Property Update (27 February 2015)

First Up, “The World’s Fastest-Growing Economies This Year” |

The world is expected to grow 3.2 percent in 2015 and 3.7 percent next year after expanding 3.3 percent in each of the past two years, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. China, the Philippines, Kenya, India and Indonesia, which together make up about 16 percent of global gross domestic product, are all forecast to grow more than 5 percent in 2015. Bloomberg’s David Ingles reports on “First Up.”


Ease stamp duties on high-end properties: REDAS |

SINGAPORE: In its latest call for the Government to scale back on property cooling measures, the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) took aim at the imposition of the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duties (ABSD) on the high-end real estate market.

Speaking at its Lunar New Year celebration lunch held at Shangri-La Hotel on Friday (Feb 27), REDAS President Augustine Tan said the high-end market is “not a segment the Government needs to safeguard”.

“Not many Singaporeans are buying into this segment, and prices have indeed come down substantially. The imposition of ABSD on this segment runs counter to the Government’s efforts to encourage foreign investment flows into the country, to activate the economy, grow investments and create jobs for Singaporeans,” said Mr Tan.

“Some high net worth foreign investors, who create jobs for Singaporeans and who have many choices of where they want to be from the world over, now feel that they are not welcome in Singapore,” he added.

Turning to vacancy rates, Mr Tan said the estimated supply of more than 75,000 completed private residential homes from 2015 to 2019 will bring the rate to a “new record high”. This will lead to a further slip in home rentals and prices, he said, impacting homeowners and investors. Read more here >>


Singapore January bank lending dips as commerce, financial loans decline |

SINGAPORE: Total bank lending in Singapore fell in January from the previous month, as a drop in loans to general commerce and financial institutions offset increases in lending to manufacturers, central bank data showed on Friday.

Loans and advances by domestic banks in the city-state amounted to S$607.47 billion (US$447.89 billion) last month, compared with S$607.91 billion in December, according to data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

January bank lending grew 4.3 per cent from S$582.24 billion a year earlier.

Housing and bridging loans in January increased to S$178.27 billion from S$167.33 billion a year earlier. These loans stood at S$177.43 billion in December.

Loans and advances in non-Singapore Asian currencies (ACU) were S$553.65 billion in January, up from S$541.17 billion in December. Read more here >>


The Implications of China’s Growth Slowdown |

The once extraordinary rate of Chinese economic growth is slowing. In 2014, China’s GDP grew at an official rate of 7.4 percent, slightly less than the stated goal of 7.5 percent. Although more recently monthly data have been more robust, the trend towards slowing growth seems inexorable.

A decelerating Chinese economy, coming at a time of global economic uncertainty (especially in the eurozone), could have dramatic economic implications throughout the world. However, the repercussions of a Chinese economic slowdown would not be limited to the economic sphere. Given the incredible importance of economic growth to political stability – both within China itself and East Asia in general – adapting to a dampened Chinese economy will be a pivotal challenge in the Asia-Pacific.

While an official GDP growth rate of 7.4 percent would be the envy of most major economies, this figure represents China’s lowest economic growth since 1991. And of course, economic data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics is not completely trusted by all observers. Local officials (and the central government itself) have a vested interest in exaggerating their economic performance. Capital Economics, a London-based research group, monitors the Chinese economy by looking at the five factors of electricity output, freight shipmen, construction, passenger travel, and cargo volume. According to this China Activity Proxy, recent annual growth is closer to 5.7 percent.

Regardless of the statistical specifics of the Chinese slowdown, this development poses some degree of political risk for the Chinese state. For more than two decades economic growth has been the major factor in ensuring political stability in China. Many Westerners forget that the massive protests that rocked Beijing and other Chinese cities in 1989 coincided with the biggest economic crisis of the post-Mao era, with annual inflation of 30 percent leading to panic buying throughout the country. Read more here >>


Weaker demand from overseas buyers hits London prime property market |

Prime property prices in London fell by 4.3% in the last quarter of 2014 due to weaker demand from international buyers, a new analysis suggests.
This weaker demand is driven by actual and potential tax changes as well as shifts in the relative value of the exchange rate, according to the report from residential data firm Hometrack.

It points out that overseas buyers of prime central London property saw capital values rise by 80% over the last five years. The drop in the value of sterling between 2007and 2009, combined with a 17% fall in property prices made London look very good value to overseas buyers with extremely strong demand in 2009 and 2010.

Changes in currencies have delivered even stronger gains, it explains. Russian buyers have seen the biggest gains on the weakness in the rouble in the last six months.

However, rouble backed buyers who do not already own London property will now find it much more expensive to buy which looks set to impact demand and pricing levels with a drop in prime London prices in the last quarter of 2014. Read more here >>


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