Monday, April 28, 2008

Singapore Tops Business Ranking In Asia: EIU

Source : The Business Times, April 26, 2008

But it drops two positions in global ranking to third

SINGAPORE is still the best place in Asia to do business.

But it has slipped two spots in the global ranking to third, pulled down by slower trade growth and limited market size.

Out of 82 countries, Denmark was rated the best place to invest in over the next five years by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Finland ranked second.

'Singapore's economy is undergoing a necessary transition towards more services and domestic demand,' said EIU associate director Sudhir Vadaketh.

'This involves the slowing of export and import growth (of goods and non-factor services),' he said.

The shift will prove beneficial as it will wean the Singapore economy off heavy dependence on exports, he said.

'However, because of that slowing in trade growth, Singapore falls a bit on the market opportunities measurement in our ranking.'

Singapore's rising cost of living and higher prices for commercial space were also taken into account.

Nonetheless, Singapore remains the most attractive business environment in the Asia-Pacific - four spots above Hong Kong and 15 places above Taiwan.

Singapore was commended for its flexible labour market, favourable tax regime, openness to trade and strong infrastructure.

The corporate tax rate, for instance, has been cut progressively over the years from 40 per cent in 1985 to 18 per cent from this year, in a bid to reduce business costs and attract new corporate investment.

'Overseas investors are attracted by Singapore's pro-business approach and favourable economic prospects, as well as incentives available to encourage investment in high-technology industries,' EIU said in its rankings report.

Singapore's labour market and high-quality workforce scored well, but EIU said the island faces increasing competition from the rest of Asia with regard to costs.

Denmark did well in all the 10 categories studied by EIU, but its pro-business policies, labour flexibility and fiscal policy pushed it ahead.

Countries were ranked according to criteria such as political environment, market opportunities, policy towards foreign investment and taxes.

More American Expats Despite Cost Challenges

Source : The Business Times, April 26, 2008

THE rising cost of living, high residential rents and expensive office space are among contentious issues that plague the American expatriate community here.

However, these cons are outweighed by the benefit of being able to participate in global trade. 'Singapore is a good place to do business, especially for our members who are so regionally focused,' Steve Okun, the newly elected chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Singapore, told BT. AmCham Singapore represents almost 2,700 members from more than 500 companies, and over US$25 billion of investments in Singapore.

Going forward, AmCham will look at broadening its reach to make it even more regionally focused, especially as Asean moves towards integration.

A prime opportunity to do this will be in 2009, when Singapore hosts the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) meeting in March. It will be attended by local and American government officials, AmCham leaders and representatives of multinational companies and Asian small and medium-sized enterprises.

About 15,000 American expats live in Singapore. And the number has been rising despite a 2006 tax law change in the US that significantly increased the burden on Americans working overseas. APCAC, with other member AmChams, is lobbying to change the taxation, which has been labelled unfair.

'The number of Americans in Singapore has increased 25 per cent in the past two years,' said Mr Okun, raising the possibility that the tax change could have deterred even more Americans from moving overseas.

Another major problem for American expats is the limited number of places at international schools here, which has resulted in waiting lists, employers having to pay to procure 'enhanced placement rights' and even examples of 'key employees' being unable to relocate to Singapore because their children could not get a place in school.

Earlier this week, AmCham announced a new committee to address the education problem and will liaise with the government, foreign schools and AmCham members. This way, 'decision makers can make more informed decisions', said Mr Okun.

CapLand Aborts Investment In Eurasia

Source : The Business Times, April 26, 2008

CAPITALAND has aborted its proposed investment in the properties of Eurasia Logistics, citing current challenging market conditions which do not support a mutually beneficial deal structure. CapitaLand had originally intended to take up an initial 10 per cent stake in the completed and stabilised assets of Eurasia Logistics following the completion of due diligence on Eurasia's properties.

Higher Rents Boost UIC, SingLand Q1 Earnings

Source : The Business Times, April 26, 2008

HIGHER hotel and rental takings boosted the earnings of Singapore Land and parent United Industrial Corp (UIC) in the first quarter of this year.

Profit driver: SingLand's rise in net profit was due mainly to contribution from the Pan Pacific hotel

SingLand's net profit rose 20 per cent to $33.7 million as revenue rose 85 per cent to $83 million in the three months to March 31, due mainly to the contribution from the Pan Pacific Singapore hotel and higher rental income. Earnings per share increased to 8.2 cents from 6.8 cents.

Following Marina Centre Holdings' acquisition in April 2007 of the remaining 50 per cent interest in Hotel Marina City (HMC), which owns Pan Pacific Singapore, HMC became a wholly owned subsidiary of SingLand.

Gross rental income at $52.2 million was up 20 per cent, attributable mainly to higher rents, SingLand said.

'The Singapore office and retail rental market is expected to remain positive with moderate economic growth and tight supply of office space,' it said. 'With the ongoing global financial and economic uncertainties, the cautious sentiment in the private home market is expected to prevail.'

SingLand is a key office landlord here, with assets including Singapore Land Tower and SGX Centre in the heart of the business district.

At parent UIC, Q1 net profit increased 45 per cent to $32.1 million while revenue grew 85 per cent to $150.4 million. The jump in revenue was attributed to the consolidation of revenue from Pan Pacific hotel, higher sales of properties held for sale and recognised on percentage of completion basis, and higher rental income. UIC's earnings per share rose to 2.3 cents from 1.6 cents.

SingLand shares closed down three cents at $7.27 yesterday, while UIC shares fell two cents to $2.77.

CCT Q1 Distributable Income At $35.9m

Source : The Business Times, April 26, 2008

DPU of 2.59 cents is 12.1% above forecast

CAPITACOMMERCIAL Trust (CCT) has announced a first-quarter distributable income of $35.9 million, or 12 per cent higher than forecast. Distribution per unit (DPU) for the three months ended March 31 came to 2.59 cents, better than the 2.11 cents a year ago and 12.1 per cent above forecast.

1 George Street: If its acquisition at a purchase price of $1.165 billion is approved and completed, CCT's total asset size will grow to $6.5 billion

Net property income totalled $49.6 million or 8.8 per cent above forecast. 'CapitaCommercial Trust achieved higher rental income as Singapore experienced considerable rental growth in the office market over the past 12 months,' said Richard Hale, chairman of CapitaCommercial Trust Management, which manages the trust. 'This growth, together with our strategy of pro-active asset and prudent capital management, increased the first-quarter 2008 distribution per unit significantly by 22.7 per cent over the same quarter in 2007.'

Mr Hale said that if the acquisition of 1 George Street at a purchase price of $1.165 billion is approved and completed, CCT's total asset size will grow to $6.5 billion, ahead of the target of $6 billion by next year.

'Given Singapore's still-strong economic fundamentals and continued healthy office leasing demand, we are confident of exceeding the forecast distribution per unit of 10.04 cents to unitholders in 2008,' he said.

Lynette Leong, chief executive of the manager of the trust, said that there is continuing keen demand by banks and financial institutions for greater space in CCT's quality buildings. CCT's portfolio includes Capital Tower, 6 Battery Road, HSBC Building, Starhub Centre, Robinson Point, Bugis Village, Golden Shoe Car Park and Market Street Car Park.

Grade A and prime office rents averaged $18.65 per square foot (psf) per month and $16 psf per month respectively in Q1 2008, representing increases of 8.7 and 6.7 per cent from the preceding quarter.

'Given the prime quality of CCT's portfolio, we have signed leases above $20 psf per month in Q1 2008,' Ms Leong said. 'Our well-balanced lease expiry profile, together with our pro-active asset management, will enable us to benefit from the tight office market . . . and gain continued rental upside.'

Jurong Hospital Will Be Ready By 2015

Source : The Business Times, April 28, 2008

Medishield claim limits raised for implants, ward stay

THE new public hospital in Jurong will be ready by 2015 and follow the Changi General Hospital model of co-locating with a community hospital.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the co-location of an acute inpatient healthcare institution with a step-down care facility will expedite sharing of common resources and expertise, as well as patient transfers.

The model has been tested and is working well for Changi General Hospital and St Andrew's Community Hospital in the east. Both are located next to each other in the Simei area.

The proposed Jurong General Hospital will have a capacity of 550 beds, while the adjacent community hospital will have 200 beds. A hospital planning committee led by current Tan Tock Seng Hospital CEO Lim Suet Wun has been set up.

A site in Jurong East has been allocated for the hospital. It will be within walking distance from the Jurong East MRT Interchange and Jurong East Bus Interchange. The development will form part of the larger Jurong Lake District Plan, recently unveiled by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Apart from a new hospital, Singaporeans can also look forward to enhanced benefits from their Medishield plans. The MOH yesterday also released details on new Medishield claim limits, which are between 11 and 180 per cent higher than the ceilings they are entitled to today.

Significantly, the claim limit for implants and approved medical consumables has gone up to $7,000, from $2,500. Patients hospitalised in normal ward can also claim up to $450 per day, instead of $250, while ICU-warded patients will be entitled to have Medishield pay for up to $900 for each day of their stay.

The revision will take effect from December. They are designed to improve the insurance coverage of large Class B2/C bills to 80 per cent, from 60 per cent currently.

While premiums will go up correspondingly, the adjustments are less than $10 a month for the majority of Medishield policyholders. For those above 80, the enhanced benefits will cost them an increase of $35-40 in monthly premiums.

This group of policyholders will also see their deductible double. To buffer the effect, the MOH recently announced that it will raise their annual Medisave withdrawal limit to $1,150 to help pay for the higher Medishield premiums. The government will also top up Medisave accounts of the elderly in September, as announced by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during his Budget Speech this year.

ERP Rate For BKE Gantry To Go Up By 50 Cents

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 28, 2008

IT will cost motorists $1.50 to use the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) between 7.30am and 8am on weekdays from next Monday - up from $1 now.

The electronic road-pricing (ERP) gantry on the BKE between Dairy Farm Road and the Pan-Island Expressway is the only one being tweaked by the Land Transport Authority in its latest review of ERP rates.

The rates at all other gantries remain unchanged - until the next review in late-May, just before the June school holidays.

ERP rates are reviewed once every quarter as welll as just before school holidays. Prices are usually lowered for the latter.

The LTA did not say why it is raising the 7.30am-8am slot for the lone BKE gantry, but ERP rates are usually raised when average traffic speeds fall below the optimal 45kmh to 60kmh range for expressways.

The idea is to spread out demand so as to avoid congestion and achieve better traffic flow overall.

The fact that rates at all other gantries remain unchanged indicate that traffic flow at all ERP-controlled roads has not improved or deteriorated significantly in the last three months.

Miniscule adjustments, however, will be a thing of the past from July, when a new set of criteria for rate movements kick in.

As part of a slew of measures to control congestion and persuade more people to take public transport, ERP increments will be at least $1 each time - double the 50-cent jumps now.

That's not all. A new interpretation of 'optimal speed' will take effect. Instead of taking average speeds as a criterion for ERP rate changes, a more stringent method that ensures than 85 per cent of road users experience the optimal speed range will be applied.

In effect, the two new meaures mean the likelihood of more aggressive rate increases.

They will apply in the CBD and Orchard area from July; and at most other ERP-controlled roads from November.

The remaining handful of outlying gantries will be affected from February next year.


《联合早报》Apr 28, 2008








New 550-Bed Jurong Hospital By 2015: Khaw

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 28, 2008

Next door will be 200-bed hospital for step-down care

A NEW 550-bed hospital in Jurong will open by 2015, said Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday, almost a decade later than originally planned.

The long-promised hospital was put on hold in favour of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun, which is slated to open in 2010 and provide much-needed beds for the north.

Mr Khaw told the media yesterday the tender for the Jurong hospital could be delayed until 2010 because of sky-high construction costs.

With several major projects going on right now, including the two integrated resorts, demand for labour and supplies is red-hot. The building binge has bumped up the cost of the Yishun hospital by about 25 per cent - from $400 million to more than $500 million.

Mr Khaw said there was 'no point incurring a high cost which we will have to pass on to patients'.

Even if the tender exercise is shelved until 2010, he expects the new hospital will still cost more than the one in Yishun. But he said: 'I promise that no matter what, the latest we'll open is 2015.'

A 200-bed community hospital will be built next door for patients who may still not be well enough to go home, but do not require full hospital care.

All new hospitals will incorporate this feature, said Mr Khaw, a move based on the successful integration of step-down care between Changi General Hospital and St Andrew's Community Hospital. There is a covered overhead bridge linking the two.

A community hospital is much cheaper to build than a general one - $150,000 per bed instead of $1 million in a general hospital, Mr Khaw said.

The Yishun hospital will also have a community hospital nearby while Tan Tock Seng Hospital will have the soon-to-be-completed Ren Ci hospital.

'This is the integration with step-down care we are focusing attention on over the next few years,' Mr Khaw said.

Dr Lim Suet Wun, chief executive officer of the National Healthcare Group, will head a committee to build the new Jurong hospital.

He told The Straits Times he plans to connect the hospital with several overhead passes to adjacent buildings and the MRT station.

'This will make for great convenience to patients and their relatives, which will be more important in the future in dealing with chronic conditions and the trend to more outpatient care,' he said.

The hospital will be built in the proposed Jurong Lake district, a development that will include homes, hotels, offices and retail outlets.

It will be taller than existing hospitals and give patients panoramic views of the lake and its surroundings.

Given Singapore's expected increase in population to as many as 6.5 million people, Mr Khaw is already reserving land for future hospitals.

He said the north will 'definitely need two to three hospitals'. Aside, from Yishun, a plot in Woodlands has been earmarked, with Bukit Batok possibly the location of a third hospital.

Quiet By Day Seedy By Night

Source : The Electric New Paper, April 28, 2008

Geylang condo residents upset over illicit activities in area, spend $130,000 to set up 'security cordon'

CONDOMINIUM in Geylang has become a fortress of sorts, and it's no thanks to the seedy characters who often loiter around it.

Peaceful for now: During the day, it's just another sleepy residential area, but the action heats up at night, to the irritation of condominium residents. Pictures: Kenneth Koh, The Straits Times

By night, the tranquillity of the Aston Mansions estate is disrupted by loud music blaring from the cluster of pubs lining the main road.

Along the back alleys of Geylang Lorong 42, where the condo is at, streetwalkers haggle over the price of sexual services.

Sometimes, residents can even catch an illicit, passionate moment or two.

The situation becomes worse on weekends, with illegal parking along the two-way lane that is wide enough for just one car.

And residents find themselves jostling with motorists for space on the narrow road.

Fed-up and frustrated, the management council of Aston Mansions decided to dip into their sinking funds to implement proactive, preventive measures on their own.

In the past year, the committee has spent more than $130,000 to put a security cordon of sorts around their condominium.

They have put up electronic parking barriers to prevent outsiders from parking on the estate grounds and issued access cards to allow only residents to open the gates around their compound.

Raising the bar: Residents have put up electronic parking barriers to prevent outsiders from parking on estate grounds.

They have also built a spiked fence to deter intruders and installed a network of some 35 closed-circuit television cameras to monitor blind spots.

A committee member who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan told The New Paper on Sunday: 'We've alerted all the various authorities - from the police to the Land Transport Authority and even the National Environment Agency.

'To be fair, they've responded and tried to arrest the situation, but there is only so much they can do right now.'

Most residents living in the 159 units in the two blocks of eight storeys at Aston Mansions felt that the 'vice' has seeped down to Lorongs 42 and 44.

Once night falls, the coffeeshop that serves Vietnamese cuisine at the corner becomes 'a hive of illicit activities', according to residents.

The New Paper on Sunday spent two weekends there to observe the action.

Scantily-clad women thronged the cluster of eight pubs, openly approaching male strangers.

By 11pm, operations at the coffeeshop spilled over to a five-foot walkway and even onto the road pavement, packed with makeshift tables and chairs.

Eyesore: Prostitutes vying for potential customers in the area in the wee hours of the morning.

Mr Tan said: 'The situation is made worse when illegal parking takes place on the small lane with a road divider.

'Residents who want to avoid the walkway are forced to walk on the narrow road.'

It did not help that large foam boxes are stacked high in the walkway near the shop on the opposite side.

Another committee member, who wanted to be known only as Madam Tan, said: 'Often we have to try to manoeuvre along the driveway and compete with motorists on the one-way lane.'

Then there is the open display of affection and saucy price-haggling.

A resident who wanted to be known only as Gladys said: 'You'd be amazed at how bold these women can be.'

Her bedroom window faces the back alley.

She added: 'There is the occasional illicit action that takes place in full view!'

Some irritated residents have even resorted to throwing bags of water at couples engaging in indecent acts.


Said one resident who declined to be named: 'If you want to behave like an animal in heat, then you will be treated like one!'

She was especially concerned because she has a teenage son.

Another upset resident, who wanted to be known as Pete, claimed there were a few occasions when his son, in his early 20s, was approached.

Pete said: 'I cannot help but worry if it'll just get worse... or what if another impressionable youth has less discipline.'

Noise pollution from the boisterous customers and their lady companions until the early hours of the morning add to the frustration of the residents.

There are also fights occasionally, and drunken revellers leave vomit.

Most of the residents want the same intensive clean-up done at Joo Chiat for Lorong 42.

Said Ms Gladys: 'Do it before the seediness permeates our estate.'

Mr Tan added: 'From what we understand, the owner of the coffee shop was evicted from Joo Chiat but because their licence is still valid, they have found a new spot.'

The New Paper on Sunday approached a coffee-shop assistant who confirmed that they were previously operating at Joo Chiat.

Leading grassroots efforts to address the problem is Dr Fatimah Lateef, the area's Member of Parliament.

Last week, the MP for Marine Parade GRC lit up a 300m stretch of alleyway between Lorong 34 and 36, where streetwalkers are known to roam.

While Dr Fatimah stressed the need to 'contain' the streetwalker problem, she said: 'I am quite realistic. I know we will not be able to get down to zero overnight or in a few weeks... What I want to do is contain the problem so that it doesn't get rampant and doesn't get into the residential areas.'

And that is something the residents of Aston Mansions hope to do.

Said Mr Tan: 'We just want to regain ownership of our neighbourhood.'

A Hospital In Bukit Batok?

Source : TODAY, Monday, April 28, 2008

Khaw raises possibility, as Lake District site for new Jurong hospital identified

THE day could come when the northern part of Singapore is served by three hospitals and not just the upcoming Khoo Teck Puat hospital in Yishun.

Hinting at this yesterday at a community dialogue, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that in addition to a previously mentioned site in Woodlands, there could be a site reserved for a hospital in Bukit Batok.

Given the growing demand for healthcare, Mr Khaw said, "Eventually, the north may need two or three (hospitals). So you have one Yishun, then you have Woodlands, maybe one in the Bukit Batok area. And you will probably be able to cover the northern needs."

He alluded to this even as he announced the site of the Jurong General Hospital — between Jurong East Street 21 and Boon Lay Way, and within walking distance of the Jurong East MRT and bus interchange.

This will put the hospital smack in the middle of the upcoming Jurong Lake District, which will see Jurong East transformed by 2020 into a commercial and leisure hub centred around a scenic lake.

Expected to be ready by 2015, the Jurong General Hospital will help better serve residents who now have to travel to other hospitals, the closest being the National University Hospital.

Said Ms Alice Lee, 51, who resides near Lakeside MRT station: "It will be more convenient, especially for my elderly parents who live in Jurong. My father has to travel often to Singapore General Hospital for his cancer treatments and it's very difficult for an older person to travel so far."

The proposed 550-bed hospital will also draw on the successful co-location model of the Changi General Hospital and St Andrew's Community Hospital, with a 200-bed community hospital for long term stays planned next to it.

This, said National Healthcare Group chief executive Lim Suet Wun (picture), who is heading the Hospital Planning Committee, will facilitate sharing of resources, expertise and patient transfers.

"Co-location allows for greater convenience and coordination of care for patients, who may need to recover in a community hospital," Dr Lim said. At the same time, the community hospital can harness the medical expertise, equipment and support of the general hospital.

"Patients have confidence that if complications arise, care can be readily available," he added.

This integration, said Mr Khaw, is what his ministry is moving towards in the coming years. A community hospital could also be sited next to the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun, he revealed.

While high costs now do not make it viable to rush the tender for the Jurong hospital, Mr Khaw said details are already being worked out. "What I promised is that the latest we will open is 2015, so we will do all the planning, architectural design work now that the site has been settled."

With two new hospitals, plans are underway to increase training and recruitment. Last year, some 430 doctors trained outside Singapore were hired to complement the more than 200 local medical graduates.

A Room At Raffles, In Paris Or Morocco

Source : TODAY, Monday, April 28, 2008

Iconic hotel group aims for 30 properties worldwide by 2012

When it was bought over by American owners in 2005, controversy erupted: How could you sell what was a historical icon and quintessentially Singaporean brand name, asked some. Today, the Raffles Hotel brand is spreading like wildfire to some far-flung corners of the world.

Indeed, within the first 10 months of its acquisition, the Raffles family had more than doubled the number of properties in its fold. It has its footprint in exotic tourist hotspots such as Marrakech, Morocco, and Traslin, Seychelles.

Its resorts line has also ventured into the Maldives (Raffles Resort Konottaa), the French Polynesia (Raffles Resort Taimana Tahaa) and the West Indies (Raffles Resort St Lucia).

And the aggressive expansion shows no signs of abating — the aim is to add 10 more properties to its stable of 20 by 2012, said Raffles' managing director Diana Ee-Tan.

But, more than two years on, most Singaporeans have little clue of how well the family of the 121-year-old grand dame of Beach Road has done, since its S$1.45-billion sale to equity firm Colony Capital International.

And for some, the doubts still linger: Is Raffles truly Singaporean anymore?

Such scepticism never fails to get Ms Ee-Tan's hackles up. "What the acquisition has done is only to give us greater opportunities for the brand, in terms of growth and global extension. Nothing has changed."

"Singaporeans should feel proud that a home-grown brand has spread its wings," said Ms Ee-Tan, who recently sat down with TODAY in her first full-fledged update to local media since the takeover.

A similar issue resurfaced earlier this month for Robinson and Co, when Dubai's Al Futtaim Group took over the 150-year-old local department store. There has been talk of expanding the Robinson brand overseas and synergies with other brands owned by the group.

Six months after the sale to Colony, Raffles was merged with the Fairmont chain of hotels under the Kingdom Hotels group and went on an expansion blitz.

Some saw it as an ominous sign that things would never be the same again under foreign stewardship — considering how Raffles grew from one to only eight hotels within 10 years, when it was in local hands.

But Ms Ee-Tan said the intent had always been to grow the brand and the opportunities merely lacking two or three years ago. What drove the growth, she said, was the active property market around the time of the acquisition and the knowledge that the Raffles brand had "finally come of age".

"In our early years, we were very careful. Brand-building takes several years and it is very important that you do not just put your brand on any building."

Another factor that fuelled the rapid expansion: Raffles went from owning to managing hotels. This meant that the company didn't have to come up with massive funds in order to start operations in a new location.

The company also started selling residential units on most of its new properties, thus cutting the time needed for developers to reap their returns.

But what of comments from some quarters that they have sold out for their ambitions to grow?

Said Ms Ee-Tan: "The company respects the pedigree of the Raffles brand, the legacy of Raffles and has ensured that all attributes have been protected."

Indeed, about 80 per cent of the people driving the company's plans now are the same staff as when Raffles was still Singaporean-owned, she added.

Success to Raffles is not about having hotels in many places, noted Ms Ee-Tan - it is having "special hotels that will endure and preserve the quality and dimension that guests have come to expect of Raffles".

Branding experts TODAY spoke to agreed that foreign owners do not necessarily detract from a company's history and legacy.

Mr Dominic Chew, planning director of Y&R Singapore, said "the man-on-the-street might not even be able to tell the difference".

"What has Raffles lost? It still remains a national monument and its quality of service has not suffered. Guests wouldn't see or feel that there's been a change of ownership," he said.

Should people feel such strong "nationalistic" sentiments whenever beloved Singapore brand-names are sold to foreigners?

They should only worry if new owners "forget the roots" of the company they have taken over, said Ms Monica Alsagoff, chief executive of CommunicationsDNA.

"As long as the owner cares about preserving the identity and personality of the icon, and doesn't make drastic changes, Singaporeans should rest easy."

In fact, Singaporeans should learn to understand that takeovers are purely business decisions. Mr Chew said: "Raffles is an icon because of its culture and service standards. It actually gives more chances for more people all over the world to experience a local brand."

But "nationalistic" sentiments actually do some good too, noted Ms Alsagoff.

"When there's opposition, it puts pressure on the management to keep the important things. It tells them 'don't mess with our history'," she said. "The companies that buy our Robinsons and Raffles do so because they recognise that it's a strong brand and they'll know it makes sense to keep the essence."

As Ms Ee-Tan put it: "Raffles Hotel is synonymous with Singapore. It's a monument; an icon. The association is a positive one for us, why would we want to lose that?"


You may be familiar with the 121-year-old grand dame that is Raffles Hotel, but some surprises are in store at her offshoots in far-flung corners of the world. what you might not know ...

• The Raffles Beijing will host the International Olympics Committee come the Games in August. It is, of course, fully booked.

• The historic Le Royal Monceau in Paris will be closed for restoration works in June to be helmed by legendary French designer Philippe Starck.

• The new Raffles Dubai, the brainchild of Sheikh Mana Khalifa Al Maktoum, features a one-hectare tropical garden housing over 129,000 plants – because the sheikh is an avid fan of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

• Between now and 2011, new additions to the family will pop up in Bali, the British Virgin Islands, China, the French Polynesia islands, Macau, the Maldives, Morocco, the Philippines, Seychelles, Thailand, Vietnam and the West Indies.

• In three years, the hotel hopes to extend operations to Asian cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong and venture into the massive Middle East territory.

Jurong General Hospital To Be Located Near MRT, Bus Interchange

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 27 April 2008

The new general hospital in Jurong will be located in Jurong East, within walking distance from the Jurong East MRT station and bus interchange, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced after a ministerial walkabout in Geylang Serai on Sunday.

The hospital, which is expected to open by 2015, will also be easily accessible via the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) and the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE).

The Jurong General Hospital will have 550 beds and will provide acute inpatient and outpatient care. It will also have a community hospital next to it.

Mr Khaw said this co-location arrangement follows the Changi General Hospital and the St Andrew's Community Hospital model, which has worked well.

Related Video -

He said: "As a rule, we try to learn from all past projects so that every new hospital is better than the previous one. This co-location with community hospital is something we find very useful. The main advantage is integration.

"Patients sometimes do develop complications and if (the hospitals) are physically linked, you could just push the patients over... Sometimes, you do not need to push a patient over, the doctor can pop over. This is the sort of integration with a stepdown care sector which I want, which we are focusing on over the next few years."

A hospital planning committee, led by National Healthcare Group CEO Lim Suet Wun, is looking into the details. The Health Ministry said it would wait for a "good time" – when construction costs have cooled down – to call for tenders for the hospital.

This development will form part of the larger Jurong Lake District plan to transform the Jurong East area into a mini-city with commercial, leisure and other amenities.

The Health Ministry has also reserved a few sites for more hospitals if there is a need for them.

Details of the Jurong Lake District plan are available at - CNA/ac/so

Sweepstake That Draws The Plucky Opportunist

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 28, 2008


I DON'T know if the Government knows this.

Many first-time buyers of Housing Board flats are treating the balloting system for new units as a chance to strike the lottery.

You can tell them apart from genuine home buyers because they will faithfully put in an application whenever new flats are offered for sale in mature estates.

Occasionally, they may test the waters by applying for flats in new townships but will find excuses to reject them should they be successful in getting a queue number.

Like seasoned 4-D punters, they are undeterred by repeated failures to land the Big Prize - a new flat in much sought-after towns such as Queenstown, Toa Payoh and Telok Blangah.

A colleague's son has balloted unsuccessfully on more than 10 occasions for flats in mature estates. He's not compromising, preferring to wait for the next offer of new flats in such estates instead of buying a resale flat or booking a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat under the mainstay programme for new public housing.

BTO flats are less popular as they tend to be in outlying areas like Sengkang.

A desire to live near their parents or workplace is often cited by couples as a reason for wanting a flat in a mature estate. Some even resort to creative 'threats', arguing that the Government's effort to encourage Singaporeans to marry early and have more children is undermined by its failure to provide them with affordable homes in a location of their choice.

I remember feeling incredulous when reading a story in this paper last November, 'No (HDB flat) = No (wedding)', in which a couple said they delayed their marriage plans because they could not get a new flat in Ang Mo Kio or Toa Payoh.

'Were they for real?' I wondered.

To be sure, some reasons are valid, such as wanting to live near aged parents who are in poor health. But for the majority, I suspect the real reason for being picky boils down to dollars and cents.

Landing a new flat in a mature estate and selling it after five years can yield several hundred thousand dollars in profit. Who would want to give up this once-in-a-lifetime windfall by accepting a flat in a less desirable address?

While the HDB allows upgraders to buy a second new flat, in reality, their chances of doing so are very slim due to priority for first-timers.

Consider this: In 1996, my wife and I bought a five-room flat for $160,000 in Woodlands. In the same month, my parents-in-law balloted successfully for a four-room flat in Holland Village. Coincidentally, the price tag was also about $160,000.

Last December, I sold my flat for $300,000. During that same period, one four-room flat in my in-laws' block fetched $550,000 while another went for $589,000.

This underlines once again the widely held belief that homes in prime locations appreciate in value faster than those in outlying areas.

Is it any wonder then that many first-timers stubbornly refuse to accept flats other than those in mature estates?

Also, the dice is loaded in their favour. Under the HDB priority scheme, first-time buyers and newly-weds get an extra chance in a future ballot every time they are unsuccessful in selecting a new flat.

Even so, competition is stiff. In February, the HDB received 9,900 applications for 278 surplus new flats in mature towns.

Some ingenuous buyers have tried to exploit the system to improve their chances.

There are anecdotes of first-timers applying for BTO flats they have no intention of taking up in the hope of accelerating their failure rate so as to enjoy a higher chance of success by the time flats in a desirable area are available.

If they are 'lucky' and get picked to select a BTO flat, they will just turn it down. After all, there is no penalty.

One couple, shortlisted for a BTO flat in Punggol last year, did not pick a flat despite having more than 400 units to choose from, according to the HDB. They subsequently applied for a BTO project in Yishun and complained publicly when they were not successful.

This lack of deterrence has prompted National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan to ask the HDB to review its application process to discourage such people.

One possible solution is to revert to the Registration for Flats System for BTO flats. Under this, buyers form two queues - one for first-timers and the other for upgraders. The queue for first-timers will move a great deal quicker.

Buyers who reach the head of queues will be invited to pick a flat. If they don't, they will be considered dropouts and will have to start all over again if they wish to re-apply for a new HDB flat.

As an extra deterrent, the HDB might consider imposing a registration fee on new buyers who join the queue. This can be used to offset the purchase price if they subsequently select a flat.

In the past, the fee was $200 for first-timers and $600 for upgraders, excluding GST.

As for surplus flats in mature estates, the HDB should bar upgraders from buying them since they already have a home. This will leave the field open only to first-timers.

Do away with the complicated system of multiple chances for failed attempts and give all an equal chance in a ballot. After all, you don't ask Singapore Pools to increase your chance vis-a-vis a novice just because you have not had a winning ticket after years of trying, do you?

As surplus flats are so few and applicants so many, treat them as what they really are - a sweepstake, with prized homes going to the lucky few.

Industry Players Welcome CaseTrust For Real Estate Agencies

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 26 April 2008

The consumer watchdog wants to reduce the growing number of complaints against property agents and real estate agencies. So it is developing a CaseTrust Accreditation Scheme for the industry.

This could be introduced by the middle of 2008. Estate agencies who wish to apply and attain the CaseTrust status will be subjected to a more stringent criteria.

The scheme will also raise the requirements for an individual to attain the estate agent licence.

Market players support the move and they hope that a panel of experts can be engaged to oversee any disciplinary action when rules are flouted.

Patrick Liew, CEO, HSR International Realtors, said: "There must be a very comprehensive set of ethics and conduct so that there is a basis for disciplinary process.

"And I think the process must not only come with penalty system, I hope they also come up with a reward system. In other words, for companies who do very well, they can either be issued certificates or extra points."

The CaseTrust scheme will also put in place the necessary mechanisms to settle disputes. It also aims to ensure that property agencies are accountable for the actions of their agents.

However, industry players are worried that there may be too many schemes doing exactly the same thing.

For example, the Singapore Accredited Estate Agencies and Institute of Estate Agents both run their own accreditation programmes. And they will have to be streamlined to avoid duplication.

Some property agents also hope that authorities will introduce legislation to make the CaseTrust scheme compulsory.

Mohamed Ismail, CEO, PropNex, said: "It has to be 100% mandatory for all real estate agencies and agents to be accredited. If you only have 50% accredited and 50% not, a consumer is not going to see some of the properties that are being marketed by non-accredited agents, when all consumers want the best property at the best price."

Industry players said complying with the new scheme will add to business cost as there may be a need to upgrade existing infrastructure and skills of the agents. However, they do not expect the cost increase to be too significant. - CNA/vm

Doc, 53, Has To Finance 2nd Home

Source : The Straits Times, April 27, 2008

Dr Chia Kiat Swan is decidedly philosophical about the recent purchase of his second home.

The medical doctor had bought a landed property - he declined to say where - thinking that it could be paid for with the $2.5 million he expected to get from the collective sale of his Tulip Garden apartment.

Instead, the money will now have to come from out of his pocket after the deal fell through earlier this month.

'Life is uncertain. We just have to make adjustments,' said Dr Chia, 53, who is married with two children and has lived in Tulip Garden for 22 years.

On the bright side, the new house which he bought in the middle of last year is now being rented out and getting returns 'good enough to pay back the loan plus interest'.

He added that he was not alone, as he knew of other people who had also bought units in anticipation of the collective sale going through.

'But as far as I'm aware, no one is in financial crisis because of their decision,' noted Dr Chia, who is also the chairman of Tulip Garden's management council.

Having already fully paid for his Tulip Garden home, it pains him to think about having to spend another 15 years to finance his new house.

That is when he gets philosophical again.

He said: 'If I can make a profit, I'll sell the house. Anyway, I'm not planning to retire so early. I can't be playing golf every day.'

Deal's Off But She Still Lucked Out

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 27, 2008

For housewife Jane (not her real name), the no-go on the en bloc deal at Tulip Garden, where she has a flat, proved a blessing.

Worried about spiralling home prices when talk of a collective sale started last year, she liquidated all her stocks in August to help pay for a $3 million apartment near Holland Road.

'Prices in the area were going up by $200,000 every month. I got scared,' Jane, 58, told The Sunday Times.

But selling her stocks was the right move - she cashed out before the stock market took a hit late last year.

If there had been no en bloc push, she probably would have held on to the stocks, she admitted.

Her family got a $120,000 share of the deposit the buyer had forfeited for Tulip Garden.

She noted that she was lucky. Her finances allowed her to buy another home without depending on money from the collective sale.

'Those who do - and I know a few residents in this situation - may have some problems,' she said.

Jane thinks Tulip Garden is still a good property because Farrer MRT station will be up in a few years. That could drive prices even further up, she said.

She will keep her unit and rent it out and move to her new home. She has an added reason to do so.

'This en bloc issue has soured relationships between myself and some of the neighbours here because I didn't want to sign for it initially. So I don't want to stay here any more,' she said.

Couple's Dream Turns To Nightmare

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 27, 2008

From en bloc dreams to endless nightmares - that was how Madam S.L. Chia and her husband described their experience these past two years.

It became a nightmare because the promised $1.1 million from the sale of the couple's Finland Gardens flat never came, as the deal became snagged in a dispute.

They were still servicing the loan on their flat, in Siglap, when the couple went ahead and took a loan on a second property.

Thus, closure of sorts came for them when, last week, the collective sale was called off. It had been sold in November 2006.

Madam Chia, 47, her husband, 55, and their son, 15, will be staying put in Finland Gardens, which has been their home for the last 14 years.

She felt that the collective sale had rushed her into buying a second flat.

A friend had advised them to buy another place quickly because he expected that property prices would go up further.

'He was right. Within six months of our new home purchase, prices went crazy,' said Madam Chia, who works in the media industry.

The new flat, further away in Upper East Coast, cost $800,000. Madam Chia took a 10-year loan that resulted in her having to pay $4,000 - effectively, her monthly salary - every month.

What the couple did not expect was that minority owners would successfully object to the sale.

The couple had ended up so strapped they could not afford to renovate their new house - something they can finally do now.

'And enough of the term 'en bloc' please,' Madam Chia said.

He's Glad That 2-Year Saga Is Finally Over

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 27, 2008

Mr Micky Sim was overseas when he first heard that his estate, Finland Gardens, was going to be sold en bloc two years ago.

The first thing he did was to call his contractor who was renovating the unit he had recently bought there.

'I cut back by at least 30 per cent. Forget about partitions. And we made things movable, rather than fixed,' said Mr Sim, 38.

He bought the apartment before the deal was announced.

Two years on, he can finally go ahead and finish the renovations.

As one of the minority owners who contested the sale of Finland Gardens, he is delighted that the estate will no longer be sold.

But he feels that most of the majority owners will not be unhappy either, as the deal was made before the upswing in the property market last year.

Mr Sim, who works as a director in a shipping company, thinks that even if the owners sell the apartments themselves, they can do better than the $504 per square foot price offered by the en bloc buyer - even though the market has since been cooling.

Still, he is happy to stay put at his home and will sell only if the price is right.

The two-year saga has hurt the spirit of the community somewhat, he conceded.

But he feels that most neighbours are still on good terms.

'It's time for everyone to move on. Let bygones be bygones,' he added.

What If My Condo's En Bloc Sale Fails?

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 27, 2008

Defaulting parties stand to lose their deposits and can be sued for non-completion of the sale; it's also risky to buy a new home before a collective deal is closed

Some owners of condominium units may still be keen on selling en bloc, but developers' interest in collective sale sites has more or less dried up.

Among failed collective sales, the buyer of Finland Gardens (left) kept its deposit as the deal had been thrown out by the STB. As for Makeway View (below left) and Tulip Garden, developer Bravo forfeited its deposit in both cases as it did not go ahead with the purchase amid a slowdown in the market. -- PHOTOS: CREDO REAL ESTATE, KNIGHT FRANK, SAVILLS SINGAPORE

No residential sites have been sold en bloc in recent months. And given the market uncertainty these days, completion may not be a given for sites that have been sold.

Several collective sales have fallen through, with a few - Tulip Garden, Makeway View, Finland Gardens and Pender Court - already axed, regardless of whether approval from the Strata Titles Board (STB) was obtained.

A collective sale requires an 80 per cent minimum consent from owners before it can be sold. Unless there is unanimous consent, owners will have to get an order from the STB for the sale after they find a buyer.

After getting the order, they will have to wait for the buyer to complete the sale, which is when they will get their sale proceeds.

They have six months after the sale completion date to move out of the property.

The Sunday Times takes a look at what happens if your collective sale deal falls through.

If the STB throws out your sale

The onus is on the majority owners - those who have signed off on the sale - to obtain the STB order.

'If they do their part and get the STB order, they are not in breach of contract,' said Credo Real Estate's managing director, Mr Karamjit Singh.

If they cannot get the STB order, they have failed to fulfil their part of the sale agreement with the buyer. The buyer can thus take back his 5 per cent deposit, a sum he had to pay when he inked the deal.

Most sale and purchase agreements have a standard provision that stipulates that if the purchase fails to be completed, the deposit or option money will be forfeited.

The buyer can also ask the majority owners to appeal against the STB decision in the High Court, said Mr Singh.

If they are not satisfied with the High Court decision, they can proceed to the next and last level, the Court of Appeal.

This is where the Airview Towers case went. The Court of Appeal overturned the High Court's decision to reject the sale, putting the case back in the STB's court.

In another collective sale, that of Finland Gardens, the buyer and sellers decided to withdraw their case in the High Court and terminate their agreement.

But as the sale had been thrown out by the STB, the developer remained entitled to keep its deposit.

It was a unique situation, and both sides negotiated on the terms, with the developer agreeing to bear most of the costs such as the litigator's fees and advertisement costs.

If the buyer defaults on the deal

Whether owners can or cannot get back some money depends on which party is the one which has not fulfilled the contract.

Last year, developers were frantically buying sites and pushing to complete them.

But as the market slowed this year, it has so far seen a buyer, Bravo Building Construction, let go of three collective sale deals - Tulip Garden, Makeway View and Pender Court.

As it was the buyer that did not fulfil its part of the agreement to buy Tulip Garden for $516 million, it had to forfeit its 5 per cent deposit of $25.8 million.

The same developer also did not go ahead with the purchase of Makeway View and had to forfeit its option deposit of 1 per cent.

Owners from the 48-unit Pender Court got to keep the buyer's 10 per cent deposit of $8 million, as well as a $4 million payment for granting a deadline extension. They had negotiated for an additional payment of $4 million to extend the deadline as the buyer had missed the completion deadline.

'If the buyers default, sellers can sue them if the sale and purchase agreement does not contain a clause that limits the buyer's liability to forfeiture of the deposit,' said Mr Henry Heng, a director from law firm Tan Peng Chin LLC.

Or they could sell to another buyer and then go after the original buyer for the losses incurred, if any, again provided the agreement does not have the above clause.

While going after the buyer may sound logical to some, it depends on whether the company has enough funds to pay up, property consultants said.

Few would consider it as developers usually create shell companies for their property purchases, said DTZ executive director, consulting & research, Mrs Ong Choon Fah.

If you have committed to a property purchase

Last year, many owners bought replacement properties way before their collective sales were completed, in an attempt to beat the rising market.

This can get tricky. If the collective sale fails, the owners are basically left to their own devices. The risk is certainly much greater if the owners are dependent on the sale proceeds to finance their new property.

'It's a commercial risk, which is why property consultants and lawyers always advise owners not to take the risk,' said Mr Singh.

All collective sellers have a six-month rent-free period after the completion of their collective sales, during which they can safely source for a property.

While it is uncommon, an owner could try to negotiate a deal with the seller of the new property where it becomes a done deal only if his estate's collective sale is completed, said Mr Singh. The other party may agree if he is offered a higher price, he said.


The market slowdown has resulted in one buyer, Bravo, giving up three collective sale deals - Tulip Garden, Makeway View and Pender Court.

# In the case of Tulip Garden, Bravo had to forfeit its 5 per cent deposit of $25.8 million.

# It also did not go ahead with the purchase of Makeway View and had to forfeit its option deposit of 1 per cent.

# Owners from the 48-unit Pender Court got to keep the buyer's 10 per cent deposit of $8 million, as well as a $4 million payment for granting a deadline extension.

Goodbye, En Bloc Sales

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 27, 2008

Pender Court. Finland Gardens. Tulip Garden. Makeway View. These were all attempts to sell an estate en bloc which fell through, all within this month.

But even as the en bloc fever cools, not all the affected residents are getting hot under the collar. Many told The Sunday Times that they were disappointed to miss out on a good price, but were happy to stay put.

It was reported last Friday that the sale of Pender Court, off West Coast Highway, had fallen through. Others reported include Finland Gardens in Siglap on Tuesday; Tulip Garden in Holland Road on April 9; and Makeway View in the Newton area on April 1.

Italian expatriate Lucia Omodei, 43, who has lived at Tulip Garden for six years, said: 'We looked elsewhere in case we had to move out, but we didn't find anything this ideal. Besides, we would miss our neighbours.'

A fellow resident, music teacher Y.C. Lee, 75, saw the bright side in the 'consolation hongbao' he received, a $120,000 payout which was his share of the $25 million deposit that the buyer forfeited.

The unhappy ones are most likely those who had bought another house and now face financing issues.

The Sunday Times spoke to residents in some of the failed en bloc estates to find out how their lives have been affected.

When Do I Have To Pay Stamp Duty?

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 27, 2008


Where do you see this?

Mostly when you sign a sale & purchase agreement, an option to purchase or a tenancy agreement.

What does it mean?

Stamp duty is a tax you pay for the stamping of documents relating to properties and shares, for instance, leases or mortgages.

Property buyers are required to pay stamp duty based on the transacted price of the property or its market value, whichever is higher. The duty must be paid within 14 days of the date of execution if the document is signed in Singapore.

Why is it important?

Stamp duty is a substantial payment that buyers have to consider before they buy a property.

Penalties are imposed on you if the documents are stamped late or if the duty is underpaid. Also, the court considers only stamped documents as evidence.

So you want to use the term. Just say...

'If I get a stamp duty rebate, I can get that cabinet I always wanted.'

HDB Flat Buyers Pay Less Cash Upfront

Source : The Straits Times, Apr 27, 2008

Cash over valuation falls as units are more accurately valued to reflect market prices

House-hunting for soon-to-be-married Jolyn Toh used to be a discouraging affair as prices were out of her reach.

But things are looking up for the engineer.

Just six months ago, home-owners in Bukit Batok, where she is looking to buy an HDB flat, used to demand nothing less than $50,000 cash upfront.

In the last month, however, this has dipped to about $20,000 to $30,000. 'This difference means my fiance and I can now afford a home before our wedding in July,' said Ms Toh, 25.

New government figures released last Friday will bring cheer to those hunting for their dream Housing Board flat as they reveal that median cash-over-valuation (COV) prices in many popular estates like Marine Parade, Queenstown and Clementi are falling.

COV is the cash that buyers must pay a seller over and above a flat's market valuation to secure the sale. For example, if a unit is valued at $250,000 and the seller will only part with it for $300,000, the COV will be $50,000.

It cannot be paid for by a bank loan or by money from a Central Provident Fund account.

Market watchers explained that the drop in COV was due largely to valuations of HDB homes rising sharply to reflect more accurately prevailing market prices.

Valuations of flats are made by a panel of HDB-appointed private valuers.

Agency boss Albert Lu of C&H Realty said valuers have started taking into account recent resale transactions, which have enjoyed robust growth, in their valuations.

This has led to the narrowing of the gap between valuations and COV prices, even as home prices continue to rise.

Take, for example, a five-room flat in Bukit Batok. In the fourth quarter of last year, its median price was $430,000, and the median COV was $41,000. Accordingly, valuation was $389,000, that is $430,000 minus $41,000.

In the most recent quarter, the median price went up to $450,000. However, the COV fell to $30,000, which meant that the valuer had valued the flat higher at $420,000.

A lower COV will help newlyweds, especially, get on the housing ladder. They now have to fork out less cash upfront and can take out HDB or bank loans to service the rest of the purchase.

Although HDB prices continued to rise 3.7 per cent in the first quarter this year, housing experts say the market could get a boost in coming months due to lower COVs.

'With valuations going up, the COV is coming down and this makes it more affordable,' said Mr Lu.

HDB prices rose 17.4 per cent last year, the highest in a decade. At the peak of last year's spectacular property bull run - which saw record prices such as $890,000 for an executive flat in Queenstown - home-owners were asking for COV sums of more than $150,000 in some mature estates.

This, in turn, priced many newly-weds out of the resale market, who then turned out in droves to queue for new HDB flats.

In Clementi, for example, the median COV for July to September last year was a sky-high $155,000 for an executive flat. This had dropped to $75,000 in the fourth quarter last year, and is now a more reasonable $40,000 this quarter.

For a very 'cash sensitive HDB market', even a small difference in COV makes an impact and could see more people returning to the resale market, said Mr Colin Tan, Chesterton International's head (research and consultancy).

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said that another reason for the decrease in COV could be that sellers' expectations have moderated due to the recent softening of the property sector here, coupled with volatile global markets.

Mr Tan pointed out that HDB prices remained high and are daunting for lower-income families whose incomes have been stagnant. This makes new HDB flats, which are subsidised, the more attractive proposition.

But for couples like teacher Lynne Ng, 26, and her fiance, the dip in COV could not have come at a better time. 'We were going to rent or live with our parents, but now it's possible we'll get a dream home of our own when we get married,' she said.

十哩广场地段Ten Mile Junction投标价格太低不发售

《联合早报》Apr 26, 2008

新加坡市区重建局以“投标价格太低”为理由,决定不将武吉班让的十哩广场(Ten Mile Junction)招标地段,发售给出价最高的Peak Green公司。



把已建成的商业项目出售,供发展商加建私人住宅,有别于市建局一般的售地做法。同时,这也是当局首次出售轻轨列车站上方的地段供住宅发展用途。  由于这幅地段的位置,是在现有的三层垫楼(购物商场)上方,再发展另外四层楼的私人住宅单位或是服务公寓,因此,分析师认为,建筑成本很难估算,需视设计而定。

分析师当时也认为,这幅地段的投标价格,是除了因投标价格(容积率每平方英尺78元)太低,而没有颁发的裕廊西西林道(Westwood Avenue)地段外,近几年来出现的最低标价之一。


然而,同样是短期办公楼地段,不同地段获得的待遇就截然不同。前天招标截止的史格士路(Scotts Road)、只有15年地契的短期办公楼地段,就吸引了八方人马进场争夺,竞争异常激烈。

市建局昨天也将这个短期办公楼地段,颁给出价最高的大华继显(UOB Kay Hian)贸易,其标价是3400万元,相等于容积率每平方英尺242.5元,刷新了过去九个月来所有短期办公楼地段的投标价格。

额外公积金房屋津贴 至上月底6100家庭受惠

《联合早报》Apr 27, 2008


建屋发展局前年推出额外公积金房屋津贴(Additional CPF Housing Grant),让首次购买组屋的中下收入阶层获得援助,减轻购屋负担。