Daily property news 7 Apr 2020


THE high merchant fees charged by food delivery platforms are under scrutiny amid the Covid-19 outbreak, in a reckoning that may be overdue. The big question now is if these apps have fallen short on delivering productivity gains that translate to cost savings.

With the freeze on dining-in up to May 4, on-demand food delivery apps GrabFood, foodpanda and Deliveroo have been elevated to the league of essential services.

It would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime for the disruptors to display operational efficiency. After all, scale is something that these players have fought tooth and nail for in a years-long cash burn war.


THE Reit Association of Singapore (Reitas) has cautioned against putting “significant strain” on landlords’ finances with a new Bill that may give businesses a reprieve from contractual obligations including rent payments, even as it acknowledged the importance of supporting tenants in the crisis.

The association flagged its concerns in a statement on Monday night, ahead of Tuesday’s Parliament sitting where the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill will be introduced.

Under the Bill, a tenant whose business is affected by the coronavirus outbreak is entitled to suspend rental payments for six months. Also, a landlord cannot terminate the lease or licence due to non-payment of rent, if the reason is Covid-19. This covers rental payments due from Feb 1 onwards, and where the agreement was entered into before March 25.


WHILE valuations for Singapore’s hospitality Reits look attractive after the counters have been driven down in recent weeks, it may be too early for investors to take the plunge just yet.

For one, with countries around the world slamming their borders shut, there is very little visibility as to when travel demand will return.

Meanwhile, with hotels running at low occupancies, it is likely that cuts to distribution per unit (DPU) are imminent, analysts say.


SUNTEC City said it is waiving the rents for mall tenants for a month, in line with the government’s call to boost support for businesses and protect jobs during the circuit-breaker period.

The waiver of rent from April 1 to April 30, 2020 will be funded entirely by the landlord. It will also extend this rental waiver to tenants providing essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, food and beverage outlets and banks.

Suntec City said it will also pass on the full savings of the property tax rebates to all tenants in May 2020. A portion of the savings had been passed on in March, and the balance will be passed on in the form of rental rebates for the period from May 1 to May 31, 2020.


MAINBOARD-LISTED developer Oxley Holdings said on Monday that it has sold 73 per cent of its Singapore development portfolio, which comprises 3,923 units in total.

The group is set to recognise S$2.4 billion in secured revenue from its Singapore projects. The sum will be recognised over the next two years.

The bulk of the secured revenue comes from sales at Riverfront Residences, in which Oxley has a 35 per cent stake, and Affinity at Serangoon, in which the group has a 40 per cent stake.


PROPERTY group CapitaLand has reopened all its malls in China that were previously shut due to the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

The group’s four malls in Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – reopened on April 2 after receiving clearance from local authorities.

About 80 per cent of stores in CapitaLand’s malls and business parks in China were in operation as at end-March, the property giant said in a bourse filing on Monday.


CITY Developments Limited (CDL), one of Singapore’s largest commercial landlords, on Monday said it is committing more than S$17 million in property tax and rental rebates to help its office and retail tenants tide over the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The amount includes the full quantum of the government’s enhanced property tax rebates, announced last month under the Resilience Budget, to be passed on to CDL’s tenants. These enhanced rebates comprise the 100 per cent property tax rebate for qualifying commercial properties and 30 per cent for businesses in other non-residential properties such as offices and industrial properties.

CDL on Monday said it has disbursed rental rebates “in a targeted manner” to qualifying retail tenants in March.


REAL estate agencies are rolling out support packages to their salespeople to tide them over the mandated one-month stoppage due to Covid-19.

The five largest property agencies which account for the lion’s share of the 30,000 agents in Singapore say their help includes commission advances, waiving fees as well as paying for professional courses agents have to attend to stay licensed.

Propnex, Singapore’s largest property agency has rolled out a S$30 million plan to help its 8,500 agents.


MAPLETREE Investments, which is owned by Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings, has said it has raised some US$1.8 billion in equity for its pan US-European logistics fund.

The syndication of the fund, MUSEL Private Trust, was supported by institutional, corporate and high-net-worth investors.

This is in line with Mapletree’s business model, which includes being “an active capital manager in both the private and public markets”, the company said.


SINGAPORE firms have registered their worst payment performance since the third quarter of 2016, and the downtrend is expected to continue as firms are exposed to a higher risk of payment delinquency in the months to come, the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) said in a report on Monday.

“The marked deterioration in payment performance is a clear sign that firms are struggling to meet their debt obligations with creditors,” said Audrey Chia, chief executive officer of D&B Singapore, which SCCB operates under.

Prompt payments plunged 8.5 percentage points year-on-year (y-o-y) to 43.20 per cent from 51.70 per cent while on a quarterly basis, it had fallen 3.03 percentage points from 46.23 per cent.