Singapore’s collective sales could ‘fuel the market’ in 2018

Singapore — Singapore’s property market could see a strong 2018 among Asia markets as collective, or en bloc, sales bring redevelopment, says Nicholas Holt of Knight Frank.

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Singapore stresses under a wealth of worries


SINGAPORE – Morale in Singapore is at rock bottom. The tiny Southeast Asian nation has worked hard in the 51 years since its birth to establish an outsize voice on the global stage. Now the city’s economy is in the doldrums and its influence is in question as China flexes its muscles.

The Lion City is heading for a recession, or two straight quarters of economic contraction, after the trade-reliant economy shrank 2 per cent in the July-September quarter. Overall this year, the government reckons growth will be no faster than 1.5 per cent.


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Singapore named Asian city with highest quality of life


SINGAPORE : Singapore has once again been ranked as the top city in Asia in terms of quality of living, according to global human resource consultancy Mercer.

In the Mercer 2016 Quality of Living Rankings, Singapore was 26th in the world out of 230 cities ranked, unchanged from its ranking last year.

It has also been ranked as the top city in Asia in the past two editions of the survey.


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New York, London Or Hong Kong: Where Is The Hottest Real Estate Investment Right Now?


By Omri Barzilay,

For those who are considering the real estate investment possibilities around the world, New York City has developed the reputation for being a safe haven particularly for foreign investors. Whether that particular reputation reflects the reality of the market may be debatable, but the bottom line is that many investors have been drawn to New York City for three primary reasons: relative liquidity, Easy accessibility, stable prices.

However, there are other cities around the world that are also developing reputations for being safe havens for real estate investment such as London and Hong Kong, and Singapore. Since the housing crisis of 2008, New York City has recovered quite well and remains one of the few large gateway cities that bring in real estate investments from around the world.


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Property Update (11 November 2015)

Beware of Hong Kong’s property bubble! |

HONG KONG : Signs of affordability, price-earnings ratios and tenant buying behavior all suggest Hong Kong’s property market is still a bubble, warns Daniel So, strategist at CMB International Securities.


50% fewer Singapore properties being sold to foreigners |

International investors are shunning Asia’s second most expensive property market – so where are they heading instead?

Once the go-to market for many in the Far East, why are international investors now turning their backs on Singapore real estate?

137 non-landed private homes were sold to foreign purchasers in the third quarter of 2015, equating to 4% of all non-landed sales, figures from Cushman & Wakefield show. This marks a drop of just under 50% over the same period in 2014, where 261 sales were made by foreign nationals, accounting for 10% of overall volumes.

“If their share continues to decline, the support for central region and some city fringe homes could weaken,” said Christine Li, Cushman & Wakefield Director of Research. Read more >>

Resale prices of non-landed private homes slipped 0.6 per cent last month from September, according to SRX Property's flash estimates.

Resale prices of non-landed private homes slipped 0.6 per cent last month from September, according to SRX Property’s flash estimates.

Resale prices of condos and apartments drop 0.6% in October, but volume up 10%: SRX Property |

SINGAPORE : Resale prices of non-landed private homes slipped 0.6 per cent last month from September, according to SRX Property’s flash estimates released on Wednesday (Nov 11).

The fall came on the back of a revised 0.3 per cent fall in September, bigger than the estimated 0.1 per cent dip flagged earlier.

From October last year, resale prices have fallen 2.6 per cent – and 7.6 per cent below the recent peak in January last year. Read more >>


Singapore is home to the weakest-performing luxury residential market for the seventh consecutive quarter, according to the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index that tracks 34 cities worldwide.

Singapore is home to the weakest-performing luxury residential market for the seventh consecutive quarter, according to the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index that tracks 34 cities worldwide.

S’pore’s prime property market weakest in the world |

SINGAPORE – Singapore is home to the weakest-performing luxury residential market for the seventh consecutive quarter, according to the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index that tracks 34 cities worldwide.

Prices of prime homes here fell the most in the third quarter but the rate of decline on a year-on-year basis slowed from 15.2 per cent at the end of the second quarter to 7.9 per cent at the end of the third quarter.

“There is evidence of notable condominium sales transacted at prices that are close to typical market prices for ultra-luxury residential properties, hence we see a slight upwards improvement in the index from last quarter,” said Alice Tan, head of consultancy and research at Knight Frank Singapore.

“However, such transactions remain low as interest in high-end residential properties continues to remain muted due to ABSD (additional buyer’s stamp duty) and uncertain market conditions.” Read more >>


Property Update (3 June 2015)

New flats in Clementi most popular in latest BTO exercise |

SINGAPORE : New flats in Clementi have emerged as the favourite in the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) latest round of flat sales, despite being priced at a premium.

The Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise closes at midnight but as at 5pm on Tuesday (Jun 2), there were about 13 applicants for each five-room unit in Clementi.

Altogether, there are about 4,000 BTO flats on sale, and about another 5,000 on sale under the Sale of Balance Flats exercise.

A five-room HDB flat at Clementi Crest – the latest BTO project in Clementi – starts from S$576,000 and can go up to S$725,000. That is almost S$200,000 more than other five-room units on sale under the current BTO exercise.

But that price tag is not stopping home buyers from applying for the Clementi flats. As of 5pm on Tuesday, there were over 2,000 applications for just 156 five-room units there. The four-room flats in Clementi Crest are also popular, with almost 1,900 applications for 229 units – slightly more than eight applications for each unit.

Over at Tampines, there were about three applications for each four-room unit, and two applications for each four-room unit at Punggol Northshore, which comes with seafront living and smart technologies.

More applied for the Sembawang project, with almost four applicants to each four-room unit there.

Housing analysts have attributed the demand at Clementi to a lack of new flats in the area and the project’s good location. Clementi is considered a mature estate, and the BTO project is also near to the MRT station and town centre. Read more >>


Philippines to lead ASEAN real estate market growth |

PHILIPPINES : The Philippines is expected to lead the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) real estate markets in terms of growth and development.

The island nation was able to sustain momentum in the real estate sector in Q1 2015, according to property consultancy CBRE Philippines, in a report on the Metro Manila market. CBRE observed that the property sector continued to grow, supported by low inflation, a promising business climate and higher government spending.

The business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is a significant contributor to the growth and robust nature of the office market, particularly the IT-BPO sector which registered an 18.7 per cent revenue increase in 2014 and breached the one-million mark in employment.

The BPO industry in the Philippines will continue to drive growth in the real estate market this year, according to a report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC. The Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2015 report ranked Manila as eighth among Asia Pacific (APAC) countries in investment and development prospects, higher than neighbors Singapore, Taipei and Bangkok.

“Strong economic growth and ongoing investment in the offshoring sector – both BPO and financial back office – continue to underpin Manila’s popularity,” said the report. It added that growth in the BPO sector has created a multiplier effect that has led to strong growth in the retail and housing sectors. Apparently, the growth of the BPO sector will continue to positively impact real estate, as it creates demand for more office space and development. Read more >>


Price for Luxury Goes Sky High in Hong Kong |

HONG KONG : High above Hong Kong, on the city’s iconic Victoria Peak, sits an elite enclave of new mansions, each outfitted with a swimming pool, grand ballroom-size living rooms and spectacular ocean views.

Three homes in the Twelve Peaks development sold in the first quarter for a combined $180.6 million, or an average unit price of $14,574 a square foot—the cost for seclusion among the dense woods near the Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island.

The price tops even one of the most expensive listings on New York’s Park Avenue. A new triplex penthouse at 520 Park Ave. is about to go on the market for $130 million, or roughly $10,490 a square foot, according to the developer’s offering plan filed with New York state.

Hong Kong homes are among the priciest in the world, buoyed in part by an influx of tycoons from mainland China parking their wealth in prime real estate. Like in New York City, another epicenter of luxury properties catering to the superrich, prices have become especially inflated near the top of the spectrum. Read more >>

Property Update (24 April 2015)


MAS strengthens regulations against money laundering, terrorism financing |

SINGAPORE : The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued on Friday revised Notices to financial institutions on anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT).

Key changes to the AML/CFT Notices include:

  1. requiring more comprehensive enterprise-wide ML/TF risk assessment to complement risk assessment of individual customers;
  2. elaborating on the requisite steps to identify and verify beneficial ownership of companies, LLPs and trusts;
  3. introducing a new category of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). The central bank said PEP refers to a person entrusted with prominent public functions. The new category of PEP introduced is the “internationalorganization PEP”, which refers to a person who is or has been entrusted with prominent public function in an international organization;
  4. additional requirements for cross-border wire transfers exceeding S$1,500.

The revisions are benchmarked against international best practices and the latest recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard-setter for AML/CFT measures, of which Singapore is a member since 1992. Read more here >>


For expats, Singapore becoming (a bit) cheaper to call home |

SINGAPORE : When Ritika Verma relocated to Singapore with her husband three years ago, she settled for an apartment much smaller than she wanted. “Having lived in France, finding out how much landlords were asking for rent was quite a shock,” she said.

Singapore was ranked the world’s most expensive city for the second consecutive year by the Economist Intelligence Unit recently. Expats have voiced concerns about high living expenses, tightening foreign labor policies and daunting education costs for their children at international schools. But life might just be getting a little easier. Government data on Friday showed an index measuring rentals dropped to its lowest in January-to-March since the first quarter of 2011. The level of rents is expected to decline further as more housing projects are completed.

Prime residential areas, including the financial district and around the central Orchard Road shopping stretch, have seen the steepest drop in rentals. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the average monthly rent of high-end condominiums tracked by Savills Research and Consultancy fell 5.8 percent on year to S$4.57 ($3) per square foot. Read more here >>


Hong Kong World’s Leading Skyscraper City; New York Rents Rising Faster |

Knight Frank reports this week skyscraper prime office rents in New York have dramatically increased by 20% to hit $150.00 per sq ft since July 2014, outperforming the leading Asian skyscraper city, Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong still boasts the world’s highest skyscraper office rents at $250.50 per sq ft.

The figures are reported in the latest Skyscraper Index from Knight Frank and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which ranks the world’s cities as centres for high rise offices and homes.

New York rental values have boomed as skyscraper development has increased, with towers proving popular workplaces for the expanding digital and creative firms in the city, as well as financial and professional firms.

However, Hong Kong’s large lead in rents reflects a low vacancy rate and constrained CBD area.

William Beardmore-Gray, head of global leasing services at Knight Frank said, “”A high quality office environment is an essential part of building a business. With the economy improving, firms want offices that provide an inspiring place to work and demonstrate they value their employees.” Read more here >>


Economists Say Housing Recovery Gradual in 2015, Picks Up in 2016 |

Based on economists who participated on a recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2015 Spring Construction Forecast Webinar, solid employment gains, attractive mortgage rates, a growing economy and pent-up demand will help keep the housing market moving forward throughout 2015 and into next year.

“This should be a good year for housing, buoyed by sustained job growth, rising consumer confidence that is back to pre-recession levels and a gradual uptick in household formations,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “We expect 2016 to be even better, due to a significant amount of pent-up demand and an economy that will be entering a period of reasonable strength and consistency.”

Over the past seven years, Crowe estimates the slow recovery and uncertainty in the job and housing markets resulted in 7.4 million lost home sales. “While some of these sales will never take place, this does indicate how many sales were lost as fewer households decided to move. We expect at least some of these to return in the form of new home sales as job and economic growth continue to firm.”

A key demographic to help jump-start this process should come from the millennials. The share of first-time home buyers has traditionally averaged around 40 percent, but in the aftermath of the housing downturn it now stands at just under 30 percent. First-time buyers are expected to provide a boost to the housing market, as the unemployment differential between young people and others is shrinking, Crowe noted. Read more here >>