Thursday, January 15, 2009

Private Home Sales Dip

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 15, 2009

ONLY 131 new private homes were sold last month, down from 193 in November, but up from 118 in October, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday.

Developers launched just 157 units last month, down from 382 in November and from 174 in October when the property sales sank to lows last seen in 2003 Sars period. - ST PHOTO

Developers launched just 157 units last month, down from 382 in November and from 174 in October when the property sales sank to lows last seen in 2003 Sars period.

A total of 442 units were sold in the fourth quarter of last year, just a tad above the 427 units sold in the first quarter of 2003 when the Sars outbreak crippled economic activity.

The top-seller in December was the 104-unit Newton Edge in Makeway Avenue. Developer Macly Capital sold 43 units in December at a median price of $1,200 per square foot.

The 88-unit development Nova 88 in Balestier did relatively well, with 10 units sold at a median price of $988 psf.

Most of the other projects managed to sell less than three units each.

Buyers, Sellers At Impasse

Source : TODAY, Thursday, January 15, 2009

Owners still asking for sky-high prices while bank valuations fall

A DOWNTURN is usually the time for bargain-hunters to snap up properties on the cheap. But for now at least, the reality could not be more different, as prospective buyers discover.

Said Ms K Chan, a HDB dweller looking to upgrade to a condo: “I thought this would be a good time to pick up a good bargain. But owners are still asking for sky-high prices.”

According to industry players, the volume of transactions in the last month or so has dropped to a level only witnessed during the Sars outbreak when the market was practically frozen.

The reason? A growing gap between falling bank valuations — which determine how large a bank loan buyers can take — and high asking prices by highly-geared sellers needing to pay off their outstanding loans.

A random check by Today on 15 homes for sale — condos and various landed property types spread across the island — found stark differences between what owners are asking for and preliminary valuations by independent professionals.

While it is normal for initial asking prices to be higher than the conservative value banks attach to a property, in six cases that Today found, the valuations were less than two-thirds of the asking price.

For instance, while an owner of a four-storey bungalow in Holland Grove Drive was asking for $ 7.2 million, his property was valued at just $3.3m. Likewise, a Caribbean at Keppel Bay unit valued at about $700,000 was being touted for sale for $1.1m.

‘Better for sellers to cut losses now’

Property agent Michael Leong lamented: “It’s very difficult to negotiate deals these days. Both sellers and buyers would hesitate for really long and in the end, they still cannot agree on the price.”

Chesterton Suntec International director Colin Tan said the property bull-run of yesteryear – which pushed prices to record levels – has resulted in once-overly-bullish investors held hostage by the large loans they undertook.

HSR Property Group executive director Eric Cheng thinks this is especially so in the luxury segment, where “people are more likely to be highly geared and own more than one property”.

For sellers unwilling to budge on their asking price, the latest Citigroup report on the property market makes for grim reading.

The bank forecasts mid-tier to high-end residential property prices here to fall another 35 per cent, bringing “prices back to 1998 levels”. For prices of luxury properties such as Ardmore Park, the fall would be even steeper – up to 60 per cent from their peaks two years ago, Citi estimates.

Noting the current general scarcity of cash, Mr Tan said: “For sellers, maybe it’s better for them to cut losses now, rather than take a bigger loss later on. But sometimes you have geared up so much, the situation is out of your hands – you are stuck.”

‘Buyers can wait’

Before buying a property, buyers can request from banks a preliminary valuation – determined by an independent professional – which estimates a property’s open market value.

Such a valuation takes into account, among other factors, recent transactions and property launches in the vicinity. The banks would then carry out a final valuation onsite before granting a loan, capped at 90 per cent of the purchase price or valuation, whichever is lower.

According to Mr Cheng, the final valuations usually do not veer much from the preliminary ones. In rare cases, banks may increase their valuation – by up to 20 per cent – to match the asking price, provided they are convinced of the buyers’ ability to finance the loan, he said.

Still, the lack of activity in the property market, to some extent, means valuers are groping in the dark when setting the property value. “A lot of it is based on gut-feel,” said Mr Cheng.

But Mr Dennis Ng, spokesman for mortgage consultancy portal, believes that valuations accurately reflect current dire sentiments. He predicts the impasse will be broken in the second half of the year – when it becomes a buyers’ market. “Ultimately one party will give way,” said Mr Ng.

For now, Chesterton Suntec International’s Mr Tan has this advice for prospective buyers: “You can afford to wait. Only go (into a transaction) when it is a property you really like and it is within your affordability.”

UOL Group Makes Bid For UIC

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 15, 2009

Firm controlled by Wee Cho Yaw offers $1.20 a share for stake

UOL Group has triggered the biggest corporate play since the financial crisis flared last year by offering to buy United Industrial Corp (UIC) in a deal that values the real estate developer at $1.6 billion.

UOL, a property firm controlled by United Overseas Bank (UOB) chairman Wee Cho Yaw, will pay $1.20 a share for the stake it does not already own in UIC, according to a filing on the Singapore Exchange yesterday.

That is a 9.1 per cent premium to UIC's last traded price of $1.10.

UOL Equity Investments - a wholly owned unit of UOL - and the relevant parties, including UOB, Haw Par Corp and Mr Wee himself, now own about 29 per cent of UIC.

Under the proposed deal, UOL Equity Investments has agreed to acquire 15.86 million UIC shares, or 1.2 per cent of the issued shares, from unnamed sellers.

This means UOL and the relevant parties will own about 30.2 per cent of UIC. As they have crossed the 30 per cent mark, they will have to make a mandatory general offer with the aim of reaching a controlling stake of more than 50 per cent.

UOL and UIC clearly have areas of common interest, and a merger could spell dividends.

The jewel in the UIC crown is its 72.4 per cent stake in listed property group Singapore Land (SingLand), which owns various office and retail properties, including the Marina Square shopping mall.

UOL has a stable of properties in Singapore and abroad, including Odeon Towers, Faber House, Novena Square, United Square, as well as Grand Plaza Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur and Grand Plaza Parkroyal Penang in Malaysia.

If, for instance, UOL and the relevant parties accumulate more than 50 per cent of UIC, the offer turns unconditional, which means the deal will have to go through, being no longer dependent on any conditions to succeed.

In such a scenario, UOL will also be required to make a mandatory takeover offer for SingLand at $3.57.

Market watchers think that UOL's offer of $1.20 per share is too low.

While UIC stock has plunged from its year-high of $3.17 last June, its net asset value per share as at Sept 30 stood at $2.48. At $1.20 a share, UOL is getting a 'bargain', they say.

Earlier this month, Filipino tycoon John Gokongwei raised his stake in UIC to 35.05 per cent after his investment vehicle, Telegraph Developments, bought 500,000 shares at an average price of $1.085 each.

This was on top of purchases of 1.095 million shares at between $1.002 and $1.085 apiece that Mr Gokongwei, who is UIC's deputy chairman, made in December.

Two questions come to mind.

Why is Mr Wee offering such a low price for UIC, even after factoring in market conditions that have dragged down asset valuations?

'He could have offered $2, or slightly more. Shareholders may have been more inclined to accept,' said a fund manager.

One argument is that Mr Wee, an astute banker and dealmaker, wants to pay as little as possible and may be looking for distressed sellers who need cash.

Other UIC shareholders include JG Summit Holdings, Morgan Stanley and Fullerton Fund Management Company, a wholly owned unit of Temasek Holdings.

JG Summit Holdings is the holding company of JG Summit Philippines, which in turn is the holding company of Telegraph Developments.

For one thing, Mr Gokongwei is unlikely to accept the offer.

He made a takeover bid for UIC in 2005, after his stake rose above the 30 per cent mandatory takeover trigger.

His offer was at $1.09 a share, which then prompted Merrill Lynch, the independent financial adviser to UIC's independent directors, to say it 'is not fair from a financial point of view'.

Though the bid failed, it allowed Mr Gokongwei to accumulate up to 1 per cent of UIC's share capital in any six-month period without triggering further mandatory takeover offers.

The second question surfaces: What exactly is Mr Wee up to?

There is no doubt he sees something in UIC. UOL has said the deal would allow it to 'better align' the strategic objectives of UIC with its own.

If Mr Wee wanted to 'prise away' UIC, UOL would have come up with a higher bid, but the fact that it did not leaves some observers to believe that UOL's move is purely tactical.

'In merger and acquisition, you never show your best hand,' an investment banker said.

Mr Wee's UOL could even end up doing a Mr Gokongwei-style takeover, suggested one observer, gradually nibbling away at UIC and shoring up stakes in the property-based conglomerate so long as the 1 per cent threshold is not breached in any six-month period. It remains to be seen what Mr Gokongwei will do.

UOL said yesterday it does not intend to revise the offer price 'except that the offerer reserves the right to do so in a competitive situation'.

An analyst said: 'I would love for Mr Gokongwei to trump the bid. It sends a strong signal to the market that there are people who aren't bothered by the credit crunch and can look to long-term growth in the Singapore property market.'

UOL Makes Bid For UIC

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 14, 2009

UOL Group , a property firm controlled by United Overseas Bank Chairman Wee Cho Yaw, on Wednesday offered to buy United Industrial Corp (UIC) in a deal that values UIC around S$1.6 billion.

UOL, which currently controls 30.2 per cent of UIC, will pay $1.20 for every UIC share it does not own, according to a filing on the Singapore Exchange.

That represents a premium of 9.1 per cent over UIC's last traded price of $1.10 a share. The shares were suspended earlier on Wednesday.

David Lum, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research, said it appeared UIC's major shareholders believed the company to be significantly undervalued.

'Do I see that happening in other companies? Yes. If you know the intrinsic value of your assets, which has been grossly undervalued in the market, you could acquire those assets,' he said.

Shares in UIC, which is part-owned by the Wee family, have fallen from a 12-month high of $3.17 in June last year.

UOL owns various properties in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Australia and Myanmar as well as the firm that manages the Pan Pacific hotel chain. Its current market capitalisation is around $1.75 billion.

'As the principal activities of the UOL Group and the UIC Group are substantially the same, UOL is of the view that the offer represents an opportunity to better align the strategic objectives' of the two firms, UIC said in the filing.

UIC's main asset is its 72.4 per cent stake in another listed company called Singapore Land (SingLand) , which owns various office and retail properties including Singapore's Marina Square shopping mall.

According to UOL, it will be required to make an offer for SingLand at $3.57 a share if or when its offer for UIC becomes unconditional. SingLand shares were last traded at $3.42 apiece.

UOL is being advised in its takeover bid by United Overseas Bank, DBS and ANZ. -- THOMSON REUTERS

Help For Centris Condo Buyers

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 14, 2009

Developer offers to help secure bank financing, in bid to avoid defaults

DEVELOPERS of a Jurong condominium project have offered to help buyers secure bank financing for their units in a bid to head off any defaults or fire sales.

Those who bought at the launch of The Centris in 2006 but have yet to secure financing can meet loan officers from the three local banks at a roadshow organised by the developer this weekend.

The Centris, in Jurong, was offered under the deferred payment scheme and well before the market weakened. -- ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

Prime Point Realty Development is taking a proactive approach because the 610-unit project was offered under the deferred payment scheme and well before the market weakened.

With deferred payment, buyers secure a unit with a small amount paid up front - 10 to 20 per cent of the purchase price. The rest is due once the building gets its temporary occupation permit (TOP).

That will be around June, but the rapid deterioration in the economy, falling home prices and tightening of credit markets may have left some buyers at risk of not meeting their full payment.

The added danger is that this could result in fire sales or eventual defaults.

It has prompted Prime Point Realty to write to buyers asking if they want loan advice. About 250 buyers who have yet to obtain loans or who are keen on switching to a better loan rate have responded.

The roadshow with United Overseas Bank, DBS and OCBC will be held this weekend at Jurong Point, which is linked to The Centris.

'(It will) make it very convenient for our purchasers to discuss their end-financing arrangements if they have yet to do so. We believe that this is the prudent thing to do,' said Mr Michael Leong, executive director of Guthrie Properties, one of the partners in the Prime Point Realty joint venture.

The others are Lee Kim Tah Holdings and TMW PCCW, a German investment fund managed by Pramerica Real Estate Investors (Asia).

Representatives from property firm ERA, which marketed The Centris launch, will also attend the roadshow. ERA can help sell the units of buyers who cannot get sufficient financing.

The roadshow initiative has baffled one property consultant, who said The Centris was launched at a low price. He said the developer's risk of being hit by defaults or being stuck with returned units is small compared with projects launched at the height of the market.

It is also a mass-market condo that would have attracted mostly owner-occupiers, added the consultant.

Prime Point Realty's risks are limited to the original buyers as the developer does not offer the deferred payment scheme for sub-sales.

The 99-year leasehold condo sits on top of the new extension of Jurong Point mall and is near the Boon Lay MRT station and bus interchange.

It was first sold at an average of just below $500 per sq ft (psf). Its launch came before home prices peaked in 2007 and current price levels are still hovering above launch prices.

Sales registered last month show prices of between $557 psf and $610 psf. One of them, a $561 psf deal, netted the seller a profit of about $130,000 as he had bought cheap during the preview.

'If any of the buyers have problems financing their units and want to sell at (the launch price), there will be a ready pool of buyers out there,' said a property agent, who declined to be named.

Property values in Jurong are expected to be supported by government plans to transform the area into a bustling lakeside hub for business and leisure, he said.

Smaller HDB Flats Still In Big Demand

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 14, 2009

Two- and three-roomers draw over 11 applications each in latest exercise

RED-HOT demand for Housing Board homes, especially smaller flat types, has not been dampened by the gloomy economic outlook.

In fact, the recession seems to have added to their allure. The HDB's latest quarterly sales of three-room and smaller flats this month received more than 11 applications for every flat on offer.

An artist's impression of Punggol Regalia, a new HDB project that enjoyed robust demand in last month's build-to-order sales. -- PHOTO: HOUSING BOARD

This month's balloting exercise received 1,692 applications for 150 two- and three-room flats in mature estates.

Such flats have generally been popular because they are ready to move into, and are located in established towns.

But new flats are proving popular too. HDB's late-December build-to-order (BTO) sales at new projects Punggol Regalia and Sunshine Court in Choa Chu Kang also enjoyed robust demand.

This is despite the fact that such BTO flats - built only when a certain level of demand is reached - typically take three years or more to be ready.

HDB's latest figures, on its website yesterday, showed 4,381 applications were received for the 1,181 flats on offer, ranging from studio apartments to five-roomers.

The most popular, however, were the 171 four-room flats in Choa Chu Kang - ranging from $202,000 to $236,000 - which attracted 1,400 bids.

A similar trend was seen in the HDB's BTO sales launch for Dew Spring @ Yishun last month. The 864 two- to four-room flats received 2,289 applications, with four-roomers being the most popular, getting 1,579 applications for 504 flats.

Analysts say that recent sales trends were not surprising, given that home buyers tend to favour smaller flats in gloomier times and four-room flats are best suited to most families.

Property agency PropNex's CEO Mohamed Ismail said that demand for small flat types 'will be sustained as long as the economy is in the doldrums'. He added that 'people generally don't want to over-commit, but still need homes. So smaller flats are highly sought after'.

One emerging trend he identified was the narrowing of the price gap between four- and five-room flats.

More executive and five-room units will sell below value, so prices for these flat types will come down sooner or later.

But as small flat types enjoy great demand, he does not anticipate price drops despite the current recession.

Mr Ismail recalled that during the 2003 recession, a four-roomer in Woodlands cost about $270,000 to $280,000 - only $20,000 to $30,000 less than a five-room home. This gulf, in good times, is typically at least $70,000, HDB data shows.

ERA Asia-Pacific associate director Eugene Lim reckons HDB prices will hold for some time, as 'its price movements move slowly and marginally'. He said: 'It took some time to go up, so similarly, it will also take some time before it goes down. If the downturn drags on, then yes, we will see a quicker pace of decline.'

HSBC Expects Sharp Rebound For Singapore

Source : The Business Times, January 14, 2009

Economy could grow as much as 5.5% in 2010, from 1.2% contraction this year

SINGAPORE will be among the worst-hit Asian economies this year, but it is also likely to be one of the earliest to rebound strongly, HSBC economists said yesterday.

Another point of view: The Singapore government expects a slow recovery from the current downturn, instead of the more rapid rebound that HSBC is forecasting

Strong policy measures here and elsewhere, as well as sharply lower commodity prices, will support investment and consumer demand in the region, likely leading to a pickup in economic activity here in the second half of the year, said Robert Prior-Wandesforde, the bank's senior Asian economist based in Singapore.

'History suggests that when the economy does turn, it turns sharply,' he told reporters at a briefing.

He expects Singapore's economic output - as measured by gross domestic product or GDP - to shrink by 1.2 per cent for the full year - but believes that the economy will have begun to expand again by the fourth quarter.

He predicts that in 2010, the economy will be growing rapidly once more, expanding by 5.5 per cent for the full year.

The government's own economic forecast is for a contraction of up to 2 per cent or growth of up to one per cent this year, though it expects a slow recovery from the current downturn, instead of the more rapid rebound that HSBC is forecasting.

Many private-sector economists are already more bearish than that. Deutsche Bank's chief economist for Asia, Michael Spencer, suggested earlier this week that Singapore's economy could contract 4.5 per cent this year, the worst slump in full-year GDP ever.

But Mr Prior-Wandesforde said that measures expected to be announced in the Singapore Budget next week, and stimulus plans by other countries in Asia, should help to boost region-wide demand for goods and services later in the year, paving the way for a recovery in the economy.

Singapore is also likely to benefit from the recent steep falls in the price of oil and other commodities, which should mean more disposable income for people to spend on other goods and services, he added.

Separately, Stephen King, HSBC's group chief economist told BT yesterday that he was optimistic that the concerted economic stimulus packages announced by countries worldwide, including the US and China, would cushion the impact of the financial crisis on economic activity - at least temporarily.

But Mr King, who was in Singapore to meet the bank's clients here, added that he was worried about a rise in protectionism that could damage future economic prospects worldwide.

'The danger of a knee-jerk reaction is that globalisation goes into reverse,' he said. 'If we move into a more protectionist environment, that will point to lower long-term growth.'

Harder Knock Seen For Property Prices

Source : The Business Times, January 14, 2009

Citigroup, Goldman downgrade most of real estate stocks covered to 'sell'

EXPECTING the 'worst recession in Singapore's history', Citigroup now believes that property prices could fall even lower than forecast so far.

It also recommends a 'sell' for property stocks covered (save one), saying that while these have recovered 30 per cent from 2008 lows, 'the current rally is not sustainable'.

Office sector: Citigroup now expects prime Grade A office rents to fall by another 60 per cent over the next two years, up from its earlier forecast of 50 per cent

Citigroup recommends a 'buy' for Allgreen, saying that it offers a relatively high yield of about 6.5 per cent.

Goldman Sachs has also downgraded property stocks covered to 'sell' (save one - although a different one).

It said: 'With developers remaining reluctant to take losses to clear inventory and an environment where NAV expansion will likely be difficult, there is little room for multiples to expand - implying that stocks could be range-bound for most of 2009.'

Goldman Sachs believes, however, that CapitaLand is more likely than its peers to generate NAV growth in the next three years, given its diversified business model and capacity to benefit from the current market environment.

In the high-end segment, Citigroup says that properties such as Ardmore Park have seen price corrections of about 35 per cent from a year ago but still reckons prices could fall by another 30-40 per cent this year to reach 2003 and 1998 levels. This would imply a 55-60 per cent decline from the peak in 2007.

Similarly for the mid-tier segment, Citigroup believes a further price decline of around 35 per cent is possible, amounting to a 45 per cent decline from 2007 levels, while the mass-market segment could fall by another 10-15 per cent.

Its forecasts represent declines of around 10 percentage points lower than the most pessimistic forecasts to date.

But this is on the back of the worse-than-expected economic data which has prompted Citigroup to revise growth estimates with the GDP now forecast to contract by 2.8 per cent this year, surpassing the Asian financial crisis (-1.4 per cent) and the 2001 tech recession (-2.4 per cent).

Of greater concern to Citigroup analyst Wendy Koh is the possibility of more distress sales due to the deferred payment scheme (DPS).

Compounded by falling property values and banks offering loans at lower loan-to-valuation ratios, Ms Koh says: 'This could potentially add further woes to the already weak residential market. Developers might have to consider offering top-up loans to such buyers.'

In its analysis of recently revealed DPS numbers, Phillip Securities Research said that of the 4,560 units expected to be completed this year, it is most likely that the units were bought at the lower 2006 prices. As such, these buyers will still be able to make a small profit, if any.

However, of the 2,540 DPS units to be completed in 2010, most would have been bought at the higher 2007 prices, when the URA price index went up by a hefty 28.1 per cent.

'Those who bought in 2007 and later will encounter losses as the prices had risen by huge amounts and price correction would take place in 2009,' it added.

Not spared either is the office sector. Citigroup's Ms Koh says: 'Pre-commitments aside, new supply coming on-stream in the next 12-18 months are unlikely to secure any tenants.'

Citigroup now expects prime Grade A office rents to fall by another 60 per cent over the next two years, up from its earlier forecast of 50 per cent.

And this only if net space given up in 2009 is about 50,000 square feet.

If this figure is higher, Citigroup believes islandwide occupancy could test the historic low of $4.50 per square foot.

Empty Rooms, Falling Rates May Dog Hotels

Source : The Business Times, January 14, 2009

Hoteliers eye leisure visitors as corporate business set to fall

Hotels in Singapore are in for hard times, with analysts saying that double digit falls in room rates and occupancies could be on the cards in 2009.

Hospitality consulting firm HVS International expects revenue per available room (RevPAR) to decrease to $171 in 2009 and $154 in 2010 - from about $203 in 2008. This translates to falls of 15.8 per cent in 2009 and 9.9 per cent in 2010. In 2007, RevPAR was $175.

Likewise, marketwide occupancy is expected to see negative growth during the first half of 2009, although HVS expects the market to gain momentum in the middle to late 2009.

Marketwide occupancies will fall to 75 per cent and 72 per cent by 2009 and 2010 respectively, HVS said. By contrast, occupancy for 2008 is estimated to be 82 per cent. 'Looking forward, an increase in supply not met by demand levels will lead to decreased occupancy projections,' said David Ling, HVS managing director for Asia.

Bill Barnett, managing director of hospitality consulting firm C9 Hotelworks, also has a sombre set of numbers. 'ARRs (average room rates) look to retreat back to the levels in 2006. RevPAR is forecasted to decline in double digits. Occupancies are set to decline in the region of 7-10 per cent,' Mr Barnett predicted.

And in a Dec 18 note, DBS Group Research estimated that RevPAR will drop by 15 per cent this year from FY 2008 levels.

Hotels BT spoke to said that so far, they are holding rates firm. However, many are offering packages to draw leisure travellers as business from corporate travellers is expected to fall this year.

Hoteliers are certainly aware that tough times are ahead. 'There is a definite softening of the market, in line with the global economic slowdown,' observed Ignacio Gomez, regional vice-president and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. Similarly, a spokesperson for Hong Leong Group said that 2009 is expected to be a 'very challenging' year.

The Royal Plaza on Scotts told BT that it expects room rates to decline by 5 per cent this year, while occupancy is forecasted to come in one percentage point lower.

The main problem is the expected drop-off in tourism numbers. DBS, for example, forecasted that the global slowdown in travel could drag visitor arrivals for this year 4 to 6 per cent lower than 2008 levels and 10 per cent from the record 10.5 million visitors registered in 2007.

'This is in line with previous down-cycles in 1997-1998 and 2001- 2003, which declined 2-13 per cent,' the firm said.

To aggravate the situation, the hospitality industry will also see a fresh injection of supply as various new hotels open their doors. Total room stock is expected to grow by 12,000 rooms between now and 2012, of which about 40 per cent was slated for 2009, DBS reckons.

However, given the hefty construction costs coupled with the credit crunch, completion delays are pushing back launch dates - which could help cushion the impact somewhat.

For instance, NTUC Club's 200-room Palawan Beach Resort, which was initially supposed to open last year, has been delayed while Far East Organization's Quincy hotel will see a Q1 2009 opening instead of 2008 as originally planned. As such, the main supply looks set to come only towards the end of 2009 and 2010, with a large chunk stemming from the 2,600-room Marina Bay Sands.

Hotels also appear to be holding on to their staff for now. Four Seasons' Mr Gomez, for example, said that it will continue to hire talent as required and will not compromise on its service standards. The Royal Plaza on Scotts has no plans to trim its workforce either. 'In the weakening economy, it is still our top priority to provide our guests with a comfortable stay. The hotel will ensure that training, and staff development and growth are consistently maintained,' said general manager Patrick Fiat.

Hotels are also expected to undertake various measures to fill rooms - such as tying up with various credit card brands to offer discounts, tweaking its client mix as well as cutting room rates to remain competitive. 'Hotel operators need to try to match guests' expectations of paying lower room rates or creating value add propositions in order to retain market share,' said C9 Hotelworks' Mr Barnett.

Keeping a watchful eye on costs can also go a long way. To combat the slower growth rate for its hotels in Asia, Hong Leong early on embarked on efforts to manage costs and streamline operations, so as to adapt to the changing market conditions. 'As a result, we managed t1/4o achieve revenue and earnings,' a spokesperson said. 'We will continue to evaluate our portfolio for improvement to remain competitive.'

受经济不景影响 勿洛私人组屋计划再延后

Source : 《联合早报》January 15, 2009








至于之前已让公众选购组屋的碧山项目怡然阁(Natura Loft),发展商中国青建地产公司昨天刊登促销广告,购屋者有机会在“买组屋,送汽车”的幸运抽奖中赢取轿车。

发展项目常务副总经理李俊受访时说,购屋者有机会赢取一辆福士伟根(Volkswagen)Tiguan休旅车及Beetle Cabriolet轿车,它们的市价各约9万元(不包括拥车证)。“对发展商来说,这样的数目不算多,主要是希望可以回馈顾客和刺激需求。”





Dennis Wee房地产经纪行董事许家荣说,黯淡的经济前景已导致买主市场(Buyers' market)出现,发展商必须各出奇招吸引买家。