Singapore Economy

Panel being set up to chart future of economy

A new committee will be set up to look at how Singapore can continue creating opportunities and help workers and businesses adapt amid a weaker global economy and a leaner workforce. The committee on "The Future Economy" will be chaired by new Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said as he outlined the challenges facing his new Government at its swearing-in at the Istana last night.

Singapore economy in need of review: PM Lee

Singapore's economy is in need of a review and the country must create opportunities even as global growth flags, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday, adding that it must also move more quickly towards higher skills, innovation and productivity. "These are urgent tasks, because both global economic conditions and domestic demographic trends will pose us severe challenges," he said at the new Cabinet's swearing-in ceremony on Thursday evening at the Istana.

Singapore Real Estate

MND will focus on new housing policies: Lawrence Wong

The Ministry of National Development (MND) will focus on implementing new schemes and policy changes announced this year, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Thursday (Oct 1).

In his first blog post after assuming his role, Mr Wong wrote that his priority in the immediate term would be to see through the implementation of the 2-Room Flexi scheme and recent housing policy changes, which will take effect for the Build-to-Order (BTO) launch in November.

New trends in property market after GE2015

The state of the residential property market during the recent General Election and that during the previous one in 2011 are a tale of contrast. In GE2011, housing affordability was a hot-button issue — for new couples who found resale HDB flats increasingly priced out of their reach, as well as upgraders unable to fulfil their aspirations of condominium ownership. By GE2015, cooling measures and loan curbs, especially the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework introduced in mid-2013, had reined in runaway home prices and led to a market correction.

Downtrend in private home prices picks up momentum

The drop in private home prices gathered momentum in the third quarter. The Urban Redevelopment Authority's latest flash estimates show that its overall private home price index is down 1.3 per cent from the second quarter. This follows a 0.9 per cent fall in Q2 and marks the biggest quarterly drop since the index peaked in Q3 2013. Year on year, the index is down 4.2 per cent. It has fallen almost 8 per cent over eight straight quarters since its recent high.

Headwinds expected to continue for HDB resale flats: consultants

The resale prices of Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats are likely to continue to face headwinds despite the slowing depreciation of the resale price index which seems to indicate growing stability in the public housing market. The HDB Resale Price Index dipped 0.3 per cent in the third quarter of this year, the smallest drop since the index started to fall in Q3 2013, according to the flash estimate for Q3 released on Thursday.

Foreigners buying fewer homes in Singapore

Foreigners have been buying fewer homes and possibly depressing prices in the process. Overseas buyers traditionally add to demand for more expensive homes, including those in the central region and city fringes but their share of purchases has been on the decline. Foreigners picked up about 137 non-landed private homes in the third quarter, or about 4 per cent of overall non-landed sales.

Reserve site in Upper Serangoon triggered for tender

A condominium site in Lorong Lew Lian in Upper Serangoon has been launched for sale by public tender.

The sale was triggered for the reserve list plot after a developer committed to a minimum bid price of $250 million last month.

NUS in project to cut energy use with better city planning

Sustainable city planning can help cut a district's carbon dioxide emissions by as much as half, a project by a global energy firm in Shanghai has shown. Electricite de France (EDF), the firm involved in the project in Shanghai's Lingang district, will now join hands with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to look into urban planning that leads to better energy use. Both sides signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday.

Rising interest rates to hit homeowners

Interest rates will be on the rise in coming months, limiting the choices for homeowners seeking to refinance their loans, said mortgage specialist MortgageWise. The Singapore Interbank Offered Rates (Sibor), used to set most mortgages here, has risen from around 0.41 per cent in October last year to 1.135 per cent now. With US interest rates set to rise in the months ahead, local rates will also edge up further.

Companies' Brief

Sinarmas Land share buyback raises questions

Share buybacks, part of a firm's defence arsenal to beat the market's under appreciation of its stock or to provide support amid a selloff, rarely turns into fodder for market wags. This was not quite the case for Singapore-listed Sinarmas Land, a real estate firm controlled by Indonesia's billionaire Widjaja family, which coughed up S$88.5 million or 59 Singapore cents apiece to buy back 149.8 million shares on Sept 18.

BBR Holdings

Mainboard-listed BBR Holdings has secured a design-and-build contract for a mixed development project comprising a mall and residential apartments in Yishun. The $116 million contract was awarded by NorthernOne Development.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Ascendas' OneHub Saigon breaks ground

Construction started yesterday on the first phase of a Vietnamese business park that is majority owned by Ascendas. OneHub Saigon, as the park in Ho Chi Minh City is called, will cost about US$130 million (S$185.2 million) to develop.

US retail Reit sells minority stakes in 5 malls to GIC

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC has entered into a joint venture with Macerich Company to take a 40 per cent interest in five shopping malls in the United States. GIC will own stakes in Arrowhead Towne Centre in Glendale, Arizona; Lakewood Centre in Lakewood, California; Los Cerritos Centre in Cerritos, California; Washington Square in Portland, Oregon; and South Plains Mall in Lubbock, Texas.

Thai hotel group to acquire 10 properties in Europe in 3 years

Sydney home prices 'at a near standstill'

Australian Sept home prices rise 0.9%

Manhattan home prices near million-dollar mark

British 'DIY group' turns architecture into art

Gehry's Conde Nast cafeteria to stay

Starwood Hotels plans to expand presence in Africa

Meyer Bergman Venture Agrees to $630 Million Oslo-Property Deal

China's Anbang Said to Buy Canada Office Tower From Brookfield

Blackstone's Gray Says REIT Buyouts Loom Amid Bearish Market

Blackstone Gets $15.8 Billion for Biggest Ever Real Estate Fund

Ireland's NAMA Raises Lifetime Profit Forecast to $1.95 Billion

New York REIT Plans Strategy Review Following Litt Critique

A Billionaire New York Landlord Who Doesn't Trumpet His Wealth

RBC Hires LaSalle’s Brinkmann for Real Estate Lending in Europe