Singapore Economy

Singapore economy grew 2.1% in 2015, beating expectations

The economy expanded by 2.1 per cent in 2015, in line with the Government’s official growth forecast and beating analysts' expectations, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced on Monday (Jan 4), based on advance estimates.

Singapore Real Estate

Private residential property prices down 3.7% in 2015: URA

Private residential property prices fell 3.7 per cent for the whole of 2015, extending a 4 per cent decline in 2014, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) flash estimates released on Monday (Jan 4). Prices fell 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, following a 1.3 per cent drop in the previous quarter, based on the private residential property index, which declined 0.7 points to 141.6 points in the fourth quarter.

HDB resale price index up by 0.2% in Q4 2015

The Housing Development Board’s flash estimate of the fourth quarter Resale Price Index (RPI) is 134.9, up 0.2 per cent from the previous quarter. Based on the flash estimate, the resale flat prices for the whole of 2015 showed a 1.5 per cent decline. The RPI for the full quarter and more detailed public housing data for the fourth quarter of 2015 will be released on Jan 22.

Home prices likely to keep heading south

The property market is poised for further slides this year, with weak economic growth and rising interest rates likely to drag prices south. Remarks by National Development (MND) Minister Lawrence Wong on Wednesday that it is too early to talk about unwinding cooling measures suggest these steps will continue to dampen demand.

More GCB transactions in 2015

Good Class Bungalows, the creme de la creme of the landed housing market, have turned out to be somewhat of a bright spot in 2015. At least 34 transactions totalling S$730 million in Good Class Bungalow (GCB) Areas were sealed in 2015 - up from 28 deals adding up to S$626 million in 2014.

Vacancies, oversupply revive debate on ECs

Increased vacancy rates amid an oversupply of executive condominium units (ECs) is reviving debate in property circles about the relevance of the public-private housing type today. This is especially so since the recently increased income ceiling to S$14,000 from S$12,000 seems to have failed to boost demand for ECs, despite 6 per cent more Singaporean households added to the eligible buyer pool.

Free car wash? Anything goes in property sales

Real estate agents have been pulling out all the stops in a quiet market, with one even offering car wash services during an open house for a three-storey bungalow. With the quiet year-end festive season just over, showflats will soon open for a number of launch-ready residential projects - though it remains to be seen if buyers' interest will be piqued.

Boutique hotels face trying times

It's been a dream few years for boutique hotels here, thanks to events like the F1 Grand Prix and other tourist lures, but challenges are lining up on all sides and forcing owners to make some tough decisions.

Some might need to seek growth opportunities abroad while running a tight ship here.

HDB gave nearly $2b in grants

To help keep flat ownership within reach of Singaporeans, the Housing Board has given out almost $2 billion to households here, under two major public housing grants. Under the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) scheme, which offers up to $40,000 for first-timers buying new or resale flats, $1.6 billion has been given out to 82,873 households since it was introduced in March 2006.

Singles' rush for new two-room flats eases

Two-and-a-half years after singles were allowed to buy new Housing Board (HDB) flats, the flood of demand that resulted seems to have receded. In July 2013, when they could buy new two-room flats in non-mature estates, 57.5 singles competed for each available unit. This has fallen to 7.5 singles per unit in the latest Build-To-Order (BTO) launch in November.

Sprucing up old estates and helping rental flat tenants

A new year for housing comes with a new Minister for National Development. Mr Lawrence Wong, who took up the portfolio in October from Mr Khaw Boon Wan, inherited several schemes, including one to help rental families own a flat again, from his predecessor who ramped up the building of new flats, and made them more accessible to different segments of society.

More accurate picture of housing affordability needed, analysts say

Public housing has remained largely affordable to most Singaporeans, thanks in part to changes made to housing grants to keep them in line with rising income levels, but property observers would like to see a more accurate picture of housing affordability.

Sons of Swee Kee founder in tussle over $16m home

In a High Court suit filed in November last year against his brothers Tai Tong, 59, and Tai Suan, 56, he contends that he is entitled to his portion of the single-storey Branksome Road bungalow. It sits on 13,844 sq ft of freehold land, which went under the hammer on Sept 30 for $16.3 million - the highest auction price of last year.

Tong Eng gives new life to ageing assets

Tong Eng Group faced one of its most trying moments during the mid-1980s. Shortly after the group bought Serangoon Plaza and around the time it completed the development of Eminent Plaza in Lavender Street, Singapore slipped into a recession. "The property market tanked and we went through difficult times renting out the two buildings," recalls Teo Tong Lim, group managing director at Tong Eng Brothers.

NParks' rental income surges with new tenants

The National Parks Board (NParks) collected a lot more rent in its last financial year, ending March 2015, with rental income surging by 48 per cent, or about $2.6 million. It had a new museum tenant in Fort Canning Park, as well as two fairly new retail shops in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, to thank for boosting its coffers.

Living displays trace city's growth

A flat of her own at last

Companies' Brief

Three-month Sibor jumps to new multi-year high as 2015 closes

The key three-month Sibor jumped to a new multi-year high of 1.18513 per cent, up 0.04978, on Thursday, the last day of 2015. At 1.18513 per cent, the Singapore interbank offered rate which is typically used to price home loans is 2.6 times higher than a year ago.

Ex-banker builds on father's property business

Taking over the reins of his father's business was not a move Mr Melvyn Pun had envisioned. "It was totally unexpected," says Mr Pun, 37, now chief executive at Singapore-listed property and construction group Yoma Strategic Holdings.

Push limits to stay ahead: Ascott CEO

If you can't beat them, join them. The sharing economy is here to stay, with websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway threatening traditional hospitality companies. But instead of fighting against the tide, Ascott is keeping up with it.

Pressure seen on property trusts after buoyant year

The share market was anaemic and there were concerns that higher interest rates would make dividend yields less attractive, yet some gems managed to emerge last year. Market watchers also note that while the signs are there for a softening economy this year, blue chips should be able to maintain payout levels through 2016 but it may be a different story for real estate investment trusts (Reits).

Views, Reviews & Forum

Price still important in awarding of state land

Although I agree that price should not be the sole factor in determining the use of state land, it must still be the key factor in land-scarce Singapore ("Want more hip Dempsey clusters? Don't award land to highest bidder"; last Tuesday). State land should be utilised to give the maximum benefits to society over the long run.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

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