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Singapore office rentals still competitive

COMPANIES are paying more for labour and rentals in Singapore than before, but prices are still competitive compared to global cities such as London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew pointed this out yesterday, but said the Government would ensure prices stayed lower than countries ‘in a similar position’.

This is so that Singapore can stay competitive.

‘I think we should be able to manage that,’ Mr Lee said. ‘I believe we’ve got to watch it closely, make sure that it doesn’t run away and get us into an uncompetitive fashion.’

He gave this assurance at a dialogue which followed the inaugural Singapore Maritime Lecture. A member of the audience asked how Singapore was balancing its bid to be a cosmopolitan city, with the need to stem soaring costs.

Mr Lee noted there was a property crunch now, with both commercial and residential sectors hit, as a result of the ‘sudden influx’ of bankers and top corporate types. However, the Government has already taken action to tackle it, he said.

‘I think we can sort it out in two to three years. In the meantime, we have put into our plans some release of buildings from one use to another in order to loosen up the market,’ he added.

On Monday, the Government also released a second temporary office site for sale to help ease an office crunch that has sent rents and prices soaring.


Source: The Straits Times 26 Sept 07

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