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Weekly News Review / Issue 38

By in Weekly News Review with 0 Comments

Top News for the Week

Residential

August new home sales surprise with strong showing

Developers moved 1,122 new private homes in the traditionally quiet month of August, down by just 4.8 per cent from the 1,179 units sold in July, as demand remained resilient despite the weaker macro-economic environment.

Last month’s sales numbers were boosted by new launch Parc Clematis and sales at projects that were launched earlier. More than 70 per cent of units sold last month were from previous launches, as most developers avoided launching new projects during the Hungry Ghost month. Parc Clematis was launched two days after the festival ended.

Also helping to buoy sales was the “lower-for-longer” interest rate environment.

August’s strong performance – the second-highest in a year after July – could encourage developers to continue launching more projects this month. Developer sales were up a whopping 82 per cent from the 617 units sold in August last year, the first month after the July 6 property cooling measures took effect.

Last month, developers launched 979 units, up 7.5 per cent from 911 units in July, and up 83 per cent from 534 units in August last year.

The data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority excludes executive condominium (EC) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid. Including ECs, developers sold 1,167 units last month, down 25 per cent from 1,557 units in July. This was up 82.3 per cent from 640 private homes and EC units sold in July last year.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/august-new-home-sales-surprise-with-strong-showing https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/sales-of-new-private-homes-holding-up-in-august

 

Muted demand for private residential properties a concern for developers, says Redas president

Prices of private residential properties may have gone up in the second quarter, but this does not reflect the true state of the market, said Chia Ngiang Hong, president of the Real Estate Developers Association Singapore (Redas).

New home sales remain lacklustre on the back of existing cooling measures, abundant unsold stock and a worrying economy, he said in a speech at Redas’ Mid-Autumn Festival celebration lunch.

The general take-up is also at a slower rate than the total number of units that have become available for sale, he noted.

In the first half of 2019, developers sold 4,188 private residential units, excluding executive condominiums.

At the present take-up rate, the total sales volume for this year would be about 8,000 units. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it will take the market four to five years to absorb an estimated 43,000 units available for sale, he said.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/muted-demand-for-private-residential-properties-a-concern-for- developers-says-redas

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/developers-worry-despite-rise-in-private-home-prices

 

‘Ferrari woman’ grants option to buy her GCB for S$47m

Shi Ka Yee, in her 70s and dubbed the “Ferrari woman” for a series of offences while driving her Ferrari, is understood to be in the early stages of selling her bungalow in Astrid Hill for S$47 million.

The price works out to S$1,742 per sq ft on the freehold land area of 26,983 sq ft.

The price at which the property is changing hands is lower than the seller’s asking price of S$52 million or S$1,927 psf.

An option to purchase the property was granted by Ms Shi on Sept 7 to the buyer, who is understood to be a low-profile Singaporean residing in the Chatsworth Park Good Class Bungalow (GCB) Area.

The rectangular-shaped, elevated plot with a wide frontage is at a cul de sac within the Queen Astrid Park GCB Area. On site is an old single-storey bungalow with a swimming pool; the property was repainted recently. Ms Shi does not live in the Astrid Hill bungalow.

Market watchers say the District 10 property is ripe for redevelopment.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/ferrari-woman-grants-option-to-buy-her-gcb-for-s47m

 

Garlick Ave bungalow put up for sale for S$16.5m

A single storey detached bungalow located at 72 Garlick Avenue in a good class bungalow (GCB) area has been put up for sale via expression of interest (EOI) for S$16.5 million.

This translates to around S$1,789.39 per sq ft, based on a land area of 9,221 sq ft.

The District 10 freehold property sits on the highest point along Garlick Avenue on an elevated site which is rectangular in shape. It has a frontage of around 27 m and an average depth of some 31 m.

Located 15 minutes away from the Orchard Road shopping belt, the property is within walking distance of Sixth Avenue MRT station, Cold Storage and eateries at Guthrie House.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/garlick-ave-bungalow-put-up-for-sale-for-s165m

 

Yarwood Avenue GCB up for auction with guide price of S$23m

A two-storey good class bungalow (GCB) at 18A Yarwood Avenue is set to go up for sale via auction next week with a guide price of S$23 million.

The guide price works out to S$1216 per sq ft, based on a land area of 18,911 sq ft. It is an owner’s sale.

The 999-year leasehold property is located in Kilburn Estate. The resort-like, Balinese-styled home has a floor area of 8,956 sq ft, and a car porch and sheltered terraces totalling 678 sq ft.

The property also has a basement, swimming pool, landscaped garden and koi pond.

Successful sales of properties along the same stretch include a home at 19 Yarwood Avenue, which sold for S$22.15 million in February this year and 21B Yarwood Avenue, which transacted for S$19.4 million in March 2018. The properties sat on land areas of 19,030 sq ft and 16,156 sq ft respectively

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/yarwood-avenue-gcb-up-for-auction-with-guide-price-of-s23m

 

HDB looking at 3D-printing tech in Tengah, Bidadari estates

For the first time, 3D-printing could be used to build landscape furniture and architectural features in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) estate, such as a bench or a pavilion, in the upcoming Tengah and Bidadari estates.

Using such technology would not only allow for faster, cheaper and less labour-intensive construction, it could also increase the potential for more unconventional designs than traditional precast methods.

This is among projects that the HDB is embarking on to improve productivity amid sluggish productivity growth in the construction industry.

Ongoing testing in 3D-concrete printing is being done at the HDB Centre of Building Research at Woodlands, where a printer capable of building components up to 9 m long by 3.5m wide by 3.8m tall is located.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/hdb-looking-at-3d-printing-tech-in-tengah-bidadari-estates https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/housing/3d-printed-features-to-debut-in-tengah-bidadari-estates

 

Singapore projects target HK buyers in inaugural property festival in HK

A property festival featuring residential projects in Singapore will take place in Hong Kong next weekend, with some local developers looking to market their developments to Hong Kong residents.

The inaugural Singapore Property Festival, organised by the South China Morning Post, will be held on Sept 28 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong. Among the exhibitors are CapitaLand, GuocoLand, United Industrial Corp, CEL Development, Bukit Sembawang Estates and Aurum Land.

According to the organiser’s website, over 20 residential projects in Singapore will be featured at the event.

The festival comes amid media reports that the ongoing protests in Hong Kong may be prompting some Hong Kong property buyers to turn their attention to Singapore.

Hong Kong buyers bought 47 and 78 non-landed homes in Singapore in 2018 and 2017 respectively.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/singapore-projects-target-hk-buyers-in-inaugural-property-festival-in-hk

Commercial

Dempsey businesses in limbo over revamp plans

Before Dempsey Hill sprang up in 2007, Samy’s Curry was already drawing legions of loyal diners to the former military barracks.

Now, the Dempsey institution is among a number of businesses in Tanglin Village facing uncertainty over their future as the authorities finalise their plans for the next phase of its transformation.

With six months until master tenant Country City Investment’s (CCI) lease for 17 blocks in the Dempsey cluster ends, about 30 sub-tenants are awaiting confirmation on whether their leases will be renewed.

However, two long-time tenants have already been told that they will have to vacate when their lease expires in March next year.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) told The Straits Times that it is working on “an overall concept masterplan and a thematic approach to rejuvenate the clusters in Tanglin Village”.

 

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/dempsey-businesses-in-limbo-over-revamp-plans

 

Guoco Tower, Singapore’s tallest building, clinches global award for excellence

Guocoland’s mixed-use development Guoco Tower in Tanjong Pagar is the only Singapore winner among 11 projects recognised at the 2019 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Global Awards for Excellence.

The Washington-based ULI describes the winners – seven from the US, three from Asia and one from Europe – as projects that demonstrate “a comprehensive level of quality and a forward- looking approach to development and design”.

Other winners this year include International Market Place in Hawaii, Knowledge and Innovation Community in Shanghai, The Scioto Peninsula Cultural District in Ohio, and the Moscow Street Program in Moscow.

Guoco Tower – Singapore’s tallest building at 290 metres – integrates premium Grade A offices, retail and F&B space, the Sofitel Singapore City Centre hotel, homes at Wallich Residence, and an urban park.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/guoco-tower-singapores-tallest-building-clinches-global-award-for- excellence

 

Co-working spaces among top six occupier sectors at 3.7m sq ft

Co-working spaces now take up 3.7 million sq ft in net lettable area (NLA) of Singapore’s commercial space, tripling from 1.2 million sq ft in 2015 to become one of the top six occupier sectors.

The top occupier sectors in the Singapore CBD (central business district) Grade A office space are financial services, followed by professional services; technology, media and telecommunications; resources, energy and commodities; consumer; and flexible workspace.

It has been projected that the NLA for flexible workspaces will grow by 24 per cent in 2019, driven by demand from multinational corporations and new startups. The sector has also seen a 36 per cent growth in compound annual growth rate by NLA. However, the pace of growth might slow to 15 per cent due to a higher base and tighter vacancies.

Flexible workspaces now account for 5 per cent of Central Business District (CBD) Premium and Grade A offices, said the report.

In terms of distribution, 83 per cent of flexible workspace resides in the CBD, 12 per cent in the city fringe and 5 per cent in the suburban area.

Within the CBD, 52 per cent of coworking spaces are in Raffles Place or New Downtown, followed by 22 per cent in Shenton Way or Tanjong Pagar. City Hall takes up 16 per cent of the distribution, while Orchard Road takes up 7 per cent and Beach Road and Bugis takes up 3 per cent.

When it comes to market share, the leading co-working operator in Singapore is WeWork which holds a 22 per cent share of the pie or 850,000 sq ft in portfolio size.

Next is IWG at 16.6 per cent with 640,000 sq ft, followed by JustGroup at 12.8 per cent with 498,000 sq ft.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/co-working-spaces-among-top-six-occupier-sectors-at-37m-sq-ft https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/spore-co-working-spaces-have-tripled-to-37m-sq-ft-since-2015

 

Manhattan House up for sale, S$300m reserve price

Manhattan House – a full commercial site along Chin Swee Road – will be up for sale via a public tender on Friday, with a reserve price of S$300 million.

This reflects a land rate of S$1,681 per sq ft per plot ratio, inclusive of the differential premium payable.

The collective sale launch was announced after Manhattan House received a mandate from over 80 per cent of the owners who were in favour of the en bloc exercise. The tender will close on Nov 20 at 2pm.

Built in the early 1970s, the 269-unit, 99-year leasehold development sits on a land area of 4,167.7 sq m and is zoned for commercial use, with the Masterplan 2014 indicating a plot ratio of 4.7.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/manhattan-house-up-for-sale-s300m-reserve-price

 

New app by UOB, SoReal helps SMEs buy commercial properties faster

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may now be able to invest in and get loans for commercial properties faster, with a new mobile app – called RealCommercial – by United Overseas Bank (UOB) and property portal SoReal Prop.

SMEs can search and get valuations for properties such as offices and warehouses on the RealCommercial mobile app, which provides listings from SoReal, an online property platform founded by ERA Realty, Huttons Asia and PropNex Realty last year.

UOB said its digital valuation service provides SMEs with a bank-backed valuation for their loan application in less than a minute, shortening a process which can take up to seven days currently. Business owners can also view the loan quantum they qualify for on the app, based on their average monthly cash flow or affordability.

Commercial properties are also seeing burgeoning investor interest of late, thanks to their stable income and higher rents. Commercial deals hit S$3.5 billion in the second quarter of this year, making up 52 per cent of total real estate investment sales.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/new-app-by-uob-soreal-helps-smes-buy-commercial-properties-faster

Retail

‘Tis the season for online shopping

The year-end shopping season has begun, and e-commerce platforms such as Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee continue to draw in shoppers as more take to the convenience of buying online.

During the recent 9.9 sale, home-grown e-commerce platform Shopee pulled in three times as many orders as it did on the same day last year. The company received more than 5.8 million orders on Sept 9 last year.

Shopee, which is owned by consumer Internet firm Sea, originated the 9.9 sale in 2016 in a bid to be the first to kick off the shopping season that includes Single’s Day on Nov 11 and Black Friday, which occurs on the day after Thanksgiving.

This year, companies that took part in the 9.9 sale included Zalora, Lazada, Qoo10, Klook and Taobao.

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/tis-the-season-for-online-shopping

Government

New roads, viaduct, cycling paths to be built in Changi

Going to and around Changi – whether on four wheels, two wheels or by rail – will be a breeze when a flurry of planned infrastructural projects, designed to complement the MRT Cross Island Line (CRL) and serve Changi Airport’s Terminal 5 (T5), are completed.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that it will call for tenders by year end to widen existing roads, build new roads, erect a new viaduct and lay cycling paths in an area flanking the north and south of the growing airport.

The massive undertaking, slated to start next year and be completed by 2029, will involve land acquisition affecting parts of Laguna National Golf and Country Club and three plots owned by JTC. The three plots are currently occupied by Ho Printing, Tollyjoy Baby Products and Veritas Petroleum.

The works are in two parts: Changi Northern Corridor and Changi Southern Corridor.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/new-roads-viaduct-cycling-paths-to-be-built-in-changi https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/mega-initiative-to-cement-singapores-aviation-hub-status

 

3 stations on Thomson-East Coast Line to open in January

The first stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) – with three stations in Woodlands – will commence service before Chinese New Year in late January next year.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced this during a visit to the line’s Mandai Depot. There will be a few days of free travel for commuters before the opening so that they can familiarise themselves with the new stations – Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South – and the connection to the North-South Line, he said.

In January, Mr Khaw had said the first stage would open before Christmas this year.

Singapore’s sixth MRT line will be 43km long with 32 stations. Eight of these are interchange stations. The line links neighbourhoods such as Thomson, Toa Payoh, Marine Parade and Bedok to the Central Business District.

It was also supposed to have services from Woodlands to a northern extension that goes into Johor Baru. But after repeated delays, the project is on hold until the end of this month.

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/3-stations-on-thomson-east-coast-line-to-open-in-january

Economy

Singapore business confidence falls to near 2-year low in Q4

Business confidence in Singapore has dropped to a near two-year low for the final quarter of this year, with the manufacturing sector and wholesale trade bracing themselves for a downturn, a new survey has shown.

Business sentiment fell from +6.91 percentage points in the third quarter to +4.82 percentage points in the fourth quarter, the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau’s (SCCB) Business Optimism Index showed.

Year on year, it nearly halved from the +9.19 percentage points in the fourth quarter last year. Five of six indicators were lower in the fourth quarter this year than in the previous quarter.

The figures were derived from a poll of 200 business owners and senior executives representing major industry sectors across Singapore, and are calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents expecting decreases from that of those expecting increases.

On a year-ago basis, only employment rose, jumping from +4.39 percentage points to +14.44 percentage points.

Sector-wise, the financial industry was the most optimistic, with five indicators in positive territory, versus the previous quarter. The only exception was selling price, which still rebounded from -20 percentage points to 0 percentage point.

Five indicators rose for transport, but three – sales, net profits and inventory levels – came in at 0 percentage point, while the remaining three were positive.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/business-confidence-for-q4-hits-near-two-year-low https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/spore-business-confidence-falls-to-near-2-year-low-in-q4

 

NODX down 8.9% in Aug, boosted by gold exports

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell 8.9 per cent year on year in August, performing better than economists’ expectations of a 10.6 per cent fall and breaking a five-month streak of double-digit declines.

The August NODX decline eased from July’s 11.4 per cent fall, in the second straight pickup since June’s six-year low. On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, NODX rose 6.7 per cent in August, strengthening from July’s 3.5 per cent growth.

Electronic NODX was down 25.9 per cent year on year in August, steepening from the previous month’s 24.2 per cent fall. Contributing the most to this decline were contractions in exports of integrated circuits (-32.1 per cent), PCs (-28.6 per cent), and disk media products (-11.9 per cent).

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/nodx-down-89-in-aug-boosted-by-gold-exports https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/exports-fall-again-as-fresh-worries-emerge-on-horizon

 

Heng upbeat about semiconductor industry’s prospects

The current slowdown in the global semiconductor industry does not dim its prospects, as there is fresh demand driven by the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and mobility services, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, added that investments in the sector here reflect a long- term strategic perspective and affirm Singapore’s approach to its economy.

He was referring to European chipmaker STMicroelectronics, which officially expanded its wafer fabrication facility in Ang Mo Kio – more than doubling its capacity to manufacture eight-inch wafers in Singapore.

The expanded facility adds more than 400 jobs here and is its largest such production site by volume, making up more than two-fifths of the company’s output.

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/heng-upbeat-about-semiconductor-industrys-prospects

 

Industrial

Keppel DC Reit to raise S$473.8m to help fund data centre acquisitions

Keppel DC Reit is planning to raise about S$473.8 million to partially fund the acquisition of a 99 per cent stake in data centre Keppel DC Singapore 4 (KDC SGP 4), along with a 100 per cent stake in 1-Net North Data Centre (1-Net North DC).

The proposed equity fundraising comprises a combination of a private placement and preferential offering, as well as debt. The Reit’s aggregate leverage ratio will be reduced from 31.9 per cent to

30.3 per cent as at June 30, its manager said. Both acquisitions, which are slated to be completed in the fourth quarter, are expected to be highly accretive to Keppel DC Reit’s distribution per unit, the manager added. When completed, the Reit’s assets under management will grow by 30.7 per cent to S$2.58 billion, comprising 17 data centres globally.

KDC SGP 4 is a five-storey facility with a net lettable area of about 84,544 sq ft, and an occupancy of 92 per cent. It is located close to two of the Reit’s existing data centres, Keppel DC Singapore 2 and 3 within the Tampines Industrial Park.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/keppel-dc-reit-to-raise-s4738m-to-help-fund-data-centre- acquisitions

 

New innovation hub set to boost food start-ups

Food start-ups here may have a new home in a 90,000 sq ft building in Chin Bee Drive, which offers spaces such as research and development laboratories, a co-working area, and trading, logistics and manufacturing facilities.

A spin-off by sugar company Cheng Yew Heng, the six-storey Innovate 360 opened about two weeks ago and is now at around 60 per cent occupancy.

Start-ups can also benefit from Innovate 360’s network of sales partners, mentors and funding.

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/new-innovation-hub-set-to-boost-food-start-ups

Shophouses

5 adjoining Kampong Glam shophouses up for tender

Five adjoining conservation shophouses located in Kampong Glam are up for sale via public tender at a guide price of S$23.8 million.

The freehold shophouses at 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 Baghdad Street are located at the prime corner of Baghdad Street and Muscat Street.

They have five individual titles with a total land area of 4,892 sq ft, and gross floor area of around 8,013 sq ft.

They are also zoned “commercial” under the Master Plan 2014, and will not have additional buyer’s stamp duty and seller’s stamp duty. Foreigners and companies are also eligible to purchase the properties.

Currently, the shophouses are fully tenanted, with food and beverage outlets on the ground floor and offices or additional dining areas on the upper floors.

The sale is subject to existing tenancies, with the public tender closing on Oct 24 at 3pm.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/5-adjoining-kampong-glam-shophouses-up-for-tender

Hospitality

Two hospitality assets flipped for 30-70% profit in just months

Two Singapore hospitality assets – one along Orange Grove Road and the other in Outram Road – have been flipped for handsome gains after holding periods of just under a year.

The Outram Road deal, involving the distinctive barrel-shaped Wangz Hotel, yielded a gross gain of about 30 per cent or S$14 million over a period of just three months.

Over in District 10, the resale of Darby Park Executive Suites was even more substantial, raking in a difference of S$67 million for the seller. While the holding period was longer at about 10 months, the gain was a sharp 72 per cent. During the 10 months, the site on Orange Grove Road was rezoned from residential to hotel use.

Market watchers attribute the flips to investors being increasingly drawn to hospitality assets following the July 2018 cooling measures on residential property.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/two-hospitality-assets-flipped-for-30-70-profit-in-just-months-0

 

OUE to sell Oakwood serviced residences for S$289m

Property developer OUE has inked agreements to sell Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore, its luxury serviced residences and hotel business in Shenton Way, for S$289 million.

The buyers are joint venture firms formed by Hong Kong financial services firm AMTD Group and hotel operator Dorsett Hospitality International. Dorsett is wholly owned by Hong Kong-listed property giant Far East Consortium International (FEC).

Oakwood Premier is the hotel and serviced residences component of the redeveloped OUE Downtown complex in Singapore’s central business district. It has 268 rooms, two dining facilities and other amenities, occupying levels 7 to 32 of OUE Downtown 1. Total gross floor area spans 25,054 sq m, while strata title area totals 23,234 sq m. It is managed by Oakwood Worldwide (Asia).

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/oue-to-sell-oakwood-serviced-residences-for-s289m https://www.straitstimes.com/business/oue-to-sell-serviced-residence-and-hotel-business-for-289m

 

SIA extends title sponsorship for Singapore F1 until 2021

Mainboard-listed Singapore Airlines (SIA) has extended its title sponsorship for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix for another two years, until 2021, the company announced in a joint statement with Formula 1.

With the title sponsorship, the race is officially known as the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

SIA first signed as title sponsor for the race in 2014 for a period of four years. It subsequently extended the sponsorship for another two years, through the 2019 race.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/sia-extends-title-sponsorship-for-singapore-f1-until-2021 https://www.straitstimes.com/sport/formula-one/sia-extends-singapore-f1-race-title-sponsorship-to-2021

Overseas

China new home prices rise at weakest pace since Oct 2018

China’s new home prices grew at a slower pace in August as a cooling economy and existing curbs on speculative buying put a dent on overall demand.

Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 8.8 per cent in August from a year earlier, compared with a 9.7 per cent gain in July and the weakest pace since October 2018, Reuters calculated from official National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data.

On a monthly basis, average new home prices rose 0.5 per cent in August, less than July’s growth of 0.6 per cent and the smallest increase since February. However, it still marked the 52nd straight month of gains.

Most of the 70 cities surveyed by the NBS still reported monthly price increases for new homes, though the number was down to 55 from 60 in July.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/china-new-home-prices-rise-at-weakest-pace-since-oct-2018 https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/chinas-home-price-growth-slows-amid-cooling-economy

 

UK home prices post first Sept decline in 9 years

Asking prices for UK homes posted their first September decline in nine years amid the escalating turmoil over Brexit.

They fell 0.2 per cent from August to an average of 304,770 pounds (S$522,000), a property website operator said in a report.

The downturn was most pronounced in London, where prices dipped 2.2 per cent.

While September is usually a busy time in the housing market, there were over 20 per cent fewer properties put up for sale in the capital compared with a year ago, and 7.8 per cent fewer at the national level, according to the report.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/uk-home-prices-post-first-sept-decline-in-9-years

 

Australia’s property recovery remains isolated as rest of economy struggles

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which delivered back-to-back rate cuts in June and July, has its work cut out given the official cash rate is already at an all-time low of 1 per cent.

That leaves it with limited room to stimulate growth though it is still in an enviable position compared to the likes of Japan and the euro zone where policymakers have been forced to adopt negative rates to juice their economies.

The RBA’s easings have boosted the housing market with mortgage approvals up 5 per cent in July, the strongest in four years while auction activity in the biggest markets of Sydney and Melbourne has been solid after two years of tepid sales.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/australias-property-recovery-remains-isolated-as-rest-of-economy- struggles

 

HK pushes new tax on developers to try to lower housing costs

Hong Kong is pushing ahead with a vacancy tax in the hope that a more affordable property market could help quell anti-government protests.

The government has gazetted the so-called vacancy tax proposal – an official procedure a bill must go through before being introduced into the Legislative Council. The government is prioritising the bill and said it would submit it in the first regular Council meeting after the new legislative session begins.

Under the proposed bill, if a new apartment remains unsold for 12 months after it’s completed, the developer will be subject to a vacancy tax unless the unit is rented out. The tax would be a flat rate of 200 per cent of the unit’s estimated annual rental value.

The move may be a sign that Carrie Lam, the city’s embattled chief executive, is trying to regain trust from discontented protesters using housing measures. “Housing is the most important livelihood issue,” Mrs Lam said on her Facebook page. “More government polices to increase housing supply to come – we won’t break our promise.”

But developers are already opposing it. The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong, an association representing all major players including Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Asset Holdings and New World Development, has urged the government to withhold the bill.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/hk-pushes-new-tax-on-developers-to-try-to-lower-housing-costs

 

Japanese firms see land prices overheating in big cities, not regions

Japanese companies say land prices appear to be overheating in big cities but not in the countryside, a Reuters poll showed, highlighting a growing geographic divide even as the government seeks to spur inflation and revive regional economies.

The Reuters Corporate Survey found that 65 per cent of companies felt land prices in big cities are overheating relative to consumer inflation, while 80 per cent said that they do not see overheating in the regions.

Land prices have skyrocketed in many parts of Japan since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in 2012 and introduced easy monetary policies to banish deflation and spur growth. That ended decades of declines in overall land prices that followed the bursting of a 1980s asset bubble.

The world’s third-biggest economy is now increasingly a tale of two Japans, with huge urban centres like greater Tokyo and Osaka vibrant and growing, while the rapidly greying and depopulating hinterlands pacing an overall population decline.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/japanese-firms-see-land-prices-overheating-in-big-cities-not-regions

 

Japan’s land prices rise for second year on higher tourism numbers, ultra-low interest rates

Japanese land prices rose for the second straight year in the year to July with the increase spreading beyond big cities, a government survey showed, a sign the benefits from the central bank’s ultra- low interest rate policy are broadening.

The 0.4 per cent increase in average land prices was faster than the previous year’s 0.1 per cent gain and driven partly by rising property prices in regional Japan, the survey showed, underscoring the strength of the economy’s recovery.

The survey by the land ministry captures the prices of land on July 1 and compares the rate of growth against the same period a year earlier.

Land prices are among data closely watched by the Bank of Japan to gauge how its ultra-loose monetary policy is affecting the economy and asset prices.

Commercial land prices in regional Japan, which excludes metropolitan areas surrounding Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, were up 0.3 per cent in the year to July 1, turning positive for the first time since Japan’s asset-inflated bubble collapsed 28 years ago.

A steady increase in inbound tourists and ultra-low interest rates propped up demand for hotel construction and office buildings, the government said in the survey.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/japans-land-prices-rise-for-second-year-on-higher-tourism-numbers- ultra-low-interest

 

 

 

By:

Lee Sze Teck Head, Research

 

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