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SPH buys 60% of real estate analytics firm for S$30m

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 3rd November 2014 in Blog

SPH buys 60percent of real estate analytics firm for S$30m

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) has acquired a 60 per cent stake in privately-held CoSine Holdings, the holding company for StreetSine Technology Group which consists of StreetSine Singapore, StreetSine Hong Kong and digital platforms Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) and Hong Kong Real Estate Exchange (HRX), for S$30 million.

StreetSine Singapore will integrate SRX and STProperty into one digital platform to offer consumers and real estate professionals end-to-end real-time information, property applications and other services for transacting real estate in Singapore.

SPH purchased the stake from Sam Baker and Jeremy Lee, the founders of CoSine Holdings, and several other minority shareholders under an agreement inked on Oct 31.

Mr Baker and Mr Lee will maintain a combined stake of 40 per cent in StreetSine and will continue to run the company as chief executive officer and chief technology officer, respectively.

SPH and CoSine’s founders have also entered into a put and call option agreement, whereby SPH has the right to require the founders to sell their 40 per cent interest in CoSine and the founders have the right to require SPH to purchase the option shares subject to the conditions of the agreement.

“StreetSine has set the standards for providing users with real-time pricing information and easy computation like X-ValueTM, the market’s standard for computer-generated real-time property appraisals,” said Leslie Fong, senior executive vice-president of SPH’s Marketing Division.

“STProperty has all the up-to-date and reliable listings any consumer could possibly want. By combining SRX and STProperty, we offer consumers and real estate professionals a one-stop shop for all the information they will need for all property-related transactions. That’s win-win-win,” he added.

The transaction is not expected to have a material effect on SPH’s net tangible assets or earnings per share for the financial year ending August 2015.

The acquisition was done through SPH’s wholly-owned SPH Interactive.

credits: The Business Times

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Home loans in focus at banks Q3 results

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 3rd November 2014 in Blog

Home loans in focus at banks Q3 results

There was unflinching focus on the three Singapore banking group’s housing loans in the third quarter, with United Overseas Bank (UOB) flagging bad mortgage loans that have gone up this round, as they did in the second quarter.

But the banks have highlighted that there was no systemic stress in their mortgage loans, with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and DBS Group Holdings not discounting growth in home loans next year.

Bank counters all gained on Friday as well. The stock of OCBC rose 20 cents to S$9.89, while that of UOB gained 54 cents at S$23. DBS shares gained 15 cents at S$18.48.

UOB’s third-quarter results on Thursday showed that non-performing loans (NPL) for its mortgage loans stood at S$502 million at end September, up 70 per cent from a year ago.

To be clear, UOB’s overall NPL ratio was unchanged from a year ago, at 1.2 per cent. But the value of bad housing loans as a percentage of its mortgage loan book – which changes in size over the years – is now higher than a year ago. It stands at 0.9 per cent, compared to 0.6 per cent a year ago. This was due to borrowers investing in a Sentosa project, reports showed.

This distinction puts distance between that of UOB, and its two rivals. In the cases of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and DBS, the value of bad housing loans as a ratio to their mortgage portfolio is down.

OCBC, which also announced its results on Thursday, reported NPLs of its housing loans at S$272 million, up 20 per cent from a year ago.

But the ratio of bad housing loans to its total mortgage book was 0.5 per cent, down from 0.6 per cent a year ago.

From DBS’s results on Friday, housing loans stood at S$110 million as at Sept 30, down 8 per cent from a year ago. Its housing NPL is about 0.2 per cent, also down from 0.25 per cent a year ago. DBS expects its Singapore housing loans to grow by about S$3 billion next year, said its CEO Piyush Gupta at a briefing.

And while OCBC foresees the impact of fewer new housing loans in Singapore to be reflected in the second half of next year, it should benefit from more housing loans in Hong Kong booked by Wing Hang Bank, said CEO Samuel Tsien.

UOB did not host a briefing this quarter, but its head of investor relations Jimmy Koh told the media that the bank was confident of the resilience of remaining housing loan portfolio.

All three banks posted flattish growth in their customer loans from a quarter ago, when Wing Hang’s fresh contribution to OCBC is stripped out. On a yearly comparison, loans are up.

OCBC’s core net profit, which strips out an accounting gain from its Bank of Ningbo stake, was up 11 per cent in the third quarter at S$841 million – close to the average forecast of five analysts surveyed by Reuters of S$845 million. UOB’s net profit rose 19 per cent to S$866 million, beating an average forecast of S$746 million in a Reuters poll. DBS’s net profit stood at S$1.01 billion, outperforming Reuters’ forecast of S$971 million.

credits: stproperty

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URA approves 3 large-scale housing projects

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 31st October 2014 in Blog

URA approves 3 large-scale housing projects

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) provisionally approved two private housing projects with more than 1,000 units each in Q3 2014, according to media reports.

A subsidiary of GuocoLand received the greenlight for the construction of a 1,024-unit condo known as Sims Urban Oasis(pictured). With a leasehold tenure of 99 years, the development faces Aljunied Road, Sims Drive, and Pan Island Expressway (PIE).

Spanning nearly 2.4 hectares, the site for the condo project was acquired by the group controlled by Malaysian business mogul Quek Leng Chan, after it submitted the top bid of $530.89 million or nearly $688 psf ppr in a state land tender in April.

Notably, GuocoLand’s offer trumped the second highest bid of $502 million ($650.45 psf ppr) from a consortium consisting entities controlled by Quek’s Singaporean cousin Kwek Leng Beng.

The second large-scale residential development that obtained URA’s nod was a 1,165-unit project by Kingsford Property Development. Dubbed as Kingsford Waterbay, it comprises 1,157 apartments, six terrace houses and two semi-detached homes. Located in Upper Serangoon, the project is situated on two sites fronting a river which were purchased for $460.4 million or $522 psf ppr via a government tender last November.

Another housing project sanctioned by the URA in Q3 2014 was EL Development’s 660-unit Symphony Suites condo in Yishun Avenue 9.

credits: propertyguru

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Tight rules on foreign workers delays construction

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 29th October 2014 in Blog

 

Tight rules on foreign workers delays construction

Tight rules on foreign workers delays construction

Singapore’s construction industry is suffering from late payments and project delays, as contractors are squeezed by higher operating costs and the government’s curb on foreign workforce, according to media reports.

“Construction demand is expected to continue with many big projects such as the MRT line extensions, Changi Airport expansion, but a shortage of workers means projects may cost more and take longer to complete,” said KPMG Singapore Partner for the building sector, Teo Han Jo.

In fact, more than half of the payment transactions in the sector were overdue in the second quarter, with the incidence of late payments increasing by 3.8 percentage points to 51.4 percent, revealed the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).

Payments are considered late when over half of the amount owed is not satisfied on time, while prompt payments are made when at least 90 percent of the total amount is paid on the stipulated date.

But one of the most pressing issues for construction companies are the high levies on foreign workers. In fact, the operation of a subcontractor working on Downtown Line 3′s Upper Changi Station has been disrupted when it failed to pay such fees on three instances due to cashflow problems.

“Works on the DTL3 (Downtown Line 3) Upper Changi Station are progressing as normal. The sub-contractor . . . has foreign worker levy arrears and the main contractor, Samsung C&T Corporation, is in the process of taking over (its) workers. There is no impact to the schedule of the project,” a representative from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said.

Despite these issues, the prospect of the construction industry appears promising due to the substantial number of projects in the long-term pipeline, particularly government infrastructure developments, noted Teo.

“Government agencies are also placing more emphasis on quality rather than just prices when awarding projects. The net effect of this for the construction industry is good over the longer term, as it raises overall quality and helps construction companies maintain healthy margins,” she added.

credits: propertyguru

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CEA’s comic on ethical advertising

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 29th October 2014 in Blog
CEA's comic on ethical advertising

image: CEA

Real estate salespersons can now have a better understanding of the advertising guidelines in an engaging manner.

The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) has introduced an e-learning web application on CEA’s Practice Guidelines on Ethical Advertising today.

Hosted on the CEA website, it features 12 chapters of scenario-based comic strips, accompanied by audio narration, to illustrate ethical advertising in different areas. At the end of each chapter, users can take an interactive quiz.

The comics touch on guidelines such as proper description of property, claims in advertisement, seeking owner’s consent and so on. Consumers can use the web application to learn guidelines on acceptable contents and methods of advertising when looking for salespersons to help them with their property transactions.

In a statement, the council said the total number of complaints received has decreased over the years. However, misleading, missing or inaccurate information in property advertisements remained the top three types of complaints lodged.

Chan Kwok Cheong, Deputy Director (Policy and Planning) of CEA said, “In designing the app, we referred to real-life case studies to ensure that the scenarios presented were realistic and provided practical examples that the industry and consumers could use.”

CEA may also consider working with approved Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training providers to develop e-learning applications on other topics in future.

 

credits: propertyguru

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Big welcome for d’Leedon residents

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 27th October 2014 in Blog
Big welcome for d'Leedon residents

image: channelnewsasia

The party started at 4pm. With it came a carnival, buskers, magic shows and balloon sculpting for the children.

Food was also a highlight, not just a delicious buffet spread, but food catered from 10 famous hawkers in the area.

The highlight came at 7.30pm: A performance of a piece specially composed for the occasion by American musician William Close on the “Earth Harp”, the world’s longest playable string instrument.

And before the guests went home, they were treated to a 10-minute firework and laser show.

All this was quite a show put on for an audience of 4,000 guests – families, couples and singles – who are going to live at the 1,715-unit d’Leedon condominium along Farrer Road. The hosts? Property developer CapitaLand and its joint venture partners, who held the party to mark the completion of the project.

CapitaLand chief executive officer Lim Ming Yan said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to interact with the residents of d’Leedon and their families at one of the biggest completion parties in Singapore.”

CapitaLand also did not forget those living in the area, who would have to bear the noise from the fireworks. It gave advance notice to the project’s neighbours, providing a pair of ear plugs to each household: 10,000 pairs were given away in all.

The 840,049 sq ft, 99-year leasehold project is set to be a landmark in the area, given its height and scale. It comprises seven 36-storey towers of 1,703 apartments and 12 semi-detached houses.

Many units have unobstructed views of Singapore’s skyline, as well as the Botanic Gardens and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

The project also boasts a brand- name architect, Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Zaha Hadid, who will also be designing the futuristic Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar for the 2022 football World Cup.

As at end September, 1,461 units at d’Leedon, or about 85 per cent, have been sold at a price range of $1,400 to $1,850 per sq ft.

Units sold included one-bedroom units with study, as well as two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, ranging from 592 sq ft to 1,938 sq ft. Unsold units were mostly four-bedroom apartments.

About 65 per cent of the buyers were Singaporeans.

D’Leedon obtained its temporary occupation permit (TOP) last Tuesday, and residents are expected to start moving in soon.

CapitaLand said it also held a large-scale event to celebrate the completion of 1,040-unit The Interlace in September last year. The Interlace is one of the largest private residential projects here, taking up an 8ha site.

Other developers, including City Developments Limited and Far East Organization, said they hold such parties for their residential projects as well, though not on such a large scale.

Residents were enthralled by Mr Close’s new piece titled Mini Symphony For The Earth Harp.

Strings stretched from the top of the clubhouse roof to the 36th storey of another tower, creating the longest playable stringed musical instrument ever set up and played in the world. The length of one of the 16 strings – 291.71m – was certified by A*Star’s National Metrology Centre, the custodian of the national measurement standards in Singapore.

“It is a great initiative by CapitaLand to invite the owners to come. We had chosen to buy d’Leedon because of its proximity to schools and the reasonable pricing,” said 32-year-old Ms Zhao Qian, who attended the party with her husband, parents and two-year-old son.

Mr Aaron Ching, 21, is looking forward to living at d’Leedon because of its location and range of facilities such as an aqua gym.

credits: stproperty

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