Daily property news 4 Mar 2020


Cyber-security label for smart home devices

A cyber-security label similar to the energy-efficiency labels on home appliances will be rolled out to help buyers of smart devices better judge how exposed they are to cyber risks. This label will be stuck on Wi-Fi routers and smart home hubs for a start, as part of Singapore’s new Safer Cyberspace Masterplan designed to protect consumers and small firms. The labelling scheme will be extended to more Internet of Things (IoT) or connected devices to help users, who are often unaware of the security risks.


HK’s property insiders in buying mode

A NOVEL coronavirus outbreak following months of anti-government protests might seem like a toxic cocktail for the world’s least affordable property market. Yet, Hong Kong’s real estate insiders are in buy mode. The plan by the family of Peter Woo to take Wheelock & Co private suggests that those with the most privileged vantage point see a limit to any virus-induced decline in property prices, and consider there is value to be extracted by removing assets from the public markets. It may not be the last such manoeuvre. That might seem surprising. A widely-followed index of residential prices compiled by Centaline Property Agency has dropped only 6.5 per cent from its record high in June last year.


Top bids for Canberra private housing sites below expectations

THE latest 99-year leasehold residential state land tenders which closed on Tuesday have drawn a mixed bag of results. Top bids for a pair of adjoining private housing sites in Canberra Drive, a stone’s throw from Canberra MRT station in Singapore’s north, came in below forecasts by property consultants polled by The Business Times prior to the closing of the tender at noon, on Tuesday. The number of bids received was also softer than expected. On the other hand, a plot for executive condominium (EC) housing development along Fernvale Lane in the Sengkang area drew a healthier participation rate and with the top bid within expectations.


United Hampshire US Reit launches IPO at US$0.80 per unit

THE “retail apocalypse” won’t affect too much the asset classes that United Hampshire US Reit invests in, according to Robert Schmitt, CEO of the Reit manager. In a meeting with media on Tuesday, he said that for grocery- and necessity-based retail, brick-and-mortar still plays a big part. “They need the stores to push the products,” he said. While sales at department stores such as Nordstrom, Sears and Macy’s are declining, necessity retail such as BJ’s Wholesale Club, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Walmart are still doing well. Grocery- and necessity-based retail also has the added benefits of being recession-resistant and cycle-agnostic, he said.


Don’t skimp on rent relief, Chan Chun Sing tells landlords

AS consumer businesses reel from the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing called on major landlords to “do their part” for affected tenants. Under the recent Budget relief for tourism-related sectors, commercial properties will get a 15 per cent property tax rebate that Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has urged landlords to translate into lower rents. But “it has come to our attention that there is an entire spectrum of responses”, Mr Chan said on Tuesday.