Property Update (25 February 2015)

Key initiatives in Singapore budget 2015| CNBC.com

Selena Ling, head of Treasury Research & Strategy at OCBC, discusses how initiatives unveiled in Monday’s Jubilee Budget provide assistance to SMEs, senior citizens and lower-income families.

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What will Singapore look like when it’s 100? | eco-business.com

Singapore property developer CapitaLand on Sunday launched a new website calling for ideas on how to make the city-state a safer and greener one in the next 50 years.

This digital platform, called Building Communities – Setting the Stage for Singapore2065, with the hashtag #BuildSG2065, enables citizens to submit images, video, and text on what they think Singapore could be like when it turns 100 years old.

The initiative was launched as part of CapitaLand’s year-long celebrations of the city state’s 50th birthday this year.

Over the next eight weeks, participants can send in ideas on four key topics related to how the city will look and work.

These are ‘Go Green’, which looks at urban sustainability; ‘Smart Spaces’, which fosters ideas on maximising the use of limited land; ‘Space-age Kampungs’, which visualizes innovative technologies for the future; and ‘ Weatherproof World’, which explores the theme of resilience to climate change.

A nightclub that is powered by the kinetic energy of party goers, underwater shopping malls, zero-gravity vertical playgrounds and buildings that float on the sea are some examples put forth by CapitaLand to get the ball rolling.

Close to 80 ideas have been submitted to date, including installing solar energy on every block of flats on the island, cultivating food gardens in housing estates, and developing self-driving cars that can avoid traffic jams.

Every week, the top five ideas with the most ‘likes’ win cash vouchers, while the top 50 ideas at the end of the campaign will be displayed at an exhibition at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum from July to September.

Lim Ming Yan, CapitaLand’s president and group chief executive, said that through this platform, which is developed in partnership with local newspaper The Straits Times, CapitaLand aims to encourage “fellow Singaporeans to share ideas about how buildings, homes, and green spaces can help build a better future for us to live, work, and play in Singapore”. Read more here >>

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Philippine real estate sector to stay strong in 2015 | inquirer.net

The outlook suggests robust growth in the property sector during the last full year of President Aquino’s term, before businesses take a more cautious approach ahead of the election season in 2016.

CBRE Philippines chair and CEO Rick Santos said in a briefing Tuesday that the office sector, in particular, ended strong in 2014 and would likely post further gains in 2015.

Backing this outlook is the continued demand for business process outsourcing services, political stability and positive economic growth indicators, Santos said.

CBRE data showed that vacancy rates in prime Metro Manila office buildings remained under 3 percent. By the end of 2014, the vacancy rate slipped from 2.53 percent to 2.13 percent quarter on quarter, CBRE said. During this period, Metro Manila lease rates grew 2.6 percent.

“Even with the increase in rental rates across all business districts, the good news remains that investors are willing to pay for the quality and value that they can get in the Philippines,” Santos said.

Makati City will continue to lead in terms of office rates, with the average central business district price already hovering at P1,073 a square meter, followed by P848.34 a sqm in Fort Bonifacio and P650.5 a sqm in Pasay City, CBRE data showed. Read more here >>

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Godzilla Hotel Opening in Japan | kotaku.com

I think we can all agree: This room has the best view in Tokyo.

On April 24, the Hotel Gracery in Shinjuku will kick off its grand opening in monster style. Godzilla style.

The 30-story hotel sits atop the Shinjuku’s Toho Cinema (Toho, of course, made the kaiju famous) and features a couple Godzilla-themed chambers.

A huge Godzilla head is being constructed and will peek out of the Toho Cinema’s roof, looking over the Shinjuku streets below.

There’s the appropriately named “Godzilla Room,” which is filled with Godzilla memorabilia, including a large statue of the kaiju as well as the creature’s hand reaching into the room. Below are renderings of the room. Read more here >>

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Australia plans to charge fees to foreigners buying real estate | straitstimes.com

SYDNEY (Reuters/AFP) – Australia plans to charge fees to foreign nationals buying residential property and fine those who break foreign investment laws, in an attempt to improve housing affordability amid some of the world’s highest property prices.

The scheme could raise about A$200 million (S$211 million) a year by charging foreign homebuyers A$5,000 for properties valued under A$1 million and an additional A$10,000 for every additional A$1 million, Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Wednesday. He said a register of foreign nationals buying real estate would be established and those who break the law would face a fine up to a quarter of the value of the property and could be forced to sell.

“Part of the Australian dream is owning your own home and we certainly want the dream to continue,” Prime Minister Abbott told a press conference in Sydney. He said the current rules, under which foreigners are only allowed to buy new dwellings and are barred from purchasing existing residential property, had not been enforced in recent years.

“Under the former (Labor) government, for six years there was not a single legal case against a foreigner buying a home,” he said. “So what we’re on about is ensuring that the long-standing rules are enforced.

“Yes, foreign investment has been very, very good for Australia but it’s got to be the right foreign investment… and it can’t disadvantage Australian home buyers,” he added.

The government is proposing charging an application fee on all foreign investments, similar to a scheme already operating in New Zealand. The charges are likely to be more modest than those in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore, Mr Abbott said. Read more here >>

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