Thursday, November 15, 2007

Reit Gains Lift Parkway Q3 Profit To $224m

Source : The Business Times, November 14, 2007

BOLSTERED by gains from spinning its local hospital properties into a real estate investment trust (Reit), Parkway Holdings' net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30 was a whopping $224.56 million, compared with a restated $18.5 million a year ago.

Excluding net exceptional gains of $201.79 million, the group's net profit would have grown 24 per cent from a year ago to $22.76 million, driven by growth across its healthcare segments.
The group sponsored the establishment of Parkway Life Reit in July by injecting its interests in the hospital and medical centre units in Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and East Shore Hospital to the Reit.

Group revenue for the quarter dipped 6 per cent to $222.81 million from a restated $235.83 million, as earnings from Pantai's group of companies had been proportionately consolidated since Oct 1 last year after a restructuring of its interests in Pantai Holdings Bhd.

On a proforma basis, had the group incorporated Pantai's revenue on the same proportionate consolidation basis in 2006, the group's total revenue for the third quarter and year-to-date 2007 would have increased by 30 per cent and 29 per cent respectively from a year ago, Parkway said.

The comparative figures were restated due to a change in accounting treatment for joint venture companies from equity method of accounting to proportionate consolidation in the previous financial year and reclassification of certain items.

Parkway has signed master lease agreements to lease the Reit properties from Parkway Life Reit and hence will incur operating lease expenses on the Reit properties.

For comparative purposes, the group said it will commence reporting profit before interest, income tax, depreciation, amortisation, minority interests, exceptional items and Reit rental going forward. But the net effects of these rental expenses will be partially offset by the group's share of the Reit's results, savings in interest expenses and depreciation.

The group declared an interim dividend of two cents per share and a special dividend of 13.45 cents per share, which will result in its Section 44A tax credits fully utilised.

Tenants Bear The Brunt

Source : TODAY, Thursday, November 15, 2007

Checks needed to ensure landlords don’t pass on tax rise to tenants.


I refer to the report, “Taxman raises HDB property value, most unaffected for now” (Nov 13).

Mr Donald Han, the managing director of property consultancy firm Cushman and Wakefield was quoted as saying: “… the Government will look at ways to ensure those who benefit pay their dues”.

If the purpose of raising taxes is to “look at ways to ensure those who benefit pay their dues”, measures must be put in place to ensure that the increase in taxes will not be passed on by the landlords to the tenants, in the form of higher rentals.

Isn’t the purpose of the move to tax property owners and not those who rent properties?

I know that many landlords pass on the extra costs to their tenants. When I used to rent a flat in Ang Mo Kio, the landlord did just that.

Rents have already increased tremendously. However, the increase in rental prices is not in line with the increase in salaries.

If nothing is done to protect tenants or those who rent properties, many expatriates may consider leaving Singapore.

Some of my expatriate friends from the United States and Europe working here are contemplating moving to places like Hong Kong or Dubai, because of the rising cost of living in Singapore.

Economic Boom Lifts CDL Profits

Source : TODAY, Thursday, November 15, 2007

City Developments (CDL) said third-quarter profit rose 32 per cent as economic growth allowed the company to sell more homes and raise rents at its offices, shopping malls and hotels.

Net income advanced to $169.5 million in the three months ended Sept 30, from $128.3 million in the year-earlier period, the company said.

Sales rose 20 per cent to $796.2 million from $665.2 million.

Billionaire Kwek Leng Beng’s CDL is among the developers benefiting as Singapore’s longest economic expansion since 1991 fuels demand for homes and office space.

Home prices rose 8 per cent in the third quarter to their highest in 10 years. Demand for office space is spurring commercial rents.

CDL is most exposed to the Singapore residential market, said Ms Daphne Roth, vice-president of equity research at ABN Amro Private Banking. “The buoyant housing market here is driving City Developments earnings.”

CDL shares were unchanged at $14.20 at the close of trade yesterday. The shares have gained 12 per cent this year, compared with an 18 per cent advance for the benchmark Straits Times Index.

Revenue from residential development jumped 54 per cent to $235.2 million in the three months ended Sept 30, CDL said. It sold 3,450 units during the quarter from projects including City Square Residences, Tribeca and Sail@Marina Bay.

The company also said it expects fewer collective sales of existing buildings for redevelopment into new homes after the Government imposed stricter rules in September for those transactions.

The changes “will lessen the supply coming onto the market in the medium to long term, which should be healthier”, the company said.

CDL is also benefiting from a pick-up in the global travel industry. The company controls about 53 per cent of Millennium and Copthorne Hotels.

Hotel revenue climbed 7.8 per cent to $492.3 million, while sales from rental properties increased 19 per cent to $51.9 million.

Top Bid For Enggor St Site Parcel B 16% Lower Than Parcel A

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

Developer Allgreen Properties has put in the top bid of S$181 million for a second residential site at Enggor Street.

This works out to around S$7,700 per square metre of gross floor area for the 99-year leasehold site.

Allgreen outbid Far East Organization's S$164 million bid and GuocoLand's S$151 million proposal.

The price put in by Allgreen is 16 percent lower than an adjacent site bought by Far East Organization, which paid S$9,200 per square metre of gross floor area.

The results for the tender are seen as a sign that developers are turning cautious in their land acquisition strategy. - CNA/so

SLA Receives 35 Bids For Agricultural Sites In Sungei Tengah

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has received 35 bids for four agricultural sites in Sungei Tengah, which were put up for tender in October.

The bids range between S$101,000 and S$1.12 million.

The four sites span 96,000 square metres, or the size of about 11 football fields, and they attracted top bids totalling some S$3.58 million.

SLA said Environmental Landscape is the top bidder for two of the largest sites.

The company's submission was S$1.12 million for the biggest land parcel (31,500 square metres) and S$963,360 for a smaller one (25,564 square metres).

Dragonwana Aquarium Trading submitted the highest bid for the third largest plot (19,634 square metres) at S$530,000, while public-listed Qian Hu Corporation put in S$967,135 for the smallest site (19,342 square metres).

At the close, the sites received 35 bids from 26 tenderers, comprising 21 companies and five individuals.

SLA said the results of the tender will be announced in a few days. - CNA/so

Keppel Land Acquires Shanghai Property Company For S$97m

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

Keppel Land is spending S$97 million to acquire a property development company in Shanghai.

This includes cash of about S$14 million and S$83 million in liabilities of the company.

Shanghai Hongda Property Development owns a 26-hectare residential site in south-eastern Shanghai.

Keppel Land plans to develop the site in phases over a five-year period.

The project will incorporate a mixed residential enclave comprising 3,000 homes, spread across terrace houses and low to mid-rise apartment blocks.

It will be Keppel Land's fourth residential development in Shanghai.- CNA/so

World Bank Raises Singapore's Growth Forecast To 7.4%

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

The World Bank has raised its growth forecast for East Asian economies, excluding Japan, to 8.4 percent this year.

This was up by more than a full percentage point over the 7.3 percent estimate six months ago.

According to World Bank, the upgrade was mainly due to the booming growth in China.

For Singapore, the growth forecast has also been revised upwards to 7.4 percent for 2007, up from the earlier estimate of 5.5 percent.

The World Bank is seeing strong growth for most economies in Asia this year, including Singapore.

This will be the second year in a row that economic growth in the region, excluding Japan, exceeds 8 percent.

This optimism is shared by World Bank's sister organisation, the International Monetary Fund, which sees Singapore's growth at 7.5 percent.

Ranil Salgado, Resident Representative, Singapore (APAC Dep), International Monetary Fund, said: "Singapore has continued to surprise at the upside. I think we all see it here in terms of increase in construction and also the financial services sector.

"In terms of manufacturing, we're seeing strong growth in the pharmaceuticals sector, which has more than offset some weakness in the IT area."

But growth is expected to be moderate next year, with the World Bank setting its forecast at 6.4 percent, due to an anticipated global slowdown amid the financial turmoil and increasing oil prices.

Still, economists said these downside risks would be balanced by growth in other Asian countries.

Manu Bhaskaran, CEO of Centennial Group, said: "If you're looking at developing Asia as a whole, I think you will see external demand weakening, but I suspect that domestic, particularly investment demand in Southeast Asia is going to be a lot stronger than expected.

"And I think the net effect is that in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, you could well see a very moderate acceleration of growth next year, compared to this year." - CNA/so

Lawyer David Rasif Has Been Struck Off The Bar.

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

The decision was made by a Court of three judges at a disciplinary hearing on Thursday.

IN HAPPIER TIMES: Lawyer David Rasif dancing with his wife at the Malaysian-Singapore Bench and Bar Games in Langkawi, Malaysia, on Apr 30

The Law Society launched an inquiry into Rasif last year on grounds of suspected dishonesty.

The 17 counts of alleged misconduct include the unauthorised withdrawal of money from his law firm's client account and for failing to keep proper records of money transfers into and out of that account.

Rasif is currently being sued, along with six others, by an American couple for allegedly making off with S$10 million.

The couple had entrusted the money to Rasif for a property deal, but he fled with the money. - CNA/ir

HDB To Clear Blocks, Market In Hougang To Rejuvenate Area

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has identified nine rental residential, commercial and industrial blocks, as well as a hawker centre in Hougang for clearance.

HDB said these properties are about 33 years old and have to make way for plans to rejuvenate the estate.

The affected properties are Blocks 3, 4, 8 to 11, 11A to 14 in Avenue 3/7.

Affected tenants and stallholders have been notified of the clearance. If eligible, they will receive the standard clearance benefits and assistance where necessary.

The site currently occupied by Blocks 12 to 14 in Hougang Avenue 7 is scheduled for sale for private housing development in the second half of 2009.

The remaining site will be developed for residential or commercial use after 2010, depending on prevailing market conditions. - CNA/so

STB Wraps Up Last Day Of Hearing For Horizon Towers En Bloc Sale

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

Will the embattled Horizon Towers en bloc sale go through or not?

That decision now rests once again with the Strata Titles Board (STB) as it wrapped up its final day of hearing at the old Supreme Court on Thursday.

In January this year, the Horizon Towers sales committee agreed to sell the 210-unit property to Hotel Properties (HPL) for S$500 million.

Even as the deal was being brokered, minority owners objected. They claimed the sales committee acted in bad faith by not doing its best to get the most lucrative offer.

The STB first denied the sale because of a technicality in paperwork. Majority owners appealed to the High Court and won. The matter was then brought back to the STB a second time.

After eight days of hearing, all parties will now hand in their written submissions to STB. Expectations are that the STB could reach a decision sometime in December.

However, the STB has indicated it is not legally bound to make a ruling before the sale completion date expires on 11 December, though there are strong indications the STB could come back with a decision before that.

Meanwhile, there is the S$1 billion lawsuit by HPL against the owners in which HPL claims Horizon Towers sellers are in breach of contract when the STB first rejected the sale.

So far, legal costs have totalled more than S$1 million, at least for the minority owners.

If the STB approves the sale this time, some minority owners say they are prepared to appeal that decision as well. - CNA/ir

Staging Adrenalin - Pumping Shows

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

CLARISSA TAN highlights some of the high-profile sporting events in the Marina Bay area, including next year's Singapore Grand Prix

SLEEK machines zoom under flyovers and streak past the towers of Suntec City, the Padang, the Old Supreme Court and the Esplanade theatres before screeching down the pit straight, where spectators emit a thunderous roar.

Main attraction: The Grand Prix, whose route will take in the Padang and the Old Supreme Court (above), is expected to attract about 80,000 spectators, of whom 30-40 per cent will be foreign visitors.

This will be the scene in September next year when the Singapore Grand Prix - the world's first night Formula One race - takes to the city's streets.

The race, which will course through the centre of the new downtown at Marina Bay, is set to be 'the social highlight of the year', says Jonathan Hallett, media and communications director of promoter Singapore GP. 'Such a world-class event in the heart of a business district, with prime shopping centres and hotels within walking distance, will give a unique snapshot of Singapore.'

The GP is one of many high-profile, adrenalin-pumping sporting events in the Marina Bay area.

On Dec 2 this year about 40,000 runners will take part in the annual Standard Chartered Marathon - six times more competitors than in 2002. The full-marathon route includes the Singapore River, Marina South, the Central Business District and the Old Supreme Court and City Hall.

'The marathon has grown phenomenally,' says Yazed Osman, event director for the Singapore Sports Council. 'Not just in terms of overall participation, but participation among women and international runners.'

WaterFest Singapore, which takes place in August and September, attracted 18,000 visitors on its inaugural weekend at Marina Bay's floating platform. 'The central location and easy accessibility made it a great location to kick off the WaterFest,' says Mr Yazed. 'We can showcase many watersports against our beautiful city skyline.'

The six-week festival includes international competitions such as the Aviva Ironman triathlon and Wakeboard World Cup, as well as offbeat events such as Beach Ultimate Frisbee Hat Tournament.

Last weekend, hundreds of people ran up the 73 storeys of Swissotel The Stamford, the tallest hotel in Southeast Asia, in this year's Vertical Marathon. The men's overall winner, Zakayo Mwai Nderi, climbed the 1,336 steps in seven minutes and three seconds.

The Vertical Marathon has been held since 1987 but will carry even more cachet as the Marina Bay area is developed.

The entire development, over some 360 hectares, will contain the Marina Bay financial centre, upmarket housing, shopping outlets and public waterfront areas and parks.

It will also be home to some of Singapore's icons - Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, the Flyer, the Double Helix Bridge and the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. The area, which includes the Marina Bay Residences and the newer Marina Bay Suites, will be a hive of activity.

Besides The Esplanade theatres, which have been staging arts performances for five years, the rest of the structures should be completed by end-2010.

The Singapore Flyer, a giant ferris wheel that will provide spectacular views of Marina Bay, is scheduled to start operating early next year.

All of these attractions and events will bring in visitors. 'The Formula One GP will give a strong boost to tourism,' says Lawrence Leong, director of the project for the Singapore Tourism Board. 'It is expected to generate incremental tourism receipts of about $100 million a year. Hotels, night spots, restaurants, retailers, airlines, taxi drivers and many other groups will benefit.'

About 80,000 spectators are expected for the GP, of whom 30-40 per cent will be foreign visitors.

'There will be broader economic spin-offs as well,' says Mr Leong. 'Our private wealth management industry, strong contingent of multinational and local companies and diverse retail and entertainment establishments can all take advantage of the event to derive benefits for their clients and their business.'

One factor that could help put Singapore on the sports and entertainment map is the novelty aspect of some of the events.

The Vertical Marathon, for instance, not only involves racing up one of the world's tallest hotels, the winners also get to represent Swissotel in New York's prestigious Empire State Run-Up.

Perhaps not so much novel as focused, last month's Great Eastern Women's Race, with five kilometre and 10km routes through Marina Bay, was open only to women.

The Vertical Marathon and Great Eastern race are part of a series of events under the banner of the Marina Bay Urban Challenge, organised by Enterprise Sports Group (ESG).

ESG is now planning a race for children called the Kids' Dash, says head of marketing and client services Adeline See. 'We hope to attract some 3,000 children to take part in the inaugural run covering distances from 50 metres to three kilometres.'

But without doubt, the Formula One GP will be Singapore's single biggest tourist draw.

'This new venue on the streets of Singapore will likely set a new standard,' says Andy Fuchs, general manager of marketing, communications and business development for Panasonic Toyota Racing.

And Heikki Kovalainen, a driver for the ING Renault Formula One team, says: 'The race in Singapore looks pretty exciting owing to the fact that they plan to hold it by night. It will be quite exciting for us at the wheel - and a good opportunity to offer a fantastic show.'

HPL Earnings Jump To $15.2m

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

NET profit for Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL) jumped to $15.2 million for the third quarter ended September, from $10.8 million for the corresponding period last year.

Q3 revenues increased 45 per cent from $76.3 million to $110.4 million.

'The increase was mainly attributable to the group's hotels and resorts in Maldives, Bali and Singapore,' said HPL.

'The group's two Four Seasons Resort in Maldives commenced business in the last quarter of 2006 and the hotels and resorts in Bali and Singapore experienced strong growth in both occupancy and room rates.'

HPL incurred higher borrowings and finance costs during Q3 because of various acquisitions by way of investments in associates and a joint-venture company. These include its participation in en bloc purchases of Gillman Heights and Farrer Court sites in Singapore.

It also bought a 20 per cent stake in a residential project in Hong Kong and a 50 per cent interest in a company in Thailand to develop a luxury hotel in Phuket.

HPL expects to do well for the rest of the year as the demand for hotel accommodation is likely to stay strong.

Horizon Towers Hearing - 'Penthouses Cost $20m, $30m...Where Am I To Go?'

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

Apportionment method is unfair, argue some penthouse owners

The minority owners of Horizon Towers who are objecting to the en bloc sale of the development took the stand for the first time yesterday, putting forth their reasons as to why the collective sale should not go through.

The high-profile hearing is expected to end today, after which the STB tribunal will deliberate on whether to grant a collective sale order to Horizon Towers. But even this decision will not necessarily spell the end of the saga.

Arguments on how the penthouse owners would be penalised by the apportionment method - and how the price they would receive would not get them similarly sized units in the same area - were just some of those presented to the Strata Titles Board (STB) tribunal.

Ng Eng Ghee, a penthouse owner who is objecting to the en bloc sale, pointed out that the apportionment of the proceeds was unfair to owners such as himself.

The apportionment method used by Horizon Towers will assign proceeds to units according to an equal mixture of land area and share value. But Mr Ng pointed out that the share value assigned to a penthouse is only seven, compared to a share value of five for the smaller units, even though his penthouse is almost double the size of the smaller apartments.

This would result in him getting a much lower price for his unit, on a per-square-foot basis, than the smaller units. But Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah - who represents the majority owners - pointed out that Mr Ng also contributes to the maintenance of the condominium according to his share value.

Mr Ng then lamented that the $3.8 million that he would get for his over-5,000 sq ft penthouse would not enable him to buy another comparable unit in the Orchard Road area. He said in his affidavit that he has not seen another penthouse that would suit him and his family of five people and two large dogs more than his Horizon Towers unit, which even has a private rooftop pool.

'Penthouses in the area cost $20 million, $30 million, $15 million. I saved for all this time, so that I could retire at this point. Now, where am I going to go?' he said.

The apportionment method used by Horizon Towers was also objected to by Ong Sioe Hong, the sister of Metro Holdings group managing director Jopie Ong.

She also expressed her displeasure with some of the sales committee members who bought extra units in the development at the time the committee was formed to explore the potential of an en bloc sale. She felt that this gave them a different 'tolerance of pain' as these extra units were investments to them, rather than homes.

But Mr Rajah then asked her whether, if the sales committee members had bought extra units for the purposes of making money in an en bloc sale, they would not then wish to get as high a price for Horizon Towers as possible. Ms Ong said that she felt that their agenda was different.

It is the minorities' case that the en bloc sale of Horizon Towers to Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL) and its partners was done in bad faith, as the sales committee had not followed due process in conducting the sale, such as by seeking out other more attractive offers for the development. Harry Elias Partnership, which represents one group of minorities, called the collective sale 'a comedy of errors'.

The high-profile hearing is expected to end today, after which the STB tribunal will deliberate on whether to grant a collective sale order to Horizon Towers. But even this decision will not necessarily spell the end of this saga.

For one thing, the tribunal needs to grant the order before the sale completion deadline of Dec 11. Even if it does, the minorities can still appeal against that decision. And if the tribunal decides not to grant an order, there is the possibility that HPL will proceed with the lawsuit it has filed against the majority owners for breach of the sale and purchase agreement.

China Firms Acquire Bukit Batok Properties For $300m

Source : The Straits Times, Nov 15, 2007

A GROUP of Chinese investors has collectively spent $300 million to buy commercial properties along Bukit Batok Crescent to house their businesses.

These companies - with interests in health care, education, technology and other businesses - plan to use Singapore as a launch pad for their regional expansion plans.

They bought part of the new 61-storey WCEGA Tower, as well as a neighbouring 500-unit commercial building, to hold their offices.

Another 29 top mainland companies will set up a giant showcase for their signature cooked fare and China-made food products at nearby WCEGA Plaza.

All these Chinese companies are members of four major trade organisations that represent health care, technology and other business interests, as well as enterprises from Guangdong province.

More than 30 executives of these firms attended yesterday's official launch of WCEGA Plaza and WCEGA Tower along Bukit Batok Crescent.

The guests of honour at the event included Mr Xue Yun Gang, a representative of the Chinese embassy; Mr Chen Bo Jian, a representative of China's World Trade Organisation delegation; and, Mr Wang Zhao Lin, chairman of the Guangdong Association of Enterprises.

'Many Chinese companies appreciate the advantages of using Singapore as a platform to expand worldwide and to raise public funds from initial public offerings here,' said Mr Chen.

Local developer Sin Soon Lee Group is currently building the WCEGA Tower and WCEGA Plaza, as well as the neighbouring 500-unit building . Construction is expected to be finished by May 31, 2009.

The World Chinese Entrepreneurs General Association (WCEGA) is expected to be the co-manager of these properties. The entire second floor of the WCEGA Plaza will be devoted to 29 companies chosen from China's 100 most famous restaurants, including the Xiao Fei Yang, or 'Little Fat Sheep', which sells Tianjin province's famous 'Gou Bu Li' meat dumplings.

CDL Q3 Earnings Jump 32.1% To $169.5m

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

Nine-month profit soars 128.5% to $490m; record full-year profit seen

CITY Developments Ltd (CDL) looks headed for record profits for full-year 2007 after achieving net earnings of $169.5 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, and $490 million for the first nine months. Third-quarter earnings were up 32.1 per cent and nine-month earnings 128.5 per cent from the corresponding periods last year.

Market watchers reckon that for the full-year, the property and hotel group should be able to surpass its best showing of over $500 million net earnings about a decade ago.

On the group's prospects, CDL said yesterday: 'With the outstanding sales achievements over the past few years, this has enabled the group to lock in its profits, placing it in a rewarding position to perform well in the next few years as profit will continue to be recognised progressively.'

CDL executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng said that 'continued capital appreciation in the next few years is likely and the prospects for the property sector continue to be good'.

In the first nine months, the group sold 1,590 homes with sales value of $2.9 billion. The group is planning to launch a few residential projects in the coming months, including the 40-unit Wilkie Studio in the Mount Sophia area, the 77-unit Shelford Suites off Dunearn Road and a 228-unit condo on The Quayside Collection site at Sentosa Cove. Another project in the pipeline is a 336-unit condo at the former Lock Cho apartments site on Thomson Road.

Despite the initial 'knee-jerk' impact on market sentiment following the withdrawal of the deferred payment scheme, Mr Kwek highlighted that 'the fundamentals in the economy and property market in Singapore remain very well-founded and strong' and 'there is still room for sustained growth'.

Office rentals are still improving and the rental market for the next two to three years looks strong. 'Several key leases are up for renewal next year and beyond and this will significantly enhance rental yields,' he said.

The group has a size-able commercial portfolio of 4.3 million sq ft lettable area, which offers it several options. However, as many of CDL's office buildings have a low historical cost, and given the group's strong balance sheet, 'there is no immediate urgency to monetise this commercial portfolio even though there is a market trend to recycle capital', Mr Kwek said.

The group's strategy of maintaining a land bank helps CDL respond quickly to changing market demands, to create value for its shareholders in the mid to long term without the need to bid aggressively for new sites. CDL's current land bank can be developed into 9.12 million sq ft gross floor area.

CDL's 32.1 per cent improvement in Q3 earnings was achieved despite last year's third quarter being buoyed by $150.9 million one-off divestment gains from the sale of its long leasehold interest in four Singapore hotels to CDL Hospitality Trusts.

For the first nine months, profit before income tax from property development was $385 million, up 165 per cent from the corresponding year-ago period, with contributions from projects like City Square Residences, Tribeca, Monterey Park, St Regis Residences, The Sail @ Marina Bay, The Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove, Parc Emily, Edelweiss Park, Residences @ Evelyn and Botannia Residences.

The group is expected to begin booking profits from The Solitaire from Q4 2007, while profits from One Shenton and Cliveden at Grange will only be recognised in stages from next year onwards.

Profit from rental properties in the first nine months jumped from $8.3 million to $44.6 million.

Other listed property groups also continued reporting improved earnings for the quarter ended Sept 30, 2007 on the back of fair-value gains on investment properties, strong residential sales and their ability to progressively recognise earnings on units sold based on the percentage of project completion.

Like CDL, many groups can be expected to post record earnings for full-year 2007. CapitaLand's net earnings for the first nine months more than tripled to $2.08 billion - double the $1.018 billion record for the whole of last year.

Analysts say next year developers should still be able to book strong residential development profits from progressive recognition of profits for units already sold. However, a critical factor that could affect their bottom lines is office valuations.

Property Transactions With Contract Dates Between Oct 22nd -27th, 2007

CDL's Profit Up 32%, Aided By Sales Of Luxury Homes

Source : The Straits Times, Nov 15, 2007

CITY Developments (CDL) executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng believes that Singapore's property market is likely to remain healthy and that there is still room for sustained growth.

REVENUE BOOSTER: Sales of high-end homes, such as Monterey Park (above), helped bump up CDL's revenue by 19.7 per cent to$796 million last year. -- ST FILE PHOTO

'Continued capital appreciation over the next few years is likely, and the prospects for the property sector continue to be good,' said Mr Kwek yesterday.

Shareholders would have beamed at his optimistic outlook, but some were left scratching their heads wondering when the company, flush with cash, would utilise its outstanding Section 44 tax credits.

CDL is among several big companies that still have unused tax credits, which expire on Dec 31.

On Tuesday, Hong Leong Finance announced a special dividend to partially utilise its outstanding credits.

And Singapore Computer Systems has announced an interim dividend of three cents and a special dividend of one cent per share - the first time the company has given a dividend in two years.

Still, tax credits aside, investors cheered a strong performance by South-east Asia's second-largest developer, which released its third-quarter results yesterday.

Net profit for the three months ended Sept 30 rose 32 per cent to $169.5 million, compared with $128.3 million in the corresponding period a year ago.

Aided by strong luxury-home sales in Singapore, revenue shot up 19.7 per cent to $796 million last year.

Earnings per share for the quarter rose from 14.1 cents to 18.6 cents, while net asset value per share rose to $5.51 as at Sept 30 from $5.21 as at Dec 31 last year.

While Mr Kwek acknowledges that the withdrawal of the deferred payment scheme for property purchases has had an initial 'knee-jerk' impact on market sentiment, he expects confidence and buying interest to return.

'The high-end property market, having reached record highs, is likely to see a more judicious growth,' he said.

Singapore's position as a growth hub in the Asia-Pacific will augur well for the property market, he added.

The group's total land bank stands at 4.48 million sq ft, with a gross floor area of 9.12 million sq ft.

Soilbuild Buys Site For Condo Project

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

Listed developer Soilbuild Group Holdings yesterday said that it bought a landed site off Meyer Road which it plans to amalgamate with Margate Mansion for a small luxury condominium project.

Margate Mansion: Will be amalgamated with another site for a luxury condominium

The group's latest purchase is 10 Margate Road. It paid $30.8 million for the 16,967 sq ft freehold site. Together with Margate Mansion, total land cost - including a development charge of about $18.4 million - works out to $88.8 million or $987 per sq ft (psf) per plot.
Soilbuild said that its purchase of Margate Mansion, a collective sale site, is still pending the Strata Titles Board's approval.

The group bid $58 million, or about $882 psf per plot including an estimated development charge then of $6.5 million, for the 34,804 sq ft freehold site. Development charges have since been revised upwards.

The combined land area for the two sites is 51,771 sq ft. Based on a plot ratio of 2.1, gross floor area for the amalgamated site is 108,719 sq ft.

Assuming average unit sizes of between 1,500 and 2,000 sq ft, the site can be redeveloped into about 50 to 70 luxurious residential units.

The East Coast site, in district 15, has easy access to the East Coast Park Expressway and is about 10 minutes from Suntec City and the Central Business District.

Soilbuild said that the group's latest purchase will be funded by internal resources and borrowings.

S'pore Home Price Gains Set To Slow

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

Buyers holding back purchases on US sub-prime fears, says Frasers CEO

(SINGAPORE) Singapore's home prices will probably increase at a slower pace as buyers hold back their purchases amid the US subprime crisis, said Lim Ee Seng, chief executive officer of Frasers Centrepoint Group.

'The sub-prime crisis has shaken investors' confidence. We are still looking to boost our land bank, but we are opportunistic and won't pay current values because our costs would be too high.' - Mr Lim

Losses related to US housing mortgages have sapped consumer confidence, Mr Lim said. Some buyers returned apartment units bought at the Singapore-based company's new project, Soleil@Sinaran near the city's downtown, forfeiting initial deposits, he said in an interview late on Tuesday.

The outlook among homebuyers may also slow land purchases by developers including Frasers, one of the biggest buyers of older apartments in the city-state's downtown, where they're torn down for new home developments through so-called en bloc sales.

The developer is a unit of Fraser & Neave Ltd, the city's biggest beverage maker.

'The sub-prime crisis has shaken investors' confidence,' he said. 'We are still looking to boost our land bank, but we are opportunistic and won't pay current values because our costs would be too high,' he added, referring to the purchase of existing apartment buildings to increase its land holdings.

Singapore's home prices have climbed 14 consecutive quarters since 2004, soaring to a 10-year high this year as the island- state's economy posted its longest economic expansion since 1991. The developer's outlook for property sales also indicates its appetite may ease for new land purchases.

The price gain has helped the developer on earlier purchases of existing apartments, which are sold at a profit.

An example is the St Thomas Suites development in the city's downtown, where apartments were recently sold at $2,189 a square foot.

For a 2,605-square-foot apartment, the latest sale recorded by the government, the price was $5.7 million.

'We bought the site of St. Thomas Suites at $600 per square foot,' Lim said. 'But nearby properties put up for en bloc sales are asking over $1,800, and a developer has to sell at at least $2,500 to cover costs.' - Bloomberg

China House Prices Rise Fastest In Two Years

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

Prices in 70 major cities surge 9.5% in Oct; property buys up as inflation soars

(HONG KONG) China's house prices rose in October at the fastest pace since 2005 as inflation outpaced returns on bank deposits, encouraging households to invest in property.

Fever pitch: The govt's recent steps to cool real estate speculation included lifting downpayments to 40% from 30% for housing loans. Housing sold to buyers hoping to sell at higher prices accounts for a big part of total sales

Prices in 70 major cities jumped 9.5 per cent from a year earlier after gaining 8.9 per cent in September, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday on its web site. That was the biggest gain since records began in August 2005. Values climbed 1.6 per cent from September.

The acceleration is fuelled by the cash flood from China's trade surplus, a record US$27 billion in October, prompting concerns about a possible property bubble.

China in September raised interest rates on some mortgages and increased minimum down payments to curb real estate speculation.

'Price gains are understandable because the strong demand is still out there,' said Liu Xihui, a Shenzhen-based analyst with Ping An Securities Co. 'The reason prices are still accelerating is probably because September's tightening measures haven't yet had an effect.'

Prices soared 19.5 per cent in October from a year earlier in Shenzhen and 15.1 per cent in Beijing, the commission said. New commercial housing valuations rose 10.6 per cent from a year earlier and second-hand prices increased by 8.7 per cent, it said.

Measures introduced by China on Sept 27 to damp property speculation included raising downpayments to 40 per cent from 30 per cent for housing loans, and to half a property's value for commercial real estate.

The steps will slow property price increases in the balance of the year by crimping buying for investment purposes, said Ping An Securities' Liu. Housing sold to buyers hoping to sell at anticipated higher prices accounts for a 'big part' of total sales, he said.

September's measures came after new taxes, higher mortgage rates and downpayment ratios imposed since 2005 failed to cool the market. Investment in real estate development jumped 30.3 per cent in the first nine months of 2007, 6 percentage points faster than a year earlier.

China's consumer prices rose 6.5 per cent last month from a year earlier, matching the decade high in August, as food costs surged. The benchmark one-year deposit rate is 3.87 per cent.

China has this year raised interest rates five times and ordered lenders on nine occasions to set aside larger reserves to curb inflation and contain bubbles in the property and stock markets. -- Bloomberg

NZ Housing Market Slowing: Central Bank

Source : The Business Times, November 15, 2007

Remarks seen as signal that bank won't raise rates, now at record high

(WELLINGTON) New Zealand's housing market is slowing in response to record-high interest rates, Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard said, adding to signs the central bank won't raise borrowing costs again.

Mr Bollard: Demand may be abating for the New Zealand dollar from investors who borrow cheaply in yen to invest in the nation's higher-yielding assets

'We're now seeing monetary policy having its impact on the housing sector in quite a significant way,' Mr Bollard told a parliamentary committee in Wellington on Tuesday. 'It's having the sort of impact it needs to have.'

Mr Bollard raised the official cash rate four times between March and July to a record 8.25 per cent, sending home loans costs higher and crimping property sales. House sales fell 23 per cent in October from a year earlier, according to the Real Estate Institute.

'The housing market is certainly going in the direction the Reserve Bank wanted,' said Khoon Goh, senior economist at ANZ National Bank Ltd in Wellington. 'There are a lot of upside risks to inflation, so they need to see housing slow even more.'

Just two of 16 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News say rates will rise before June 30 next year. Eleven forecast no change and three expect a cut.

Mr Bollard said pressure on food and fuel prices globally meant inflation will be near the top of the 1-3 per cent range he is required to target.

In September, he forecast consumer prices will rise 3 per cent in the year ending Dec 31.

Inflation is 'not dead unfortunately, not even sleeping,' he said.

Because housing is slowing, Mr Bollard can 'sit back and maintain his wait-and-see stance,' said Mr Goh. There is nothing in recent reports to make the central bank change from a neutral stance, he said.

House prices have surged 41 per cent the past three years to a record and are about six times the average disposable income. The rapid increase in this ratio suggests house prices are overvalued, the central bank said last week. The long-run average ratio is about three times.

Mr Bollard also said demand may be abating for the New Zealand dollar from investors who borrow cheaply in yen to invest in the nation's higher-yielding assets.

'The pressure has moved from the New Zealand dollar to other countries, I would say particularly to the Australian dollar and the Canadian dollar, which are both under quite considerable pressure from carry trades,' Mr Bollard said. 'They're the ones having a tougher time at the moment.'

The New Zealand dollar has gained 15 per cent against the US currency in the past year. Mr Bollard said he shares concerns of exporters who have said the strength and volatility of the currency has crimped earnings.

Still 'we don't think the strength and volatility has been as damaging as some would say,' he said. 'Export volumes have held up.'

The parliamentary committee is concluding an inquiry into the framework of monetary policy following concerns that Mr Bollard was raising interest rates to curb the housing market at the expense of exporters being hurt by a rising currency. -- Bloomberg

$6m Boost For HDB Shops To Draw Crowds

Source : The Straits Times, Nov 15, 2007

About 1,500 retailers at 14 suburban centres will get help to upgrade common areas and hold promotional events

SUBURBAN shoppers may soon get to relax in a trendy beer garden in Tampines or watch bird-singing competitions in Serangoon North.

These new attractions are not bound for spiffy heartland malls, but humbler HDB estates, where retailers are in line for a $6 million makeover to attract more shoppers in the first exercise of its kind.

About 1,500 small shops at 14 suburban centres - many struggling to compete with more vibrant rivals - will benefit from this facelift under a pilot scheme, the HDB said yesterday.

The areas were selected from 19 applications and unveiled by Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu. They include blocks in Marine Parade, Bedok, Toa Payoh, Serangoon North, Tampines and Changi Village.

Some proposals for improvements include an amphitheatre for Jurong West and a modern glass roof over a Teck Whye pedestrian mall.

This sprucing up is part of the new Revitalisation of Shops (ROS) scheme, first mooted in Parliament in March to help older HDB shops compete with malls.

One estate that has already been transformed with help from the HDB is Sunset Way, which benefited from another HDB programme called the Restructuring Programme for Shops (RPS). This scheme gives payouts to shops that are better off closing down or regrouping.

In Sunset Way, once-struggling businesses selling vegetables, fruit and the like have been replaced by shops and alfresco eateries offering Thai and Japanese cuisine, and even a steakhouse.

As a result, the area has been revitalised and is packing in the crowds.

'When we looked at the performance of the shops in HDB estates, we realised that some of the shops have been affected by either changes in the way that we shop or changes in social demographic factors,' Ms Fu said at a media briefing.

'There is a need to renew and rejuvenate our shop centres.'

Under the new ROS scheme, the HDB and town councils will help foot the bill to upgrade common areas, such as by adding block awnings.

They will subsidise half the cost for shop owners, or up to $10,000 per shop, and the full cost for shop tenants, or up to $20,000 per shop.

The HDB will also help pay for promotional activities to draw crowds to the shops.

For example, in pet-shop hub Serangoon North, retailers have plans for bird-singing competitions and fish exhibitions.

One shop owner, Mr Benjamin Wee, managing director of Petmart in Serangoon North, said: 'If you look at an area like Ang Mo Kio, there are so many shoppers and it's doing so well. We hope to be like that.'

The promotions will take effect within six months to a year, while construction and upgrading will take at least a year. In a year's time, the HDB will review the pilot scheme.

It has also continued its RPS scheme. So far, two batches of tenants, or 219 shops, have been cleared to build void decks or common facilities such as senior citizens' centres. The third and last batch of 74 tenants was selected yesterday, marking the end of the $12.5 million programme.

The HDB will also spend up to $4 million to lower electrical upgrading charges for shops.

'I hope you will appreciate that HDB is really going out of its way,' Ms Fu told reporters. 'If you are looking at HDB as a private-sector commercial space owner, it would not have to do this.'

No Man's Land? No Way: M'sia

Soure : TODAY, Thursday, November 15, 2007

M'sia says Pedra Branca was fully used and frequented

THE HAGUE — Malaysia has dismissed Singapore's claim that Pedra Branca was terra nullius (no man's land) when the British built the Horsburgh Lighthouse on the island in 1847.

Malaysia's international legal counsel James Crawford told the International Court of Justice that reference to Pedra Branca could be found in historical records. The earliest map, dated 1595, marked it between Bintan and the Malayan Peninsula — "within the domains of Johor", he said, as quoted by Bernama news agency.

The island was labelled by its Portuguese name of Pedra Branca, which "is not surprising as it is a Portuguese map", he said on day two of Malaysia's oral arguments in the territorial dispute.

He said the island was "fully used and frequented by tribes or peoples", either socially, as a landmark and aid for navigation or as a place for fishing.

He added that a 1655 Dutch diplomatic note referred to it as being within Johor's territory, reported Bernama.

He also said that Pedra Branca was not terra nullius because maps and texts show that the pre-1824 Sultanate of Johor extended north and south of the Straits of Singapore as well as to the east and west.

Although the 1824 Anglo-Dutch Agreement divided the Sultanate, and Britain and the Netherlands disagreed as to who was the continuator of the old Kingdom of Johor, Mr Crawford argued that "they disagreed not at all" on the territorial consequences of the division, reported Bernama.

"It was Johor, the state which outlived the East India Company and the Straits Settlements, that had the original title to the lands, seas and islands it did not cede to Britain," he said.

Ageing Estates To Get $6m Facelift

Source : TODAY, Thursday, November 15, 2007

14 town centres pilot scheme to revitalise shops

AN ageing estate that has been an informal hub for pet shops since 1986, Serangoon North Neighbourhood Centre is like Singapore's "second zoo", in the words of Mr Patrick Ong, president of the area's merchants' association.

HI THERE: Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu (centre) at Serangoon North, one of the estates that will be revitalised.

Now, it will get a new lease of life and a branding boost — with Serangoon North picked as one of the 14 town centres to pilot the Revitalisation of Shops (ROS) Scheme. Other sites include Bedok Town Centre, Toa Payoh Town Centre and Jurong West Neighbourhood Centre 5.

Under the $6-million scheme, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and Spring Singapore will work with local merchant associations in each estate to co-fund upgrading of common areas and promotional activities.

HDB tenants who renovate their shops will also enjoy a rent-free period for one month under the scheme.

The co-funding scheme will have shop owners paying for half the cost of upgrading works, such as new walkways. The HDB and the Town Council will bear the other 50 per cent, or up to $10,000 per shop. For rental shops, HDB and town councils will bear 100 per cent of the upgrading costs, or up to $20,000 per shop.

While the HDB is overseeing the upgrading of the infrastructure, the owners also have to make sure that the interior of their HDB shops are attractive, said the Minister of State for National Development, Ms Grace Fu, who visited the Serangoon North centre yesterday.

As such, Spring Singapore will be helping HDB shop owners in areas such as marketing, packaging and displays.

Mr Steven Ker, a pet owner in Serangoon North, told Today that the revitalisation scheme is "very good" as it builds on the area's strength as a "one-stop shop" for pets.

Mr Alan Chong, who has been running his furniture store in the area for 12 years, said other shop owners will also benefit.

Ms Fu also announced the implementation of the final batch of the Restructuring Programme for Shops, involving shop tenants at 11 HDB blocks in estates such as Commonwealth Drive, Haig Road and Jalan Sultan.

The programme, first introduced in March 2005, is aimed at helping HDB shopkeepers who are located in areas where there is an oversupply of shops and suffer from poor business. The scheme provides financial assistance, in the form of ex gratia payment of $60,000 or a removal allowance of $10,000, to shopkeepers who either want to close shop or restructure their business.

Ms Fu said: "Shop owners see the challenges ahead of them. But individually, they might not have the financial resources nor the ability to carry out the revitalisation of their neighbourhood centres."

Malaysia Says Disputed Island Owned Bu Johor Sultanate

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 15 November 2007

THE HAGUE, Netherlands : Malaysia continued its second day of presentation at the International Court of Justice, trying to prove that a disputed island was indeed owned by the Johor Sultanate.

The Malaysian team also argued that the island, which Malaysia refers to as Pulau Batu Puteh, was not a no man's land (terra nullius).

Singapore had earlier told the court that Pedra Branca did not belong to anyone until the British claimed it.

Pedra Branca

The British then passed the possession of the island to Singapore.

Malaysia's arguments were put forward by four foreign counsel.

The Malaysian team dished out early maps from the 1700s to show the existence of Pulau Batu Puteh, which the counsel referred to as PBP.

Mr James Crawford, Foreign Counsel for Malaysia, said: "PBP had been known and used for centuries. It might be expected that because PBP is a small uninhabited clump of rocks in the vicinity of other larger inhabited islands and coasts, specific reference would not have been made to it in the historical records.

"This is not the case. PBP appears by name on the earliest maps of the region and was marked as falling within the domains of Johor. If, as Singapore says, it was obviously terra nullius, it must have been the most famous terra nullius in the East."

Singapore had earlier argued that Pedra Branca was not identified as a Malaysian territory, and that it was indeed a no man's land until the British constructed the Horsburgh Lighthouse and carried out activities on it.

Singapore said the maps shown by the Malaysians did identify Pedra Branca, but the island was never attributed to Johor.

Malaysia went on to argue that the Johor Sultanate then had authority over islands in the Straits of Singapore, including those within 10 miles from Singapore.

Mr Nicolass Schrijver, Foreign Counsel for Malaysia, said: "How could it be that the Sultan and Temenggong of Johor had sovereignty over all these uninhabited islands up to a distance of 10 geographical miles from the island of Singapore such as Pulau Ubin and Coney Island but not over PBP, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, which lay in the case of PBP, only seven miles from the mainland of Johor?"

Singapore's counter to that - where is the specific evidence and documentation to prove it?

Singapore said Malaysia had none.

Mr Schrijver also highlighted how the Anglo-Dutch Treaty in 1824 had split the Johor Sultanate into two.

The treaty is between the British and the Dutch to divide power for that part of Asia.

And that led to the British taking the areas north of the Straits of Singapore, while the areas south of the Strait went under Dutch rule.

So Malaysia argued that since Pedra Branca fell on the north, the island therefore comes under its ownership.

Mr Schrijver said that "not a single shred of evidence can be found to support Singapore's thesis, neither in the British or Dutch archives relating to the 1824 Treaty nor in the relevant literature. There were only two spheres of influence. There were no undivided areas."

Singapore had disagreed with this, stating that Malaysia had obviously misinterpreted that treaty.

Singapore added that the treaty did not split the Johor Sultanate, thereby making Malaysia's claims inaccurate.

Before the hearing ended on Wednesday, another foreign counsel for Malaysia, Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, managed to just get started on his argument.

In his brief time before the judges, he set out to show that even if Britain had been lawfully present on Pedra Branca from 1847-1851, it did not indicate by its intention or conduct that it has title to the island.

He cited an example of how the British had flown a flag over the Government House in Hong Kong, but that is not an indication of a claim to sovereignty.

The British also did not "seek to rest a claim to sovereignty on those acts of administration which covered every aspect of life" in Hong Kong.

But Singapore had said last week that it exercised clear intention of its ownership of Pedra Branca. These are shown in various ways throughout the years such as the construction and maintenance of the Horsburgh Lighthouse, the building of other structures like a military communications equipment and navy patrols in the waters around the island.

Singapore said it had done all that knowing that it had sovereignty over Pedra Branca.

Malaysia also cited another example saying that the British did ask the Johor rulers for permission to build a lighthouse on various locations along the Straits of Singapore, which included the disputed island.

So that permission should apply to Pulau Batu Puteh when the British eventually decided on the island.

Singapore argued that the British never considered the island initially. So, that approval, cannot be seen as one given for Pedra Branca.

Malaysia has two more days to argue its case. - CNA/de

Govt's Move To Hold Back Public Sector Projects A Step In Right Direction

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 14 November 2007

Economists are calling the government's decision to hold back some S$2 billion worth of public sector projects a step in the right direction.

Apart from easing pressure on the construction sector, they said the move will help sustain the industry after current projects complete past 2010.

For developers of projects like the integrated resort, rising construction costs have been a concern.

Just three months ago, the construction bill for the site is projected to be some 20 to 40 percent above original estimates.

But a reprieve is now in sight. Pressure is expected to ease after the government said it would hold back on certain projects.

Pushing the projects to 2010 will also help the outlook for the contractors.

Alvin Liew, Global Research Economist at Standard Chartered said: "There's very little impact on construction sector itself. It's just a matter of channeling some of the resources toward current activity. I don't think there will be much negative impact on the construction (sector) itself and other activity.

"That said, we think construction activity will be quite buoyant until maybe toward 2010 where most of the major projects like the integrated resort and some of the petrochem plants will be near completion. They might see a slowdown in construction activity then. These $2 billion worth of public projects should come in handy to prevent a significant slowdown in construction activity that year."

Jimmy Koh, head of Economics-Treasury Research at UOB said: "This year, we're going to get a magnificent double-digit growth (in the construction sector)."

This confidence is reflected in the stock market on Wednesday where construction-related counters closed mostly in the positive territory.

"We thought that some of the equity counters will be sold off but we have not seen that. In fact, construction related, not property related, as well as crane-related companies did fairly well today," said Koh.

Economists said they were not too surprised by the government's announcement on Tuesday to hold back the projects.

"We were not be surprised that there has been much talk internally over the last couple of months that they (public sector projects) were partially shelved. They are now just making a public announcement on that because the market is fairly short of equipment, a supply-side constraint on construction related materials," said Koh.

Economists said rising construction costs need to be kept in check. Too much pressure there may see spillover effects, such as in the price of public housing.

Singapore's competitiveness may also be dampened.

Koh said: "The system right now is feeling the crunch of the last few years where there's a lack of investments. Even right now, if you try to put in supply side growth, the growth path is linear. But if you look at demand front, it's pretty exponential especially after the IR announcement, the F1 race, the rebranding & restructuring of Singapore and the entire structure of the Singapore economy.

"So, demand has been growing at an exponential rate. That has resulted in a lot of cost push whether it's a commercial space or residential space. And that, one way or the other, have affected Singapore's competitiveness. So what we're seeing right now is a move in the right direction."

Apart from postponing projects, the Building and Construction Authority is looking at ways to expand the capacity of construction firms. - CNA /ls

滨海景B地段仅吸引两份投标 最高标价较A地段低45%

Source : 《联合早报》Nov 14, 2007

滨海景B地段遭遇市场寒流?昨天招标截止的滨海景(Marina View)B地段,再次显示房地产发展商可能真的开始“手软”。



昨天招标截止的滨海景B地段,再次吸引到MGPA集团通过MGP Kimi私人有限公司进场。但是,相隔两个月,它的出手却“缩水”了将近一半,这次只愿意出9亿5289万元,即容积率每平方英尺779元,来购买毗邻的地皮。





分析员指出,除了次贷危机进一步深化,人们也更担心美国的经济将放缓,甚至陷入不景气,从而冲击到本地市场。再加上延迟付款计划被取消,而且政府又“警告”万一市场过热,将采取进一步行动,所以发展商都变得更为谨慎。本月初招标截止的英莪街(Enggor Street)A地段,已经感受到发展商的情绪改变。当时,这幅公寓地段只吸引到远东机构和国浩置业这两家发展商出手,其他大发展商全部都持守望态度,完全没有露面。





最近,莱佛士坊的办公大厦Chevron House,刚以7亿3000万元,即每平方英尺净可租用楼面2780元成交,创下全栋办公楼出售的尺价新记录。

滨海景A和B地段位于滨海湾一带的珊顿一号(One Shenton)旁边。前者占地约1.02公顷,总容积率为13,建筑总楼面可达143万2890平方英尺。后者占地0.9公顷,容积率为13,建筑总楼面可达11万3580平方公尺(122万2121平方英尺)。


展延工程松绑外劳 新加坡政府为建筑业减压

Source : 《联合早报》Nov 14, 2007







另一方面,政府也将采取措施确保有足够的建筑工人供应。除加强建设局在外国劳工来源地的国外考核中心的考核能力,及扩大可接受的工地督工外国资格名单外,政府也放宽好几项人力政策,如豁免熟练外国工人需符合外国劳工配额的规定、提高依靠者比例(dependency ratio)和S准证等等,以使各个层面的外国劳工能更顺利地入境工作。建设局将密切注意人力供求状况,政府会在必要时调整人力政策。









Building Boom Set To Extend Past 2010 As Govt Delays Projects

Source : The Straits Times, Nov 15, 2007

Industry welcomes move that will ease strain on resources such as manpower

SINGAPORE'S construction boom now looks assured to keep rolling until 2010 and beyond, major industry players said yesterday.

They were welcoming a government move to postpone some public sector building projects in order to ease the squeeze on resources such as labour and materials.

On Tuesday, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) announced the rescheduling of public projects worth at least $2 billion to 2010 and beyond.

Mr Desmond Hill, the president of the Singapore Contractors Association, which represents local contractors, said yesterday that it 'makes sense that construction demand should be spread out'.

'The uptake of projects has been too fast, and we're facing a manpower shortage. This move ensures that our construction boom can be extended past 2010,' he said.

Mr Andrew Khng, a director of Tiong Seng Contractors, added: 'Contractors' books are quite filled. With this move, ongoing projects will not have to fight tooth and nail with projects coming onstream for resources. People will be more relaxed.'

The complete list of projects to be postponed has yet to be finalised.

But they will range in value from about $10 million to $400 million each, BCA told The Straits Times yesterday.

Projects affected include the National Addiction Management Centre, the Communicable Disease Centre and an extension of the Changi Prison Complex.

Extensions for both the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum, worth some $67 million, will also be rescheduled, BCA said.

This will help cut overall demand for extra manpower in the next two years by a sizeable 20 to 40 per cent.

Annual construction demand, in the doldrums for the last three years, is expected to hit $19 billion to $22 billion from this year to 2009.

Besides manpower, the industry is facing a resources crunch too, as it scrambles to meet deadlines. The prices of raw materials such as steel bars and cement have risen by more than 20 per cent over the last year, and construction equipment is in short supply.

This is due partly to a global rise in building activity, especially in markets such as China and India.

But prices of raw materials are expected to stabilise in the next year or so, when demand eases, said Mr Ong Pang Aik, the chairman of construction group Lian Beng Group.

Mr Hill also called for a review of the industry's dependency ratio of local to foreign workers, recently changed to one local worker to every five foreign workers.

With the buoyant economy fuelling high pay packages in some sectors, the building industry is facing difficulties finding local workers, said Mr Hill. 'Perhaps a 1:6 or 1:8 ratio could be allowed.'

BCA has said that most resources for the next two years will be channelled to major projects such as the two integrated resorts and infrastructure projects, and to meet social housing needs.

Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry president Chua Thian Poh said that the Government's move will 'go a long way towards alleviating the critical resource shortage fuelled by the boom in the industry'.

Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore executive director Chia Hock Ji said yesterday that the move was 'helpful as the situation is quite tight'. He added that most firms would welcome more foreign workers.

Ultimately, any ease in demand that will help bring down prices would be a relief for the industry, said Mr Hill.