Tag Archives: Singapore

Recent Collective Sales in Feb 2018

1. City Towers (SGD $401.9M). District 10

The freehold condominium development in District 10 was sold for $401.9M in early Feb 2018. Each unit’s owner was to receive between $2.78M – 11.5M. The project consists of 77 units and sold 13% above reserve price. The rate was $1,847 psf ppr (including a $3.5M development charge). The site has a land area of about 104,531 sq ft (with a plot ratio of 2.1), and can be redeveloped to 24 storeys of 190 new units (average size of 1098 sqft). JAPURA Development, linked to Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong empire, is the party that clinched City Towers.

2. Pearl Bank (SGD $728M), Outram Park Vicinity

The iconic Pearl Bank Apartments was recently sold to Capitaland at $728M in mid Feb 2018. The price matches the reserve price of the owners, which translates to $1psf. ,515 psf ppr after factoring a $201.4M premium for a lease top-up to a fresh 99-year lease. The site has a land size of 82,376 sqft of existing plot ratio of 7.45. There are plans to redevelop the site into a 800-unit condo project of total GFA of 613,530 sqft. Break even prices are expected to be $2,000-2,250 psf. The project is located near to the Outram Park MRT interchange and Chinatown, and future units are likely priced to be between $2,400 – $2,600 psf.

3. Brookvale Park (SGD $530M), Sunset Way

Brookvale Park, a 160-unit development in Sunset Way, has been sold to Hoi Hup Sunway, a joint venture between Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments, for $530 million. The sprawling 999-year leasehold land is in a central yet lush setting. The sale price reflects a land rate of about $932 per sq ft per plot ratio, after factoring in an estimated development charge of about $26 million. Each owner would expect to receive gross sales proceeds of between $2.5 million and $4.4 million per unit. The site is a short drive away from Holland Village and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and near reputable tertiary and international education institutions such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, National University of Singapore, Singapore University of Social Sciences and Canadian International School.

4. Riviera Point (SGD $72M), River Valley area

Riviera Point in Kim Yam Road was sold to Macly Group, a Singapore property developer in Mid Feb for $72M. Riviera Point’s site area stands at 14,579 sq ft. The use of the land has been zoned as “residential” with a plot ratio of 2.8 and a height control of 36 storeys. The verified existing gross floor area is about 49,265 sq ft, which translates to a plot ratio of 3.379.

5. Cairnhill Mansion (SGD $362M), Cairnhill Road at District 9

The development in Cairnhill Road was sold to Singapore-listed property developer Low Keng Huat for SGD $362M. Cairnhill Mansions, an 18-storey block comprising 61 apartments, sits on a land area of about 43,103 sq ft. The price tag works out to $2,311 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).




The Lion City ranks as the most popular destination after Bangkok.

According to a new Mastercard report for international visitors, Singapore is the most popular destination among Asia-Pacfiic spots after the capital city of Thailand.  The Thai capital attracted 21.9 million  visitors last year while Singapore draw 11.86m visitors.  Tokyo was next with 11.76m. Thailand dominated the top 10 locations by adding Phuket and Pattaya at 5th and 8th positions.

The top sources of visitors for Singapore were Indonesia, China and India. Visitors here spent $14.1b last year.

The tourist industry in Asia Pacific is the largest in the world.

On a separate note, Singapore’s Changi Airport bounced off from a weak start to 2015 to a record of 55.4m passengers passing through the airport.


Hong Kong has the most unaffordable housing market

According to urban planning researcher Demographia, Hong Kong has the most unaffordable housing market among 367 metropolitan areas in 9 countries. The median home prices were 19 times the median annual household income last year. It was the highest recorded for the 12 years of survey. A 430sqft flat will cost a buyer about US $750K. The most affordable metropolitan markets were in US at 3.5 rating, a moderately unaffordable banding. Singapore is at 5.0 rating and ranked 5th at the seriously unaffordable banding.  Second and third ranking cities were Sydney and Vancouver respectively.

In Singapore context, due to the fact that 90% of locals owned HDB flats which has become more affordable due to increased supply and lower prices,the housing market in Singapore has been made more palatable than say just a few years ago.

Singapore’s expertise for sustainable urban living can take pole positions for overseas contracts

Singapore’s growing expertise in the area of devising policies and processes for sustainable urban living could put local firms working in the sector in pole position for contracts overseas, according to Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Ms Fu told the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development yesterday that there is “business potential in exporting such solutions to the region and beyond”.

She cited the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Scheme, which has been adopted in Indonesia and China.

“This allows some of our architects and engineers, consulting businesses… to bring their experiences (with the certification framework) out to the region as well,” added Ms Fu, who is also the Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

The BCA Green Mark Scheme was launched in 2005 to recognise best practices in environmental design and performance.

Ms Fu pointed to Singapore’s potential role as a “test bed for smart urban solutions”, adding that collaborations among the Government, the private sector and research institutions are expected to raise the country’s capabilities in domains such as water, energy, mobility and other urban solutions.

The minister also urged businesses to do their part, along with the Government, in ensuring that economic development does not come at the expense of the environment.

“Environmental sustainability has to feature in business decisions and be discussed in boardrooms,” she said, noting that the exponential increase of the urban population and global development has come with an “irreversible” impact on the environment.

“(But) companies that understand the environmental impact of their activities derive competitiveness from it,” added Ms Fu.

She also said that “a well-executed environmental strategy will bring about stronger consumer branding, better relations with stakeholders and greater readiness for a resource-constrained future”.

The three-day forum at Marina Bay Sands, which ends today, was organised by five partners, including Singapore-based media firm Global Initiatives, online publication Eco-Business and the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore. The Straits Times was an official media partner.

Last night, 10 companies were honoured at the inaugural Sustainable Business Awards in Singapore. The event was organised by Global Initiatives and PricewaterhouseCoopers to recognise companies that have instilled sustainable best practices in their long-term business strategies.

Unilever Asia was crowned overall winner for its robust approach to sustainability and its commitment to enhancing livelihoods, caring for the natural environment and improving health and well-being across its supply chains.

Other winners included telco SingTel for its fair workforce strategy and Loola Adventure Resort in Bintan, which was cited for its commitment to land use, biodiversity and the environment.

Developer City Developments was also recognised for its work in evaluating and measuring the most significant environmental impacts of its work.


7th most expensive retail rents in Asia Pac: Orchard Road

Singapore remains an attractive destination for international brands and new labels to set up shop, despite steep rents and tough operating conditions, property consultancy Colliers International said on Tuesday.

Still, brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the heat from the competition posed by e-commerce firms, rising costs, a tighter labour supply and shrinking profits, it added in a report on a study that had looked at 125 retail real estate markets in 50 countries.

Retail rents in Singapore were one of the 10 most expensive in Asia Pacific, coming in seventh place at US$348 per sq ft (psf) a year, the study found.

This was down a spot from its sixth place last year, when retail rents were steeper at US$355 psf a year.

Rents for retail space in Hong Kong’s Queen’s Road Central were the costliest in Asia Pacific and second most expensive in the world at US$2,073 psf.

Monthly gross rents in the prime shopping belt of Orchard Road were mostly unchanged in the past year at $36.25 psf, just slightly down from $36.38 a year ago.

“Despite the demand for space by new stores and food and beverage outlets, the retail environment is challenging due to rising costs, shrinking profits and a tight labour market,” said Ms Chia Siew Chuin, director of research and advisory at Colliers.

But more chains have made their way into Orchard Road the past year, opening shops such as Adolfo Dominguez, Etam, Cath Kidston and Cos.

Mr Simon Lo, executive director of resaerch and advisory, Asia, at Colliers, said that Asian retailers have been competing with the increasing popularity of online firms. But top-tier brands will remain in core city areas, where the supply of new retail space is limited in cities like Seoul and Singapore. This will result in the mid-range labels moving out to decentralised areas, he said.

In Singapore, more suburban malls are expected to open their doors to shoppers over the next year. This includes Waterway Point in Punggol, which has an estimated net lettable area (NLA) of 344,370 sq ft, and Big Box in Jurong East, with an NLA of 260,000 sq ft.

Monthly gross rents for prime retail space on the ground floor in city-fringe malls were $24.35 psf as at Sept 30, up from $23.39 psf a year ago. In the suburban regional centres, monthly rents were $33.72 psf, up a touch from $33.46 a year ago.

“Malls in Orchard Road are facing increased competition from malls in other districts including those in the suburban and regional areas, which enjoy a captive and ready shopper catchment,” said Ms Chia. “These malls have proven to be resilient in performance, largely due to this advantage and their close proximity to MRT stations.

Worldwide, New York’s Fifth Avenue has the most expensive rents at US$3,550 psf each year. Hong Kong’s Canton Road was in third place at US$2,011 psf per year.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/business/property/story/retail-rents-singapore-7th-most-expensive-asia-pacific-colliers-2014111#sthash.V6P5b7x1.dpuf

Singapore remains the most SME-friendly economy: survey

SINGAPORE small and medium-sized enterprises which responded to a global SME performance review appear to be happy with government initiatives, helping the city-state maintain its position as the most SME-friendly economy for the second year running.

According to the survey which was conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), 37 per cent of SMEs in Singapore are of the view that government spending in the medium term will roughly be at the right level.

Verbatim responses by businesses on economic developments reveal a “strong theme of positive government support”, noted the report, particularly in providing grants and tax benefits for training purposes.

“Access to finance, and thus the ability to grow businesses, has increased dramatically over the years here. So it is no surprise that they (SMEs) are flourishing as much as they are because SMEs here are getting support from the government to nurture them,” said Leong Soo Yee, head of ACCA Singapore.

“Of particular significance are the various financial and fiscal incentives provided by the government to help SMEs enhance their productivity, lower their operating costs and develop plans for internationalisation, placing them in a better position to seize global opportunities.”

While SMEs in Singapore consistently report higher levels of government support for investment than do SMEs in other countries, they noted that government support decreased in the 2013/2014 period. Apart from Singapore, SMEs in mainland China, Hong Kong and Malaysia turned in similar reports, with China and Hong Kong seeing the biggest drops.

China’s liquidity crunch in 2013 has had a big impact on SMEs’ access to capital. In addition to the clampdown on banks to control their credit expansion and lending practices, the increased scrutiny on “shadow banking” will also have contributed to the restrictions on finance experienced by SMEs. Such drastic developments in a major market such as China were bound to have wider effects across the region, said the report.

Overall, the SME recovery has broadly followed that of the wider real economy, but SMEs are waking up to the recovery by seizing opportunities to benefit from new developments – opportunities arising through innovation, entering new markets and building strong supplier relationships, noted the report.

This is reflected in the fact that businesses, regardless of size, were more likely to have taken action to build capacity in 2013/2014. This included new hires, capital spending, or investment in staff development.

This is the second ACCA-IMA global SME performance review, and covered the period between the third quarter of 2013 and the second quarter of 2014.

Among the major ACCA and IMA economies, those with consistently highest SME ratings for government responses were led by Singapore and the UAE. At the other end of the spectrum, SMEs in the US consistently provided the lowest ratings. This is also true of the large corporates in each economy, respectively.

Separately, a UOB Small Business Survey on succession planning has found that one in two small businesses (defined as firms with annual turnover of up to S$20 million) is at risk of not being adequately insured against the loss of their key person.

A key challenge highlighted by small businesses was the difficulty of finding a suitable successor to replace their key person, especially in today’s tight labour market. In fact, one in two small businesses predicted that it would take at least nine months to find the right candidate.

The survey was conducted in August among 200 small businesses in Singapore. Half of the respondents have an annual turnover of below S$10 million.


Hiap Hoe snaps up unsold condo units

TWO bulk purchases of units on the top floors of Skyline 360° at St Thomas Walk and Signature at Lewis condominiums have raised eyebrows over the basement pricing – and the fact that the developer itself has bought them.

Listed developer Hiap Hoe swept up remaining units at both luxury developments through a wholly-owned company last month, disclosures filed with the Singapore Exchange showed.

Units on the highest floors of a project almost always command a premium, yet the pricing is lowest for any level in the projects.

HH Residences, a unit set up in April, had snapped up five units at the 61-unit Skyline 360º condo in River Valley for $35 million from Bukit Panjang Plaza, another Hiap Hoe subsidiary.

This works out to $1,574 per sq ft (psf) based on a total area of 22,238 sq ft – well below the low pricing of $1,630 psf for a 2,131 sq ft unit sold in August 2009, caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed.

A 4,015 sq ft penthouse unit on the 35th floor had set a record high for the condo in April 2012 when it sold for $10.07 million – or $2,508 psf. The units in the bulk deal were a 6,523 sq ft “super penthouse” on the 36th floor and four other 3,929 sq ft penthouses on the 31st to 34th floors.

HH Residences also picked up two penthouses on the 12th and highest floors of a smaller freehold project, Signature at Lewis, in Lewis Road. The units were bought for $7 million – or $1,071 psf – from another Hiap Hoe unit, Guan Hoe Development. One unit is 3,444 sq ft while the other is 3,068 sq ft.

The pricing falls below the lowest price of $1,227 psf set in January 2010, for a 1,841 sq ft unit.

Hiap Hoe told SGX the acquisition was “in connection with an internal restructuring exercise” but declined to elaborate when contacted by The Straits Times.

Penthouse units, particularly those in the posh districts, have lost their shine.

Buyers have shied away from the sizeable price tags that come with the large units given stringent mortgage rules and the additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD).

Market watchers said that while such deals are not unprecedented among local developers, it is not a common practice either.

Developers that have made similar moves include City Developments, which bought 44 units at Cliveden at Grange from joint-venture partner Wachovia for $2,956 psf on average in December 2012 – a discount of about 20 per cent from what Wachovia paid in 2007.

A recent bulk deal for 12 apartments at Grange Infinite, another luxury condominium in the city centre, was made at an average of about $2,100 psf.

The sale included 11 four-bedders ranging from 2,560 sq ft to 2,700 sq ft and a penthouse of 6,039 sq ft.

An ABSD of 15 per cent was likely to be levied on the bulk deals, so experts said that could have resulted in a smaller net discount for Hiap Hoe. Also, the discounts might not lead to lower stamp duties, which are typically based on property valuations, but they would still lower the overall cost of buying the units.

Skyline 360º got its temporary occupation permit on Sept 28, 2012, while Signature at Lewis was completed on Oct 3, 2011, said Hiap Hoe. Fines are imposed if a developer fails to sell all the apartments in a project within two years of completion, under Qualifying Certificate rules.

However, Mr Donald Han, managing director of Chestertons, pointed out that it is within reason and a routine practice for developers to offer discounts for large units and bulk purchases, especially in a falling market where few are willing to stump up huge sums of cash.

“It makes sense to apply the same discount for bulk deals to a related party,” he said

Singapore number 6 costliest to locate workers

Singapore is the sixth most expensive city for companies to locate employees, according to a new survey.

The survey compiled by property firm Savills measures the total yearly costs per employee of renting living and working space in US dollars in 12 cities, as well as additional costs such as local taxes. The ranking in the form of an index was launched in 2008, with Singapore also coming in sixth that year.

London topped this year’s list, overtaking Hong Kong, which had previously led the pack for an unbroken five-year period.

Changes in total living and working costs reflect not only the strength of a city’s residential and office markets and occupier taxes and costs, but also the impact of fluctuating exchange rates, Savills said.

The sterling’s appreciation against the greenback up until June, coupled with significant increases in office rents, pushed up London’s total costs in US dollar terms. Real estate costs in the British capital grew in US dollar terms by an annualised rate of 10.6 per cent in the first six months of the year.

Despite climbing from fifth to first place since 2008, London is still off the record set by Hong Kong in 2011 at US$128,000 per employee per year. Hong Kong’s position relative to the emerging markets of mainland China means that it is likely to remain an attractive location for companies, despite property-market cooling measures.

It remains by far the most expensive city in which to buy a home, with prices 40 per cent higher than London’s, said Savills.

At the other end of the table, costs in comparatively affordable Rio de Janeiro have risen 85 per cent since 2008, while they are up 58 per cent in Sydney.

Mumbai retains its position as the cheapest city, at about US$30,000 per person per year, down 21 per cent in US dollar terms since 2008.

“This year has seen much more modest real estate price growth in nearly all our world cities and some have shown small falls,” said Ms Yolande Barnes, director of Savills World Research.

“We expect this subdued trend to continue as investor interest and market activity shift to second-tier cities.

“This lower level of price growth means that currency fluctuations have produced some of the biggest changes in our rankings, which are expressed in dollar terms.”

– See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/spore-6th-costliest-locate-workers#sthash.zzC7BV7v.dpuf

Arcadis report put Singapore as 4th on office returns

SINGAPORE has emerged fourth in a recent report that found that the city-state offers investors some of the most attractive returns for minor office building refurbishment investments at 7.53 per cent.

It is one of the top three Asian cities in the ranking, with Shanghai beating it to third place and Hong Kong, which ranked seventh.

The report, done by Arcadis – a leading global asset design and consultancy firm – considers both major and minor refurbishment projects in 15 cities across the world and ranks them by the best expected net rental income return.

According to the report, minor building refurbishment aims to extend the life of an office asset by up to five years, while major refurbishment aims to do so by 15-20 years.

However, Asian markets, including Singapore, might be risky for investors looking to reap returns for refurbishment projects due to the high volume of new office buildings making these markets very competitive.

Singapore has also seen a tide of offices moving away from its traditional central business district to places nearby such as Marina Bay.

For Asian investors looking for opportunities outside their region, European cities London, Warsaw and Madrid are a good bet for attractive returns on major as well as minor office building refurbishment investments.

Top ten city refurbishment rankings – ‘minor’ refurbishment

 1.  Madrid  9.6%
 2.  London  8.5%
 3.  Shanghai  7.9%
 4.  Singapore  7.53%
 5.  Warsaw  7.47%
 6.  Milan  7.35%
 7.  Hong Kong  7%
 8.  Paris  6.99%
 9.  Frankfurt  6%
 10.  New York  5.4%