75 heritage buildings conserved

The Chief Planner has gazetted the Master Plan 2014 on 6 June 2014. The Master Plan 2014 is the statutory land use plan that guides the physical development of Singapore for the medium term.

As part of the Master Plan, all 75 heritage buildings proposed for conservation under the Draft Master Plan 2013 were also gazetted today.

75 BUILDINGS CONSERVED AS PART OF MASTER PLAN 2014

• Leong San See Temple, 371 Race Course Road

• Ban Siew San Temple, 2 Telok Blangah Drive

• Koon Seng Ting Temple, 4 Telok Blangah Drive

• Tang Gah Beo, 6 Bukit Purmei

• Kiew Lee Tong Temple, 5 Jalan Tambur

• Sian Keng Tong, 216 Changi Road

• Former Chee Kong Tong (Thekchen Choling) Entrance Gate, 2 Beatty Lane

• Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, 141 Serangoon Road

• Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple, 226 Kallang Road

• Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple, 555 Serangoon Road

• Sri Krishnan Temple, 152 Waterloo Street

• Angullia Mosque Gatehouse, 265 Serangoon Road

• Malabar Mosque, 471 Victoria Street

• Wak Tanjong Mosque, 25 Paya Lebar Road

• Former St Matthew’s Church & Kindergarten, 184 Neil Road

• Former Institute of Health (Bestway House), 226 Outram Road

• Alexandra Hospital, 378 Alexandra Road

• 394 Alexandra Road

• Queenstown Public Library, 53 Margaret Drive

• Former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market, 38 Commonwealth Avenue

• Former Field Assistant’s House (Institute Of Policy Studies) & The Garage at Singapore Botanic Gardens

• 142 Moulmein Road (Department Of Clinical Epidemiology – Tan Tock Seng Hospital), 144 Moulmein Road (Tuberculosis Control Unit)

• 5 blocks of Singapore Improvement Trust flats at Kampong Silat (18, 19, 22, 23 & 24 Silat Avenue)

• Robertson Quay Warehouses (17, 19 & 21 Jiak Kim Street; 19 & 20 Merbau Road; 41 & 42 Robertson Quay, 63 Caseen Street and 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road)

• Former Royal Air Force Seletar (Blocks 179 & 450; 1, 2 & 226 Park Lane; 1 to 3 & 5 Hamilton Place; 3, 5A, 7, 9 to 13, 15 Hyde Park Gate; 1 to 16 The Oval

What a smart city should be

THREE-QUARTERS of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, according to the United Nations. The question of what kind of cities the people of 2050 will find themselves living in was tackled at the recently concluded World Cities Summit (WCS) here.

The general consensus was that a smart city would be one that is green, sustainable and liveable.

The ultimate achievement for a city is to earn unconditional respect from people all over the world, for our people, our city and our country, said Liu Thai Ker, chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), during his closing remarks.

He told delegates that a city, which was in a way the largest piece of industrial design made by man, would be judged on its user-friendliness, functionality and aesthetics.

Over 130 mayors and city leaders, along with representatives of international organisations, researchers and urban planners, attended the four-day summit to discuss strategies on how to develop liveable, more resilient and attractive cities for urban residents worldwide.

They emphasised the need for governments to collaborate more closely with businesses, academia and citizen networks to create more holistic and cost-effective solutions that improve the quality of life.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan said during the closing plenary that cities which invest in IT infrastructure, educational and training capacity to raise IT literacy, the adoption of open data and deployment of various intelligent systems could harness public opinions, and promote co-ownership of problems, and co-creation of solutions.

In such instances, the government need not be the sole solution provider, and neither can it, because there is potential for greater creative capacity in the people and private sector in devising solutions to help city residents deal with day-to-day problems, he said.

Some partnerships announced at this year’s WCS have already put that goal into action. One of them was a memorandum of understanding between the Housing & Development Board (HDB), the Energy Market Authority and Panasonic to study the feasibility of establishing a smart-home energy pilot to provide households with more energy choices and solutions.

The year-long study will explore various energy solutions – such as time-of-use pricing where electricity is cheaper during off-peak hours, and home-energy management systems which provide energy usage data to encourage behavioural change – for HDB households in the future.

As electricity demand increases, energy management technologies and solutions are becoming more important than ever, said Junichiro Kitagawa, managing director of Panasonic Asia Pacific. We hope that such synchronised private-public efforts will create a better life and a better world for all.

Transport solutions also featured in the conversations at WCS, with a focus on driverless vehicles.

SMRT International signed an exclusive agreement with technology provider 2getthere on Monday for an introduction of the latter’s driverless transit systems in Singapore.

We are keen to introduce such driverless transportation technology in Singapore where there are manpower challenges, said Goh Eng Kiat, managing director at SMRT International, adding that the company expects to participate in trial rollouts.

He added that the system can complement existing bus services through last-mile connectivity for commuters, and also has the ability to address on-demand transport requirements, while providing an energy-saving and green transportation solution.

Besides motorised transport, CLC is also looking to encourage active mobility. A joint study released by CLC and the US-based Urban Land Institute on Monday identified strategies to promote walking and cycling in tropical cities.

Ten recommendations were provided for active travel, such as ensuring visibility at road junctions by painting cycling lanes and continuous sidewalks that require cars to stop and allow pedestrians and cyclists to continue.

CLC’s executive director Khoo Teng Chye said that besides a change in the urban environment, active mobility required a change in mindset as well. As CEO and chief planner of URA in the 1990s, I was sceptical of whether cycling can be a viable form of transport, because of our hot and humid weather, for example.

But he pointed to cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam that have 80 per cent of their people cycling both in winter and summer to get around.

Many cities are now planning and providing infrastructure for cycling. They have developed much expertise and we should learn from them, rather than reinvent the wheel, said Mr Khoo.

Other recent studies also indicate that the ability to innovate and adjust to changes across the board is the key to a successful city with high quality of life.

A joint CLC-Shell report titled New Lenses on Future Cities released last month cited flexible long-term planning, investing in the future and collaboration between sections of society as some of the crucial conditions cities should have in order to respond promptly to emerging crises.

In particular, the report emphasised the importance of an efficient transport system that goes hand in hand with a compact city design, and raised the Republic as a positive example of a city that took and continues to take decisive steps for its long-term physical development.

The results of another study – PwC’s Cities of Opportunity, which ranks 30 global cities across 10 indicators – also highlighted the need for cities to actively sweat the details on virtually every aspect of urban policy and organisation.

Of the cities ranked in the top 10 overall, nine were ranked in the top 10 as well for at least five indicators.

Singapore finished third overall behind London and New York and was also top for the transportation and infrastructure indicator.

The fourth edition of the WCS was held together with the Singapore International Water Week and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore. More than 20,000 participants from 118 countries attended the three co-located events.

http://www.timesdirectories.com/environmental/news/A%20%20smart%20city%20%20has%20to%20be%20green,%20sustainable%20and/945317

Is it time to review the cooling measures?

According to an article in BT this month, property developers have collectively paid up to $55.1 million in extension fees for unsold units in their private condo projects since 2012. They could potentially fork out another $80.7 million to extend the sales period for another year if they do not sell their inventory by year-end,

24 condo projects, consisting primarily high-end ones, are still not fully sold two years after receiving their temporary occupation permits (TOPs) between 2010 and 2012, the study showed.

“Foreign developers” under the Residential Property Act (RPA) —  developers with non-Singaporean shareholders or directors — need to obtain QCs to buy private land for new projects. Thus the QC rules apply to all listed developers. Few developers exempted from the rules include privately owned Far East Organization and Hoi Hup.

As QCs allow developers up to five years to finish building a project and two more years to sell all the units, the heat is on developers to clear their stock by the deadline.

To extend the sales period, developers pay 8 per cent of the land purchase price for the first year of extension, 16 per cent for the second year and 24 per cent from the third year onwards. The charges are pro-rated based on unsold units over the total units in the project.

Such fees drove luxury residential player SC Global to delist from the Singapore Exchange last year after sales slowed significantly due to the government’s property cooling measures.

Analysts warn that more extension charges will kick in. The charges paid up so far are just the tip of the iceberg as projects built from land acquired during the 2006-2007 en bloc fever have just crossed a seven-year mark, they say.

“More developers are caught between a rock and a hard place” as they have to decide whether to pay the extension charges or cut prices to move the units, said SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak.

If they pay for extension charges, there is also the question of whether they can recover these costs later on, he said. This is why some developers of luxury projects are resorting to selling the units in bulk to mega investors.

OrangeTee’s study of the 24 projects excluded three projects whose land costs could not be determined. It tracked sales of projects through caveats lodged, which it conceded could be lower than actual sales.

At the end of the first quarter of this year, there were 10,295 unsold units in the Core Central Region (CCR), 8,089 in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and 12,433 in the Outside Central Region (OCR).

Based on URA caveats, there are 71 unsold units in Wheelock Properties’ Scotts Square that TOP-ed in 2011 and 16 unsold units in Wing Tai’s Helios Residences, which also TOP-ed in the same year.

“As unsold inventory builds up, there will likely be more bargains in the market if developers want to avoid paying penalties to extend the sales period, especially high-end developers who have already paid premium prices for their lands,” Ms Li said.

The study excluded the fees that developers need to pay to extend the completion of projects beyond five years, as they can typically extend without paying the charges “based on technicalities”.

Even in a more optimistic scenario where developers manage to sell 20 per cent of the remaining units for the rest of this year, further extension charges to be paid by developers by end-2014 will amount to around $68.3 million.

Some market watchers noted that the QC rules should mark a distinction between larger and smaller projects, given that it takes a longer time to move all the units in large projects in a difficult market as the current one.

Century21 chief executive officer Ku Swee Yong said that demand for high-end projects had been hit hardest by higher additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD) since January 2013 and a borrowing cap under the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) since June last year.

Even if a developer decides to set up an investment company to buy the units and rent them out, the company could be hit by a 15 per cent ABSD and is restricted by a loan-to-value limit of 20 per cent.

While there is good reason for having QC rules to regulate foreign participation in the housing market, these rules were in place before the ABSD and TDSR. “It is about time we review these measures,” Mr Ku said.

http://www.btinvest.com.sg/dailyfree/unsold-homes-big-drag-developers-coffers-20140607/

What’s important to wealthy real estate buyers

In its annual Luxury Lifestyle Report, Sotheby’s International Realty breaks down what’s important to wealthy real estate buyers.

And where do the 1% around the world want to live? Anywhere close to the water.

Luxury buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K., Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, China, Australia, New Zealand, as well as those in Caribbean and Central America all searched predominantly for waterfront properties on sothebysrealty.com.

But high-end buyers from Spain, Venezuela, and Mexico were all more likely to look for mountain mansions. Russia was a major outlier, with its wealthy residents searching for countryside properties 83% of the time.

But location was definitely the top priority for luxury buyers around the world, with 71% of respondents telling Sotheby’s they would pay more for the home’s location over its size, historic significance, or previous (famous) owners.

The survey was sent to Sotheby’s affluent consumers over 25 years old all over the world, from the U.S. to China, between January 28 and February 18, 2014.

When it came to amenities, Sotheby’s brokers said the number of clients who wanted a home with “smart amenities” has increased drastically over the last two years. These include appliances, lighting, entertainment systems, security, and more that can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world.

China’s wealthy real estate investors also valued space to display their massive art collections, while U.S. buyers were mostly interested in having a multi-car collector’s garage, according to the report.

luxury real estate amentities

http://sirluxuryrealestate.com/category/luxury-real-estate/

Sports Hub free usage while time allows

From late June 2014, the Singapore Sports Hub will unveil the Experience Sports Programme to the community – starting with an introductory period from 28 June till 30 July before the official programme kicks-off in August 2014.

This is an all inclusive in-house community programme that will allow everyone to participate for FREE.

From learning to play a new sport, to having a go at fun try-outs or just letting the kids jump around in the Experience Sports Village, there’ll be nothing short of fun activities for everyone at the Singapore Sports Hub every weekend and occasionally on weekdays.​

With the guidance of certified coaches, the Sports Hub will provide fun learning experiences for all. Their “Learn To Play” programme is designed for all ages, all sporting abilities and for all proficiency levels.

Whether you’ve ever held a badminton racquet, just played for fun at the playground or can hit a mean cross-court smash, Experience Badminton, is for you!

If you had always wondered what sand feels like in your face, Experience Beach Volleyball can be the right tonic for your Saturday.

Every Saturdays and Sundays, all year round, the Singapore Sports Hub will have a new sport for you to Experience.

See more details from the Sports Hub Home page. http://www.sportshub.com.sg/community/Pages/experience-sports.aspx

Singapore SMEs can learn from their German counterparts

One of the key takeaways from years of collaborating with German companies for the German-Singaporean Business Forum (GSBF) is that the differentiating factor between mittelstand and Singapore SMEs is focus, said Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan.

At a factory that specialises in the manufacture of glass lenses in Germany, Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan’s simple question – why don’t you outsource this to Singapore? – was met with a surprising answer.

The head of the family- run business or mittelstand – the German equivalent of a small and medium enterprise (SME) – had approached various companies in Singapore but found that the costs were too high.

“It’s quite surprising, right?” asked Mr Tan. “Then I realised that they have one operator looking after three very sophisticated machines. And because it’s highly automated, they are highly productive because the machines run almost 24 hours. In Singapore, we probably have three persons operating one machine.”

In Singapore, local SMEs try to do everything, but for the Germans, they are focused on deepening their competitive advantage to harness their full potential. This not only increases their productivity but also means they are the best at what they do.

The article can be found here:

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/singapore/importance-smes-being-focused-20140620

 

Asia’s millionaires will outpace the Americans in number and wealth

In a report by Capgemini Financial Services and RBC Wealth Management, the number of millionaires in Asia is expected to surpass that in North America by this year. By 2015, the wealth that these Asian millionaires hold will also overtake that of their North American counterparts as predicted in the same report.

In terms of investable wealth, Asians hold US$14.2 trillion, and North Americans US$14.9 trillion. Together, they make up just over half of the world’s US$52.6 trillion of HNWI wealth.

But Asia is growing at a faster pace. That is one of the key takeaways from the 2014 World Wealth Report, said Claire Sauvanaud, vice-president and senior account executive for Capgemini Asia Pacific.

The two regions are already about neck and neck in the number of such high net worth individuals (HNWIs): Asia-Pacific has 4.32 million of them and North America 4.33 million. Together, they account for almost two thirds of the 13.7 million HNWIs in the world.

In 2013, the numbers of the world’s wealthy grew the most in the US and Japan. The US remains the country with the most number of HNWIs (4M) in the world, while Japan is second (2.3M). SIngapore’s HNWI population grew 4.5% to reach 105K people.

Wealth is concentrated at the very top. Among the 13.7M HWNIs, a mear 0.9% have $30M or more. This group holds a third of the HNWI wealth. The wealthy seek to make an impact to their societies primarily via health, education and children’s causes.

Prime Waterfront Homes and Living in Singapore

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