Thursday, September 25, 2008

S'pore Is No 4 For SME Financing: Poll

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

SME sector here can develop new revenue streams, help to advance the economy

SINGAPORE is ranked the No 4 city for profitable small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financing globally, according to a new research by MasterCard.

Emerging top centres of commerce for SME financing are Paris, Tokyo and Munich in MasterCard Research's ranking of 53 global cities. The global revenue opportunity for financial institutions from SME financing is estimated at $5 trillion.

The study looked at the size of the unmet SME financing need, potential for profit for banks in providing financing and the relative ease of market penetration within each city.

Cities such as Paris where there are dense concentrations of SMEs with limited access to financing from local banking systems, show the greatest profit potential.

Traditional world banking centres, such as New York, may be less ideal candidates for market expansion because there is already an abundance of existing credit providers and highly accessible credit markets. the study shows.

In the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region, Tokyo and Singapore emerged first and second respectively. They are among frontrunners in the potential size of its SME financing market, said Kelvin Mellyn, global solutions leader of payment strategy at MasterCard Advisors LLC, who headed the study.

Tokyo is in a sweet spot, with its total SME market valued at $628.6 billion, he noted. The SME sector in Singapore - valued at $176.46 billion - also presents an opportunity in developing new revenue streams and helping to advance the economy.

'Despite Tokyo's well-developed financial economy, its high ranking in the index can be attributed to the fact that SMEs currently have limited access to financing from the local banking system,' Mr Mellyn said.

Despite the current challenging conditions, there are still sizeable and profitable business opportunities available in the global SME financing sector for financial institutions, said Walt Macnee, president of global markets at MasterCard Worldwide.

Banks that can navigate the challenges and complexities of these cities may enjoy tremendous upside, he added.

Allgreen Consortium Wins Nanjing Commercial Site

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

Its unit teams up with subsidiaries of Kerry Prop and Shangri-La Asia for 200m yuan purchase

A THREE-PARTY consortium, which includes Singapore-listed Allgreen Properties, has won the bid for a commercial site in China's Nanjing City.

Allgreen, which participated in the tender exercise through wholly owned subsidiary Belfin Investments, said the 17,014 square metre site is designated for hotel, commercial and office use.

The purchase price is 200 million yuan (S$41.6 million).

The other members in the consortium are subsidiaries of Kerry Properties and Shangri-la Asia.

To undertake the acquisition and development, the consortium will set up a foreign-owned enterprise in China. Allgreen, Kerry Properties and Shangri-La will have respective stakes of 15, 45 and 40 per cent.

Allgreen said in its announcement yesterday that it would benefit from the joint venture because of the partners' expertise in and understanding of China's property market.

Kerry Properties will provide project development, construction management and project consultancy services, while the Shangri-La group will provide hotel management services.

Allgreen has other joint investments with the two partners in Shanghai, Tianjin and Tangshan and more joint projects with Kerry in Chengdu, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao.

The maximum total investment cost for this latest Nanjing site is about 1.5 billion yuan.

Allgreen's share works out to about 225 million yuan, which it will finance this through internal funds and/or external borrowings.

Including this latest investment, Allgreen's total transactions with Kerry Properties and Shangri-la Asia amount to some $407.9 million, or 18.3 per cent of its latest audited net tangible assets as at Dec 31, 2007.

The investment is not expected to have any material impact on the earnings per share and net tangible assets per share of the Allgreen group for the current financial year.

Allgreen's net profit for the second quarter ended June 30 fell 36.5 per cent to $17.19 million, as revenue for the quarter fell 39 per cent to $74.12 million.

The company's shares closed unchanged at 67 cents yesterday.

Financial Crisis Impact Could Worsen: Wen

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

UNITED NATIONS - Cash-rich China weighed in on the US financial crisis on Wednesday, with Premier Wen Jiabao warning that its international impact could become 'more serious' and stressing the need for concerted efforts to contain the turmoil.

He indicated that China, the world's biggest holder of foreign reserves and second biggest holder of US treasury bills, was ready to help in an international bid to defuse the turmoil that has rocked financial markets across the globe.

'The ongoing financial volatility, in particular, has affected many countries and its impact is likely to become more serious,' Mr Wen told the UN General Assembly.

'To tackle the challenge, we must all make concerted efforts,' Mr Wen told the UN meeting at the tail end of his address, which touched on various issues, including a pledge to push ahead with reforms to fuel growth in the world's most populous nations.

US President George W. Bush, who is also attending the UN General Assembly, had telephoned Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday to brief him about the financial turmoil and his administration's bid to stage a US$700 billion Wall Street bailout to stem the crisis.

Mr Hu told Mr Bush that China welcomed Washington's efforts to stabilise the US financial markets and hoped they succeed, according to Beijing's state media.

But as Mr Wen spoke on Wednesday at the United Nations, the Bush administration remained locked in a dispute with the US Congress over the massive bailout package aimed at buying distressed mortgages and mortgage-related securities from financial institutions.

Financial markets, including in China, have been volatile since the US crisis peaked this month, triggered by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and a Federal Reserve rescue of insurance and financial giant AIG last week.

Mr Wen hinted that China would help in any international bid to defuse financial contagion arising from the US crisis, saying this was not the time for 'hostility' or 'prejudice'.

'So long as people of all countries, especially their leaders, can do away with hostility, estrangement and prejudice, treat each other with sincerity and an open mind, and forge ahead hand in hand, mankind will overcome all difficulties and embrace a brighter and better future,' he said.

'China, as a responsible major developing country, is ready to work with other members of the international community to strengthen cooperation, share opportunities, meet challenges and contribute to the harmonious and sustainable development of the world,' he said.

China has emerged as the world's largest and fastest growing holder of foreign exchange reserves, which totalled US$1.8 trillion as of June 2008, according to its central bank.

It has invested a large share of its reserves in US securities, which include Treasury debt, US agency debt, US corporate debt and US equities.

A Congressional Research Service report in January said China may be holding nearly US$700 billion in US securities as of June 2006, making it the second largest foreign holder of American securities after Japan.

Mr Wen said given the global nature of issues threatening the world, including environmental problems, terrorism, diseases, natural disasters and financial troubles, 'no county can expect to stay away from the difficulties or handle the problems all by itself'.

The premier also touched on global concerns about China's direction after hosting the Olympics last month, saying Beijing would remain committed to 'peaceful development' and 'unswervingly pursue reform and opening-up.'

He said 'only continued economic and political restructuring, and reform in other fields can lead to sustained economic growth and social progress, and only continued opening up in an all-round way can lead the country to greater national strength and prosperity.' -- AFP

Property Transactions With Contract Dates Between Sept 8th - 13th, 2008

China Developers Cave In To Price Cuts

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

But move will do little to boost sales as sentiment still bearish: analysts

(BEIJING) After months of steely resistance, Chinese property developers have finally thrown in the towel and slashed prices as sales fall.

Decline: China's housing market, which had boomed for over a decade, has been faltering since late 2007

Whether the move succeeds in putting a floor under the market will help determine the fate of the economy over the coming year, especially because China needs to spur domestic demand to counter weakening exports as the global credit crunch intensifies.

'Property firms have to rely on themselves, sacrificing prices to boost transactions,' said Chen Sheng, deputy head of China Index Academy, which is affiliated with, a top real estate website.

Real estate accounts for 24 per cent of China's fixed-asset investment and is crucial not only for domestic steel makers but also for global producers of myriad construction inputs such as aluminium and copper.

'So the property sector matters - a great deal,' said Jonathan Anderson, a UBS economist in Hong Kong.

Mr Anderson expects property and construction activity to stabilise and rebound in the first half of next year.

But many developers, harried by declining sales and financing constraints, are less optimistic.

China's housing market, which had boomed for more than a decade, has been faltering since late 2007. Prices in major cities such as Shenzhen have plunged by up to 40 per cent, demolishing the myth that prices would never fall while China was urbanising.

Average property price inflation in 70 large Chinese cities slowed to 5.3 per cent in the year to August from 11.3 per cent in the year to January.

Property sales fell 11 per cent in the first seven months from a year earlier, adding to the squeeze on cash flow confronting most developers after Beijing intensified its credit tightening late last year.

So for some developers, selling unsold homes at a discount is their last hope to survive.

However, some analysts say price cuts will do little to boost sales as consumer sentiment has turned bearish. They worry China could be in for a protracted housing downturn.

'When market prices start to fall, there'll be fewer buyers as people are not sure where the bottom is,' said Hou Liying, a professor at Shenzhen University.

More importantly, apartments are clearly unaffordable at current prices for most city dwellers, she added.

In Beijing, the average price of an apartment in August is 13,584 yuan (S$2,830) per square metre, higher than the average income of local residents for the first six months of 2008 - 12,547 yuan, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Vanke, China's biggest listed developer, took the lead and slashed prices by up to 27 per cent since late August in a handful of big cities, including Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing. Many peers, such as Shenzhen- based Gemdale Corp, have followed suit.

An index of the largest mainland developers quoted in Hong Kong has tumbled 44 per cent so far this year. Vanke is down almost 80 per cent since peaking last November, while Gemdale has plunged more than 85 per cent.

'Most developers expect the market to remain sluggish for another year or longer,' Deutsche Bank economist Jun Ma said in a note to clients after a trip around China this month.

In their heightened anxiety, property executives are clamouring for the government to relax its restrictions on bank lending to the sector.

'The market right now is in an autumn chill, with some small firms failing,' Ren Zhiqiang, president of Beijing Huayuan Property Co, told a forum last week. 'If the government doesn't do something to snap the financing constraints on developers, then a deep winter is coming.'

However, Beijing seems to be in no hurry to halt the correction in the real estate market and is unlikely to resort to the sort of rescue package that it rolled out last week for the sagging stock market.

Bank regulators reiterated in late August that banks must not lend to developers for land purchases, a sign taken by the market that the government would not loosen its grip any time soon.

With an industry-wide profit margin of more than 30 per cent, many of the developers have scope to cut prices, at least for now. -- Reuters

Bangkok To See 'Lehman Effect', But No Fire Sale

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

AMERICA'S financial crisis and the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy will dampen Bangkok property prices, a leading economist said yesterday.

Lehman's went bankrupt on Sept 15 with 50 billion baht (S$2.1 billion) of assets in Thailand, 80 per cent of which was in property.

Any related sell-off of its assets is likely to devalue the market, which - combined with the drying up of global credit and foreign capital - will cause prices to drop, economists say.

'Lehman has invested a lot of money in the property sector and it will now have to sell those assets, indirectly causing a decline in prices here,' said Chulalongkorn University development economist Sompop Manarungsan. 'Prices may drop 20-30 per cent in Bangkok.'

International investment funds active in Bangkok property have driven prices out of the reach of most Thais, he said, but prices will drop as developers are forced to sell locally as foreign investment dries up.

'Luxury developments will be the first to be affected because so much of their investment comes from outside the country,' said Dr Sompop. 'If they are overpriced, they will have to be adjusted.'

While delays in selling Lehman's local assets could drive down property prices, any negative effect is likely to be temporary, said Thailand Development and Research Institute research director Somchai Jitsuchon.

'If these (Lehman's investment) projects need to slow down, or their values are suppressed as a consequence of a 'fire sale', the general property prices might also be affected,' he said.

'These things depend on whether there will be new buyers, and when the buyout is complete. If Nomura really takes over all of Lehman's assets in Asia, that might prevent serious negative consequences.'

Thai property prices are also exposed to a potential 'second round' effect of the global liquidity dry-up, which could restrict foreign capital inflows into the market, he said.

However, KGI Securities (Thailand) property analyst Thaninee Satirareungchai said a fire sale is unlikely as Lehman Brothers invested in high-quality projects.

'It won't affect prices here that much,' she said. 'If there is a sell-off, it won't be a fire sale. Most developers that have enough cash (to buy the assets) are interested in taking over the property themselves.'

While super-luxury developments are more exposed to the crisis due to the strong reliance on foreign investment, the impact will not be significant, she added.

One property developer, which Lehman is directly invested in, said it faced no exposure to the crisis.

'Lehman Brothers did have a 25 per cent stake in The River development but it has already been fully paid up,' said Raimon Land CEO Nigel Cornick.

Economists Turn Bearish On Outlook For Singapore

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 25, 2008

Some of those polled downgrade predictions; pharmaceutical sector remains the wild card

PRIVATE sector economists are turning bearish on Singapore's economic outlook this year, amid the recent deluge of bad news from Wall Street and weaker- than-expected showings in exports and tourism.

Most of those polled by The Straits Times now believe growth will come in under 4 per cent, with some downgrading their predictions to as low as 2.8 per cent.

The official forecast is still a 4 to 5 per cent expansion, but Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang has already said full-year growth may dip below that.

What the final number hinges on is the highly unpredictable pharmaceutical industry, which could still swing things either way in the last quarter, said economists. Always a wild card, this sector - which accounts for about 6 per cent of gross domestic product - has now become pivotal, especially since they cannot put a figure to it.

Mr Leong Wai Ho at Barclays, for instance, is banking on a 'significant pharma-led bounce' in the fourth quarter to ring in full-year growth at just over 4 per cent, the highest prediction among those polled.

Barring this rebound, Citigroup economist Kit Wei Zheng has cut his growth forecast to 2.8 per cent this year and 2.5 per cent next year, as 'ripples from the credit crunch hit home' and trigger a longer and deeper downturn that had been expected earlier this year.

'Beyond the third quarter, key leading indicators are all flashing red over the next six to 12 months,' he said, adding that the effects of slowing external demand and the housing market correction will likely be intensified by the ongoing financial crisis.

The latest round of upheaval in the financial markets, triggered by Lehman Brothers' collapse last week, has sharply increased the risks for a small and open economy like Singapore, added DBS Bank economist Irvin Seah.

'We are rather exposed to external volatility and will certainly not be spared; in fact, we will probably be one of the worst hit in the region,' he said.

Exports fell last month by the most in 20 months, plunging 13.8 per cent over the previous year in its fourth straight month of decline.

Tourist arrivals also dropped for the third consecutive month last month, hit by the global economic slowdown.

These figures have made economists increasingly convinced of the possibility of a technical recession in the third quarter, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Tomorrow's manufacturing output numbers for last month could firm up technical recession predictions and may trigger another flurry of growth forecast revisions, depending on whether they continue July's dramatic 21.9 per cent contraction.

'If the third quarter is another write- off and you have a technical recession in Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and even some of the Asian economies including Singapore, what we're looking at is a little bit like a mini-Great Depression,' said OCBC Bank's head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling.

But even if a technical recession does happen, it could just be a 'numbers game' rather than a major slowdown, said United Overseas Bank economist Jimmy Koh. In the first place, the second-quarter numbers were dragged down by pharmaceuticals, which 'aggravated the situation'.

Economists also say there are still some bright spots in the services sector, which is more diversified and has new, independent growth engines such as the F1 race and the integrated resorts, which will create new jobs and new industries.

Other plus points for the economy include still-stable employment rates and a healthy construction sector, added Action Economics economist David Cohen.

Whether next year will be any cheerier is an issue over which economists are divided. Some believe the financial uncertainty will take its full toll on the economy next year, delaying a recovery previously expected in the second half.

CIMB-GK economist Song Seng Wun said his outlook is 'diminishing by the day'. With a recession looming in the United States, the outlook is cloudy for the rest of the world, he said.

Others, like OCBC's Ms Ling, are 'not that bearish'. She predicts 4 to 5 per cent growth for now.

'Of course a lot depends on how the US crisis pans out in the coming quarters, but assuming we see some light at the end of the tunnel by June next year, we can hope for some sort of recovery in the second half of the year.'

Monaco Now Has The Costliest Luxury Homes

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

It overtook London with an average price increase of 30% to £3,762 psf

(LONDON) London was overtaken by Monaco as the world's most expensive location for luxury homes as job cuts by banks and the prospect of lower bonuses discouraged buyers.

Cooling demand: Average prices for houses and apartments in London's nine most expensive neighbourhoods fell for the first time in five years in August

The average price of London's most expensive houses and apartments rose 1.8 per cent to £3,291 a square foot in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to an index compiled by Knight Frank LLP.

In Monaco, the average increase was 30 per cent to £3,762, the property broker said on Tuesday in a statement.

'The prime residential market is weakening across the world, due to the fallout from the credit crunch and declining economic conditions in western markets,' said Liam Bailey, Knight Frank's head of residential research.

Demand from the 300,000 people who work in financial services, which has underpinned London's luxury-housing market, has dropped as companies in the industry slash personnel costs.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, which filed the biggest bankruptcy in history, employed about 4,500 here.

Average prices for houses and apartments in London's nine most expensive neighbourhoods fell for the first time in five years in August, as the prospect of a recession weighed on demand, a separate index compiled by Knight Frank showed last month.

The City of London Corporation, the municipal authority for London's main financial district, estimates that 42,000 jobs will be lost during the next year.

Alongside the financial centres of London and New York in Knight Frank's index come homes on the French Riviera and chalets in the French Alps, reflecting demand from high net worth individuals, notably from Russia, who are also buyers of 'super prime' properties here and in New York.

In London, Monaco and New York, prices of properties worth at least £10 million (S$26 million) have continued to climb, with some newly constructed or refurbished homes fetching in excess of £7,000 a square foot, Mr Bailey said.

'Demand is not going to evaporate,' he said. 'Wealth creation and accumulation in emerging economies and in specific high-end service sector activities will continue.' - Bloomberg

Wing Tai Picks Top Architects For 2 Projects

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel to design his first project in S'pore

FEW cities can claim to have buildings designed by 10 Pritzker Prize winning architects, and Singapore is now one of them.

To date there are only about 30 winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize - the architectural equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize - and thanks to Wing Tai Holdings, Jean Nouvel, the latest recipient, will be the 10th winner to design a building here.

Belle Vue Residence: Wing Tai has upped the ante in the race for big names by commissioning eminent Japanese architect Toyo Ito for its luxury development in Oxley Walk. Mr Ito is well known here for designing Vivocity

Mr Nouvel, who follows in the footsteps of architects like Philip Johnson, Kenzo Tange and James Stirling, will design his first project here - a luxury 43-unit apartment building in District 9 to be called Le Nouvel Ardmore.

On the choice of architect, Wing Tai deputy chairman Edmund Cheng said: 'Architecture influences who we are by defining how we live. That is why we set high standards for the architecture in our developments - to provide timeless elegant designs and thoughtful functional spaces.'

For Le Nouvel Ardmore, Mr Nouvel has created a 33-storey tower derived from the concept of a rotating Rubik's cube.

While the tower will not actually 'rotate', automated screens will be incorporated into the facade so homeowners can 'frame their own views' and create unique living spaces.

Mr Nouvel's design also calls for an outer structural lattice in the form of a grid detached from the living spaces to create an buffer of greenery and layering of spaces.

Besides giving the tower a distinctive look, the buffer space will be planted at certain levels to correspond to the villas-in-the-sky ambience of the development.

Internally, units will have high ceilings bathed in light from big windows that will provide 270 degree views.

'We know who our buyers are, we understand their needs and lifestyle requirements,' said Mr Cheng. 'They have keen appreciation for differentiation and seek sophistication in their properties.'

As homebuyers become more discerning, developers here are increasingly commissioning big-name architects.

'Discerning homebuyers and investors are increasingly drawn to good architecture,' said Mr Cheng. 'They have a higher sensitivity towards good design and are willing to spend not only on the interior of their apartments but also the exterior. Projects equated with quality are likely to attract higher premiums for their uniqueness and beauty.'

Wing Tai seems to have upped the ante in the race for big names by commissioning eminent Japanese architect Toyo Ito for its other luxury development, Belle Vue Residences in Oxley Walk.

Mr Ito, who received the 2002 Gold Lion Award at the International Architecture Exhibition of Venice Biennale, is already well known here for designing Vivocity.

For Belle Vue Residences, he has pushed the boundaries by coming up with a floor plan inspired by the branches of a tree and setting a distinctly organic tone.

The 176-unit development will have intimate pockets of space designed to mimic nature's branching pattern, integrating interior and exterior spaces.

The organic branching effect also results in more exposed wall surfaces and windows for more natural light and better ventilation.

As a result of organic planning, there are about 160 unit types, with most responding to the landscape in unique ways.

S'pore Counts On Night Race To Brighten Economic Gloom

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008


AS the economic outlook dims, Singapore is switching on floodlights to brighten its future.

The city stages Formula One's first night race this coming Sunday under the glare of 1,600 lamps that will generate four times the brightness of a regular sports stadium.

Singapore, girding for a possible recession, is paying about US$200 million over five years for the rights to host the event, tapping the glitz of the world's most-watched motor races to promote itself as something more than a financial hub.

'Singapore has always been known as a good international business centre,' S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said in an interview. 'What we want to do is also raise Singapore's profile as a global city with great lifestyle, buzz, vibrancy.'

The race is the latest attraction for the South-east Asian city, including two casino resorts and the first Youth Olympic Games in the next thee years. The world's biggest ferris wheel - the Singapore Flyer - opened this year, towering over the pit lanes that will teem with the mechanics and drivers of Ferrari, McLaren and BMW.

Hosting major sports events is part of Singapore's strategy to diversify the economy from its traditional manufacturing base and to attract tourists, economists say. The F1 effect will be felt over years and won't be measured by the experience of this weekend's race alone.

'Singapore wants to become a global city and events like these are needed to make it one,' said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB-GK Securities Pte in Singapore. 'The F1 race is just another piece in a big jigsaw puzzle.'

The arrival of F1 pacesetter Lewis Hamilton and world champion Kimi Raikkonen coincides with one of the closest championships - and a financial slowdown that's pushed Singapore to cut its growth forecast to between 4 per cent and 5 per cent this year from the 7.7 per cent pace in 2007.

'The financial turmoil throws up quite a lot of uncertainty, but tickets have sold out,' said Vishnu Varathan, a regional economist at Forecast Singapore. 'Retailers will probably see more restrained spending.'

Mr Iswaran expects Formula One to deliver $100 million of extra tourism revenue, with about half the 100,000 people involved in the Grand Prix flying in from overseas.

The closeness of the F1 title race - McLaren driver Hamilton leads Ferrari's Felipe Massa by one point with five of 18 races to go - may intensify the spotlight on Singapore.

'Just like the Beijing Olympics, all eyes will be on Singapore,' said Michelle Denise Wan, a spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Marina Bay area, where rooms sold out by July even with a minimum four-night stay.

Not everyone is getting a slice of the windfall, including some retailers closest to the action. Road closures and entry restrictions to the race area has Melvin Yap considering shutting his watch store in Millenia Walk.

'Things are going to be really bad,' said Mr Yap, sales director at Precious Time. 'Our regular shoppers won't be coming here.'

Formula One, with about 150 million viewers per race, is becoming the sport of choice for cash-rich nations. Bahrain added a Grand Prix in 2004, while Abu Dhabi is paying a record US$45 million for rights to host its first race next year, according to Formula Money, which tracks the sport's finances. South Korea and India will add F1 races in 2010. -- Bloomberg

Lehman's Failure Won't Affect Projects: CES

Source : The Business Times, September 25, 2008

The 2 condos are substantially sold; funds to complete projects secured

CHIP Eng Seng (CES) said its two joint-venture projects with a real estate equity fund managed by Lehman Brothers are unaffected by the collapse of the US investment bank.

CityVista: The 70-unit project at Peck Hay Rd is already 54% sold at an average $2,550 psf, while The Parc Condo at West Coast Walk is 95% sold at an average price of $880 per square foot

Its JV partner is Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners II (LBREP II), a US$2.4 billion fund that was closed in 2005. Only a fraction of that sum - some US$400 million - came from Lehman Brothers and its employees.

CES had formed a 50-50 JV with LBREP II's wholly owned special purpose vehicle WM Mauritius Holdings for two high-rise freehold condominium projects.

But a reassuring fact is that the 695-unit The Parc Condominium at West Coast Walk is already 95 per cent sold at an average price of $880 per square foot (psf). The 70-unit CityVista at Peck Hay Road is 54 per cent sold at an average $2,550 psf.

All instalments of purchase money and construction loans have since been deposited into the Project Account of the building projects as stipulated by the Housing Developers Act.

'With financing being secured with the bank, funds needed to finish the whole project was already secured. Not to mention that the projects were launched successfully and the deposits we collected are more than enough to fund the two projects till completion,' CES chief executive Raymond Chia told BT.

The two projects are expected to be completed by the second half of 2010.

CES teamed up with Lehman to bid for four projects in total. Two tenders did not succeed.

Asked if Lehman's collapse will cause CES to search for a new JV partner for future projects, Mr Chia said CES is not short of choice, having landed on the radar screen of equity funds since its partnership with the Lehman fund in 2006. CES has since received enquiries from large funds on opportunities to work together on projects in Singapore and Vietnam, Mr Chia said.

But he noted that CES can take on larger projects on its own now and, hence, has more options besides JVs. There also is the support of its 25 per cent shareholder Citadel Equity Fund, part of the Chicago-based Citadel Investment Group. Both are working together on a freehold condo project Grange Infinite, which is 100 per cent sold.

While Lehman's failure may hurt US commercial property, its impact here is likely to be cushioned.

Lehman Brothers is believed to own a 45,000 square feet building at Clemenceau Avenue worth about $80 million. Its managed fund teamed up with Australia's Lend Lease in a 75:25 JV to buy Paradiz Centre in Selegie Road for $138 million in 2006.

Paradiz Centre is being redeveloped and slated for completion by the end of this year. But it is understood that Lehman's collapse will not affect the fund that owns this project and Lend Lease has pre-emptive rights to buy out Lehman's stake in the venture.

Lehman Brothers also occupies minimal amount of office space here. It currently takes up about 40,000 square feet of office space in Suntec City Office Tower Five, a mere 3.1 per cent of the total Suntec City office space of 1.29 million square feet, according to DMG & Partners Securities.

Its other assets have been divested. The office building at 71 Robinson Road which Lehman jointly owned with Kajima Overseas Asia in April was sold to a German fund for $743.8 million, higher than some $613.4 million they spent on the land and redevelopment. Lehman sold Novotel Clarke Quay last year to CDL Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust at $219.8 million, double the amount it spent on it.

世界房地产价格 今年下跌国家剧增

Source : 《联合早报》September 25, 2008


这个由环球房地产指南(Global Property Guide)发表的报告显示,在调整了通货膨胀后,中国上海是过去一年来屋价最快速上涨的城市,涨幅高达27.28%。香港、新加坡、澳洲和菲律宾的房地产价格也出现年比增长。不过,欧美国家的房地产价格大多不振,带领几乎整个欧美地区的楼价下滑。


美国是另外一个楼价跌得最重的国家,美国的Case Shiller房屋价格指数显示,美国主要城市的楼价在2007年第二季至2008年第二季之间,下跌了15.4%。



季度数据显示 情况正在恶化