Luxury property sector on the way up?

The luxury property market has pickup momentum after years of lull activity. Recent deals that transacted include a GCB sale of 31,211 sqft in Leedon Park. The buyer is understood to be the executive chairman of Raffles Medical Group Loo Choon Yong. The price is at $1310 psf based on land. There is also a Sentosa Cove bungalow selling for $16.6m based on a land area of 9725sqft. The sale will be a loss based on the price the seller bought in 2012 at $24m.

A penthouse in the prestigious area of Nassim area was sold for more than $25m. The condo unit at The Nassim has a strata area of 9300 sqft, including a pool deck and rooftop pool. The Mukhtar family from Allied Bank in Pakistan bought the place from the developer of the project, Nassim Hill Realty.

For condo and private apartment sold at $10m and above, the number is at a total of 19 units, valued more than $262m.

Woodleigh site to build 600 private homes plus mall

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Kajima Development are planning to develop more than 600 residential units and a retail/commercial component with a gross floor area of about 310,000 square feet on a 99-year leasehold site in the new Bidadari Estate that they have won the tender. The two teamed up to form an equal partnership that placed the top bid for the site at a tender conducted by the Housing & Development Board.

The winning bid of S$1.132 billion translates to S$1,181 per square foot plot ratio based on the maximum gross floor area of 958,450 sq ft allowed for the commercial and residential site next to Woodleigh MRT Station.

The site’s proximity to popular primary schools and other educational institutions and the green environment in the Bidadari Estate including a park and a lake are the key attractions.

As part of the tender conditions, the successful bidder will also have to build a 6,000 square metre community club, a 2,190 sq m neighbourhood police centre, a commercial bridge towards Bidadari Park and an underpass to connect to the bus interchange as part of the development.

Mercer’s cost of living Survey 2017

Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey finds African, Asian, and European cities dominate the list of most expensive locations for working abroad

According to Mercer’s 2017 Global Talent Trends Study, fair and competitive pay as well as opportunities for promotion are top priorities for employees this year – not surprising given the current climate of uncertainty and change.

Mercer’s 23rd annual Cost of Living Survey finds that factors like instability of housing markets and inflation for goods and services contribute to the overall cost of doing business in today’s global environment.

Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey finds Asian and European cities – particularly Hong Kong (2), Tokyo (3), Zurich (4), and Singapore (5) – top the list of most expensive cities for expatriates. The costliest city, driven by cost of goods and security, is Luanda (1), the capital of Angola. Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Seoul (6), Geneva (7), Shanghai (8), New York City (9), and Bern (10). The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Tunis (209), Bishkek (208), and Skopje (206).

Asia Pacific

Five of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia. Hong Kong (2) is the most expensive city as a result of its currency pegged to the US dollar, which drove up the cost of accommodations locally. This global financial center is followed by Tokyo (3), Singapore (5), Seoul (6), and Shanghai (8).

https://www.mercer.com/newsroom/cost-of-living-2017.html

Beach Road site with former Police Station going for public tender

A Beach Road commercial site will go on sale soon with some stiff competition expected. The 2ha plot can be developed for office and retail use, as well as hotel, service apartments and residential options. This is because a developer has committed to bid at least $1.138 billion for the 99-year leasehold parcel, which is on its reserve list. Under the reserve list system, a site goes up for tender when a developer lodges an acceptable minimum bid.

The URA says the plot, which will have a maximum permissible gross floor area of 88,313 sq m, includes the former Beach Road Police Station. At least 70 per cent or 61,820 sq m of the GFA must be for office use, while a maximum of 3,000 sq m can be use for retail.

Keen competition for the site is expected from both local and foreign developers. The “trophy asset” developed on the Beach Road site could hit the market around 2022 – when there is limited supply of prime office space.

UOL to increased share in UIC via Haw Par

UOL Group, a Singaporean Real Estate Developer, will be buying over Haw Par Corporation’s stake in United Industrial Corporation (UIC), another property developer and landlord, via a share swap.

This came after days of speculation following the trading halts of three companies linked to  There was talk that the veteran banker Wee Cho Yaw, who is linked to UOL, might be restructuring his empire of companies, and a privatisation of UIC could be in the works. .

The transaction allows UOL to gain an additional significant stake in UIC which would not otherwise be easily available due to the lack of liquidity in UIC.

An increased stake in UIC gives UOL access to UIC’s commercial property portfolio, eg Singapore Land Tower and Marina Square in Singapore. Both UOL and UIC have property interests across the residential, office, retail and hospitality segments in Singapore, China and the United Kingdom. The transaction also allows both groups to collaborate on joint acquisitions of land banks and office and retail investments.

The domestic housing market is bottoming out, consolidating its holdings in UIC will help to boost UOL’s local residential exposure through UIC’s condominium projects.

Following the transaction, UOL will account for UIC as a subsidiary. UOL already has sufficient representation on the board of UIC. Thus there is a lesser incentive to cough out more cash, while allowing UOL can take UIC into its fold in a way that allows it to consolidate its numbers and its position, so that its perceived position as a developer will increase further.

The deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals by Oct 2017.

Raffles Place among the latest to be affected from retail slump

One Raffles Place are hit harder by the retail slump than those in Orchard Road because of office workers’ limited shopping hours and minimal tourist traffic.

Travel products store Tumi, watch brand Swatch, jeweller Pandora and shoe brand Melissa have decided not to renew their leases and will shut soon.

The bigger tenants, which take up prime space on the ground floor, are leaving, upsetting smaller tenants, which claimed they were not told of the moves prior to them renewing their leases.

The Body Shop outlet on level three, which is moving out on Thursday next week, has not been making a profit. Other tenants moving out include Evergreen Stationery, Yami Yogurt and Blow + Bar hair salon.

3 years after its opening in 2014, most of these crowd-pullers have shut or will move out by next month, as the retail slump claims yet another casualty. Lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, fashion retailer Uniqlo and cafe Paris Baguette have already closed their stores at the six-storey mall next to Raffles Place MRT station.

Its anchor tenant, Swedish clothing retailer H&M, has not confirmed if it will be moving out when its lease ends, providing some respite for the mall.

Malaysian Developer Bought 1 Draycott Park for $72M

A unit of Malaysian property developer Selangor Dredging has bought a prime freehold residential plot in the plush Orchard area.

Champsworth Development (50 % owned by SDB International, a subsidiary of Selangor Dredging) paid $72 million for 1 Draycott Park. The sale price includes a development charge of about $15.3 million, translating to about $1,787 per sq ft per plot ratio, for the 17,442 sq ft site.

The developer purchased the land via private treaty from Ms Seow Ai Ling and Mr Tang Wee Houe who is an architect.

The developer said it was considering building “exclusive mid-rise apartments” on the site, which now has a seven-storey block built in the 1990s, with eight apartments ranging from 860 sq ft to 6,200 sq ft. The site, zoned residential, can be redeveloped up to 36 storeys high.

The site is in the residential enclave of Claymore Hill and Ardmore Park, near the Tanglin Club and American Club, which is also within walking distance of Orchard Road.

The purchase will be 30 per cent paid for with internal funds and the rest with bank borrowings. The break-even price for the new development is expected to be between $2,700 and $2,800 psf.

Prime Waterfront Homes and Living in Singapore

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