Category Archives: Marina Bay, Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar and Singapore River

Districts 1&2

Six Tg Pagar conservation shophouses up for sale

A row of six adjoining conservation shophouses in Tanjong Pagar has been put up for sale at an indicative price of $57.8 million.

The guide price for the units – 48 to 56 Peck Seah Street – works out to about $2,900 per sq ft, based on the existing gross floor area of 19,938 sq ft. The shophouses sit on three separate land lots and have a combined land area of 8,213 sq ft. The site is zoned commercial under the Chinatown (Tanjong Pagar) Historic District Conservation Area in the 2014 Master Plan.

The units, which are owned by a fund managed by Phoenix Property Investors, have a 33m-wide road frontage and are near the Tanjong Pagar MRT station.

The private equity property fund acquired the shophouses in January 2015 for $42.8 million from shipping firm K Line (Singapore).

New projects in the area include Tanjong Pagar Centre, the upcoming Frasers Tower and the redevelopment of CPF Building.

Closing up the Circle Line starting in 2018

Advance preparatory works to make the Circle Line a complete loop, by joining HarbourFront station to Marina Bay station, have begun. Tenders for the civil works are expected to be awarded by the year end, and construction will begin in 2018Q1

The 4-km CCL6 line will close the loop for the CCL by connecting HarbourFront Station to Marina Bay Station. When the three CCL6 stations of Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward are completed in 2025, the CCL will have a total of 33 stations, including 12 interchange stations with other MRT lines.

Expanding the rail network to more areas such as the southern edge of the existing CBD, CCL6 will support direct east-west travel. Besides reaching new commuters, the extension will allow those travelling between the south-western and south-eastern ends of the line – such as from Pasir Panjang to Nicoll Highway – to have more direct and quicker access.

The stage is being set to build the three new stations that will complete the Circle Line. Keppel station will serve commuters at Keppel Distripark, while Cantonment station will be near Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and offer access to Spottiswoode Park Estate. The Prince Edward station will be near Palmer Road, where heritage landmarks are.

The extension will also serve part of the Greater Southern Waterfront, a massive mixed-used development that will commence once the Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani port terminals are relocated to Tuas after their leases expire in 2027.

Preparatory works include relocating affected facilities at PSA Keppel Terminal for the construction of Keppel station, dismantling the platform canopy structures of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and the relocation of Shenton Way Bus Terminal for the construction of Prince Edward station.

Investment property sales drop in Q1

FROM a high base in the fourth quarter of last year, big-ticket property transactions of at least S$10 million declined substantially in the first quarter.

However, the mood in the market is decidedly positive – with much anticipation of the imminent mega transactions of Jurong Point mall, and Asia Square Tower 2 in the CBD.

“Investment market sentiment is positive and the price gap has mostly disappeared except for hotels,” said CBRE executive director, capital markets, Jeremy Lake.

In particular, the tone of investors towards the office sector seems to have reversed dramatically. “The oversupply in the Singapore office market is yesterday’s story, and today’s story is all about the recovery and rental growth,” said Mr Lake.

Figures compiled by Savills Singapore showed that S$5.2 billion of investment sales of property, as these big deals are known, were sealed in Q1, down 34.8 per cent from S$8 billion in Q4 last year. However, the Q1 number is double the S$2.5 billion in the same year-ago period.
Photo: The Business Times
Photo: The Business Times

Both Savills and Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) estimate that some S$2.7-2.8 billion of deals in the commercial property segment were transacted in January to March this year – giving it a share of slightly over 50 per cent of total investment sales.

Major transactions include the S$881 million sale of a 70 per cent stake in TripleOne Somerset by a consortium led by Perennial Real Estate Holdings to Stanley Ho’s Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings, and Manulife’s S$747 million purchase of PwC Building at 8, Cross Street, from DBS.

Savills said the S$2.8 billion of commercial property investment sales in Q1 was a 41.9 per cent increase from the nearly S$2 billion in the previous quarter.

The residential sector saw S$2.1 billion of big-ticket sales in the first quarter, giving it a 40.2 per cent share. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, however, the Q1 tally was down almost 12 per cent, according to Savills.

C&W Singapore research head Christine Li highlighted the flurry of bulk residential sales in Q1 as some foreign housing developers sought to offload their remaining unsold units ahead of regulatory sales deadlines imposed on them under the government’s Qualifying Certificate rules – to avoid paying hefty penalties.

A string of last-minute deals were also inked on the night of March 10 – including TwentyOne Angullia Park, The Line @ Tanjong Rhu, Robin Residences and The Lumos – before the new Additional Conveyance Duties (ACD) took effect the next day.

The ACD plugged a loophole that some bulk buyers in Singapore residential projects had been using to enjoy significant savings in stamp duties.

Savills Singapore managing director Steven Ming said: “Unless annual residential prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming years, it is unlikely that institutions will return to the bulk residential sales market as the hefty 18 per cent stamp duty cuts deep into their required rates of return.”

The effect of this would be the shift of interest by institutional investors to other sectors of the real estate market here, he added.

Industrial properties posted S$344.2 million of investment sales in the first quarter, down 67.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

CBRE and Savills expect the total investment sales for 2017 to be in the S$18-20 billion region – down from around S$23 billion last year. C&W expects the number to remain in the S$20 billion range.

Mr Ming of Savills commented that with institutional investor interest expected to be diverted from residential towards the office, retail and hospitality sectors here, investment sales are expected to continue despite yield compression.

“As both private equity funds and ultra high net worth individuals have either raised new money or have a need to diversify to reduce concentration risk, yields have potential to remain low and go lower as prices will either hold firm or even edge up,” he reasoned.

Ms Li of C&W noted office asset prices are already starting to trend upwards, with rents expected to bottom this year.

In similar vein, CBRE Research’s head of Singapore and South-East Asia, Desmond Sim, argued that as the office recovery story gets more real in terms of rising commitment rates for new projects such as Marina One, this will push more institutional investors to be ready to commit.

CBRE predicts that by the end of the year, seven out of 10 institutional investors who are looking at the Singapore office sector will be ready to buy – up from five out of 10 investors now, which in turn is a higher ratio than just one out of 10 investors a year ago.

Regina Lim, JLL’s head of capital markets research, South-east Asia, observed that in the past four years, Singapore has seen a gradual decline in office demand, retail sales, food and beverage receipts, and gross domestic product growth.

As a result, the republic’s attractiveness to overseas institutional investors has waned, and they have gravitated to Australia, Japan and China commercial property, which have stronger growth stories.

“However, capitalisation rates in these markets have compressed and now Singapore looks less expensive in comparison to these markets.”

Mr Sim of CBRE said that on the residential sector front, while bulk purchases of units from developers have now become harder to do, there may be a bright spot in collective sales. “We should see more interest in en bloc sales from land-hungry developers, especially in the face of limited supply through the Government Land Sales Programme.”
– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/business/investment-property-sales-drop-q1#sthash.8H86fsyp.dpuf

Shophouses in the vogue again among investors

Investment in Singapore shophouses has stabilised and shows signs of picking up after taking a hit following the introduction of a loan curb in 2013. Total transaction value has been rising in the past two years even though the number of caveats lodged remained fairly steady at just over 100 a year.

Transaction value rose by about 7.6 per cent to $707.07 million last year, from $657.3 million in 2015. Demand for shophouses fell off a cliff in 2014, after the imposition of the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework at the end of June 2013.

Three adjoining 999-year tenure shophouses in Amoy Street in Tanjong Pagar were recently acquired by an institutional fund for $59.6 million, or about $2,500 per sq ft, based on the floor area. In another deal, a family office bought a shophouse at 54 Boat Quay for $12.9 million or about $2,985 psf on the floor area.

Office properties, seen as a proxy for shophouses, have faced challenging leasing environment as a deluge of new office buildings weighed on rents in recent years. The average rental yield for shophouses ranges from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent, depending on the tenure of the asset.

Asia Square Tower 2 in Capitaland Acquisition plans

Capitaland is said to be in exclusive negotiations to acquire Asia Square Tower 2 from Blackrock. Based on sources, the price under negotiations is above S$2,700 psf. The recent sales of Asia Square Tower 1 in June 2016, and the GLS in November 2016 won by IOI Properties @ S$1689 psf,  demonstrate strong confidence in the office market in Marina Bay area. Tower 2 comprises of offices and the Westin Hotel. It was over 90% occupied as in end 2016.

Asia’s ultra rich still favours Singapore real estate

The property market of Singapore remains high on the agenda of Asia’s ultra-rich. Its commercial properties are a top consideration for Asian ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) keen on this asset class, moderately ahead of the UK and the US.

Singapore’s residential market is the second most likely place for Asian UHNWIs to own an overseas home, after the UK, according to the recent Attitudes Survey in Knight Frank’s wealth report.

There are some 46,080 UHNWIs, each having a net worth of over US$30 million excluding their primary residence residing in Asia-Pacific, based on data from New World Wealth. Singapore continues to appeal especially to the Asian community to live, work and set up businesses. Districts 9 and 10 are still highly favoured by the ultra wealthy given their prime location, close proximity to high quality amenities and schools.

The overall slide in property prices due to the government’s cooling measures has also enhanced the value proposition of Singapore property, with demand for property gradually returning as seen in the improved transaction volumes last year.

The property consultancy also selected 20 prime city markets and calculated, based on the typical luxury residential value for each city and the exchange rate at the end of 2016, how many square metres US$1 million can buy in each city.

As of end-2016, the most expensive prime homes – generally defined as the top 5 per cent of each market by value – turned out to be Monaco, Hong Kong, New York, London and Geneva, followed by Singapore.

Frasers Tower received strong interest ahead of its completion

About 30 per cent of upcoming Frasers Tower, in the heart of the Central Business District, has been leased – or has received a leasing proposal. The relatively strong interest comes even though the 38-storey office building in Cecil Street is not due to be ready for tenants for more than a year.

The interest came from multi-sector conglomerates, legal services and technology firms, including the first signed lease with The Executive Centre, a serviced office provider, which will take up an entire floor covering 20,000 sq ft.

The supply pipeline favours Frasers Tower, as there are just a few new developments in the core CBD from mid-2017 until the end of 2020: Marina One, UIC Building and the redevelopment of the CPF Building. Frasers Tower has 663,000 sq ft in total net lettable area. An adjacent three-storey building will host food and beverage tenants.

 

Online Stores getting offline presence amidst slump

The falling rental rates provide a silver lining for online retailers amid the current retail slump.These retailers have a chance to venture offline and into shopping malls. Last month, for example, online furniture retailer HipVan opened its permanent 11,000 sq ft flagship store at The Cathay in Dhoby Ghaut.

Lifestyle retailer Naiise similarly opened its 8,500 sq ft flagship store in that mall last June. Other online retailers, such as Reebonz, Love Bonito and Ohvola, have opened short-term stores in Suntec City and Orchard Gateway, to catch shoppers who want to see, touch or try on a product before buying.
 The islandwide vacancy rate for retail space was 7.5 per cent at the end of last year, up from 4.5 per cent at the end of 2013, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data showed.
The Median rental rate per sq ft per month for the Orchard Road area is $9.82, the first time it fell below $10. The median rental rate for retail space in the third quarter of last year was the lowest on record. 

The median rental rate for retail space in the third quarter of last year was the lowest on record, falling to $9.82 per sq ft per month for the Orchard Road area – the first time it fell below $10, according to URA data.

Naiise has five other stores in malls such as Westgate and 112 Katong, which offer self-collection services for online orders. Its online plus offline strategy has paid off, with its six retail stores combined now generating more revenue than its online store.

 

HipVan co-founder Danny Tan, 33, said the retail slump has benefited his business, which now occupies the space formerly rented by sportswear brand Adidas. The store is seven times larger than HipVan’s previous pop-up space in Millenia Walk and Suntec City. It features more than 1,000 of HipVan’s bestsellers, including beds, dining tables and rugs. Its website attracts 200,000 to 300,000 views a month, while revenue has been growing by 12 per cent on average every month.

Meanwhile, high-end fashion retailer Reebonz, whose lease for its pop-up boutique in Suntec ends next year, is moving into its own eight-storey building in Tampines this month. The building will house a permanent showroom.

Good Take-up at Guoco Tower space

TECH and media companies are making their presence felt at Guoco Tower in Tanjong Pagar, accounting for 37 per cent of the space that has already been committed.

The premium Grade A office component of Tanjong Pagar Centre, a mixed-development project being built by the listed GuocoLand group, has 890,000 sq ft net lettable area of which 80 per cent or some 712,000 sq ft is either taken up or subject of advanced leasing discussions. Of this space, approximately 263,000 sq ft has been committed by tech and media companies, including Amadeus and OpenLink.

Earlier media reports also tipped Agoda, Dentsu Aegis Network, Palo Alto Networks, ING, Itochu Singapore, and SAS Singapore as heading for Guoco Tower. Dentsu Aegis is expected to be the biggest tenant with about 100,000 sq ft.

GuocoLand has also named as new tenants The Straits Trading Company, which will be moving out of 9 Battery Road; Danone, which is exiting Goldbell Towers along Scotts Road; shoemaker Asics, which will be leaving PWC Building; and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which is exiting three locations.

The offices, which received Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) last month, are on the lower 38 levels of the 64-storey tower, which is Singapore’s tallest building at 290 metres. Levels 39 and upwards of this tower comprise the 181-unit Wallich Residence. A second tower houses the 222-room Sofitel Singapore City Centre. Both of these components are expected to receive TOP between late this year and early 2017. The project also has a retail component, part of which has already received TOP.

Guoco Tower is counting on its prime location, flexible, efficient and scalable design, Tanjong Pagar Centre’s tightly integrated retail and lifestyle components, and of course, the prestige factor of being in Singapore’s tallest building as its selling points.

Most of the MNCs in Guoco Tower will be using it as their regional headquarters with average headcounts of 300 to 500 persons, coupled with relocations of many of their senior management staff from their other headquarters or regional offices to Singapore.

This would create a lot of demand for F&B, services, hotels and even housing in the area and catalyse Tanjong Pagar’s transformation. The gross effective monthly rents at Guoco Tower are estimated to be between S$8.50 and S$11.00 per square foot – comfortably above the average of S$7 to S$8 psf in the Tanjong Pagar office micromarket, and comparable to other premium Grade A developments in Marina Bay.

 

139 Cecil Street now majority owned by Zhou family from Shanghai

Formerly named Cecil House and now known as DB2Land Building, 139 Cecil Street has an estimated land area of 7,936 sq ft. The approved GFA for the addition and alteration works reflects an 11.2 plot ratio (ratio of maximum GFA to land area) – the same plot ratio stipulated under URA’s Master Plan 2014 for the commercial-zoned site.

Under the proposed refurbishment granted written permission by URA last year, there will be food and beverage use on the first storey, offices from the second to 14th floors and a mechanised car park from basement to the fifth storey. The 16th storey will have a communal roof terrace and F&B space.

The Zhou family from Shanghai picked up an office block at 137 Cecil Street last year, and bought a 60 per cent stake in the company that owned the next-door property at 139 Cecil Street.

The latest deal is said to value the 11-storey property at S$140 million. It has a balance lease of around 64 years.

Written permission was granted by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for a refurbishment exercise to build additional floors to 16 storeys, costing about S$20 million.

The Zhou family has paid S$75 million for a 60 per cent stake in Ececil Pte Ltd, which owns 139 Cecil Street, to a joint venture between Vibrant Group and DB2 Group. Vibrant announced the completion of the sale in a regulatory filing last week. The Vibrant-DB2 joint venture continues to hold the remaining 40 per cent in Ececil. It acquired 100 per cent of Ececil in 2014 from Cheong Sim Lam in a deal that valued the office block at S$110 million.

The major refurbishment, or “addition and alteration” works, will see the gross floor area (GFA) of the property increase from 68,809 sq ft currently to 88,886 sq ft; the latter figure is estimated to yield about 75,300 sq ft strata area.

The next-door property at 137 Cecil Street, which was once known as Aviva Building, is now named Hengda Building after the Zhou family’s Shanghai Hengda Group, which is involved in real estate and other businesses.

Mr Cheong, a member of the family that developed International Plaza in the 1970s, gained control of the two adjacent buildings from Yi Kai Group and Fission Group shortly after the duo teamed up to acquire the two properties in July 2009 for S$100.80 million.