Daily property news 2 Apr 2020


A SPECIAL committee of directors has been set up with a focus on “safeguarding value for and protecting the interests of” Eagle Hospitality Trust’s (EHT) stapled security holders.

The five-member committee comprises all of EHT’s independent directors and the managers’ chief executive officer. They are Carl Gabriel Florian Stubbe (who will chair the special committee), Davy Lau, Tarun Kataria, Kelvin Tan Wee Peng and Salvatore Takoushian.

They will oversee matters relating to the strategic review and the voluntary trading suspension announced last week, EHT’s managers said on Wednesday.


THE Covid-19 outbreak and economic slowdown have started to bite; the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s flash estimates for the first quarter shows its benchmark overall private home price index shrank 1.2 per cent over the previous quarter.

The drop followed three consecutive quarter-on-quarter gains. Year on year, the index is up 2.2 per cent.

Analysts expect private home prices to continue heading south, to the tune of up to 8 per cent for the whole year. However, they are not predicting a steep fall like the 24.9 per cent slide over four quarters during the Global Financial Crisis.


THE recent selldown in Singapore real estate investment trusts (S-Reits) has been toughest on hospitality Reits but has left the data centre, industrial and healthcare-related Reits relatively unscathed.

Analysts see some bargains emerging but add that risks remain high and valuations are still above historical lows.

For the first quarter of this year, the FTSE ST Reit index has returned -24 per cent. Keppel DC Reit is the only S-Reit to have generated positive returns. Its outperformance parallels what is happening in the US, where data centre Reits are also trading at a premium to their peers.


SPH Reit on Wednesday announced that it would distribute just 0.30 Singapore cent per unit for its second quarter ended Feb 29, 2020.

This represents a 78.7 per cent year-on-year decline in its distribution per unit, from 1.41 cents a year ago.

The decline comes in spite of a 23.3 per cent increase in net property income (NPI), to S$56.5 million from S$45.9 million in the same period last year.


SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) is allowing students living in its purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) properties in the United Kingdom to leave their tenancies early for the academic year 2019/20 (AY19/20), the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

This comes as SPH, which publishes The Business Times, said it “recognises the impact Covid-19 situation has on students’ study plans and their finances”.

The UK had ordered a three-week lockdown last week to tackle the spread of Covid-19. The move led to all universities moving to online teaching for the remainder of AY19/20.


MAINBOARD-LISTED housing operator Centurion Corp will be holding off redevelopment plans for its workers’ dormitory at Toh Guan after the site was declared a new Covid-19 cluster on Tuesday.

The reconstruction of an existing block at its Westlite Toh Guan facility into an eight-storey dormitory and industrial training centre was slated for April 2020.

But the chief executive of Centurion Kong Chee Min told The Business Times on Wednesday that the company will “delay implementation of the asset enhancement initiative (AEI) until the Covid-19 situation in Singapore normalises”.


PROPERTY group OUE has joined a string of landlords in Singapore offering rental reliefs to tenants amid poor business brought on by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

OUE and the manager of OUE Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust (OUE C-Reit) on Wednesday said retail tenants of Downtown Gallery, Mandarin Gallery, OUE Bayfront, OUE Link and OUE Tower will receive a rent reduction of between 15 per cent and 25 per cent, which will be reviewed monthly.

The mainboard-listed company said it will also pass on all property tax rebates from the government to tenants in full.


LAKESIDE shopping centre, located just outside of London, is a mecca of consumerism. It’s situated in the county of Essex, which loves shopping so much that a reality TV show captures the exploits of its glamorous, bauble-buying residents.

But since last week, the mall has been open for only essential purchases, in line with government guidance.

Its owner Intu Properties said last Thursday that it had collected just 29 per cent of the rent due from its tenants there and around the country. At the same time last year, it had received 77 per cent of the amount due.


HOUSING and Development Board (HDB) resale prices were flat in the first three months of 2020 amid the Covid-19 outbreak, compared with the last quarter of 2019.

The resale price index was 131.5, the same level as in the last quarter of 2019, according to the latest HDB flash estimates released on Wednesday.

The prices were flat after two consecutive quarters of increase in 2019. The final figures, with more detailed public housing data, will be released on April 24.


CLOSING day arrived for two Manhattan condos that brokers Jacky Teplitzky and Barak Dunayer had listed for sale – and that, in the age of the coronavirus, was a problem.

The process, usually an easy glide toward the finish line, is fraught with human interaction as agents, buyers and lawyers all walk through the unit for one final look before the paperwork gets signed.

So in an instant, the veteran brokers at Douglas Elliman Real Estate became amateur movie directors, with Mr Dunayer going alone into each apartment, summoning a group Zoom call and starting his show for a live audience.


AUSTRALIAN home prices extended gains in March, although conditions are expected to cool as the coronavirus pandemic causes widespread economic disruption and hits household confidence.

Figures from consultancy CoreLogic on Wednesday showed home prices across Australia’s capital cities climbed 0.7 per cent in March, the lowest monthly rise since the property market turned around in July last year. Home values are up 8.9 per cent from a year ago.

Sydney clocked a monthly gain of 1.1 per cent, taking its annual rise to 13 per cent, while Melbourne was up 0.4 per cent for the month and 12 per cent higher on a year-on-year basis.