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Real Estate Daily News

2, 3, 4 & 5 April 2021 ( Fri, Sat, Sun & Mon)
2021

Singapore Real Estate

HDB Q1 resale prices up 8% yoy, with 53 million-dollar flats sold
Housing Board resale prices rose for a fourth consecutive quarter, climbing 2.8 per cent in the first three months of this year over the previous quarter, according to HDB flash estimates released on Thursday. Year on year, resale prices were up by 8 per cent. Last quarter's HDB resale prices are also just 5 per cent lower than their peak price recorded in the second quarter of 2013, said Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie's senior vice-president of research and analytics.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/hdb-q1-resale-prices-up-8-yoy-with-53-million-dollar-flats-sold
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/hdb-resale-prices-climb-28-53-million-dollar-flats-sold-in-q1

Sharp rise in prices for HDB resale flats, private homes
The housing market turned in a robust performance in the first quarter of the year, with prices of both private homes and Housing Board resale flats climbing smartly. The prices of private homes went up for the fourth straight quarter, rising 2.9 per cent in the first three months of this year from the previous quarter, thanks to costlier city-fringe homes and a strong market for landed homes.
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/sharp-rise-in-prices-for-hdb-resale-flats-private-homes

What new code of conduct means for landlords and tenants
An industry-led committee has come up with a code of conduct to guide fair tenancy practices. This is an attempt to resolve long-standing issues between landlords and tenants that bubbled over last year during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee has also recommended to the Government that there be laws to oblige landlords and tenants to follow the code, which was released on March 26. In response, the Government said it supports the recommendation and will be working closely with the industry on the details of potential legislation.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/what-new-code-of-conduct-means-for-landlords-and-tenants
 

Singapore Economy

MAS not expected to intervene given benign inflation forecasts
More than a year has passed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. While we are now more optimistic that better days are ahead, the fight is not yet over. Much more needs to go right for us to be sure that we are entering the final stage of the battle to beat Covid-19. Traditionally, as we move into the recovery and growth phase of an economic cycle, we can expect to see an uptick in inflation from increased consumption of goods and services amid a tighter labour market.
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/mas-not-expected-to-intervene-given-benign-inflation-forecasts

MAS tipped to wait for 2022 to normalise monetary policy
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will probably wait until next year to normalise its currency settings, economists have told The Business Times - although they have not ruled out a tightening in October. The consensus is for the central bank to retain its neutral Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER) stance at this month's half-yearly policy meeting, even as core inflation inched into positive territory in February after a year underwater.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/mas-tipped-to-wait-for-2022-to-normalise-monetary-policy
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/mas-expected-to-stand-pat-on-singdollar-policy-amid-growth-risks-from-covid-19
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/mas-expected-to-leave-singdollar-policy-unchanged
 

Companies' Brief

Dentons expanding Asean footprint
With already 12,000 lawyers in 80 countries, the world's largest law firm Dentons is still expanding its footprint, notwithstanding the pandemic. A firm each in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines is expected to combine with the network this year, Dentons global vice-chair and Asean CEO Gerald Singham said. The 59-year-old helmsman, who leads Dentons offices in Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia, told The Business Times that Laos, Brunei and Cambodia will come on board "very fast" after the combination takes place in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/dentons-expanding-asean-footprint

UIC proposes name change to Singapore Land in group-wide refresh
The proposed name change of United Industrial Corp (UIC) to Singapore Land Group is more than a cosmetic change, says chief operating officer (COO) Jonathan Eu. The real estate developer also has plans to rejuvenate and gentrify its aged office portfolio, as well as kick-start its ESG (environmental, social, and governance) roadmap.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/uic-proposes-name-change-to-singapore-land-in-group-wide-refresh

S-Reits seek out green and sustainability-linked loans
IN 2020, global sustainable debt issuance surpassed US$700 billion, up from US$566 billion in 2019, according to BloombergNEF. The notion of sustainable debt, which started off with an initial focus on green bonds, has evolved significantly in the last few years. The scope of sustainable debt has expanded to include instruments such as sustainability-linked and social bonds, as well as green and sustainable-linked loans.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/s-reits-seek-out-green-and-sustainability-linked-loans
 

Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Towards fair tenancy practices
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS)

This Code of Conduct on retail tenancies sets out the key terms to bridge some major differences between landlords and tenants with the aim to ensure fairness between both parties. It is important to have clear guidelines and negotiation principles for landlords and tenants in order to create a healthy retail ecosystem that promotes the industry's long-term growth.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/views-from-the-top/towards-fair-tenancy-practices

Long border closure highlights importance of Singapore-Johor ties
More than a year since the Causeway was closed early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Asean neighbours Singapore and Malaysia continue to work towards the wider restoration of cross-border travel. One might wonder, however, if the long closure has caused any rethinking of the long-standing ties between Singapore and the state of Johor in particular.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/opinion/long-border-closure-highlights-importance-of-singapore-johor-ties

Covid has been a catastrophe. Can it also be an opportunity?
Financial Times - "What does not kill me makes me stronger." Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's aphorism is inspiring - although as anyone suffering from long Covid can tell you, it is not always true. Sometimes what does not kill you just makes you weaker. Does Nietzsche's maxim apply to the economy? Will the catastrophic impact of the pandemic produce a great flourishing in response? Or is a disaster simply a disaster?
https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/covid-has-been-a-catastrophe-can-it-also-be-an-opportunity

As prices rise across supply chains, will inflation come for you too?
There’s an under-appreciated side effect of all the disruptions across global supply chains: the cost of producing and distributing everything from furniture and foam to cars and machinery is rising. While that has thrown off the plans of companies, the effect on consumer wallets is much more subtle and uneven - for now.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/opinion/as-prices-rise-across-supply-chains-will-inflation-come-for-you-too

Job support hitting the right spots
The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI), a wage subsidy scheme launched in September last year and extended till this September with an additional allocation, provides an important structure of employment support for pandemic-hit Singaporeans now that the Jobs Support Scheme has lapsed for several sectors. The JGI has spurred many companies to hire more locals, including mature workers, across different sectors.
https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/st-editorial/job-support-hitting-the-right-spots

Investing in the millennial economy
Millennials are the biggest demographic wave in history. They are also the world's most powerful consumer force, as they have more spending power than any other age group. Born between 1980 and 1999, the millennial generation or Gen Y grew up as "digital natives", resulting in very different spending and lifestyle preferences compared to previous generations.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/wealth-investing/investing-in-the-millennial-economy

Navigating the recovery trade is getting a whole lot trickier
The easy part of the recovery trade may be over. Global markets look to have reached a turning point in their rebound from pandemic lows. In previous phases there was an unusual cohesion of views around havens like gold and the stay-at-home trade, followed by bets on a value rotation and steepening yield curve. What comes next is much less clear.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/wealth-investing/navigating-the-recovery-trade-is-getting-a-whole-lot-trickier

Here come hot desks and zoom rooms. And holograms?
Since the pandemic sent workers home last year, a slew of modifications have been made to office buildings to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Now, as companies prepare to bring workers back, experts say even more changes are on the way. Expect expanded gathering spaces and fewer personal workstations, for instance, changes that are being fuelled by the success of working from home. Companies such as Google, Microsoft and Walmart have already announced proposals for hybrid work models that will allow employees to continue to work remotely at least a few days a week.
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/leadership-management/here-come-hot-desks-and-zoom-rooms-and-holograms
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/invest/here-come-hot-desks-zoom-rooms-and-holograms

How to avoid investment scams: 6 red flags and tips from experts
Singapore - To avoid losing their hard-earned money, consumers should learn how to spot investment scams. Here are a few red flags and tips from the experts:
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/how-to-avoid-investment-scams
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/promised-big-returns-only-to-leave-many-high-and-dry
 

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

10 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore, all imported
There were 10 new coronavirus cases confirmed yesterday, taking Singapore's total to 60,478. All of the cases were imported, with eight of them asymptomatic and detected from screening and surveillance, while two were symptomatic. They were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/10-new-covid-19-cases-in-singapore-all-imported-1

Stay vigilant in fight against Covid-19: Lawrence Wong
Singaporeans should remain vigilant in the country's fight against the Covid-19 outbreak and not be complacent, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday. "And we must never assume that we have seen the end of the pandemic, and that victory is in sight, or that we can relax and start letting our guard down," he added. The minister was speaking at the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Singapore Sikh Education Foundation (SSEF) at the Singapore Khalsa Association, where he was the guest of honour.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/community/stay-vigilant-in-fight-against-covid-19-lawrence-wong
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/dont-let-sacrifices-go-to-waste-minister

Singapore's handling of Covid-19 pandemic key feature in its human rights report to UN
Singapore - Singapore's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic featured prominently in the country's latest report to the United Nations, submitted as part of a routine review of each member state's human rights record. During the crisis, Singapore took steps to protect low-income and vulnerable residents, including migrant workers in dormitories, it said, adding that economic and social support measures were also put in place to protect businesses and individuals.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapores-handling-of-covid-19-pandemic-key-feature-in-human-rights-report-to-united

Operators gear up to host bigger groups at performances, weddings
Event organisers and venue operators have started preparing for bigger groups, following the announcement last week that capacity limits will be raised for weddings, pilot live performances and spectator sports from April 24. The Star Performing Arts Centre is in talks with venue hirers, including concert promoters, to see how they can have up to 750 people at their events safely, said its spokesman Azlina Ahmad.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/operators-gear-up-to-host-bigger-groups-at-performances-weddings
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/events-sector-ready-for-more
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/zoning-restrictions-at-performance-venues-to-be-eased-from-april-24

Mice industry players cheer raised capacity limits, but some worry about costs
Singapore - While industry players in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) sector welcome the move to increase capacity limits at events, some are also concerned about the additional cost that comes with managing more people. On March 24, the Health Ministry announced that capacity limits for Mice events will be increased to 750 people, up from 250 people, from April 24. Attendees will have to be split into zones of up to 50 people each and safe distancing has to be observed.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/consumer/mice-industry-players-welcome-capacity-increase-but-some-worried-about-costs

Levies for S Pass and work permit holders waived during SHN
Foreign worker levies for S Pass and work permit holders, including those for foreign domestic workers, will be waived for their stay-home notice (SHN) period from January to September this year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday. This is to help employers manage the increased costs associated with the Government's updated measures to reduce the risk of importing Covid-19 into the community, the ministry said in a statement.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/levies-for-s-pass-and-work-permit-holders-waived-during-shn

Asia's great vaccine race
Vaccinating the world against Covid-19 was never going to be an easy task to begin with. But with many countries rolling out vaccination drives, the full scale of the difficulties in getting the job done has become increasingly apparent. Asia - the world's biggest and most diverse continent - is facing a whole host of obstacles in the way of immunising 4.5 billion people in the shortest time possible.
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/asias-great-vaccine-race

HK bars SIA flights from Singapore for 2 weeks after Covid-19 rule breach
Singapore Airlines (SIA) flights departing from the Republic have been barred from landing in Hong Kong for two weeks. The move comes after a transit passenger who arrived in the territory on Wednesday tested positive for Covid-19, while three other passengers on the flight were found to have breached rules for entry to Hong Kong. Yesterday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said the passenger with Covid-19 had tested negative pre-departure.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/hk-bars-sia-flights-from-singapore-for-2-weeks-after-covid-19-rule-breach

Parliament to discuss digital vaccine passport system
Singapore's vaccination programme will feature prominently when Parliament sits on Monday, with MPs asking about digital vaccine passports and whether other priority groups should be considered for the jabs. In all, MPs have filed 16 questions related to vaccination, according to the agenda on the sitting issued by the Clerk of Parliament yesterday.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/parliament-to-discuss-digital-vaccine-passport-system

Staggered work hours already the norm at some companies in Singapore
Singapore - Staggered hours have been the norm at some firms here, as companies prepare to bring more employees back to the office when Covid-19 regulations on workplaces ease on Monday (April 5). The Straits Times spoke to about 10 employers ahead of the eased restrictions that allow up to 75 per cent of workers to return to office. They said that the past year has made them more accepting of office hours being tailored to individual needs.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/staggered-work-hours-already-the-norm-at-some-companies

Cancer patients' Covid-19 dilemma - to jab or not to jab
These days, many of my cancer patients are engaged in a soliloquy much like Shakespeare's Hamlet: To be, or not to be. In their case, they ask: to jab, or not to jab? Cancer patients are agonising over whether or not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/cancer-patients-covid-19-dilemma-to-jab-or-not-to-jab

*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at www.moh.gov.sg and refer to go.gov.sg/mohupdates for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation
 

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US offices expecting workers back from September
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/us-offices-expecting-workers-back-from-september

Job growth in US topped 900,000 in March as hiring broadened
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/job-growth-in-us-topped-900000-in-march-as-hiring-broadened

SoHo residents seek diversity, yet are fighting housing plan
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/soho-residents-seek-diversity-yet-are-fighting-housing-plan

Banks in UK planning to get workers back into the office
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/banks-in-uk-planning-to-get-workers-back-into-the-office

Global factory recovery picks up, but cost pressures grow
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/global-factory-recovery-picks-up-but-cost-pressures-grow-0

World economy risks 'diverging dangerously' even as growth booms
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/world-economy-risks-diverging-dangerously-even-as-growth-booms

Vaccinated people in US can resume leisure travel: CDC
https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/vaccinated-people-in-us-can-resume-leisure-travel-cdc

Trying times for Belgium's scaffold-caged Palace of Justice
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/trying-times-for-belgiums-scaffold-caged-palace-of-justice

China's home buyers suffer as debt-ridden developers fail to finish projects
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/chinas-home-buyers-suffer-as-debt-ridden-developers-fail-to-finish-projects

Japan to expand emergency measures on fears of new strains
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/japan-to-expand-emergency-measures-on-fears-of-new-strains
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/japan-on-brink-of-fourth-wave-amid-mutant-virus-strains

South Korea exports jump 16.6% in March, beating forecasts
https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/south-korea-exports-jump-166-in-march-beating-forecasts

Record-setting Asia IPO boom likely to taper off
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/record-setting-asia-ipo-boom-likely-to-taper-off

Malaysia widens approach to speed up vaccine drive amid slow registrations
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/malaysia-widens-approach-to-speed-up-vaccine-drive-amid-slow-registrations

India's second biggest property IPO set to open next week
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/indias-second-biggest-property-ipo-set-to-open-next-week

Thailand indicators improve in February; domestic recovery expected to continue
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/asean-business/thailand-indicators-improve-in-february-domestic-recovery-expected-to-continue-0

With tourists set to return, Thailand is counting on speedy vaccine rollout
https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/with-tourists-set-to-return-thailand-is-counting-on-speedy-vaccine-rollout

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