Property Update (5 March 2015)

Singapore Tonight, “Important to ensure Singapore does not end up becoming a ‘luxury’ city: Irene Ng” |

SINGAPORE : Citing Orchard Road as an example, the MP for Tampines GRC says the luxury shops that sell branded goods are beyond the budget of the average Singaporean.


HDB resale prices dip 0.6% on-month in February: SRX Property |

SINGAPORE: The resale prices of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats dropped 0.6 per cent on-month in February, SRX Property said on Thursday (Mar 5). The price change for January was also revised from a 0.6 per cent increase to 0.2 per cent.

The drop in prices in February was seen throughout all property types, except five-room flats which was unchanged. Resale prices for three-room and four-room flats dropped by 1.2 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively, while executive flats experienced a 0.4 per cent drop.

Overall, prices have declined 5.7 per cent from the same period a year ago and 10.2 per cent from the peak in April 2013, SRX Property said.

A total of 1,148 HDB resale flats were sold last month, an 8.5 per cent decline from the 1,255 transacted units in January. The resale volume was up 20.7 per cent compared with a year ago, SRX Property said.

The overall median Transaction Over X-Value (TOX), which measures whether people are overpaying or underpaying SRX Property’s estimated market value, remained negative at –S$4,000, a S$3,000 drop from –S$1,000 in January. Read more here >>


Slowdown in luxury housing market for H2 2014: CBRE |

SINGAPORE: The luxury housing market is facing “challenging times”, said real estate firm CBRE, which reported a further slowdown in activity in 2014. The downbeat mood was attributed to the continuation of cooling measures, such as the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) which rose from 2011 to 2013.


Thirteen caveats were lodged in H2 2014, compared to 15 in H1 2014. Caveats are legal documents lodged by purchasers with the Singapore Land Authority to register their legal interest in the property.

Sales for luxury apartments also fell from 243 caveats in 2013 to 136 in 2014. The average prices of luxury apartments in the secondary market also fell on-year by 6.2% to S$2,650 psf from S$2,825 psf at end-2013.

A total of 28 GCBs were sold in the whole of 2014, compared to 29 in 2013, said CBRE. This translates to an 8.2 per cent fall in investment quantum from 2013 to 2014.

While the average price for a GCB was 5 per cent lower than the peak amount of S$23.52 million registered in 2013, transactions in 2014 showed that GCB prices were still holding up. Land rate at S$1,428 per square foot (psf) in 2014 was 6.7 per cent higher than the S$1,338 psf for 2013.

Overall, while cooling measures have put a dent on the GSB sales volume, the limited availability of this housing type will ensure continuous resilience within this asset class, CBRE said. The firm expects 20 to 30 GCBs to be sold in 2015 projecting that owners will still be able to hold if their price expectations are not met. Read more here >>


Falling interest rates likely to push out more first-home buyers |

AUSTRALIA’S housing market is not “immune from trouble” and the Financial System Inquiry’s chair David Murray has warned it could get worse for entry-level buyers.
The former Commonwealth Bank chief executive on Wednesday conceded that breaking into the property market “was too hard now.”

“I think APRA (Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority) and the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) have a problem here,’’ he said.

“It’s hard for people to get into housing, so it’s a serious issue.

“It’s noticeable particularly as interest rates get lower and lower.”

Mr Murray spoke at an Australian Centre for Financial Studies lunch in Melbourne on the importance of a strong financial system and sent a strong message to financial regulators following heightened predictions that cash rate could fall within the one per cent range this year.

The RBA kept the cash rate on hold at a record low 2.25 per cent this week and the nation’s unemployment is at its highest levels in more than 12 years at 6.4 per cent.
Mr Murray said trouble is brewing if these conditions continue and rates continue on their downward spiral. Read more here >>


As China slows down, the Philippines moves to grab foreign investment |

PHILIPPINES :  The Philippines, a nation long in need of industrialization, is taking steps this year pull investment away from Asia’s manufacturing center: China. And some multinationals are already giving the Southeastern Asian archipelago a chance.

Manila’s ambition to divert foreign investment intended for China has lured electronic hardware manufacturers such as Seiko Epson and Lexmark International. Food and beverages make up another booming sector, and officials expect a surge in bicycle manufacturing next.

Industrial parks in three provinces near the capital, Manila, attract easily trainable, English-literate workers for product assembly jobs or writing user manuals, says Benedict Uy, a Philippine trade representative in Taipei. English is one of the national languages, and the one most widely used in writing. Factory workers in the country may also get paid less than in China, where the minimum wage is 40 percent higher.

“Mastery of the English language — a strong skill set, as [linguistic] dexterity is needed in [writing manuals for] electronics — and lower wages compared to China,” Manila-based Banco de Oro UniBank chief market strategist Jonathan Ravelas says, listing a few reasons that multinational companies try the Philippines.

The Philippines is also expanding its congested seaport in Manila and a notoriously traffic-choked system of roads leading south into the provinces intended for industrial development. Infrastructure will rise to 5 percent of the $292 billion GDP next year. Further helping exporters, Manila and the European Union last year reached a Generalized System of Preferences Plus deal that eliminates import tariffs from the Southeast Asian side on 6,274 goods.

Manila calls its ambition “China+1,” a growth plan that pits it against Vietnam and other parts of emerging Southeast Asia that offer low-cost factory bases to multinational companies. China says its GDP growth has slowed to a “new normal” partly because foreign investment in factories has cooled. Investors complain of rising land and labor prices in China. Read more here >>


See classic sitcom houses on Google Maps |

What I wouldn’t give to have grown up in a sitcom … sure, things weren’t always perfect (remember the episode of “The Cosby Show” where Theo’s friend got into drugs? Or when Bobby lied and told his friends he knew Joe Namath on “The Brady Bunch?”) but at the end of the day, lessons were always learned and laughs were always had.

The closest one can get to living in a classic sitcom is checking out the houses where some of America’s most beloved families — and friends — lived. But since these places are private property, it’s best to admire from the sidewalk or simply by looking them up via Google Maps.

Here are a few iconic sitcom houses and where they can be found in real life. Read more here >>


Big Apple is world’s hottest luxury property market |

New York’s luxury property market was on fire in 2014, with high-end home prices registering the biggest gains globally, according to Knight Frank.
The value of high-end residential property in the U.S. financial center soared 18.8 percent between December 2013 and December 2014, far outpacing the global average price growth of 2 percent, the real estate consultancy’s annual Wealth Report showed on Thursday.

“With New York number one in the Prime International Residential Index, it is clear that it has transformed itself again in the recent past, and as result, has broadened its appeal to the international investment community,” said Alistair Elliott, senior partner and group chairman of Knight Frank.

“It is impossible to predict the future, however, with the current confidence in the U.S. economy, the short-term prospects are extremely positive,” he said.

U.S. cities dominated the top end of the rankings, with four cities featuring in the top 10. By contrast, Asia, which had four markets in the top 10 in the previous year, had just one.

New York was followed by Aspen, Bali, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi, which saw gains of between 14.7 percent and 16 percent. Read more here >>


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