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05 July 2012

5th July, Thursday




ABSD-exempt share of home buying edges up

Source: Business Times

The share of home purchases made by buyers from countries exempted from the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) has inched up in the first half of this year.

Foreign buyers (including permanent residents) hailing from ABSD-exempt countries because of bilateral free-trade agreements, such as the US, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, accounted for 3.1 per cent of home purchases made by non-Singaporeans in the first six months of the year. This compares with 2 per cent and 2.6 per cent in the first halves of 2011 and 2010 respectively, data compiled by a property consultancy showed.

US buyers have been particularly active in the local property scene, emerging as one of the top five foreign buyers of properties here in the first quarter of 2012, displacing Myanmar from the rankings.

Having said that, industry watchers pointed out that the volume of transactions from the pool of exempt buyers made up a very small part of the market and did not reflect the overall market.

An estimated 1,374 foreigners (excluding Singapore permanent residents and companies) bought residential properties in the last quarter of 2011. But the numbers plunged to 345 and 334 in the first and second quarters of this year respectively, representing a quarter-on-quarter decline of 75 per cent and 3 per cent for the respective periods, data from URA Realis showed.

What's certain is that ABSD has been effective in reducing the number of foreigners from all countries buying properties here.


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Malaysians pip Chinese in S'pore property scene

Source: Business Times

Malaysians have emerged as the biggest foreign buyers of Singapore residential property, outpacing those from China.

According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and a consultancy, Malaysian buyers comprised 27.6 per cent of all foreigner purchases during the first half of 2012, compared to China's 20.3 per cent. This is a sharp contrast to the second half of 2011, when China occupied top spot with 29.6 per cent, and Malaysia had 18.7 per cent.

Said an analyst: "The resilience of Malaysian buyers is due to Singapore's proximity. There are also many Malaysians who are permanent residents (PRs) in Singapore, and PRs are allowed to purchase at least one 'ABSD-free' private property."

Indonesian buyers (1H2012: 18.4 per cent) have been coming back strongly, following a slight lull in the first few months after the ABSD (additional buyer's stamp duty) was implemented.

All in all, it seems foreigners have started to accept the ABSD as a tax and are starting to hunt for properties in Singapore. And consultants are not the least bit surprised.

Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of DWG's research and consultancy arm, said: "After all, Singapore is still one of the best places in the region to invest in property because of its clarity in ownership of property, low-tax environment, absence of capital gains tax, low interest rate and stable government."


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MedTech Hub: Just what the doctor ordered

Source: The Straits Times

The continued growth of Singapore's biomedical sciences sector is keeping JTC Corporation busy.

The industrial landlord is rolling out plans to provide more cutting-edge solutions to cater to the needs of the sector.

More importantly, these solutions will be customised to the needs of the sector, allowing the companies operating here to have a unique competitive advantage.

JTC's latest project is a 7.4ha hub for companies in the medical technology (medtech) industry, which manufacture a diverse range of products , from pacemakers to heart valves, and from hearing aids to contact lenses.

It will be located within the Tukang Innovation Park in Jurong.

Called MedTech Hub, it will be the first dedicated development for the medtech industry, which is set to be a significant component of the biomedical industry.

MedTech1 is an integrated, multi-tenanted nine-storey building. It will yield 38,000 sq m of space when it is completed next year. It will feature special facilities geared to the needs of medtech manufacturers, suppliers and service providers.


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