Real News‎ > ‎2014‎ > ‎February 2014‎ > ‎

2nd February 2014

Singapore Economy

A yee-hah! year for economy

Source: Straits Times

Saddle up for what could be a wild ride this year, with some sectors poised to take off while others risk being trampled underfoot as investors gallop this way and that for better returns. Fengshui experts say the key to taming the wild spirits that can be unleashed during the Year of the Wood Horse is to stay focused on the long-term view and not react to every development.

More developers launching properties during LNY festive season

Source: Channel News Asia / SIngapore

More developers are choosing to launch properties during the Lunar New Year period.

Real estate analysts said they are seeing more launches in recent years, with at least two private condominiums set for viewing this week.

Lunar New Year is usually considered an off-peak period, as property agents may be away on holiday.

But in recent years, developers are taking advantage of the fact that interested buyers view showflats after their Lunar New Year visiting.

Riverbank @ Fernvale will be launched on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year, on Thursday.

While its showflat is not yet open, members of the public were already at its premises on Sunday for a sneak peek.

Rivertrees Residences, which is located in the same area, will open for preview on 8 February, the ninth day of the Lunar New Year.

Indicative prices of both projects range between S$900 to S$1,100 per square foot.

Chris Koh, director of Chris International, said: "We've seen before in the past where developers did launch condos during the Chinese New Year and they did receive quite a lot of people, they had quite good sales. Perhaps maybe the perception of some buyers is that buying during Chinese New Year is an auspicious thing.”

- CNA/xq

Construction of proposed S'pore Chinese Cultural Centre could start this year

Source: Channel News Asia / Singapore

Construction of the proposed Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre could start this year, and is slated for completion in two to three years' time.

President of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations Chua Thian Poh gave this update at the federation's annual Lunar New Year celebrations on Sunday.

The centre will hold Chinese cultural performances and programmes when completed.

Also at the celebrations was Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

He paid tribute to the Chinese clan associations' efforts in promoting Chinese culture and welcoming newcomers.

Mr Teo said: "In recent years, the Federation of Chinese Clan Associations has also helped new immigrants integrate into Singapore society, improving mutual understanding between immigrants and locals." 

- CNA/xq

Views, Reviews & Forum

Cheers to falling home prices

Source: Straits Times

A new landed property in my neighbourhood has had a "For Sale" sign on its front gate for half a year now. Curious, I called the agent and was told that the semi-detached house had a price tag of $4 million. Given the current slowdown in the property market, it does not look likely that the sign will be taken down any time soon. While the catchment for that type of property is small, the weakening in sentiment is broad-based and has also extended to mass-market projects.

Falling flat prices pose conundrum for owners

Source: Straits Times

There have been recent reports on the falling prices of Housing Board resale flats ("First HDB resale price dip since 2005", Jan 25; and "Resale flat prices not yet at 'steady state'"; last Sunday) The number of resale transactions has fallen considerably and we are seeing some negative cash-over-valuation deals.

Preserve historic temple

Source: Straits Times 

I am disappointed that Mun San Fook Tuck Chee temple in Sims Drive, a heritage gem, could end up as a victim of the relentless pace of redevelopment in Singapore ("Historic temple at risk of demolition"; last Sunday). While this temple appears nondescript, it has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century.

Global Economy and Global Real Estate

Arabtec Wins Aabar’s $6.1 Billion Contract for U.A.E. Towers

Source: Bloomberg / News

Arabtec Holding Co. (ARTC) has won a 22.44 billion dirham ($6.1 billion) contract from Aabar Properties to build 37 towers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it said in a statement today. The shares climbed 6.1 percent.

The deal includes the construction of hotels and residential buildings, the company said in a statement to the Dubai stock exchange. Aabar plans to award Arabtec $20 billion of deals in countries including the U.S., Egypt, Morocco and Serbia, according to Arabtec’s statement, citing Aabar Chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi. Aabar Properties is a unit of Aabar Investments PJSC. Arabtec shares gained to 4.54 dirhams at 10:44 a.m. in Dubai.

Contractors and property companies are benefiting from a resurgence in the United Arab Emirates’ real estate market, where prices more than halved at the peak of financial crisis in 2008. Prices for mid-range apartments rose 43 percent in 2013, after climbing 18 percent in 2012, according to Cluttons LLC data on Bloomberg.

“The Arabtec news is a huge positive,” said Nayal Khan, head of institutional sales and trading at Naeem Holding in Dubai. “It’s a 22 billion dirham contract to build 37 buildings. That’s more than 50 percent of its backlog, which is completely unheard of.”

Dubai-based builder Arabtec last month won a 5.7 billion dirham contract to build an amusement park in Jordan, and plans to open an office in Baghdad. The company will open regional headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia to drive expansion into the Balkan region, according to an announcement last month. It also won a 2.59 billion dirham contract to build a mixed-use project in Abu Dhabi.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch last month recommended investors buy Arabtec’s stock, revising its price estimate to 3.6 dirhams from 1.98 dirhams. The shares have increased more than 60 percent so far this year, more than four times the gains on Dubai’s benchmark stock exchange.

-By Dana El Baltaji