Real News‎ > ‎2015‎ > ‎February 2015‎ > ‎

9th February 2015

Singapore Real Estate

On property measures

Source: Business Times / Government & Economy

"I think it is necessary to ease some of the cooling measures. For private property, we already have the TDSR (total debt servicing ratio) and the SSD (seller's stamp duty). TDSR at the entry level ensures prudence, SSD at the exit level ensures no speculation. If you have these two, then the ABSD (additional buyer's stamp duty) is not really necessary ... And I think ABSD is really due to be tweaked as soon as possible. Singaporeans still have liquidity so they buy overseas. They buy Iskandar, they buy Tokyo, they buy USA. They don't know what they're buying but they just buy, and the money is just flowing outwards."

Companies' Brief

Savills poaches Colliers' top guns in office leasing

Trio of executive directors and director hired for their market leadership in tenant representation

Source: Business Times / Real Estate

In one of the most dramatic poaching exercises in Singapore property consultancy circles in recent years, Savills Singapore has recruited all three directors of Colliers International's office services department. The trio - executive directors Marcus Loo and Greg Marler, and director Ashley Swan - were sought for their market leadership in tenant representation, an area that Savills plans to focus on, Chris Marriott, CEO of Savills South-east Asia, told BT.

-By Kalpana Rashiwala

Views, Reviews & Forum

Share views for a more walkable city

Source: Straits Times / Singapore

THE paths and preferences of 1,000 pedestrians could help to make the city centre a better place to walk.

In the coming weeks, researchers will hit the streets to survey them about their chosen routes, including how long they thought the walk took and the actual time taken.

These, combined with data from an online survey, will be used to create a virtual model of the city centre.

It can be used to see how the differences in actual and perceived walking time correspond to physical details such as greenery, wheelchair accessibility and traffic crossings.

So, planners can see whether widening a pavement, for example, makes a walk seem less time-consuming. Initial findings are expected by April.

Dr Alexander Erath, a researcher from the Singapore-ETH Centre's Future Cities Laboratory, which is working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on this project, said: "We are also interested in quantifying the variety and type of destination that can be reached on foot in different areas of the city centre."

It will help planners identify places that lack particular amenities, he said.

In the online survey, participants choose between hypothetical routes: for instance, a longer walk along a shop-lined underground passageway versus a shorter walk in a park, on a sunny day. The public can sign up for this at

The "walkability analysis tool" created from the results of both polls will show, on a map of the city centre, how physical characteristics affect a walk's perceived length. For a given point in the city, the map will show surrounding areas that are colour coded based on perceived distances.

Planners can use it to test how possible changes will affect perceived walking distance, and identify specific areas for improvement, such as where to add more greenery or shelter.

The URA said: "By improving walkability, we hope to encourage more people to walk, take public transportation, experience the city and neighbourhoods at a closer distance and also promote vibrancy in our streets."

-By Janice Heng

How Asia property becomes vulnerable when Fed tightens

Source: Business Times / Young Investor's Forum

Emerging markets (EMs) have benefited tremendously from the sizeable liquidity injections by developed market (DM) central banks following the Lehman failure. Among the major beneficiaries of this liquidity bonanza have been Asia's housing markets. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), growth in nominal house prices ranged from 17 per cent to 130 per cent between 2008 and 2013, with an average increase of 52 per cent for the region.

-By Manolis Davradakis & Aidao Yao

China developer rescue more grey knight than white

Source: Business Times / Real Estate

Facebook buys Menlo Park campus from Prologis

Source: Business Times / Real Estate
Source: Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. bought a 21-building campus in Menlo Park, California, as the social-network company expands in its headquarters city.

Prologis Inc. was the seller of the 56-acre (23-hectare) industrial park at Willow Road between Highway 101 and the Dumbarton Bridge, the San Francisco-based real estate investment trust said in a statement Friday. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Prologis, the largest industrial REIT, has owned and managed the Menlo Science & Technology Park since 1998. Property values in Silicon Valley and nearby San Francisco are climbing as technology companies in the region grow.

“Land constraints and increased urbanization pressures in markets such as Silicon Valley support the monetization of select in-fill assets,” Michael Curless, chief investment officer at Prologis, said in the statement.

The company will continue to manage the property, according to the statement.

For Facebook, the purchase “is an investment in our future and the future of Menlo Park,” Genevieve Grdina, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. “Being a good neighbor is extremely important to us, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with city and community leaders on local priorities in the months and years to come.”

-By Brian Louis

Hong Kong, New York Offer World’s Lowest Office Yields: Savills

Source: Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong and New York offer the lowest returns for offices among the world’s major markets even as prices increase because of demand for high-quality properties, according to broker Savills Plc.

Grade-A commercial properties in Hong Kong’s central business district yielded 2.85 percent and New York’s 3.29 percent after excluding tenant incentives, the Savills/Deakin University World Office Yield Spectrum, released on Monday, showed. San Francisco and Singapore had the highest effective yields, at 5.39 percent and 4.85 percent respectively.

“Pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies and even high-net-worth individuals are all contributing to the weight of money chasing real estate assets” and boosting prices in Asia , Savills said. “The search for top tier properties that offer investors peace of mind continues to win out over the quest for higher yield” in the U.S.

Effective yield, which deducts incentives from market rents, is derived by dividing the net income from the property by its value and is expressed as a percentage. Yields drop when prices rise faster than rents.

The decline in yields in Hong Kong has been driven by low supply of investment-grade buildings, Simon Smith, senior director of research for Asia-Pacific research at Savills said. Foreign buyers are pushing into prime U.S. real estate to benefit from the country’s economic rebound.

When incentives offered to tenants aren’t deducted from rents, Hong Kong and Tokyo had the lowest yields, while San Francisco and Sydney had the highest.

Abenomics Attracts

In Tokyo, investors are attracted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s aggressive monetary easing and improving occupancies. Japan’s policies, dubbed Abenomics, have drawn international investors including Blackstone Group LP and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte, to the real estate market and boosted values.

London had the lowest yields among major western European cities when incentives were excluded from market rents, and Berlin the highest, the report showed. Across large Asian cities, Taipei had the lowest yield and Ho Chi Minh the highest. Among major U.S. markets, New Jersey offered the lowest and Tampa Bay the highest yields.

-By Nichola Saminather