Property Update (27 March 2015)

Why Singapore became an economic success |

When it started life as an independent, separate country in 1965, Singapore’s prospects did not look good. Tiny and underdeveloped, it had no natural resources and a population of relatively recent immigrants with little shared history. The country’s first prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew is credited with transforming it. He called one volume of his memoirs, “From Third World to First”.

Why did Singapore become an economic success? More here >>


3 values from home ownership, a legacy of Mr Lee Kuan Yew |

SINGAPORE : One of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s greatest legacies is home ownership. He believed that home ownership is a key pillar of a strong society.

His leadership has guided the creation of one of the most vibrant nations in the world and, in his words, it started with home ownership.

In opening the Pinnacle@Duxton, he remarked, “If all the HDB flats built over the past 50 years were rental flats, Singapore would be a very different society today.”

“We would not have the stability, progress and prosperity that the stake in home ownership of a growing asset has made possible.”

At SRX Property, we looked through Mr Lee’s speeches and writings and identified three values of home ownership: community, responsibility, and prosperity.

In other words, Mr Lee believed that home ownership glues different ethnic groups together. A home is something that everyone can aspire to and achieve, regardless of race, creed or culture.

It’s possible for different people to build a community together because each owner has a stake in their home, and, thus, the community.

He said, “The pride people have in their homes prevents our estates from turning into slums, which is the fate for public housing in other countries.” Read more here >>


Singapore to Carry Forward Lee Kuan Yew’s Business-Friendly Legacy |

SINGAPORE : The death of Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew marks the end of an era at a time when the country is facing slowing economic growth and struggling to complete its transition to a first-world economy.

But despite the current difficulties, businesses say Mr. Lee’s policies and philosophy will outlast the elder statesman, and that his son’s administration has proved that it will continue the legacy of pragmatism that characterized the Lee years.

“Singapore has always been able to change and adapt in order to remain competitive in a world of changing dynamics,” said Stuart Dean, chief executive of General Electric in Southeast Asia. General Electric has been in Singapore since 1969 and characterizes itself as “one of the pioneers of the then swampy Jurong,” referring to Singapore’s now-modern industrial island. Jurong Island is now home to some of the world’s largest chemical and oil companies. Read more here >>


Singapore banks seen profiting as rising rates bolster margins |

SINGAPORE : Singapore’s three major banks are poised to benefit from gains in local interest rates, which could signal bigger profits from their domestic lending.

The three-month Singapore interbank offered rate, or SIBOR, has more than doubled this year to just over 1 per cent, the highest since December 2008. If rates continue higher, DBS Group Holdings, United Overseas Bank and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp could reverse a squeeze on their net interest margins, the difference between the interest they charge for loans and pay out to depositors.

Singapore banks are “at a turning point,” said Ivan Tan, a Standard & Poor’s analyst based in the city-state. “The rise in margins would mark an important reversal after several years of compression, and has important revenue implications.” The three banks derive about 60 per cent of revenue from interest income at their core lending businesses, Mr Tan said.

Weakness in the Singapore dollar and expectations for higher US lending rates propelled SIBOR’s rise from December. With deposit rates climbing more slowly, the three banks should be able to boost their net interest margins from last year’s 1.69 per cent average, Mr Tan said. Read more here >>


Prime property market in Dubai sees sales fall |

DUBAI : Dubai luxury home prices remain relatively resilient despite a drop-off in sales activity, according to the latest analysis of the Emirate’s residential real estate market.

Sales in Dubai’s prime segment, comprising properties worth over AED10 million, hit the lowest level since the end of 2012 in the final three months of 2014, the research document from international real estate firm Knight Frank shows.

Despite this however, Knight Frank’s prime residential price index saw a relatively modest fall in the three months to December of 1.2% quarter on quarter, the second consecutive quarterly fall.

Indeed an examination of the data shows that these two declines nearly reversed the increases seen in the first half of last year, leaving values just 0.3% higher year on year in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Despite the lower level of transactional activity however, the nationalities investing in real estate in Dubai remained diverse. Data from the Dubai Land Department (DLD) shows that, in 2014, more than 140 nationalities bought property in the Emirate. Read more here >>


London firm enters boom market for city student properties |

UK : Hattington Capital, a boutique firm that is involved in private equity deals and real estate, is planning a €25m project to build a development with almost 250 accommodation units on the site of the landmark Frawley’s store on Thomas Street in the capital.

It’s the company’s first foray into the student accommodation market either in Ireland or the UK. Hattington is understood to be on the lookout for additional sites in Dublin.

There are 80,000 full-time students in Dublin and another 100,000 language students.

The site on Thomas Street was once owned by developer Liam Carroll. It’s believed that Hattington bought the site from the receiver for around €2.5m.

Frawley’s closed in 2007 after more than a century of trading on the site. Read more here >>