Top Stories

Land supply for private homes may rise, reversing trend

The downtrend in the supply of state land in the confirmed list for private housing (excluding executive condos) development may be reversed in the second-half of this year. Some property consultants predict a moderate rise in supply, citing developers' strong appetite for land replenishment and a recent pick-up in private home sales.

SGX sets its sights on first ETF for Singapore Reits

The local bourse operator is aiming to have an exchange-traded fund (ETF) for Singapore real estate investment trusts (Reits) (S-Reits) launched in the second half of this year, in what would be a first for the sector here.  That was disclosed by Singapore Exchange (SGX) head of research and products Chan Kum Kong in an interview with The Business Times.  Speaking to BT on the sidelines of the Reits Symposium 2016 last Saturday, Mr Chan said: "We have been working with a couple of issuers to launch an S-Reit ETF for investors but, more specifically, with the aim of providing (through the ETF) a retirement solution for retail investors here."

Singapore Economy

Singapore's brand name seen as an advantage in Myanmar

IF the new Myanmar government continues to speed up economic reform to attract foreign trade and investment, the South-east Asian nation will grow into an attractive destination for regional and global companies.  And Singapore firms will have an edge there because the country's brand name resonates with the locals, according to International Enterprise (IE) Singapore's Yangon-based centre director Audris Tan.

Asian equity rout may have petered out, say analysts

Asian stock markets are still struggling after a rough first five months of the year, with investors licking their wounds from major sell-offs triggered by fears of economic slowdown and still very low oil prices.  But market watchers believe the worst may now be over for Asian markets, even though the rest of this year could prove volatile as many risk events are still at hand.

Think bigger when expanding overseas, S'pore firms urged

Singapore companies should do more to exploit the many business opportunities abroad, challenging though it may be to venture into new markets.  Experts speaking to The Straits Times ahead of the upcoming Internationalisation Forum said that while there are many stumbling blocks to expanding overseas, the payoffs are worth it.

Private-sector sluggishness stokes fears of stagnation

Private-Sector business conditions in Singapore did not improve much in May after they deteriorated in April, evoking fears among some economists of stagnating growth.  The Nikkei Singapore purchasing managers' index (PMI) for May was at 50.1, said Markit, a financial information services provider which compiled the data, on Friday.

Singapore Real Estate

CapitaLand to hold Hanoi project preview in Singapore

A slew of legislative changes designed to allow foreign investment and ownership of real estate in Vietnam saw CapitaLand launch its Vietnam properties in Singapore for the first time in November last year.  Now, encouraged by the "strong response" to the November launch, the developer will be holding a preview at Kallang on Sunday, where 40 units from its latest Hanoi project, Seasons Avenue, will be up for sale.

Frasers to list Aussie assets in $1.2b Reit

Property group Frasers Centrepoint (FCL) is giving investors welcome excitement with the largest proposed initial public offering (IPO) here since 2013.  It is placing some of its Australian industrial properties into a real estate investment trust (Reit), which will be the largest one with pure-play Australian industrial property investment to list here.  The Reit, Frasers Logistics and Industrial Trust (FLT), aims to raise gross proceeds of $1.211 billion to $1.268 billion. The figures include money from its sponsor FCL; TCC Group, a majority shareholder of FCL; and 15 cornerstone investors.

Kingsmead Road GCB sold for S$29m

In what is the biggest transaction in a Good Class Bungalow Area in nearly a year, a house along Kingsmead Road where the late Raffles Institution principal Philip Liau used to reside is being sold for S$29 million.  The price works out to S$1,065 per square foot based on the freehold land area of 27,228 sq ft.  The buyer is understood to be Darwin Indigo, a nephew of Wilmar executive deputy chairman Martua Sitorus. Mr Indigo, who is in his mid-30s, is deputy country head (Indonesia) at Wilmar International. He also sits on the board of Kencana Agri Ltd, an associate company of Wilmar.

Shunfu Ville deal revives collective-sale dreams

The Shunfu Ville en bloc sale late last month has given some owners of ageing homes hope that they can reap a collective sale bonanza.  Property consultants said inquiries started coming in from estates shortly after the Shunfu Ville announcement, while efforts are already under way at other blocks.  "There is interest from developers, which is why we are stepping up our search for suitable engagements or projects," said JLL international director Karamjit Singh, who brokered the Shunfu Ville sale and Thong Sia Building sale last year.

Foreign investors 'still eye S'pore property'

A spate of recent property dealings shows that Singapore remains on the map of foreign investors despite the sluggish market and weak economic outlook.  The high-profile offers of late include Chinese developer Qingjian Realty's $638 million bid for the Shunfu Ville collective sale site, and the $145 million offered for a bungalow in Cuscaden Road by a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings.  Earlier this week, Indonesian tycoon Tahir offered to acquire the 28-storey Straits Trading Building in Battery Road for $560 million or at about $3,520 per sq ft, which would set a record psf price for office space in Singapore.

Surbana Jurong to help develop Trincomalee in Sri Lanka

Surbana Jurong has signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan government to develop Trincomalee, a major port city on the east coast of Sri Lanka, into an economic hub.  The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was inked on Thursday by Surbana Jurong's chief executive officer (International) Teo Eng Cheong and Sri Lanka Secretary for Ministry of National Policies & Economic Affairs M I M Rafeek.

Singapore prime homes a good buy now: JLL

A new JLL report is extolling the virtues of buying a prime residential property in Singapore now, given how "affordable" they have become compared to other global cities in the last four years. This is in spite of the loan curbs and tax burdens in place.  The real estate consultancy estimates that the average luxury prime residential price of S$1,991 per square foot (psf) in the fourth quarter of 2015 is about 20 per cent off the peak in 2011.  This is the biggest correction across domestic asset classes in the last four years. Office, retail and industrial property prices have fallen 4-6 per cent; suburban residential prices are down 12 per cent.

Golf membership prices dip in wake of land recalls

Golf club membership prices here have mostly fallen from two years ago after buyers stopped trading in memberships in the wake of government announcements that it was taking back the land from three clubs and that two others would not have their leases renewed.  Data from broker Tee-Up Marketing Enterprises showed the value of most of its 10 golf club memberships traded on the open market fell by about $13,350 on average this year, compared with 2014, when the announcements were made.

GSS looking for a Chinese boost

The Great Singapore Sale (GSS), which started yesterday, is geared at the high-spending Chinese market, in a bid to boost retail sales amid weaker economic sentiment.  Its organiser, the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA), has roped in Chinese payments firm UnionPay International as a partner, in place of American company MasterCard, which had been the official GSS card for the past 12 years.  It also extended the sale period to 10 weeks and started the sale a week later than usual so that it covers the bulk of China's summer holidays.

Clarity in property cooling measures would help retailers, says Courts CEO

As retail players in the Republic recalibrate their strategies to stay afloat amid turbulent times, more clarity from the Government over property cooling measures is needed, said Mr Terry O’Connor, CEO of mainboard-listed electrical, IT and furniture retailer Courts Asia.  “We need some certainty in terms of what the policies are going to be and hope to see some long-term direction in the residential property sector soon. The worst thing is to label something as temporary as it gives nobody any directions. The future of the retail industry will be better when the needs of property owners, retailers and government agencies are completely aligned,” said Mr O’Connor in an interview with TODAY. As a leading retailer of household appliances, consumer electronics and furniture, Courts’ fortunes are closely tied to the health of the housing market.

Companies' Brief

CityDev soars over 4% on re-inclusion in major FTSE index

Frasers Logistics Trust headed for listing

Newly elected Reitas exco sees 6 new faces

The first-ever election for members of the executive committee (exco) of the REIT Association of Singapore (Reitas) saw the injection of six new faces into the nine-member committee.  Aside from the six new members who join the committee, two new member firms - Suntec Reit and DBS - are also represented on the exco.  Group chief investment officer of Mapletree Investments Chua Tiow Chye will remain as president.

Views, Reviews & Forum

For stronger oversight, SGX needs industry's partnership

Singapore Exchange's (SGX's) regulatory oversight of companies occurs at two stages - the first is during admission, when companies seek to list on the exchange, while the second comprises the regulation of listed companies' continuing obligations.  We can improve on both fronts, but we cannot do it alone. We need to work together with industry at the listing and the post-listing stage.

AskST: Buying an EC? Subsidies, grants make it a good choice

Strong interest from buyers indicates that executive condominiums (ECs) are back in vogue in spite of the limp property market.  Developers sold 546 EC units in April, up from the 485 units moved in March and the 126 transacted in April last year, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority.  Average EC prices rose by 5.4 per cent from 2013 to hit $794 per sq ft in 2014 and added a further 0.3 per cent to reach $797 psf last year - a sign of growing demand, noted Ms Alice Tan, Knight Frank Singapore head of consultancy and research.

Seize opportunities wherever they are

The role of the Economic Development Board (EDB) has been largely synonymous with the evolution of Singapore's economy. In the 1960s, low-end commerce was the mainstay of an economy in which a handful of industries existed to serve the needs of domestic consumption. Bringing in foreign investment, the EDB's mandate then, helped to push Singapore out of the economic backwaters into the rising tides of the global economy. It is a reflection of that success, and also an indication of the scope ahead that the EDB sees its job now as creating billion-dollar businesses in Singapore from ventures of any size - start-ups and multinational corporations alike.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Gulf investors hold back from UK on Brexit fears

Commercial property buyers want Brexit clauses as vote looms

Top S-E Asian stock that's returned nearly 400% stays under the radar

What's really at stake for Europe in Brexit

Fed likely to avoid rate hike before British vote

Euro area economy's lacklustre growth to persist: Markit

Job growth down sharply even as jobless rate falls

China said to seek economic summits for bigger global

Hotel Zouk on the cards as Genting unveils big plans

Luxury homes left empty

Tackling London's housing woes an uphill task for mayor Sadiq Khan

Rent hikes in US are finally slowing - mostly for the rich

There Are Castles in America. Here Are Three You Can Buy