Tag Archives: Singapore

Singapore economy to grow 3.3% this year

The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) survey showed that analysts expect Singapore’s economy to grow 3.3 percent year-on-year in 2017, up from the earlier forecast of 2.5 year-on-year in September, reported Singapore Business Review.

In terms of indicators, analysts were more bullish on the manufacturing sector which is expected to expand 10.6 percent year-on-year, finance and insurance (3.7 percent year-on-year) as well as wholesale and retail trade (1.7 percent year-on-year).

The construction sector’s outlook, however, turned sourer as it dropped from -4.2 percent year-on-year to -7.6 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of the respondents believe the electronics sector offers a strong potential upside for the economy.

External growth and property market recovery are cited by 40 percent and 27 percent of the respondents, respectively. Exports upswing, on the other hand, accounted for 13 percent of all responses, down from 35 percent during the previous survey.

Although the composition of the top three downside risks from the September survey remained the same, more respondents, at 67 percent, felt the Chinese economic slowdown poses a significant potential downside.

Global trade protectionism and geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East and North Korea continue to be major concerns.

The survey revealed that 40 percent of the respondents expect them to hinder economic growth, down from September’s 47 percent.


This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

Latest News from PropertyGuru

MAS points to risks in the Singapore property market

The recent surge in collective sales poses potential risks to the stability of the local property sector. Hence, market players should proceed cautiously, according to the 2017 Financial Stability Review (FSR) published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday, 30 November.

“20 residential projects totalling about 2,900 units have been sold through en bloc transactions as of mid-November, up from six in the whole of 2016 and one in 2015. The redevelopment of these en bloc sites (coupled with supply from GLS sites) could potentially add another 20,000 new private housing units. This will more than double the number of unsold units currently in the pipeline within the next one to two years.”

Given that the compound annual growth rate of Singapore’s population has slowed down from three percent between 2007 and 2012 to 1.1 percent in 2012 to 2017 there is considerable uncertainty whether the new supply and the existing vacancies can be fully absorbed by the market.

As of Q3 2017, Singapore’s vacancy level remained elevated at 8.4 percent, with over 30,000 private homes left unoccupied. Although it is slightly lower than the 8.9 percent peak in Q2 2016, it is still higher than the historical average of about 6.5 percent in the past decade.

Hence, MAS is urging developers to take this into account when bidding for land. Likewise, potential buyers should remain prudent when acquiring homes as there is more than enough supply to meet demand. They should also carefully assess their ability to service their mortgage, particularly property investors, as they could struggle to repay their loans if interest rates rise and vacancy levels remain high.

Meanwhile, the central bank revealed that new housing loans have increased to an average of $ 3.5 billion per month over the first ten months of the year compared to $ 2.8 billion in the same period in 2016 due to stronger residential sales.

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

Latest News from PropertyGuru

Singapore PR lost over $50k in Airbnb scam

A Singapore permanent resident from South Korea had paid €32,154 (S$ 51,600) to rent a non-existing Paris apartment they found in Airbnb, reported AsiaOne.

Experts think that 41-year-old housewife April Cho and her spouse most likely got an email from the listing they saw on the home-sharing website that contained a link to a similar-looking portal.

The couple said they had talked with the purported property owner via live-chat and subsequently wired money from DBS Bank to an account called “Airbnb Euro Trans” in Poland for their seven-month stay.

But they realized that they had been scammed after multiple attempts to contact the owner failed and verifying the listing on the actual Airbnb website. They had also reported the incident to the police and called the bank, while the fake listing was already removed, but not a single dime had been recovered.

Miss Cho revealed that she had turned to Airbnb to look for a place to stay in the French capital because she had signed up for a pastry-making course in the famous culinary school Le Cordon Bleu. Another reason was to avoid paying property agent fees.

Now she has decided to not to use the home-sharing website again, and the couple still ended up forking out €1,500 (S$ 2,400) to an estate agent to secure a flat with a monthly rent of €3,255 (S$ 5,230).

According to the Consumers Association of Singapore Executive Director Loy York Jiun, Airbnb users must be careful about falling prey to scammers, while Airbnb has a duty to protect its users from cybercriminals. The latter should also strongly remind its users to only transact via the official website.

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

Latest News from PropertyGuru

Singapore listed one of Asia Pacific’s top real estate investment markets

After two years of falling rents caused by a glut of supply and a sluggish economy, the promise of a bottom in the city-state’s office market pushed its ranking up from next-to-bottom last year to third in this year’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2018 report.

“This position is reassuring for Singapore’s investment prospects, given that we have major projects in the pipeline to transform our city, such as the development of Jurong Lake District as an exciting second Central Business District, and the doubling of capacities of both our air and sea ports,” said Khoo Teng Chye, Chairman of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Singapore, and Executive Director at Centre for Liveable Cities.

Jointly published by PwC and ULI, the report noted that office rents in Singapore firmed earlier than expected, while the completion of Asia Pacific’s biggest office deal in September 2017 galvanized the local market as well as set a floor for valuations. A number of core office transactions have also taken place this year, with foreign funds buying actively.

The residential sector also showed signs of recovery, with increasing transactions and a slight improvement in pricing. Sales of developer sites soared amid tightening supply as developers look to replenish their land banks.

“The rebound seems likely to be sustainable, given several years of pent-up consumer demand. The Chinese developers have also been active in buying land, pushing up land auction prices for residential sites significantly through 2017,” noted the report, which is based on the opinions of over 600 real estate professionals, including developers, investors, lenders, property company representatives, brokers and consultants.

However, other respondents believe that talk of a bottoming in the office market is premature.

“Singapore’s still in a difficult place. They don’t have a lot of business confidence, there’s quite a lot of supply and not a huge amount of expansion,” said a fund-manager active in the market.

“It’s challenging to bring foreign workers in because the government has responded to local concerns to protect jobs, and at the same time, a lot of the European banks are downsizing, which hits demand for space. I don’t want to be negative, but we’re not seeing a big pipeline of deals that interest us.”


This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

Latest News from PropertyGuru

Singapore a success story in urban planning, says former HDB CEO

View of rush hour traffic in Singapore.

Singapore’s former master planner Dr Liu Thai Ker said the city-state is a success story in urban planning due in part to strong government support.

Speaking to attendees on Tuesday (7 November) at PropertyGuru’s Asia Real Estate Summit held at Marina Bay Sands, he noted that despite its small land area (719 sq km), Singapore is subdivided into five regions and 20 towns.

“Without the subdivisions, all traffic would come to the Central Business District. But with subdivisions, some of the traffic goes to the regional centres and new towns.”

As such, Singapore has been able to avoid serious traffic problems, even with a high-density population, he said.

But there are huge challenges facing urban planners in other parts of Asia as the continent houses 60 percent of the world’s population on 30 percent of its land, revealed Liu, adding that there is a 50 percent rate of rural to urban migration.

“We need to rethink the approach to urban planning,” said Liu who feels that less attention is being placed on design compared to innovation, a field that’s seen as more glamorous.

“Design should come first and be enhanced by technology. You must first try to understand the basic human needs which haven’t changed for centuries. When you have this, then you create a design to meet today’s needs, but the design must (also meet) future standards.”

He explained that intelligent urban planning requires three elements – the right value, a scientific head and an artistic eye.

Without science, there would be floods, air pollution and traffic jams, while having an artistic eye puts “feeling” into the project, he said.

Liu was previously the CEO of the Housing and Development Board and saw the completion of over half a million public housing units.

He was also chief planner and CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, where he led the major revision of the Singapore Concept Plan 1991.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

Latest News from PropertyGuru