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 July 2018

Top Story

No rationale for tough cooling measures: Redas
The government’s latest measures to cool the private residential market drew a sharp response from the Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore (Redas).  In a statement on Friday, Redas said there is no rationale for the tough measures, including the new non-remittable additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) of 5 per cent on developers’ purchase of residential properties for development.|

Singapore Economy

Trade war will affect global economy significantly: Heng
A trade war between the United States and China will affect the global economy significantly and unsettle financial markets, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.  Singapore has to watch the developments with great caution, he added in response to questions from reporters during a ministerial community visit yesterday.

New deals inked to drive Asean smart cities
Several Asean cities inked agreements with corporate partners in Singapore yesterday, to gear up to become “smart cities”.  The five agreements included a letter of intent between Chonburi’s Amata Smart City in Thailand and the Yokohama Urban Solution Alliance, to work on a smart energy management system.

Singapore beats NY, Seoul in ranking of smart city govts
Singapore edged ahead of Seoul and New York to rank second in an inaugural study that unveiled the top 50 smart city governments in the world.  Conducted by Eden Strategy Institute and OXD, the study analysed the various smart city approaches that governments adopt. London claimed the top spot.

Singapore Real Estate

Developers home in on discounts as cooling measures hit
Property developers are courting home buyers with additional direct discounts or rebates, days after the Government introduced new measures to cool the private residential market.  Some are also raising commissions to get agents to bring buyers to their launches, in anticipation of buying sentiment being hit by higher Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates and tighter loan limits introduced on Thursday.

Interest in commercial, industrial space may rise
Interest in commercial and industrial property could shoot up as investors look for alternative opportunities following last week’s tough cooling measures for residential real estate, say consultants.  Retail investors who can afford a higher capital outlay could turn to strata-titled offices and conserved shophouses that are zoned commercial, Ms Christine Li, Cushman & Wakefield’s senior director of research, told The Straits Times.

En bloc fever set to be tamed, big sites at greatest risk: analysts
Property consultants generally do not expect the latest property cooling measures to bring the current en bloc cycle to a complete halt, though things will slow down drastically.  The hike in residential land acquisition costs for developers will clip the prices they are willing to pay for land. Home buying demand will also take a beating due to higher additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) rates and lower loan-to-value (LTV) limits.

Slower growth in home loans expected from cooling measures
Home buyers will be hit hard by the latest property cooling measures since the lower borrowing limits require them to stump up a lot more cash, say bankers.  With the new set of cooling measures comprising a reduced loan-to-value (LTV) limit and increased additional buyer stamp duty (ABSD), new property buyers will require more cash/CPF funds for their downpayments, said Tok Geok Peng, DBS Bank head of secured lending.

Trade tensions, rising interest rates ‘likely triggered property tightening’
In the face of rising external risks, Singapore policymakers may have chosen to introduce the latest round of property cooling measures sooner rather than later, say economists.  “The main thing is being very pre-emptive,” said UOB economist Francis Tan, adding that cooling the market now could help reduce any future volatility.

‘A sledgehammer to kill a fly’: Experts surprised by ‘severity’ of new property curbs
Almost all categories of private residential property buyers have been affected by the Singapore government’s decision to raise the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) and tighten the loan-to-value (LTV) limits on residential property purchases.

Over 1,000 condo units sold in one night as buyers race the clock
In just one night, over a thousand units were sold in three condominium projects, which were launched in knee-jerk reaction to the announced changes to the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) and loan-to-value (LTV) limits.  Some 510 units at the 1,472-unit Riverfront Residences in Hougang were sold at an average S$1,200 per square foot (psf) – a level said to be just marginally above its breakeven price. The project sits on the former Rio Casa HUDC site, which was acquired in May last year by a consortium led by Oxley Holdings for S$706 per square foot per plot ratio.

Property stocks to remain the hot topic in town
Traders will have plenty to work on this week as the twin troubles of property cooling measures and trade tariffs continue to keep pressure on equity markets. The benchmark Straits Times Index looked a gloomy sight on Friday last week, ending the day nearly 65 points, or 2 per cent, down to 3,191.82 after beginning the week at 3,238.94, equating to a 1.5 per cent fall over the course of the week.

Property stocks in deep freeze after cooling measures
Property stocks and financials took a hammering on Friday as news broke the night before of the government hiking additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) and tightening mortgages.  As at Friday’s close, share prices swam in a sea of red, with research houses cutting ratings for stocks under their coverage. CapitaLand, the largest developer by market cap, ended the day nearly six per cent down to S$2.99, a level it last closed at on December 2016.

HDB looking at expanding use of floating system for solar panels in open sea
In land-scarce Singapore, the quest to harvest more energy from the sun will soon go one step further.  The Housing & Development Board (HDB) – one of the agencies leading the nation’s efforts to ramp up solar energy use – is setting its sights on a novel area of research: the sea.

Companies’ Brief

UOB-Kay Hian buys nearly S$3m in PropNex shares as stabilising managers of IPO
UOB-Kay Hian bought 4.65 million shares in PropNex Ltd at between S$0.60 and S$0.635 per share on Friday as stabilising managers of the initial public offering (IPO), with shares of PropNex battered by Thursday’s surprise property cooling measures.  The price range translates to a total purchase price of between S$2.79 million and S$2.95 million.

Keppel Corp donates $1m to President’s Challenge
Keppel Corporation made a $1 million donation to the President’s Challenge 2018 on Saturday, as part of the company’s 50th anniversary.  President Halimah Yacob, who received the donation cheque from Keppel chairman Lee Boon Yang at the Keppel 50 charity run on Saturday, said she was heartened by the company giving back to society.

GuocoLand CFO resigns
Property firm GuocoLand Ltd on Friday said its chief financial officer Lai Tak Loi has resigned “to pursue other career opportunities”.  He will leave on Aug 24. GuocoLand said it will look for a suitable candidate in the meantime.

New M&C CEO gunning for asset-driven growth
Millennium & Copthorne (M&C) will continue its core strategy of owning hotels, says the company’s new group chief executive.  Speaking to The Business Times days into her new role, Jennifer Fox said growth for the London-listed hotel chain will be powered by acquisitions, management contracts and improving hotel performance.


Chilling effect on property market as cooling measures hit developers, buyers
The timing of the additional cooling measures came as a surprise on Thursday, as developers have just loaded up their landbanks over the last 18 months in anticipation of blockbuster sales in the second half of the year and beyond. Private property home prices have only risen 9.1 per cent over four quarters since the start of the recovery in 3Q17. This pales in comparison with the recovery in the previous cycle, when prices rose by 38.2 per cent from 3Q09 to 2Q10.

Higher ABSD rates will hit new home sales
The new property cooling measures announced on Thursday came as a surprise, arriving just as developers have loaded up their land banks over the past 18 months in anticipation of blockbuster sales this year and beyond.

Two major reasons behind move to rein in market ‘euphoria’
Analysts cited two major reasons for the Government imposing cooling measures on the private property market, a move that took many by surprise on Thursday night.  One is to curb the collective sale craze and the other is to stop buyers, developers and banks from overextending themselves.

Many benefits to property curbs
I applaud the Government for taking decisive measures to help cool the property market (Higher stamp duties, tighter loan limits for home purchases; July 6).  Lower property prices will benefit most Singaporeans and society in general.

Relook resale levy for more equitable housing policy
Last Sunday’s report (Standard but standout flats that sell for over $1m) highlights a disturbing practice that is inequitable and could worsen the existing social inequality.  The crux of the issue is that only a privileged group of citizens enjoy the benefit of getting these “standout” flats directly from the HDB when the projects are launched.

When value trumps price
In 2007, my wife and I decided that we would move from Woodlands to somewhere nearer the city before our older daughter began Primary 1.  Our house-hunting took us to an old HUDC (Housing and Urban Development Company) estate in Serangoon North. I checked that it was within a 1km radius of Rosyth School, a sought-after primary school that I had been eyeing for my daughters.

Open-plan offices are making us less social
In recent years, a number of big companies – IBM, Bank of America, Aetna, Yahoo under former chief executive officer Marissa Mayer – cut back on their telecommuting programmes in the name of more interaction and cooperation between employees, supposedly fostered by being stuck together in an office.  The business model of companies providing co-working spaces, such as US$20 billion “unicorn” WeWork, is also based on the proposition that if people find themselves in a shared space, they’ll network and cooperate more.

Homing in on its core business
We spoke with Centurion Corporation chief executive Kong Chee Min last month about the group’s growing student accommodation business.  In this second instalment, Mr Kong discusses how its largest business segment – purpose-built worker accommodation – is capitalising on Asia’s rapid industrialisation and fast-growing demand for this niche type of service.

Smart fixes can boost Asean urban life: Report
With South-east Asian cities expanding rapidly, smart solutions could improve the quality of urban life by 10 per cent to 30 per cent, said a report.  For example, intelligent traffic lights and emergency response applications could save around 5,000 lives lost each year because of traffic accidents, fires and murders.

Inspector Drone can check out building facades
Inspecting a building’s facade for possible defects can be a tedious and long-drawn process that takes up to several weeks, requires equipment such as ropes and gondolas, and may pose a safety risk to inspectors. No longer.  Welcome to the world of drones, which can be deployed to check building facades instead.

Trade war impact could extend to other Asian nations
How will Washington’s trade war with Beijing affect Asian countries? Here is a look at the potential economic damage to China and other most-at-risk Asian economies.

High-speed rail, ties with KL on Parliament agenda
The status of the high-speed rail (HSR) project between Singapore and Malaysia will come up for discussion in the House on Monday, according to the agenda for next week’s Parliament sitting.  The issue has generated interest and concern following pronouncements in May by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysia plans to scrap the multi-billion dollar project that is already under way.  

Opening doors to inland China
A new transport route that links the land and sea routes of the ancient Silk Road has emerged.  The Southern Transport Corridor is a shorter and more direct route from western China to the sea, essentially connecting the overland Silk Road to the Maritime Silk Road, which links the ports from southern China to South-east Asia.

No small change
“You have a lot of money stuck in some places that could be going to a better place,” was Mathilde Poiraudeau’s short answer to why innovative financing for development is crucial to close financing gaps.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

China retaliates as US tariffs kick in; Trump vows another round of duties

Wage gains slow, unemployment up from 18-year low

Temporary slide in US mortgage rates could give new hope to first-time home buyers

US mall landlords push to cut escape clauses for smaller tenants

Historic Plaza Hotel sold to Qatari state-owned company

China’s economy to expand 6.7% in H1

Evergrande-backed E-House attracts Alibaba to US$727m IPO

China’s HNA Group says co-founder to become sole chairman

Allianz Real Estate aims to raise China investment in new economy, logistics: APEC CEO

Myanmar in talks over port project with China consortium

InnVest Hotels eyes US assets after buying the Trump Toronto

Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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