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July's new home sales recover from June lull

The private housing market regained some momentum last month, as developers sold 1,091 private homes (excluding executive condominiums), more than double the 536 units sold in June.  Consultants attribute the marked increase to the pick-up after the mid-year lull. June is when buyers tend to hold off buying and developers hold back new launches due to the school holidays. But consultants say July's performance also points to some regained confidence among developers to launch new projects.

Singapore Economy

Singapore is most innovative economy in Asia

Singapore is doing innovation right. It has emerged as the top Asian economy in innovation, going by the 2016 Global Innovation Index (GII).  It beats South Korea (placed 11th), Hong Kong (14th), Japan (16th) and New Zealand (17th) in the Asia-Pacific rankings. Australia takes 19th spot.  The Republic is also the sixth most innovative economy in the world in 2016, inching up a spot from seventh position last year.

H1 corp earnings a big let-down

Pleasant surprises were few and far between in the most recently ended quarter of corporate earnings in Singapore. Results in the season largely disappointed, particularly in the troubled offshore and marine industry, analysts said, adding that the outlook for the rest of the year was gloomy especially for sectors such as banks.  As at 7.13pm Friday, 394 Singapore-listed companies had released their financial results for the six months ended June 2016, figures compiled by The Business Times showed. About two-thirds of them or 260 companies were in the black for the half-year and the remaining 134 were loss-making.

June retail sales underperform market expectations

Retail sales sans motor vehicles eased again in June, dropping 3 per cent year on year, according to data released on Monday by the Department of Statistics.  Inclusive of motor vehicle numbers, sales were up marginally by just 0.9 per cent year on year, but still lower from the previous month.  Month-on-month, retail sales (seasonally adjusted) dipped 1.5 per cent including the sales of motor vehicles and fell a sharper 3.7 per cent when motor vehicles were excluded.  June's figures were below market expectations of 2 per cent year on year growth and 0.7 per cent month on month growth, highlighted Selena Ling, head of treasury research & strategy at OCBC Bank.

Singapore Real Estate

Hospitality trusts lag other Reits in latest earnings season

Hospitality real estate investment trusts did the worst among Singapore Reits in the latest earnings season, analysts interviewed by The Business Times unanimously agreed.  The volatility in their earnings is partly because of the way their revenue is calculated, with a variable rent component that depends very much on the hotel's performance. And hotels are not having an easy time, domestically or internationally, with occupancies and room rates falling as people travel less.

Loan rules clarified for deferred home payment

Buyers of private property taking up deferred payment schemes will not be able to borrow as much as they thought they could, following a clarification in loan guidelines.  The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a circular to banks last week saying such schemes should be taken into account when calculating how much a buyer can borrow.

Tahir is top bidder for 110 Robinson Road

Indonesian tycoon and philanthropist Tahir looks poised to buy another Singapore office block. BT understands he is the highest bidder for 110 Robinson Road, which was put up for sale through a tender exercise that closed late last month.  Mr Tahir is understood to have offered close to the S$45 million indicative price for the 12-storey freehold office block. At S$45 million, the price translates to about S$3,162 per square foot based on the building's net lettable area (NLA) of 14,233 square feet.  The property - which is situated between Finexis Building at 108 Robinson Road and Robinson 112 - was developed in the 1980s. OCBC is divesting the building as it does not use it for its own operations and has received unsolicited offers.

Logos, Yang Kee estimate S$150m cost to develop Tuas South warehouse

Logos SE Asia and Yang Kee Logistics will jointly develop a five-level ramp-up warehouse in Tuas South at an expected cost of S$150 million, comprising acquisition and estimated development costs.  The development will have total gross floor area of up to 66,000 square metres, and will include office space, a cafeteria and a container yard.  The joint-venture partners plan to begin development immediately following acquisition. Construction is expected to run for 18 months, with practical completion targeted by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Changi awards $1.1b job as part of expansion plan

Changi has awarded a second contract, worth $1.11 billion, to develop a three-runway system that will allow the airport to handle more flights as the demand for air travel increases.  The first contract, of an almost similar value, was awarded in October.  Changi currently operates with two runways but will add a third strip as part of the development of Changi East, which includes the massive new Terminal 5.

Still no plans to build MRT station between Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Gombak: Khaw

While residents will be moving into BTO units in Keat Hong and Choa Chu Kang towns and the future Tengah Town, the increase in ridership is insufficient to support a new station between Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Gombak MRT stations, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said.  Mr Khaw made his comments on Monday (Aug 15) in a written reply to a question from Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad.

Companies' Brief

Sime Darby to inject Aussie properties into Saizen Reit in reverse takeover

Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad is injecting some Australian industrial properties into Saizen Reit in return for a majority stake in the Reit through a reverse takeover. It will also be taking up an 80 per cent stake in the Reit manager.  A framework agreement was inked on Aug 15 between Saizen Reit and two of Sime Darby's subsidiaries, Saizen disclosed on Monday. Discussions on the terms of the definitive agreement have begun.  Saizen Reit's market capitalisation is expected to be at least S$300 million, if the deal with Sime Darby materialises.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

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