Property news to start your day: More than 90% of 300 Avenue South Residence units launched on first day sold, CapitaLand Fund Management Boss James Lim Resigns


Every nation has to be ready for rapid tech changes, prepare people for it: Heng Swee Keat
Channel NewsAsia
A changing global economy, rapid tech advances and preparing people for these changes in the future are 3 challenges everyone in the world, including Singapore, will have to deal with, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said. The second challenge was the speed of technological advancement and how the convergence of different technologies is changing the shape of industries. The last trend was the need for leaders to help people become better prepared for the future and give them access to more relevant jobs.

EC World Reit bullish on e-commerce
The Business Times
While the rest of the world frets about trade wars and a China slowdown, the chief executive of EC World Reit’s manager remains calmly bullish about e-commerce in Asia’s largest economy. “If the economic growth slows, more consumers are likely to pivot to e-commerce purchases as it offers better value for money,” says Goh Toh Sim, executive director and CEO of the manager of EC World Reit. “Moreover, the consumption of domestic products and services has been growing steadily.”

More than 90% of 300 Avenue South Residence units launched on first day sold
The Business Times
More than 90% of the 300 launched units in Avenue South Residence were snapped up on Sat, the 1st day of sales. UOL Group, which is part of the consortium behind the 1,074-unit development at Silat Avenue, said buyers were mostly Singaporeans, comprising both investors and homeowners. The other members of the developer consortium are UOL subsidiary United Industrial Corporation, and Kheng Leong Company.

Oxley Offers Podium of Singapore’s Chevron House for S$475M
Just 4 months after Oxley Holdings agreed to sell 30 Raffles Place in Singapore’s central business district to AEW for S$1.025b (US$740m), the Singapore-based company has moved to find a buyer for the building’s retail and office podium as part of its sale and purchase agreement with the US real estate fund. Among the conditions for completion of the deal struck between the 2 parties on 29 Apr is that Oxley must complete a US$100m refurbishment of the skyscraper formerly known as Chevron House and find a buyer for the building podium.

Creating an innovation culture – Singapore’s not-so-secret formula to becoming a regional tech hub
South China Morning Post
Over the last decade, Singapore has fashioned itself into a start-up hub in the Southeast Asian region, with technology unicorns like Grab headquartered in the country. The local start-up scene also boasts up-and-comers such as mobile classifieds ads firm Carousell as well as cash rebate platform Shopback. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Microsoft all have their regional headquarters in Singapore. Key to the nation’s strategy is the government’s ability to plan for and adjust its policies to best position itself for the next wave of technology.

Shenzhen, a blueprint for Chinese cities, must abandon Hong Kong’s property model, warns China’s ‘godfather of real estate’ Meng Xiaosu
South China Morning Post
The southern city of Shenzhen, now a blueprint for China’s urban development, should abandon the Hong Kong property model it borrowed decades ago, warned the country’s “godfather of real estate”. Shenzhen held its first land auction in 1987, pioneering the sale of land-use rights in mainland China. But with rising wealth inequality one of the many gripes of angry protestors who have taken to the streets of Hong Kong in recent months, Meng has called for major cities to stop following the model.

CapitaLand Fund Management Boss James Lim Resigns
James Lim, CEO of CapitaLand Investment Management has resigned from his position at the helm of the private fund management division of the Singaporean property conglomerate. Lim, who came on board with CapitaLand to help launch the private fund management unit just under 2 years ago, notified his team of his decision to leave the company earlier this month, with the veteran real estate finance said to be departing to pursue other opportunities.

New faces of retail
The Straits Times
With Metro departing as The Centrepoint’s anchor tenant, one question has been hanging on many people’s lips: Is physical retail dead? Not quite – it might just be in need of a few new tricks. When it was later announced that French sporting goods giant Decathlon would take over as the anchor tenant, complete with immersive and experiential concepts, the buzz around “experiential retail” was re-ignited. But experiential retail alone cannot keep a brand afloat, retail experts told The Straits Times.

Homegrown hotelier with global ambitions
The Edge Property
From having one Hotel 81 in Geylang back in 1993, Singaporean Choo Chong Ngen has since grown his portfolio of hotels to 38 properties in Singapore and owns another eight hotels in five other countries including Australia, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. With 6,500 hotel rooms in Singapore, the chairman of Worldwide Hotels now controls 10.2% of the total inventory of completed hotel rooms, which number 63,850 as at end- 2018. As Choo’s hotel empire grew, so did his net worth, which increased 2.5 times from US$1.1b in Mar 2014 to US$2.8b (S$3.9b) today, according to Forbes, which ranked him Singapore’s 10th richest man.

Frasers Centrepoint Trust to raise stake in Waterway Point in S$90m deal
The Business Times
Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) is looking to build its stake in Waterway Point to 40% in a nearly S$90m deal, just months after acquiring a one-third interest in the suburban mall. “We are growing our stake in Waterway Point as it is a popular retail hub that is set to benefit from the growing population and exciting developments in the surrounding Punggol precinct,” Mr Ng said. “This positions Waterway Point well to deliver long-term growth and good returns for FCT and its unitholders.”

Auction clearances show a market in turnaround
Australian Financial Review
Auction clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne continued to rise in the first week of spring, and according to new research it’s not just because there is nothing to buy. Sydney’s preliminary auction clearance rate closed at 83.1%, while Melbourne’s figure was 76.6%, according to Corelogic, and the final numbers are likely to settle in the 70s. But like previous weeks, the number of homes listed for sale was down up at least 20% in the 2 major cities compared with the same time in past years.

Australian property downturn seen ending in 2020: Reuters poll
Australia’s ailing housing market is expected to turn around next year, but the recovery will be modest and a far cry from the boom times of double-digit price gains, a Reuters poll shows. But they are forecast to rise 2.75% next year and by 3.50% in 2021. In 2018, prices skidded nearly 5% to mark their worst year since 2008 largely due to tighter credit conditions and waning investor appetite.

Property market resilient despite Brexit uncertainty, says Halifax
The Guardian
House prices edged ahead in Aug according to Halifax, with the property market showing a “degree of resilience” despite intense political uncertainty. Halifax said average prices rose by 0.3% m-o-m, taking the annual rate of house price inflation to 1.8%. Meanwhile, one of the leading skyscraper developers in London, Berkeley, said it had enjoyed a period of robust market conditions in the capital and the south-east of England.

UK public expectations for inflation in coming year hit almost six-year high: BoE
The British public’s expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months hit an almost 6-year high in Aug, but fell sharply for the longer-term, a Bank of England survey showed on Fri. Gauges of public inflation expectations have risen sharply of late, reflecting the fall in the value of the pound as the Brexit crisis escalates which raises the price of imported goods. Inflation expectations for the year ahead stood at 3.3% in Aug, up from 3.1% in May and marking the highest level since Nov 2013, according to the survey from the BoE and market research firm TNS.

GDP growth seeks port in a storm
Bangkok Post
With tropical storms bringing downpours across Thailand, many are left wondering if the torrential rains and dark clouds augur forthcoming economic woes, shattering hopes of a rebound. Vivid memories of the 1997 economic collapse and anxiety over the current tepid conditions lend credence to concerns of a crisis brewing. The economy expanded at the slowest pace since 2014, up 2.3% y-o-y, in Q2, as a slowdown manifested both domestically and externally.

Origin spearheads smart city project in Rayong
The Nation
Origin Property, an end-to-end developer, has teamed up with public and private partners in the creation of “Origin Smart City Rayong”- a mixed-use community project of Smart tech and Smart Eco under the concept of “Beyond A Living Platform”. The government is keen on adopting smart technology and innovation to enhance the efficiency in city management, distribute prosperity across the nation and to boost the quality of life.

Australian Mining Towns Posting Strongest House Price Growth
Home prices in Australia’s mining towns are leading the recovery in the property market, accounting for 9 out of the 10 suburbs with the strongest growth in median prices. The gains were led by a suburb close to the home to one of the world’s largest lead smelters, as well as a once-struggling steel city, as record-low interest rates and an easing of bank-lending rules support demand. Risdon Park South, a suburb of Port Pirie, the South Australian location of Nyrstar NV’s smelter, registered a 71% jump in median prices in the 12 months ended Aug, according to the latest data from Hometrack Australia.

China Developer Financing Drops by 58% Amid Lending Clampdown
Financing for Chinese property developers plunged by 58.15% m-o-m in Aug amid an intensifying government clampdown on the housing market, according to data cited by the Securities Times. The new data comes after the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission launched a crackdown on risky lending to developers and homebuyers in dozens of cities last month. US dollar bonds issued by Chinese real estate companies plummeted by 82.52% to US$765m amid Beijing’s tightened restrictions on offshore bond offerings.

Chart of the Day: Check out the condo projects with the highest leasing deals in Q2
Singapore Business Review
This chart from Savills shows that the 5 condo projects with the highest number of leasing transactions garnered a total of 842 deals in Q2. CapitaLand’s D’Leedon at 7 Leedon Heights topped the list with 194 leasing transactions. This is followed by The Sail @ Marina Bay Sands with 190 deals, which has the most expensive median monthly rent amongst the 5 projects at S$5.08 psf. Frasers Property’s North Park Residences came in 3rd with 158 deals, and has a median rent of S$3.57 a month.

Welcome to a new era of co-sharing in office real estate
The Straits Times
Take a visit to some of the co-working spaces located in Singapore’s Central Business District, and one would be amazed by the design, vibrancy and lively work atmosphere. Today’s workforce desires flexibility, convenience and being part of an enlarged community. As a result, workers are enjoying the conducive co-working spaces and achieving a sense of empowerment and meaning in their work. Once seen as utilitarian-serviced offices for start-ups and travelling professionals, co-working spaces are now attracting established corporations, and emerging as a prominent office tenant trade in cities around the world.

Digitalising built-environment sector ‘can attract the young to it’
The Business Times
Digitalising the built-environment sector will change the nature of work there, and make careers in the industry more attractive to young people, the chief executive of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said on Fri. He said the government’s efforts to encourage digitalisation has moved beyond providing support for software and hardware to supporting programmes that connect different parts of the value chain. Beyond software and hardware, artificial intelligence comes in at the next level, he added.

WeWork Mulling Valuation Cut Below $20 Billion: Dow Jones
WeWork is considering a valuation for its initial public offering that may be below US$20b, Dow Jones reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The office-sharing company has plans to begin a roadshow for new investors as early as Mon. Some investors are pushing the company to postpone the IPO, the news service said.