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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The Philippine People Are Under Attack from Washington — and Their Own Government

A tribunal this year uncovered grave violations against the human, economic, and cultural rights of Filipinos by Washington and their own leaders.

A tribunal this year uncovered grave violations against the human, economic, and cultural rights of Filipinos by Washington and their own leaders.

By Vanessa Lucas and Azadeh Shahshahani

The Filipino people are under attack.

The Lumad, for example — an indigenous group in the southern Philippines — are being forced to leave their ancestral lands and the source of their livelihood to make way for mining operations and land conversion. Resistance is deadly.


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Property Update (23 Feb 2016)

Is the rapid economic growth in the Philippines sustainable? |

Despite the global slowdown, the Philippine economy stayed strong in the last quarter of 2015, with GDP growth accelerating over 6 per cent. Channel NewsAsia’s Aya Lowe asked Lito Camacho, vice-chairman of Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse, to find out if this economic momentum is sustainable. More >>


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Property Update (2 July 2015)


More large apartments put up for mortgagee sale in H1 |

SINGAPORE : There was a spike in the number of large apartments – defined as residential units above 1,500 sq ft – being put up for mortgagee sale at auctions in the first six months of this year, reflecting the challenging resale climate in this segment of the market.

Sizable non-landed homes included a 5,059 sq ft unit at Residences at Killiney in District 9, and a 4,133 sq ft unit at Seascape @ Sentosa Cove in District 4.

Large apartments, which were popular during the market boom in 2007 and 2008, are now languishing in demand due to affordability concerns following stringent loan curbs, said deputy managing director of Colliers International, Grace Ng.

On the demand side, decreases in housing budgets among expatriates and increasing interest rates have softened both foreign and local buying interest, noted a press release from Colliers International.

On the supply side, there has been a competitive number of newly completed homes for rent. As at the first quarter of 2015, more than 18,000 non-landed private residential properties are due for completion by the end of this year, followed by another 20,000 in the next year. Read more >>


HDB trims number of BTO flats on offer |

The Housing Board has cut the number of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats to be offered this year to 15,000, down from the 16,900 it had planned initially.

The move is in the light of the stabilising resale market, the HDB said in a statement yesterday.

Flash figures showed that HDB resale prices fell 0.4 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

Large-scale launches of new flats “have helped to moderate demand and therefore stabilise resale HDB prices”, said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim.

“This is especially so for the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) launches, as they are typically seen as substitutes for resale flats, given the shorter waiting time to vacant possession,” he added.

This is the second year in which the Housing Board is tapering down BTO supply, after three years of ramped-up building from 2011 to 2013. Read more >>

A slowdown in rental growth could be a result of slower demand in the face of the uncertain global situation, says property consultant DTZ.

A slowdown in rental growth could be a result of slower demand in the face of the uncertain global situation, says property consultant DTZ.

Office rents in CBD remain sluggish in Q2: DTZ |

SINGAPORE : Average office rents in the Central Business District (CBD) area in the second quarter of the year stayed flat quarter-on-quarter at S$10.85 per sq ft, property consultant DTZ said in a news release on Wednesday (Jul 1).

According to DTZ, the slowdown in rental growth was also a result of slower demand in the face of uncertain global situations such as the risk of a sharp correction in China’s real estate market, or the possible default and exit of Greece from the Eurozone. However, it said the net demand growth in the CBD was still positive.

In H1 2015, net demand was 526,000 sq ft, almost 90 per cent higher than the 277,000 sq ft registered in H2 last year. Office occupancy in Raffles Place grew the most by 4.1 percentage points to 96.6 per cent and occupancy rates in the Beach Road/North Bridge Road micromarket inched up by 0.7 percentage point in Q2, DTZ added.

As for the average monthly gross rents in Marina Bay, it remained the highest at S$13.75 per sq ft, followed by Raffles Place at S$10.80 per sq ft, it added.

While rents were supported by the lack of new completions for the rest of 2015, DTZ said leasing activity was modest on the back of the 4.45 million sq ft of pipeline supply in 2016. Major 2016 developments in the CBD include Guoco Tower, Marina One, and Duo Tower totalling about 3.3 million sq ft. Read more >>

City Harvest Church founder and co-owner paid $9.33m for luxury duplex unit in 2007

City Harvest Church founder and co-owner paid $9.33m for luxury duplex unit in 2007

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee puts Sentosa Cove home for sale for $10m |

SINGAPORE : City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee has put his luxurious penthouse family home in Sentosa Cove up for sale.

He and a co-owner are asking a cool $10 million for the duplex unit, more than the $9.33 million they paid in 2007.

Kong and five others are alleged to have misused $50 million of church funds and then falsified church accounts to cover up the misuse. They are accused of funnelling millions from the church’s building fund to pay for the Crossover Project, to boost the music career of Kong’s wife Ho Yeow Sun. Read more >>

Property Brothers. Wei Kiat Management and Development vice president Chris Ang (left) listens to his brother, Don, company president, present their plans for Cebu and the Philippines. Wei Kiat Management and Development is developing a condominium project in Nivel Hills called La Nivea, which they say has the lowest price point in the area.

Property Brothers. Wei Kiat Management and Development vice president Chris Ang (left) listens to his brother, Don, company president, present their plans for Cebu and the Philippines. Wei Kiat Management and Development is developing a condominium project in Nivel Hills called La Nivea, which they say has the lowest price point in the area.

Singaporean group sees real estate growth in Cebu |

PHILIPPINES : Noting flat growth in their own economy, a Singaporean company said it will focus its expansion in emerging markets in Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines.

Wei Kiat Management and Developments Inc., whose business is in property development, announced that it is committed to support the country’s robust real estate industry by developing more projects, first in Cebu and to be followed in other parts of the country.

“Singapore’s economy is standing still. The ones that can survive are the big, listed companies. I think it is better to expand in Asean (Southeast Asian countries),” said Wei Kiat president Don Ang during the ground breaking ceremony of its P750 million condominium project La Nivea in Nivel Hills. 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 (13 May 2015)

Non-landed private residential prices down 0.7% in April: SRX Property |

Year-on-year, resale prices dropped 4 per cent from April 2014, and compared to the peak in January 2014, prices have fallen 6.9 per cent.


Resale condo market stays weak as prices, volumes drop |

SINGAPORE : The non-landed private residential resale market continued to weaken last month as loan curbs and cooling measures weighed on sentiment, with analysts saying the status quo will remain unless the government tweaks its policies.

Non-landed private residential resale prices dipped 0.7 per cent last month from March, showed advance estimates from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) Property yesterday, deepening from the revised 0.4 per cent drop in the previous month. Compared with a year earlier, resale prices fell by 4 per cent.

Transaction volumes remained low amid a continued stand-off between sellers and buyers.

A total of 440 non-landed private residential units were resold last month, a 2.7 per cent drop from the 452 units in March, SRX data showed. Read more >>


Philippines to open construction sector to foreign companies |

PHILIPPINES : The Philippines is opening up the local construction and related industries to enable foreign companies to secure construction permits as regular contractors, and participate in local projects with full equity.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio L. Singson said at the 2nd EU-Philippines Business Dialogue on Tuesday that they expected the Department of Trade and Industry, which chairs the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP), to issue in a month’s time the guidelines for a new license category called Quadruple A.

“The Philippines needs more foreign contractors. We are opening the Quadruple A category for foreigners so they can be granted construction permits not only on a per-project basis but so they can be registered as regular contractors. Read more >>


With Manhattan Luxury Property Hitting Highs, Some Fear Air Is Getting Thin |

NEW YORK, USA : It’s getting crowded at the top of Manhattan’s apartment market.

As condo developers chase billion-dollar paydays through the construction of luxury dwellings, the cranes dotting the city are sparking fears of a supply glut.

Builders are plowing ahead with scores of condominiums priced above $20 million in skinny glass towers throughout Manhattan.

One building, the 66-story tower at 220 Central Park South, is listing more than 60 apartments above $20 million, according to filings made with the New York attorney general’s office. By comparison, in 2008, just 29 new condos sold for $20 million or more across all of Manhattan, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel. Read more >>

Property Update (5 May 2015)


MCC Land awarded tender for Tampines residential site |

SINGAPORE : The tender for a residential site in Tampines that could yield 490 units has been awarded to MCC Land (Singapore) Pte Ltd, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in a statement today.

The company had submitted the highest bid of $227.78 million in the tender for the site at Tampines Avenue 10, also known as Parcel D.

The 15,660.4 sq m land parcel had been offered for sale on a 99-year lease term.

Tender for the site was launched on Mar 17, and closed on Apr 28.

A total of 12 tender bids were received, with a lowest bid of $127.39 million. Read more here >>


Loss-making property transactions on the rise in Singapore –

SINGAPORE : Japanese tycoon Katsumi Tada’s eye-popping $15.8 million loss on a penthouse unit at St Regis Residences may be the largest but several other sellers have also taken hefty losses at the project this year.

Three other buyers have lost more than $1 million there so far this year, with losses of $1.06 million to $4.78 million each.

This comes amid a rise in the pace of loss-making transactions in the residential market this year, characteristic of a softening market where sellers are coming under selling pressure, experts say.

Including two landed properties, 11 transactions this year have sustained losses of more than $1 million apiece, according to a compilation by SRX Property. This is up from only five for the same period last year and three in the period in 2013.

Overall, 78 loss-making transactions have taken place so far this year up from 46 last year and 45 in 2013, over the same period. Read more here >>


CapitaLand ties up with Samsung for ‘smart’ home trial |

SINGAPORE : IN THE “smart” home of the future, people will be able to get weather forecasts and traffic alerts from the moment they wake up, through mirrors that are also display screens.

As the alarm clock rings, other household appliances will also automatically kick into action, such as coffee-makers that will have a brew waiting for them.

Kitchens will have display screens that can suggest healthful recipes. If the home owner approves, they can even connect to supermarkets or websites to order the ingredients for the dishes.

While this future home may sound fanciful, some of these ideas may be tested in Singapore soon. Read more here >>


Guidelines for foreign property ads by year-end |

SINGAPORE: Some were lured into buying an overseas property with promises of high returns but have since lost contact with the property investment company. One buyer had believed that his property was sited in a prime area but found out later this was not true.

In the light of some consumers losing more than S$100,000, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) is urging the authorities to review how foreign property developers disclose information to buyers, particularly in advertisements.

At the same time, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) has announced that by year end, it will implement new guidelines for advertisements pertaining to investments in financial instruments and property, including foreign properties.

CASE has received 13 complaints – seven last year and six in 2013 – from consumers regarding their purchases of foreign properties in Malaysia, the Philippines, India, New Zealand and Canada. A similar number of complaints were made in previous years.
Read more here >>

Philippine inflation drops to a 2-Year low |

PHILIPPINES : Teresita Sy-Coson, Vice Chairperson at SM Investments Corporation explains how the lack of better infrastructure impedes business growth for Philippine business.

Damages could hit $150,000 in Calgary home trashed by Airbnb renters |

CALGARY, CA : The damage to a northwest Calgary home trashed by Airbnb renters will likely be twice as high as the original estimate at $150,000, according to the homeowners.

Calgary police initially pegged the cost at closer to $75,000.

“They said the police estimate is very low, and so it will be significantly more than what the police had originally estimated,” said Mark King, standing in his destroyed living room.

Crews say it will take two to three months for all the repairs to be complete.

While Mark and Star King wait for the work to begin, garbage, broken glass and furniture remain scattered around the two-storey home a week since the discovery.

The website Airbnb has told the couple it will cover the costs, and has hired a local adjuster to restore the home. Read more here >>


Low Mortgage Rates Boost Refinance Activity in U.S. |

USA : According to Freddie Mac, U.S. borrowers took advantage of better than expected mortgage rates to lower their monthly mortgage payment and shorten their loan term as refinance activity accounted for 63 percent of all single-family originations. Approximately 27 percent of borrowers increased their loan amount when refinancing, either by cashing out equity or consolidating loans, versus 29 percent from last quarter, 17 percent from the same time last year and well below the peak of 89 percent in 2006.

Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist said, “Many homeowners took advantage of low mortgage rates by refinancing in the first quarter of 2015. Relatively younger loans refinanced as the median age of a refinanced loan declined to 5.6 years, down from 6.8 years in the prior quarter. Refinance borrowers are primarily looking to reduce payments and pay down principal faster. We estimate that borrowers who refinanced in the first quarter will save on net more than $1.4 billion in interest payments over the first 12 months of their new loan. Nearly a third of borrowers who refinanced shortened their loan term.” Read more here >>