News

30 May 2016

Colombian city wins LKY prize

Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city, has been named a 2016 recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday, 16 March.

It beat out four other finalists – Auckland, Sydney, Vienna and Toronto, which will be honoured with a special mention.

“Medellín’s transformation has been extraordinary. It has gone from being one of the world’s most dangerous cities into a liveable and innovative city,” said Kishore Mahbubani, Chairman of the Nominating Committee.

“Its success gives hope to many cities in developing countries, where the next wave of massive urbanisation will take place. Medellín can become a Mecca of learning for them. We are therefore proud to award the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize to Medellín.”

The city is no stranger to this prestigious award. In 2014, it received a special mention for its creative and non-conventional urban solutions, such as the world’s first cable car system for daily commuting, library parks that also serve as social nodes in the city’s poorest districts, and escalators that have greatly improved mobility in one of its most troubled neighbourhoods.

Medellín is the fourth recipient of the accolade, after previous winners Suzhou in China, Spain’s Bilbao and New York City.

A total of 38 cities were nominated for this year’s prize. They were screened through a two-tier selection process by the Nominating Committee and a Prize Council. The finalists were chosen based on levels of leadership, innovation, as well as the impact and durability of initiatives.

The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize comprises a gold medallion, an award certificate, and a $300,000 sponsorship courtesy of Keppel Corporation.

It will be awarded at the upcoming World Cities Summit, to be held from 10 to 14 July at Marina Bay Sands.

Picture Source: Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia.
Source copied: http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-management-news/2016/3/119872/colombian-city-wins-lky-prize

Developer sales down almost 23% from year ago

New private home sales in Singapore fell by 22.8 percent to 301 units in February 2016, from 390 units in the same period last year, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday, 15 March.

On a monthly basis, the sales volume fell by 6.8 percent from the 323 units sold in January 2016, even though new launches surged 31.4 percent to 209 units from 159 units previously.

According to JLL, the “slower developer sales were expected due to the Lunar New Year lull and the continuation of the volatility in the stock market from the previous month”.

By location, sales in the Core Central Region (CCR) fell to 25 units in February, just shy of the 26 units sold in the previous month, and the 30 units sold a year ago.

In the Rest of Central Region (RCR), transaction levels edged up to 82 units from 81 units in January 2016. But compared to the 185 units sold a year ago, this area witnessed the largest year-on-year decline of 56 percent.

Meanwhile, developers sold 194 units in the Outside Central Region (OCR). While this translates to a 10 percent drop from the 216 units moved in the month before, it is an 11 percent improvement from the 175 units sold in February 2015.

According to PropNex Realty, properties in the OCR accounted for 64 percent of total sales by developers, while those in the CCR and RCR made up nine percent and 27 percent respectively.

The best-selling private residential projects last month were The Panorama, where 18 units were sold at a median price of $1,211 psf, followed by Kingsford Waterbay and Principal Garden, which moved 18 and 16 units at median prices of $1,127 psf and $1,612 psf, respectively.

Looking ahead, new private home sales could fall by around 10 to 15 percent year-on-year to between 1,000 and 1,200 units in Q1 2016, the lowest level seen for the past three years, said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex.

Nevertheless, transaction volume could rebound in March due to the fairly good performance of two newly launched developments, Cairnhill Nine and The Wisteria.

For the whole of 2016, private home sales are expected to remain weak at around 8,000 units, as long as the property cooling measures remain.

Picture Source: The best-selling project in February was The Panorama in Ang Mo Kio.
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Economists cut growth forecast for Singapore economy to 1.9%

Economists polled by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are cutting down their growth forecast for the economy for 2016 from 2.2 percent to 1.9 percent, the central bank’s latest quarterly survey revealed Wednesday (16 March).

“As reflected by the mean probability distribution, the most likely outcome is for the Singapore economy to grow by between 1.0 to 1.9 percent this year, below the 2.0 to 2.9 percent range reported in the last survey,” the MAS said.

Manufacturing is now expected to shrink by 2.7 percent this year, worse than the previous median forecast of a 1.2 percent contraction compared to the same quarter last year, down from 1.8 percent forecast in the previous survey. In addition, economists also forecast a slower growth in the finance and insurance sector at 3.6 percent, compared to 5.9 percent previously.

The survey also showed that economists expect the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter to come in at 1.6 percent.

Singapore’s GDP growth came in at 2 percent last year—the weakest annual growth since 2009—when it shrank 0.6 percent following the global financial crisis.

But analysts expect the GDP to expand by 2.5 percent next year.

“The most likely outcome is for the Singapore economy to grow by 2.0 to 2.9 percent next year,” MAS said.

Meanwhile, in terms of currency, economists expect the Singapore dollar to trade at S$1.45 against the greenback by the end of the year.

The survey conducted by MAS received views from 24 respondents from economists and analysts who closely monitor the Singapore economy.

Picture Source & Source copied: http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-management-news/2016/3/119810/economists-cut-down-forecast-for-singapore-economy-to-1-9-2

21 May 2016

Temasek overtakes GIC as Singapore’s biggest property firm

Temasek Holdings has been named the biggest real estate firm in Singapore, with total assets under management at US$39.9 billion, according to the latest Estates Gazette ranking, which pulled together the world’s top 100 investors.

The state-linked investment firm overtook the sovereign wealth fund GIC, last year’s top performer, for the number one spot. Temasek has stakes in major local and regional players such as CapitaLand, M+S, Mapletree and Pulau Indah Ventures.

CapitaLand took second place with US$33.3 billion of assets, followed by GIC with US$22.4 billion, Global Logistics Properties (US$16.7 billion) and City Developments Limited (US$14.9 billion). All five companies have a combined asset value of a whopping US$127.2 billion.

To make it on the list this year, firms have to own property valued at more than US$12.4 billion, said Estates Gazette.

This year, the top 100 companies owned a total of US$3.6 trillion worth of property, a US$400 billion increase over last year’s value.

Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management, remains the global leader, with almost US$130 billion of assets.

Samantha McClary, Head of Content at Estates Gazette, said: “Our Global 100 list, which is based on real assets rather than property securities and debt, shows how big a business the international real estate market is.

“The list, now in its third year, continues to grow with new firms appearing every year. The appearance of more property owners from new locations shows just how global a playground the real estate industry is.”

Read the full list here. http://globalrealestateinsight.com/global/total-value-worlds-biggest-real-estate-firms-revealed/

Picture Source: Singapore’s top real estate investors have been revealed in the latest rankings published by Estates Gazette. (Photo: Someformofhuman/Wikimedia Commons)
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MAS, China central bank renew bilateral currency swap arrangement

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Tuesday (15 March) announced the renewal of the existing bilateral currency swap arrangement (BCSA) for another three years.

“The BCSA is a key pillar of cooperation between PBOC and MAS to strengthen regional economic resilience and financial stability,” said MAS. The arrangement aims to enhance banks’ confidence in carrying out their business in the two markets and enables both central banks to provide foreign currency liquidity to stabilise financial markets.

First established in 2010, the BCSA was first renewed in 2013, and the new arrangement is effective as of 7 March.

Under the arrangement, up to CNY 300 billion in Chinese Yuan liquidity will be available to eligible financial institutions operating in Singapore.

The renewed BCSA will also supplement the various initiatives announced at the 12th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation in October 2015 and the President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping’s state visit to Singapore in November last year.

Picture Source & Source copied: http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-management-news/2016/3/119745/mas-china-central-bank-renew-bilateral-currency-swap-arrangement

Pinnacle@Duxton prices unlikely to climb much higher

The Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar has recorded three transactions of above $1 million so far this year for its 5-room flats, similar to the four deals seen in the first three months of 2015.

The development has regularly made headlines in recent months. For example, a unit was sold for $1.08 million ($945 psf) in November 2015, the most expensive sale ever for a 5-room flat in Singapore. In January this year, a unit changed hands for approximately $1.07 million.

According to Eugene Lim, Key Executive Officer of ERA Realty, which helped to broker both deals, these flats commanded sky-high prices due to their unblocked, panoramic views of the city, and the Pinnacle’s status as a landmark project.

Aside from its proximity to MRT stations, another key selling point is the scarcity of such units. “Not everyone at the Pinnacle wants to sell. Those who have decided to sell are leveraging to get the maximum premium for their units,” Lim said.

Based on statistics from ERA, the two said transactions were three percent higher than the average transacted price of $977,846 for a 5-room flat at the project. But compared to older flats in the area, such as those at Smith Street and Tanjong Pagar Plaza, this translates to a premium of 25 percent to 46 percent.

The current resale prices are also a far cry from the original selling price range of between $345,100 and $439,000 for the 5-roomers during the project’s launch in 2004.

Nevertheless, Lim noted that these record flat prices are unique to the Pinnacle. “They do not represent the majority of resale HDB transactions, which are trading at around valuation in the current market environment.”

It’s also unlikely that prices of 5-room flats there will rise significantly higher or reach the $2 million mark, as home buyers could easily purchase a private apartment within the area for the same price, he said.

Looking ahead, prices of HDB resale flats are expected to remain stable, while transaction volume is expected to pick up as the reduced focus on cash-over-valuation (COV) premiums would attract buyers in immediate need of housing, or those who do not qualify for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats, added Lim.

Picture Source: Three flats at the landmark project have been sold for over $1 million in 2016.
Source copied: http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-management-news/2016/3/119729/pinnacleduxton-prices-unlikely-to-climb-much-higher