Property news round up 17 June 2018


Accor to manage EL Development hotel in Hill St

EL Development has signed a memorandum of understanding with Accor for the French hotel chain to manage a new hotel that the Singapore property developer will build in Hill Street. Accor will manage the hotel under its Pullman brand – this will be the first Pullman in Singapore, EL Development managing director Lim Yew Soon told The Business Times in a recent interview. “Singapore is one of the major cities left in Asia where Accor has yet to have a Pullman… when Singapore is its Asia-Pacific headquarters,” he noted.

Malaysia to probe Battersea property deal: Anwar

MALAYSIA will investigate the Battersea Power Station deal and other major “dubious” property investments in the UK, said Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan. On a working visit to Britain, Mr Anwar told The Guardian that a series of deals paid for by Malaysian sovereign funds and pension funds and brokered by the previous Barisan Nasional administration had to be looked at again and renegotiated if there was any wrongdoing. “All these deals which are considered dubious, including investments in housing in London, will have to be investigated. Yes, that includes Battersea. Because they were made using state funds.

Condo resale prices rise again to new high: SRX

THE en bloc sale rally continued to give the private home market strength as resale private condominiums and apartments continued their climb in May to hit yet another high. Flash data from real estate portal SRX Property released on Tuesday also showed that the monthly price change for April 2018 was revised sharply upwards to 1.2 per cent, from the earlier estimate of 0.6 per cent. Resale prices of non-landed private properties rose 1.2 per cent compared to April 2018 and jumped 10.8 per cent from May 2017.

Sydney home bubble deflates as loans revisit 2008 losing streak

AUSTRALIA’S east-coast property bubble is showing signs of deflating at a faster clip as home-lending data recorded the longest losing streak in almost a decade. Housing finance fell 1.4 per cent in April, the fifth straight monthly drop and the longest stretch of declines since September 2008, when Lehman Brothers Inc collapsed and a month before the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed its key interest rate by a percentage point. The downturn is most prominent in Sydney, where prices slid 4.2 per cent in May from a year earlier, when they were rising at an annual pace of 17 per cent.

Frasers Property opens second development in Tianjin

MAINBOARD-LISTED Frasers Property said that its Frasers Hospitality business has opened Fraser Place Binhai Tianjin – its second property in Tianjin – on Tuesday, as the developer looks to double its footprint in China over the next few years. Binhai Tianjin is located in the residential neighbourhood of Beacon Hill in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area and offers 224 serviced residences, from studios to two-bedroom apartments. Its first property in Tianjin – Fraser Place Tianjin – opened in 2016 in the Nankai district. Choe Peng Sum, chief executive officer, Frasers Hospitality said: “China is key to our future growth as it currently represents a quarter of our portfolio. The opening of Fraser Place Binhai Tianjin is significant as it underlines our ambitions to grow our presence in China.”

HDB and private rents edge up 0.2% in May: SRX

RENTS in May inched up just 0.2 per cent for both private and HDB homes from the previous month, as volumes continued their decline, according to flash estimates released by real estate portal SRX Property on Wednesday. Year-on-year, rents from non-landed private rentals improved marginally by 0.8 per cent; the May showing was 18.9 per cent lower than its peak in Jan 2013. Compared to April, rents of condos and private apartments did not budge in the prime district or Core Central Region (CCR), but edged up by 0.4 per cent in the city fringe or Rest of Central Region (RCR), and 0.2 per cent in the suburbs or Outside Central Region (OCR) areas.

Blackstone to step up buying in Asia after raising US$9.4b

BLACKSTONE Group said that it will accelerate its Asia-Pacific investments after raising a combined US$9.4 billion from two funds dedicated to the region. The New York-based alternative asset manager will have US$15 billion to deploy to real estate, private equity and other opportunities in Asia once money from its global funds is included, according to Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s president and chief operating officer. “The combination of underlying growth in China and India, and the opening of Japan to foreign capital gets us excited,” he said, referring to the increasing willingness of Japanese entrepreneurs to accept investment from overseas private equity firms.

Tight squeeze for Hong Kong’s young professionals

AS housing prices continue to spiral in Hong Kong, young professionals are living in ever-shrinking spaces, with box-like “nano-flats” and co-shares touted as fashionable solutions. Blocks of sleek miniature apartments packed with mod cons are springing up around the densely packed city, pitched as an attractive and more affordable lifestyle choice, but still at an eye-watering cost. Finance worker Adrian Law, 25, paid more than HK$6 million (S$1.02 million) two years ago for his tiny studio apartment in a new development in the gentrified Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood.

Far East’s Oasia Hotel Downtown wins best tall building award

OASIA Hotel Downtown in Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar has been named this year’s Best Tall Building Worldwide by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), a global authority on tall buildings and future cities that confers the award annually. The 27-storey skyscraper, by developer Far East Organization and designed by award-winning architecture firm Woha, features a plant-covered facade of red and green and outdoor communal spaces along its height, which CTBUH felt “connects to the green of the cityscape” and “provides respite and relief to its occupants, neighbours, and city”. “This project won not only because it incorporates 60 storeys of green walls along the exterior but because of its significant commitment to communal space,” said CTBUH executive director and awards juror Antony Wood.

Lakeside Apartments owners ask for S$240m

LAKESIDE Apartments is now on the market with a reserve price of S$240 million, becoming the latest development to wade into the collective sale arena. With more than 80 per cent of the owners at the 134,176 sq ft site in the Jurong Lake District area having agreed to sell their units, the tender was launched on Tuesday. Each owner in the 120-unit development could get S$2 million. There are 58 years left on the development’s 99-year lease.

Aspen associate to develop logistics hub in Selangor

AN associated company of Malaysian developer Aspen (Group) Holdings will invest RM600 million (S$200.7 million) to develop an industrial site in Shah Alam in Selangor into a “sustainable integrated logistics and warehousing hub”. The facility will have 3.3 million sq ft of built-up area. Announcing this on Wednesday, Aspen said its associate Global Vision Logistics (GVL), in which it holds a 30 per cent share, has completed the acquisition of three plots of leasehold industrial land totalling 71 acres at a cost of RM190 million.

Park House goes for record S$2,910 psf ppr

ORCHARD property Park House has fetched a record collective sale price of S$2,910 per sq ft per plot ratio, marketing agent CBRE said on Wednesday. The freehold District 10 development at 21 Orchard Boulevard sold for S$375.5 million. This translates to S$2,910 psf ppr on the maximum allowable gross floor area of 129,035 sq ft, excluding the 10 per cent bonus for balconies.

UOL gains statutory control of UIC

UOL Group has gained statutory control of United Industrial Corporation (UIC), after its stake in UIC crossed 50 per cent on Wednesday. In a regulatory filing, UOL said its stake in UIC hit 50.006 per cent of the latter’s issued capital, after its wholly owned unit UOL Equity Investments acquired 300,000 UIC shares on Wednesday at S$3.29438 per share. Following this, UIC becomes a subsidiary of the company under Section 5 of the Companies Act.

China real estate sales pick up as developers push projects to market

CHINA’S real estate investment growth slowed in May but remained firm, with sales growth hitting a near one-year high, defying fresh purchase curbs and higher financing costs and indicating resilience in one of the country’s main economic drivers. Property investment rose 9.8 per cent in May from the same period a year earlier, compared with a 10.2 per cent rise in April, according to Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data. It grew 10.2 per cent in the first five months of the year. The figure mainly focuses on residential real estate but also includes commercial and office space.

Swire in talks to sell stakes in two HK towers for HK$14b

SWIRE Properties is in talks to sell its stakes in two Hong Kong towers to Hengli Investments Holding Group for more than HK$14 billion (S$2.38 billion), according to people familiar with the matter, adding to a spate of deals in the world’s priciest office market. Hengli is in discussion with banks on getting financing for the purchase of the buildings, known as Cityplaza Three and Cityplaza Four, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the information has not been publicly disclosed. Hengli is a Hong Kong-based property investment firm linked to Chen Chang Wei, who is listed as a director of the company, according to regulatory filings.

More luxury condos to cross S$4,000 psf mark

LUXURY residential properties crossing the S$4,000 per square foot (psf) mark in Singapore’s prime Orchard Road district have been few and far between in recent years, but this could change, given the recent spate of record-setting land sales and upcoming launches in the district. Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings said on Wednesday that it has purchased two freehold redevelopment sites for a total of S$593.5 million in Orchard Boulevard and Nassim Road. One was the S$375.5 million purchase of Park House at 21 Orchard Boulevard via a collective sale, which set a new national record of S$2,910 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr); the other was a S$218 million purchase of a plot at 14 and 14A Nassim Road, which works out to an estimated S$2,744 psf ppr, inclusive of development charge.

Time to switch out of developer stocks?

SUBDUED sales at the recent launch of two condominium projects in Serangoon, in the north-east of Singapore, have stoked concerns that buying momentum may be running out of steam. But there are others who expect the momentum to pick up again after the typical lull period of June, which coincides with the school holidays. Depending on which camp equity investors fall into, they could either see this as a time to switch out of residential-centric property stocks or to accumulate on recent share price dips. Should investors start pricing in the risk of slower sales ahead or anticipating a pick-up in buying momentum and prices from here?

Emerging prime areas challenge traditional districts 9, 10, 11

SINGAPORE’S traditional prime districts 9, 10 and 11 are being challenged in their position as the upper echelons of the private housing market not only by new prime areas such as Marina Bay but also by what List Sotheby’s International Realty terms “emerging prime areas” such as Tanjong Pagar and Ophir-Rochor Beach Road area. The firm’s analysis of transactions captured by the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Realis system shows that units at Duo Residences in the Beach Road area and Wallich Residence At Tanjong Pagar Centre for instance have sold for S$2,076-2,721 per square foot and S$2,756-3,894 psf respectively in the first quarter of this year. In the same period, apartments at Marina One Residences have fetched S$2,175-3,004 psf while units at Martin Modern in District 9 have transacted at S$2,551-2,842 psf.

Keppel unit sells stake in Keppel Township Development (Shenyang)

KEPPEL Land China is selling its 100 per cent stake in Keppel Township Development (Shen-yang) (KTDS) for a total consideration of about 980 million yuan (S$205 million). On Friday, Keppel Corporation announced that the buyer is Shenyang SUNAC Xinxing Enterprise Management. The consideration took into account the unaudited net asset value of KTDS and market value of undeveloped land and unsold inventories.