Property news round up 28 Jan 2018

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Foreign interest seen returning to Singapore residential market

Foreign demand is expected to return to the Singapore residential property market this year, Bank of Singapore (BOS) believes. This is backed by the prospects of a price recovery and better leasing environment, as well as the fact that home prices have fallen to a sweet spot after four years of decline to render the market more affordable compared to other global cities. BOS head of strategy Eli Lee said in a report last Friday that the recent bullishness in the housing market has so far been largely driven by domestic buyers. But he expects foreign buyers seeking relative value to return and kick the upturn into higher gear, particularly in the prime residential segment.

Punggol Digital District: Singapore’s first tech-driven enterprise district

The Punggol Digital District (PDD), a new 50-hectare development in Punggol North, is set to become Singapore’s first Enterprise District driven by technology and innovation. It will comprise a JTC business park for digital economy-type companies, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and community facilities including a hawker centre, community club and heritage trail. PDD’s Masterplan was unveiled on Sunday by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who noted Punggol’s evolution from a fishing village to a Waterfront Town that is home to about 200,000 residents today.

Astaka CEO upbeat on its Iskandar projects

There are stocks that an investor can fall sound asleep on (safe bets that don’t require incessant monitoring) and then, there is Catalist-listed Astaka Holdings – a stock that for most part is asleep. The last time this counter saw any activity was two months ago in November; it hit 24 Singapore cents then – a high for the stock but one that means little else considering it was listed at around that level over two years ago following a reverse takeover of E2-Capital Holdings. It’s hard to rule out stock envy with a paltry 36,000 of this Johor-based builder’s shares traded daily on average. That aside, this past week was a promising one for property players with a slice of the real estate action in Malaysia’s busy growth corridor of Iskandar, whose promise stems largely from proximity to Singapore.

Wanda’s 2017 revenue down 10.8% amid asset sales

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group’s revenue fell by 10.8 per cent in 2017, the second consecutive year it declined, as the debt-laden group sold off property assets and faced increasing scrutiny from regulators and lenders. The property-to-entertainment group, owned by tycoon Wang Jianlin, reported 227.4 billion yuan (S$46.95 billion) in revenue for last year, while net profit remained flat compared with 2016, according to a statement posted on the company’s website on Saturday. It did not reveal the profit figure. Total assets, of which 93 per cent are domestic, declined 11.5 per cent to 700 billion yuan.

Consortium awarded A$2b contract for Sydney development

The New South Wales government has awarded a contract worth more than A$2 billion (A$1.51 billion) to construction company Grocon, retail property firm Scentre Group and Chinese-backed developer Aqualand to build the final stage of the Barangaroo development in Sydney. Shipping facilities on prime harbour-front land in the heart of Australia’s largest city are being converted into a combination of office space, retail outlets, apartments, a hotel, a casino and recreational space. The development, valued at more than A$8 billion overall, is expected to house more than 23,000 workers and residents, and host thousands more visitors daily, the NSW government’s Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA) said on its website.

Oxley, China developer lead Singapore land bank race – for now

Singapore-listed developer Oxley Holdings is enjoying a sweet homecoming after a flurry of overseas ventures – it now holds the largest residential land bank in the Republic by the number of dwelling units. Estimates by The Business Times show that close to 4,000 units could be generated from Oxley’s land bank, of which over 2,300 homes are based on its equity stakes in the sites acquired. A close runner-up turns out to be a new market entrant, Logan Property Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed Chinese developer whose share in two large land parcels acquired last year – one from a government land sale (GLS) and another from a collective sale – puts it in second place with above 2,000 units.

FCOT Q1 DPU down 4.4% on lower occupancies

Frasers Commercial Trust (FCOT) has posted a first-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.40 Singapore cents, down 4.4 per cent from 2.51 Singapore cents in the same period a year earlier as property income fell while the number of issued units had increased. The topline took a hit from lower occupancy rates at Alexandra Technopark, China Square Central, 55 Market Street and Perth’s Central Park. Gross revenue for Q1 ended Dec 31, 2017, dipped 11 per cent to S$35.3 million from the same period a year earlier. China Square Central was impacted by planned vacancies to facilitate asset enhancement works at the retail podium.

Stable portfolio, new buys boost MLT’s Q3

Stable performance and new acquisitions gave a lift to results for industrial landlord Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT) in its third quarter. Distribution per unit crept up to 1.907 Singapore cents from 1.87 Singapore cents in the year-ago period despite an enlarged unit base, the group said on Monday evening. “The improvement in results was underpinned by a stable performance from existing properties as well as contributions from accretive acquisitions. Overall growth was partially offset by the absence of contributions from three divestments and one of two blocks under redevelopment in Ouluo Logistics Centre, China,” it said.

KIT’s Q4 DPU flat at 0.93 Singapore cent

Keppel Infrastructure Trust (KIT) on Monday reported a distribution per unit (DPU) of 0.93 Singapore cent for the fourth quarter, unchanged from the year-ago period. Profit attributable to unitholders rose by 25.4 per cent to S$9.6 million for the quarter, due mainly to higher contributions from City Gas, a producer and retailer of piped town gas, and a portfolio company of KIT. Revenue for the quarter was S$158.1 million, nearly 4 per cent higher than the S$152.2 million last year. This was boosted by higher revenues from City Gas and Basslink. The latter owns and operates the Basslink Interconnector between the states of Victoria and Tasmania.

Data centre acquisitions lift Keppel DC Reit’s DPU

Unit holders can cheer a slew of fresh data centre acquisitions, which helped to lift Keppel DC Reit’s distributable income in 2017. Fourth-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) rose to 1.75 Singapore cents for the three months to Dec 31, 2017, the manager said on Monday. Up from 1.31 Singapore cents in the same period the year before, the higher DPU came on the back of a 37.1 per cent rise in distributable income, to S$20.25 million.

Singapore startup buys Indonesia’s property portal

Singapore property search startup has acquired Indonesia’s UrbanIndo, said to be the largest property portal in Indonesia with over 1.2 million active listings, The buyout – the sum of which was undisclosed – is part of’s goal to build a “great real estate technology company in South-east Asia” over the next 10 years, its chief Darius Cheung told The Business Times on Monday. “Indonesia is the region’s largest market, and naturally the most important over the next 10 to 20 years. Indonesia also sees the most tech disruption, and has a culture that welcomes change.”

Singapore office rents expected to lead increases among Asian cities

Singapore office rents are set to post the biggest gains among Asian cities as an increase in demand runs into moderating supply, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Office rents in all major Asian cities, with the exception of Tokyo, are set to rise over the next two years, according to forecasts from Cushman. Singapore will lead the pack, with rents forecast to surge 25 per cent, more than double the 12 per cent growth forecast in Hong Kong’s central business district. “The best is yet to come for the office leasing market,” said the Singapore-based Sigrid Zialcita, managing director for Asia-Pacific research at Cushman. “Conditions haven’t looked this good since the spurt in the aftermath of the financial crisis.”

Two more collective sale tenders launched

The public tenders for two collective sale sites were launched on Monday, reflecting continued interest among property owners to jump onto the bandwagon. Eunos Mansion, a freehold residential site located along Bedok Reservoir Road and Jalan Eunos, has been put up for collective sale with a reserve price of S$218 million. This translates to a land rate of S$1,219 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), said its marketing agent Cushman & Wakefield, which secured the 80 per cent mandate among owners to launch the site for public tender. Separately, ICB Shopping Centre, a freehold mixed-use development off Upper Serangoon Road was launched with a reserve price of S$60 million, which works out to about S$1,401 psf ppr. This marks its second attempt at a collective sale, with newly appointed marketing agent CBRE.

Juggernaut sites take en bloc game to new level

Home owners are taking Singapore’s latest en bloc craze to a new level, with mega developments – sitting on sites close to or over one million sq ft each – joining the bandwagon. Owners of Mandarin Gardens, a 99-year condominium on a one million sq ft plot off East Coast Park, have given the green light to kickstart its collective sale process. It formed its collective sale committee over the weekend, and the committee is in the process of contacting marketing agents.

FCT posts 3.8% growth in Q1 DPU; it’s still eyeing acquisitions

Retail landlord Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) reported a 3.8 per cent year-on-year rise in distribution per unit (DPU) to three Singapore cents for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec 31, 2017. Gross revenue for the period rose 8.7 per cent to S$47.9 million and net property income grew 9.1 per cent to S$34.5 million, thanks to higher rental revenue and higher occupancy upon the completion of an asset enhancement initiative (AEI) at Northpoint City North Wing. The integration of Northpoint City North Wing with the South Wing has been completed, with 99 per cent of the reconfigured areas leased and handed over to tenants, said FCT’s manager Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management Ltd (FCAM).

Lower rental support hits Keppel Reit’s Q4 distribution

Lower rental support made a dent in Keppel Reit’s fourth-quarter distribution. For the period ended Dec 31, 2017, distribution per unit (DPU) fell to 1.43 Singapore cents, versus 1.48 Singapore cents a year ago. This will be paid on Feb 28; it also brings total DPU for FY17 to 5.7 Singapore cents. For the full year, besides lower rental support, lower one-off income received and the absence of other gains distribution, coupled with the divestment of 77 King Street in Sydney in January 2016, also affected distributions.

DBS and CDL make the cut to Bloomberg’s 2018 Gender-Equality Index

Two Singapore-listed companies, DBS Group Holdings and City Developments Ltd (CDL) have made it to the 2018 edition of Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index (GEI). The index, which was launched on Monday, measures gender equality across internal company statistics, employee policies, external community engagement and gender-conscious product offerings. DBS and CDL are among six Asian companies (excluding Japan) included in the index, which is tracked by investors. In a 2016 Human Development Report published by the United Nations, Singapore was ranked fifth out of 188 countries for gender equality, up from 11th out of 188 countries in 2015.

Makeway View put up for collective sale at S$168m

Makeway view, a freehold residential site located in Newton, has been launched for collective sale with an asking price of S$168 million. Its marketing agent Edmund Tie & Company (SEA) said that this amount, together with about S$17 million in development charge payable, represents a land rate of S$1,589 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). Built in the late 1980s, Makeway View is an existing 10-storey development comprising 28 apartments and four penthouses.

CapitaLand, CDL, Singtel among world’s most sustainable firms

Three Singapore companies have clinched places in the 14th annual Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World rankings by Corporate Knights Inc, although two of these companies have slipped in their rankings compared to the previous year. Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based international media and investment research firm, unveiled the full rankings during the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos, Switzerland. In 63rd place globally is telco Singtel, followed by property developers CapitaLand and City Developments (CDL) in 98th and 100th places respectively.

‘Long winter’ in Singapore home prices seen ending: survey

The worst may be over for Singapore’s property slump. After a four-year slide in private residential prices, analysts are now forecasting an end to the property downturn. Singapore home prices have risen for two consecutive quarters and they are expected to increase by about 5.5 per cent this year, according to a survey by Bloomberg. There’s also the earnings season to look forward to next month as the upbeat outlook for the real estate market may augur well for Singapore developers.

Property market sentiment hits a high in Q4

Overall property market sentiment hit a high in the fourth quarter of last year, amid rising confidence in the market recovery in the coming six months. This is according to the National University of Singapore and developers body Redas’ Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which posted a 6.9 reading for its composite sentiment index, which takes into account current and future sentiment. This was up from 6.6 in the preceding quarter and surpasses the previous high of 6.8 in Q1 2010, when the index series was minted. “The exuberance in the market is buoyed by the en bloc sales and also the upturn of demand in the private residential property market,” said associate professor Sing Tien Foo from NUS’s Department of Real Estate.

CapitaLand Mall Trust grows DPU despite tough market conditions

Singapore’s first and largest retail Reit has put on a brave face amid the tougher bricks-and-mortar market. CapitaLand Mall Trust will pay out a fourth-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.9 Singapore cents on Feb 28, the manager announced on Wednesday. This was up by 0.7 per cent on the previous year, and came on a distributable income of S$102.9 million for the three months to Dec 31, 2017.

FHT’s Q1 FY18 DPS dips slightly on higher stapled security base

Frasers Hospitality Trust (FHT) reported a 1.1 per cent year on year dip in distribution per stapled security to 1.3107 Singapore cents for the first quarter ended Dec 31, 2017, owing to a higher stapled security base. FHT is a stapled group comprising Frasers Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust and Frasers Hospitality Business Trust. For the quarter under review, the number of stapled securities entitled to distribution rose 1.1 per cent to some 1.86 billion compared to the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Frasers Commercial Trust prices upsized S$100m placement of units at top end of S$1.48

Frasers Commercial Trust (FCOT) has priced an upsized S$100 million placement of units at S$1.48 apiece, the top end of its indicated price range. The commercial property landlord had planned to issue at least S$80 million of units between S$1.44 and S$1.48 per unit, with an over-allotment option of at least S$17.8 million. DBS bank and Merrill Lynch (Singapore) were joint book runners for the private placement. In a Singapore Exchange (SGX) filing on Wednesday, FCOT said the placement was over five times subscribed, and saw “strong participation from new and existing institutional investors”.

Higher rents boost Mapletree Commercial’s Q3

RETAIL landlord Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT) on Wednesday posted a 1.3 per cent increase in income available for distribution to S$66.5 million for its third quarter ended Dec 31, 2017. Distribution per unit (DPU) also rose to 2.3 Singapore cents, up from 2.28 Singapore cents a year ago. This will be paid on Feb 28; the books closure date is Feb 1. Revenue for the quarter rose 0.8 per cent to S$109.7 million, while net property income rose 1.9 per cent to S$86 million, mainly due to higher contributions from VivoCity and Mapletree Business City I, thanks to step-up rents in their existing leases, as well as higher rental income following the completed renovations at VivoCity.

Suntec Reit’s DPU up 0.31% for Q4

Lower revenue from Suntec Singapore and a fall in office rentals dented retail and commercial owner Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust’s (Suntec Reit) earnings for its fourth quarter. The distribution per unit (DPU) for the fourth quarter rose 0.31 per cent to 2.604 Singapore cents from 2.596 Singapore cents for the preceding year, the group said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Wednesday morning. The fourth quarter’s DPU included a capital distribution of S$10 million or 0.376 cent per unit. That came as the quarter’s income available for distribution increased 2.1 per cent to S$59.3 million from the previous year.

CDL’s M&C offer yet to hit conditional acceptance threshold as deadline looms

City Developments Ltd (CDL) on Wednesday reported that the percentage of valid acceptances for its takeover offer of London-listed Millenium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) is still shy of the conditional acceptance threshold. CDL said on Wednesday that it has received accepted offers representing just 44.2 per cent of shares not already owned or controlled by it. The reported figure comes three days ahead of the Jan 26 deadline for minority shareholders to accept CDL’s offer to acquire all of M&C.

TA Realty puts 12onShan in Novena up for sale

TA Realty, an indirect subsidiary of TA Corporation, is putting up its freehold serviced apartment project in Novena for sale by tender. It has obtained written permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in November last year to operate 12onShan as serviced apartments. The development is valued at S$107 million on a completed basis and is expected to obtain its temporary occupation permit (TOP) in the second quarter, said Knight Frank Singapore and Savills Singapore, the marketing agents for the tender.

A new way of reining in property price increases?

Heated land sales have prompted Singapore’s central bank to scrutinise bank financing for property development more closely through a new survey of banks last month. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is said to have sought information from banks on their exposures and details of loan facilities granted for each project, such as key covenants and loan-to-value (LTV) ratios. While it is not unusual for the MAS to collect data from banks to monitor their lending practices from time to time, this survey has set some market watchers pondering whether it may be a precursor to a new cooling measure.

Industrial prices and rentals headed for a bottoming-out

With the falls in industrial prices and rentals showing signs of moderation, JTC expects both indices and occupancy rates to “stabilise” in the coming years, as new supply starts to taper. Industrial rents dipped just 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to a decline of 1.1 per cent in the third quarter. For the full year of 2017, rentals fell 2.8 per cent, compared to a full-year decline of 6.8 per cent in 2016. This was the 11th consecutive quarter of rental decline, but the rate of decline was the slowest.

More projects hopping on collective sale train

There appears to be no lack of new projects looking to jump onto the collective-sale train, even as more public tenders have closed without concluding a sale. Goodluck Garden, a condominium along Toh Tuck Road, has launched a collective-sale tender with a reserve price of S$550 million. This marks the fourth collective sale launch this week, following that of Eunos Mansion and Makeway View, as well as commercial property ICB Shopping Centre.

Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust posts lower Q1 DPU of A$0.017

Mainboard-listed Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust (FLT) posted on Thursday a 2.3 per cent decrease in distribution per unit (DPU) for the first-quarter. For the three months ended Dec 31, 2017, DPU was 1.70 Australian cents, down from 1.74 Australian cents in Q1 2017. The DPU in Q1 2018 was calculated based on 78.1 per cent of management fees to be taken in the form of units, and after taking into consideration the forward foreign currency exchange contracts entered into to hedge the currency risk for distributions to unitholders at A$1:S$1.0583.

Ascendas Reit Q3 DPU edges down 0.6%

Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) posted a 0.6 per cent year-on-year dip in distribution per unit (DPU) to 3.97 Singapore cents for the third-quarter of FY2017/2018 due to a one-off property tax refund in the previous year and an increase in the number of units in issue. Gross revenue rose 4.1 per cent to S$217.28 million for the period under review, while net property income (NPI) was up 1.7 per cent to S$157.63 million. The increase in NPI was on the back of contributions from newly-acquired properties such as 12, 14 and 16 Science Park Drive in Singapore and 100 Wickham Street in Australia, as well as a recently-developed Singapore property, 50 Kallang Avenue.

CCT eyes office market recovery in 2018/19

Office landlord CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) said it is looking to ride the office market recovery, but remains mindful of potential negative rental reversions this year. Its existing portfolio has lease expiries representing 8 per cent of monthly gross rental income this year and another 31 per cent next year. But several things are looking up for the office sector, said Kevin Chee, chief executive of the Reit manager. Limited new office supply till 2021, high levels of pre-lease commitments for properties completing this year and the continued backfiling of vacancies in some of older buildings bode well for the office rental cycle.

MGCCT’s Q3 DPU up 5.1%

Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust (MGCCT) has posted a third quarter distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.868 Singapore cents, up 5.1 per cent from the same period a year earlier. Gross revenue in the three months ended Dec 31 was S$88.5 million, up 0.7 per cent from the same period a year earlier. Net property income was flat at S$71.4 million, due mainly to higher rent at all three assets and lower accrued revenue for Gateway Plaza in the same period a year earlier, arising from the uncertainty in the applicable VAT rate before clarification was obtained in March 2017. This was offset by the increased maintenance, marketing and promotion costs at Festival Walk as well as a weaker Hong Kong dollar and Chinese yuan.

Oxley unit prices its S$150 million 5.7% 2022 notes

A UNIT of Singapore-listed developer Oxley Holdings has priced its S$150 million 5.70 per cent notes, which mature on Jan 31, 2022 under a US$1 billion guaranteed euro medium term note programme. Under the programme, its subsidiary Oxley MTN may “issue medium term notes unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by the company”. The net proceeds from the issue of the notes are presently intended to be used for general corporate purposes and working capital requirements of the company and its subsidiaries, joint venture entities and associated entities, Oxley said in a filing with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Thursday morning.

Roxy-Pacific partners Tong Eng group MD to buy Kismis View for S$102.75m

ROXY-PACIFIC Holdings and the group managing director of Tong Eng Group, Teo Tong Lim, have joined hands to acquire a residential leasehold site in the Upper Bukit Timah area for S$102.75 million. Kismis View, a 43-unit development, has been collectively sold to a 60-40 joint venture between Roxy-Pacific subsidiary RP Ventures and Mr Teo’s private family office TE2 Development. This is the third joint venture between the two groups, Roxy-Pacific said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

CDL sells 18 units of high-end Leonie Hill project on first day of sale

City Developments Ltd (CDL) moved 18 units of its high-end condominium project New Futura at an average selling price of S$3,200 per square foot (psf) on the first day of launch on Thursday. Market watchers have described this as a decent showing at the Leonie Hill Road freehold development, given that most of the units sold were the three- and four-bedroom ones. Five agencies are marketing the project – PropNex Realty, ERA Realty, Huttons, OrangeTee & Tie, and Savills.

Wanda expected to declare sale of Australian projects: sources

DALIAN Wanda Group is expected to announce the sale of two Australian property projects in the coming days, people with knowledge of the matter said, as the Chinese firm looks to lessen financial strains caused by a major acquisition spree. A sale of the projects, reported by The Australian newspaper to be worth A$1 billion (S$1.06 billion), would follow an agreement to sell interests in a high-profile London property development and would help the group meet upcoming debt deadlines. How it will manage other debt due later in the year is less clear.

UOB Kay Hian bullish on S’pore residential, office segments

They noted the strong pick-up in sales momentum and pricing in the residential sector in 2017. This was led by the luxury segment (transactions above S$3,000 per square foot), which first showed signs of recovery in early 2016. The residential recovery was also driven by “pent-up” demand arising from the implementation of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio in 2013, they added in their research report. The effect of interest rate hikes subduing the property recovery is likely to be overblown. “Mortgagors can easily switch over from floating to fixed rate schemes which have been benign,” they said.