 2017

Top Story

Public sector projects to boost construction demand in 2017
Amid dwindling private sector building projects, the government said on Friday that it will bolster construction demand in 2017 with more public sector projects. Some S$28 billion to S$35 billion worth of construction contracts will be awarded this year, higher than 2016’s preliminary estimate of S$26.1 billion.  Of this, 70 per cent will be made up by public sector projects, or up to S$20-24 billion. Major public sector projects include the Circle Line 6 and the second phase of PUB’s Deep Tunnel Sewerage System. There are also public housing projects and healthcare facilities such as the new National Cancer Centre at Outram. Private sector demand, likely to fall within a range of S$8-11 billion this year, would include redevelopment projects such as Funan DigitaLife Mall at North Bridge Road, Golden Shoe Carpark at Market Street and the CPF Building at Robinson Road.

Singapore Economy

Total rethink needed for S’pore economy to stay relevant: business leaders
It will not be business as usual any more for Singapore’s economy in the future, and this requires good foresight and preparation on all fronts for whatever changes that may come, business leaders have told The Business Times (BT).  Their comments, captured in BT’s first Views from the Top survey for the year, come ahead of a seminal report that will recommend ways in which Singapore can chart its future economic direction.  Chief among these corporate chiefs’ expectations of the report are how the economy and workforce can deal with disruptions, and how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can play a larger role in the economy.

Singapore Real Estate

More construction firms taking on projects below cost
More construction companies in Singapore are taking on projects at thinning margins, often even below cost, just to keep their businesses running and to justify their sunk costs.  They also do this because they need the cash to flow through and finance their other current projects, according to Rider Levett Bucknall joint managing partner Silas Loh.  At the BCA-Redas Built Environment and Property Prospects seminar on Friday, Mr Loh said that he would not be surprised to see construction firms winding up this year.

2017 likely to be a year of large M&A deals for Singapore
2017 has started off a lot bolder and more frenzied than the preceding year for the local market, with serious money chasing big Singapore assets in a surprisingly early flurry of deal-making.  In the first week of 2017 alone, as many as two prominent Singapore-listed firms have signalled that they are up for sale; and the coming 12 months are likely to see elevated merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in large and mid-caps, market participants said.  The surge in interest in major M&A here – particularly from Chinese investors – comes after a protracted period of sliding valuations on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), which has lured bargain hunters to town.

Three parties shortlisted for Jurong Point
Macquarie, Blackstone and Frasers Centrepoint have been shortlisted for the purchase of Guthrie and Lee Kim Tah’s space in Jurong Point mall.  The Business Times understands that Macquarie and Blackstone have each offered about S$2.2 billion – crossing S$3,350 per square foot (psf) on the 658,000 square foot commercial net lettable area owned by the equal joint-venture between Lee Kim Tah Holdings and Guthrie GTS in Jurong Point. The net yield is about 4 per cent.  Frasers Centrepoint’s offer is said to be below S$2 billion. The trio are now doing due diligence on the asset before they finalise their bids.

JTC gives O&M lessees and tenants rental rebates of 3-10% for 2017
To support the beleaguered offshore and marine (O&M) industry through a protracted downturn, JTC has given between 3 per cent and 10 per cent in rental rebates to all its O&M tenants and lessees for 2017.  This marks the first rental rebate for industrial properties in Singapore since the global financial crisis in 2009.  While the industry welcomed the move, some have questioned how far it would go towards tackling deeper, structural problems plaguing the sector.

Companies’ Brief

Lum Chang unit completes sale of interest in subsidiaries
Lum Chang Holdings said on Monday that its unit Lum Chang Orion has completed the disposal of interest in two subsidiaries.  Lum Chang Orion had on Friday sold 11.4 million shares in Pembridge Palace Holdco (PPHL) to ITC Investment & Technology Group Companies. PPHL, through its unit Pembridge Palace Propco Limited, owns the freehold interest in a London hotel located at 52 to 57 Princes Square.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Services in Rochor till last resident leaves
Where there used to be lively crowds, Rochor Centre is now a ghost town to Bryanna Koh, 16.  “I have lived here all my life. I have so many fond memories of my home, and it has never been so quiet,” she said.  By the middle of next month, Bryanna and her family of five will possibly be the last household to depart the iconic Rochor Centre, which will be demolished to make way for the North-South Expressway.

Maintain property curbs until economy shows sustainable growth
Standard Chartered Bank Singapore chief executive Judy Hsu noted that this year, a cooling property market is likely to dampen the growth of the Singapore economy (“Bank chiefs eye growth areas to bank on amid volatility“; Jan 2).  However, I urge the authorities to maintain the property cooling measures until the local economy shows sufficiently strong and sustainable growth, supported by gainful employment and reasonable wage increases.  Relaxing the property cooling measures would encourage marginal buyers to commit to purchases and mortgages up to the limit of their earning capabilities, over loan tenures of 25 years or more.

Singapore landlord finally hears its investors knocking
Global Logistic Properties Ltd (GLP), a Singapore-traded landlord with a US$40 billion warehouse portfolio in China, Japan, Brazil and the US, was crying out for some honest-to-goodness investor activism. A little belatedly, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund is prodding it to release what could be billions of dollars of trapped shareholder value.  It is still not too late for GLP to open the locks, though it might have fetched a better price by hawking itself to a potential Chinese buyer when the mainland was more relaxed about capital outflows.

The Population White Paper – Time to revisit an unpopular policy?
Three years ago in January 2013, the Government released the now infamous Population White Paper. To say the reaction was negative would be an understatement: not only did the White Paper elicit the normal grumblings that Singaporeans are well known for, but it also sparked online protests and real-world ones at Hong Lim Park where one rallying cry was “Singapore for Singaporeans”.  Since then, populist anti-immigrant anger has swept through several developed countries in the West. The political tidal wave produced Brexit in Britain and helped propel Mr Donald Trump to victory in last November’s United States presidential election.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Rising REITs back bets on stronger economy

Anbang in talks with Kushner to overhaul building in NYC: source

Two small businesses file liens on Trump’s DC luxury hotel

Trump’s son-in-law poised to resign as CEO of real estate firm

Tycoon Li Ka-shing sees Hong Kong property prices rising amid curbs

China home prices, property investment likely to rise in 2017

Shanghai suspends sales of commercial office projects

China’s forex reserves fell for sixth straight month in December to lowest level since 2011

China zooms ahead in renewable energy sector

Toronto housing posts record year in 2016 amid supply shortage

Recession flatlines Lagos property projects

Get set for smarter homes as Internet of Things takes off

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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