17 & 18 Aug 2013


Sinking exports may end year under water

Source: The Business Times

Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) continued to fall in July, but less sharply. International Enterprise Singapore, the government’s trade promotion agency said that the NODX’s 8.9 per cent year-on-year decline in June eased to a 0.7 per cent dip in July. The year-on-year decline in the NODX was because of the contraction in electronics NODX which outweighed the rise in non-electronics NODX.

Link to the story:





Pricing flexibility helping to clinch GCB sales

Source: The Business Times

At least a couple of deals in Good Class Bungalow Areas (GCBAs) have been sealed lately. These include a newly built house on Second Avenue that has been sold for $37 million or $1,851 per sq ft (psf) on a freehold land area of 19,987 sq ft.

Built on an elevated site, the property has six bedrooms (en suite) and a pool. It has a total built-up area of about 18,000 sq ft spread across two storeys as well as a basement big enough to house 12 cars, a library, home-theatre, a gym and an indoor aquarium.

The house is being sold by bungalow investor George Lim, who completed developing the property about 10 months ago.

Another recent deal involves the sale of a 21,388 sq ft freehold vacant site in Leedon Park by a seasoned bungalow trader for $36.88 million or $1,724 psf.

According to the agency firm who handled the two deals, activity has started to return to the GCB market after a knee-jerk reaction last month following the introduction of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework effective June 29. Most of the GCB buyers that the firm is servicing are “upgrading” from a smaller landed home. “These are typically people in the 40-50 year age group, doing well in their businesses, and are Singapore-born citizens.”

Besides buyers returning to the market, what is facilitating transactions now is that sellers have become “more flexible and realistic in their pricing”. The firm is sanguine about the GCB market and believes there will be more transactions this quarter compared with the first two quarters of this year.

Link to the story:


IMG_7586Sturdee Road residential site released on GLS Reserve List

Source: The Business Times

A small residential site at Sturdee Road, which is expected to yield about 265 homes, has been made available for application under the Reserve List of the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme.

The 99-year leasehold plot, which measures about 65,783.6 sq ft, has a maximum gross floor area of about 230,250.6 sq ft. Maximum building height is 30 storeys, or 150 metres above mean sea level. Located at the fringe of the city, the site is also a short drive to Orchard Road, the Central Business District, Marina Bay, and Sentosa. Farrer Park MRT Station is within walking distance.

Link to the story:




Kovan sparkles with new condo launches

Source: The Straits Times

Extra sparkle is being added to the Kovan area with the recent launch of The Tembusu. The freehold 337-unit project is Wing Tai Holdings’ 50th-anniversary development and sits on the site of the company’s former headquarters, about 400m from Kovan MRT station.

Other projects launched in the area in recent years include the 393-unit Kovan Regency in the fourth quarter of last year and 140-unit Bliss @ Kovan in September 2011.

Link to the story:



Much ado about something

Source: The Business Times

Several specialty coffee outlets have opened recently.

This includes Common Man Coffee Roasters, a fortnight-old, 60-seater in Tiong Bahru taking up 2,500 sq ft of space, Drury Lane in Tanjong Pagar Road, Department of Caffeine in Duxton Road, The Coffee Shot in Lavender Street, Craft Bakery & Café at Lorong Mambong, Brawn & Brains in Guillemard Road, Anythingz Café at Tyrwhitt Road and Revolution Coffee in Media Circle.

Link to the story:


New, hip stores in old malls

Source: The Straits Times

Some hip stores have chosen to go off the beaten path and set up shop in malls that have seen better days. Drawn by the low rentals and unique character of the malls, these newcomers have made their home in the past two years in ageing shopping complexes such as Bukit Timah Plaza, Beauty World Centre and Peninsula Shopping Centre.

For example, indie stationery shop Small And Able opened at Peninsula Shopping Centre two months ago, while Ms Ruth Tan, chose to open a craft and language studio in Beauty World Centre last month. Mr Nicholas Lin director of restaurant group Platypus, chose to open his second outlet, called Platypus Family Kitchen, at Bukit Timah Plaza last year.

In general, there are strata owners in older malls who charge between $7.50 and $15 per sq ft (psf) per month, depending on the location, size and floor level of the units. Newer malls in town can charge between $15 and $50 psf per month, while rents at more popular suburban malls can be between $12 and $30 psf per month, also depending on the location, size and floor level of the units.

Link to the story:


Ghim Moh: Stay or go?

Source: The Straits Times

Residents and stallholders are wondering what will happen next year, when the popular Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre place undergoes a revamp. Some popular stalls might move out when the centre closes in June next year for renovations that may last up to 18 months. That is because June is when the 20-year lease expires for the market and food stalls.

These were sold under the Stall Ownership Scheme in 1994. “Improvement works” by the National Environment Agency are scheduled to coincide with the expiry of the lease. After the revamp, stall ownership reverts to the Government and stall holders will have to pay rent.

Only those who own the stalls there will have the option to continue their business after the revamp. Those who are renting from hawkers who own more than one stall do not automatically qualify for space at the revamped market and food centre. They will have to go through the usual tender process if they want a stall at Ghim Moh. Many popular food stalls at Ghim Moh are operated by renters.

Link to the story:



NATAS Travel Fair attracts almost 30,000 visitors in two days

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, Sunday, Page 19

The second NATAS Travel Fair held this year at the Singapore Expo attracted around 28,000 visitors as of 5.30 pm on Saturday August 17.  The three-day event with over 160 exhibitors ends on August 18.  Earlier in the year, the February event saw 53,000 visitors, which is lower than the 62,800 visitors in February 2012.


Boys’ Town opens new $15m centre

Source: The Straits Times

Boy’s Town’s new $15 million centre will help the charity open its gates a little wider.

Previously, its two-storey campus in Upper Bukit Timah Road, which opened in 1948, could house only 60 boys in its single dormitory. The new three-storey centre at the same site, which took two years to build, now has two dormitories of 63 beds for boys aged 11 to 18.

For those aged 16 to 23 who need a place to stay while completing their national service or tertiary studies, there is a 10-bed hostel. Here, they will attend a programme which prepares them for employment. The new centre also has a 10-bed shelter for victims of physical or sexual abuse, who need extra care. The shelter, which admits boys aged nine to 15, has two rooms for families.

Link to the story:



An early start in languages at new Tiong Bahru pre-school

Source: The Business Times

Young, middle-class parents in Tiong Bahru will soon have one more option in early childhood education for their children. Hampton Pre-school, run in partnership by private operator EtonHouse and the PAP Community Foundation, which runs mass-market kindergartens, will open a branch there in January 2014.

Link to the story:



F&N considers setting up hospitality Reit

Source: The Business Times

Fraser & Neave (F&N), the real estate developer that was the target of a takeover battle last year, is considering setting up a real estate investment trust made up of hospitality assets. The company is “still evaluating the feasibility of launching a hospitality Reit”, F&N chief financial officer Hui Choon Kit said. F&N is assessing proposals from investment banks seeking to manage a possible initial public offering of the Reit, which may take place next year, according to a source.

Link to the story:


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