Rail Mall owners seeking buyers
RAIL Mall, a stretch of shopping and dining outlets in a rustic part of Upper Bukit Timah Road, has been put on the market. Besides 43 road-fronting units, the 105,561 sq ft site also comes with 95 carpark lots. Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Advisor, said the development could be worth S$30 million, or about S$300 psf of land area. According to newspaper advertisements put up last week, it has a lettable floor area of 49,766 sq ft and comes with 28 years left on its lease. The property is held by Pulau Properties, which is in turn owned by the Lee Foundation and members of the Lee family.
America’s priciest market shows no signs of cooling
HOUSING in America’s most expensive region is going to get even pricier. For all the talk of the US tax overhaul hitting wealthy blue-state real estate, the San Francisco Bay area is set for more home-price gains. Its technology-fuelled economy and persistent housing shortage are sending values ever higher – and that may get even more pronounced as tech share sales mint millionaires in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. “The scale of the wealth created here and the scale of the technology sector is going to outweigh the effect of the tax plan,” said Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst with Paragon Real Estate Group in San Francisco. “The Bay Area is unique because we have companies that didn’t exist five years ago and that are now the biggest the world. There’s no place on Earth that has a similar dynamic.”
New proptech web-app to unlock myHome’s Wealth
SRX Property, a platform for real estate listings, last week announced the launch of a new resource that uses big data to help homeowners make decisions about how to cash-out of their homes, upgrade, or right-size their properties. The new web-app, called Unlock myHome’s Wealth, is available on SRX’s rebranded Internet platform mySG Home, a free portal formerly known as myProperty Tracker. Unlock myHome’s Wealth employs data such as X-Value computer-generated valuations, and applies Central Provident Fund (CPF) borrowing rules, Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), and IRAS stamp duty rules.
CDL appoints new group CIO
CITY Developments Limited (CDL) has appointed Frank Khoo, 49, as group chief investment officer from Feb 1. As group CIO, he will assist the group CEO in the sourcing and execution of new investment opportunities while also setting up a dedicated fund management platform. Mr Khoo has over 20 years of international experience in fund management, private equity, acquisition of real estate assets and the repositioning and restructuring of real estate businesses. He was previously global head for Asia at AXA Investment Manager – Real Assets from September 2008 to November 2017 where he oversaw all real estate activities in Asia. He eventually achieved total assets under management of S$10 billion for Asian clients in Asia and Europe.
Bullish investors look past failed bid by CDL to privatise M&C Hotels
SHARES of City Developments (CDL) rose 26 Singapore cents or 1.97 per cent to finish at S$13.45 on Monday after an aborted attempt to buy out Millenium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C). But the M&C deal had a slim chance of success from the outset and investors chasing CDL seem more preoccupied with Singapore’s property market recovery than anything else. Sales at CDL’s high-end condominium project New Futura continue to progress well. As at Sunday, 35 of the 40 units released had been sold for an average selling price of S$3,200 psf, CDL told The Business Times on Monday.
Starhill Global Reit posts drop in Q2 DPU
STARHILL Global Reit on Monday reported a 7.1 per cent drop in distribution per unit (DPU) for the fiscal second quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 to 1.17 Singapore cents. This was mainly due to lower net property income (NPI), the effects of straight-line rental adjustments, and higher withholding taxes for Malaysia and Australia properties, said its Reit manager YTL Starhill Global Reit Management. Gross revenue fell 3 per cent to S$52.46 million, dragged by weaker contributions from offices, disruption of income from ongoing asset redevelopment works at Plaza Arcade in Perth and lower revenue at Myer Centre Adelaide. NPI slipped 2.2 per cent to S$40.5 million.
ESR-Reit confirms merger talks with Viva Industrial Trust
ESR-REIT’S proposed merger with Viva Industrial Trust (VIT) through a trust scheme of arrangement, if successful, will be the first merger ever in the 15-year history of Singapore Reits. According to its announcement on Monday, ESR-Reit said it is looking to acquire all of VIT’s stapled securities, and in return issue new ESR-Reit units to the stapled security holders. It did not disclose pricing details. Yet analysts and research houses The Business Times spoke to believe that VIT will not be ESR Reit’s last target, as ESR Reit’s “ambitious” sponsor is looking aggressively to scale up its clout and portfolio.
Rajah and Tann set ‘to shift to Marina One by 2020’
MAJOR law firm Rajah and Tann, the anchor tenant of Straits Trading Building, will move to the newly completed Marina One come 2020, BT has learnt. This move comes against a backdrop of increasing relocations, where more companies are moving to newer developments in the Central Business District (CBD) area. One industry source told The Business Times that Rajah and Tann will occupy 80,000 to 90,000 square feet at Marina One, marginally smaller than the current area the homegrown law firm is taking up in its existing location in Raffles Place.
Singapore’s outbound property investments hit record in 2017
SINGAPORE monies that went into overseas real-estate investments last year rose by about 40 per cent to a record US$28.4 billion, up from US$20.4 billion in 2016 and upending the last high of US$27.6 billion in 2015. Sovereign wealth fund (SWF) GIC had a hand in all three of Singapore’s largest outbound property deals in 2017, according to data from Real Capital Analytics, which includes both investments in stabilised properties and undeveloped land. Sigrid Zialcita, managing director of research for the Asia-Pacific, noted that Singapore was 2017’s fifth largest source of capital globally, after the United States, Hong Kong, China and France. Singapore was in sixth place in 2016.
Signs of upswing in Sentosa property market
A NASCENT recovery in Singapore’s housing market is showing signs of reaching Sentosa, a tiny isle off the southern tip of the country that is both a playground for partying Singaporeans and home for rich expatriates. Measuring just five sq km, Sentosa is a niche market. Offering a resort lifestyle just a bridge away from the city, Sentosa is the only place in Singapore where foreigners can buy landed property. Once a Malay graveyard and a British military base in the colonial period, Sentosa was developed as a tourist attraction in the 1970s, when it was enlarged through land reclamation to merge with two neighbouring islets.
OUE H-Trust posts lower DPS
HIGHER interest expenses and an absence of income support dragged landlord OUE Hospitality Trust (OUE H-Trust)’s distribution per stapled security (DPS) down by 6.6 per cent to 1.27 cents for the fourth quarter ended 2017. Distributable income fell by 4.2 per cent to $22.99 million for the stapled security which comprises OUE Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust (OUE H-Reit) and OUE Hospitality Business Trust (OUE H-BT). Its asset portfolio is made up of the 1077-room Mandarin Orchard Singapore (MOS), the 563-room Crowne Plaza Changi Airport (CPCA), and Mandarin Gallery retail mall.
Katong Park Towers put up for en bloc sale with S$288m reserve price
KATONG Park Towers has been put up for collective sale with a reserve price of S$288 million or about S$1,165 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), according to Cushman & Wakefield, the appointed agent for the property. The minimal development charge for the site is about S$5.6 million for the additional 10 per cent bonus balcony and an estimated lease upgrading premium of some S$51 million, Christina Sim, director of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield, said on Wednesday. The residential development sits on a 99-year leasehold residential site with a land area of 13,076.9 sq m (about 140,758 sq ft).
Chinatown Plaza up for collective sale, asking S$270m
CHINATOWN Plaza has been put up for a collective sale with an asking price of S$270 million, said Edmund Tie & Company, the marketing agent for the sale, on Wednesday. The asking price equates to S$1,989 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) of potential gross floor area (GFA) with no development charge payable. The tender exercise closes at noon on March 15. The prime mixed-use redevelopment site at the junction of Craig Road and Neil Road is zoned for commercial and residential use under the 2014 Master Plan of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
First high-rise hub for metal, machinery and timber SMEs in 2020
JTC, the Singapore Cranes Association (SCA) and Singapore Timber Association (STA) announced on Wednesday an agreement to provide shared services and special infrastructure at TimMac@Kranji, the first high-rise development to bring together the metal, machinery and timbre (MMT) industries. Slated for completion in 2020, the development features ceilings up to 12 metres in height and heavy floor loading of up to 50 kiloNewtons/square metre (kN/sq m) to allow for the use of overhead cranes and also to accommodate heavy automation machinery. The facility was conceptualised in consultation with industry associations Singapore Metal and Machinery Association and Singapore Structural Steel Society to ensure it would meet the current and future operational needs of MMT companies.
Singapore an emerging hot market for private equity real estate funds
The recovery in office rents here may be turning Singapore into one of the most popular markets in the region for private equity real estate funds. CBRE estimates that some US$6 billion may be deployed in Singapore from this year to 2020, with about US$4 billion having been invested here by these funds between 2014 and the third quarter of 2017. The latest quarterly figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority last week showed office rents here rose at a faster clip in the fourth quarter and clocked a full-year increase of 0.4 per cent, in a reversal from an 8.2 per cent decline in 2016.
OUE Commercial Reit’s Q4 distribution income up 14.6%
AN ABSENCE of performance fees and higher income support drawdown lifted fourth-quarter results for landlord OUE Commercial Reit (OUE C-Reit). Q4 income available for distribution rose 14.6 per cent to S$17.7 million from the previous year, it said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Jan 31. Distribution per unit (DPU) dipped to 1.14 Singapore cents, down 3.4 per cent from the previous year, due to an enlarged unit base from an equity placement completed in March 2017.
Frasers Property to ride global platforms for growth
WHAT’S in a name? For Frasers Centrepoint Limited (FCL), a name underscores its identity and branding, which is why it is taking on a new name to reflect the breadth and depth of its property businesses. Dropping the current name it has been associated with since its re-listing on the Singapore bourse in 2014, it is now called Frasers Property. All its development, retail, commercial and business parks, as well as logistics and industrial businesses in every geography will now operate as Frasers Property. Shareholders had approved the name change at its annual general meeting held on Monday.
WeWork plans Japan expansion, eyes Osaka, Yokohama, Fukuoka
WEWORK, a co-working space company backed by SoftBank Group, is planning to expand its Japan operations to include Osaka, Yokohama and Fukuoka. The New York-based startup may open a location in Osaka in the next 12 to 14 months, Chris Hill, WeWork’s chief executive officer for Japan, said in an interview on Thursday. WeWork, which aims to open 10 to 12 offices in the Tokyo area this year, has signed a lease for its first location in Shibuya and plans to unveil the location in mid-February, he said.
Maximum of 6 unrelated tenants in a flat: HDB
FROM May 1, owners of four-room or larger Housing Board (HDB) flats will be allowed to rent their property out to a maximum of six unrelated persons, down from the current cap of nine, said HDB on Thursday. The agency also reduced the number of occupants allowed in three-room living quarters of commercial properties from eight to six. HDB said the changes aim to minimise the problems caused by overcrowding, in addition to maintaining “a conducive living environment” in Singapore’s public housing estates.
Ascendas Hospitality Trust’s Q3 DPS down 14%
DRAGGED down by weakness in its Australia portfolio, Ascendas Hospitality Trust (A-HTRUST) posted a 14 per cent drop in distribution per stapled security (DPS) to 1.41 Singapore cents for the third quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 . Net property income (NPI) slipped 4.7 per cent from a year ago to S$25.2 million amid weaker performance in the Australia portfolio and translation losses in foreign-currency earnings due to the stronger Singapore dollar. Income available for distribution, less income retained for working capital, fell 13.7 per cent to S$16 million due to lower NPI, higher trust expense, absence of one-off gain and higher amount of income retained.
OKH enters joint venture with Ping An unit
PROPERTY developer OKH Global is tying up with Ping An Industrial and Logistics to develop logistics and warehousing facilities in China, it said on Thursday. A memorandum of understanding has been inked, and more details will be released later. A joint venture company is expected to be set up by the second half of the year, OKH Global said. Ping An Industrial and Logistics is a subsidiary of the Ping An Group, one of China’s five largest insurers.
Demand for shophouse units to remain strong in 2018: CBRE
SHOPHOUSES are a unique and interesting asset class in Singapore. This asset class, comprising narrow small terraced houses with a sheltered ‘five-foot’ pathway in front, is an icon of Singapore’s architectural history. Many of these shophouse units were built prior to World World 2 and located in the old city centres. Their rich historical heritage has resulted in many of them being gazetted for conservation, carefully restored and conserved according to regulatory guidelines. Due to the rarity and cultural value of shophouses, interest in this asset class has been very consistent. Property companies and private equity funds have shown heightened interest in this niche market in the past year, and we expect interest levels to remain similar in 2018.
Sentosa Cove penthouse up for auction in mortgagee sale
A TWO-LEVEL penthouse on the sixth storey of The Berth by the Cove is among the properties going under the hammer at Edmund Tie & Company’s (ET&Co) auction on Feb 28. This will also be the first Sentosa Cove property to be put up for auction this year. It is a mortgagee sale – meaning a sale put up by the lender, usually because the borrower is facing difficulty servicing the mortgage. The last owner purchased the unit in 2011 at S$5.64 million, or S$1,919 per square foot (psf). The Business Times understands that the unit could be going for about S$2 million less than its last transaction price; this is pending confirmation from an ongoing valuation exercise.