Archive | March, 2008

HDB imposes checklists on resale flats

Business Times – 25 Mar 2008 THE Housing and Development Board will introduce mandatory checklists for housing agents handling resale flat transactions from May 1 – a move welcomed by industry players. The checklists cover key policies and procedures that housing agents will need to advise resale flat buyers and sellers on before they commit […]

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Home, retail, office rental growth to ease

Business Times – 25 Mar 2008 Housing rentals to rise 5-15% year-on-year in 2008: Knight Frank PRIVATE housing rents are expected to grow at a slower pace this year than last year, Knight Frank said in a report yesterday. The property consultancy firm expects a year-on-year rise of 5-15 per cent in 2008 – after […]

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Don’t know what to do during the current property lull?

Business Times – 25 Mar 2008 PROPERTY EXPERTS GIVE SOME TIPS Seven tips for buying a second home Did you know, for example, that an HDB flat near an MRT station will give you a higher rental yield than most private properties? The importance of being earnest when going en bloc A major en bloc […]

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3,500 vied for 714 condo-like flats in Boon Keng, but only 460 sold

The Straits Times March 25, 2008 THOUSANDS of applications poured in for a condo-like Housing Board project in January – but as of last week, less than two-thirds of the flats had been taken up. About a third of the 714 units – or about 250 units – in City View @ Boon Keng remained […]

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US crisis deepens as home owners turn to short-term loans

The Straits Times March 25, 2008 Such ‘payday loans’ come with high interest rates, piling on the debts CLEVELAND (OHIO) – AS HUNDREDS of thousands of American home owners fall behind on their mortgage payments, more are turning to short-term loans with sky- high interest rates to get by. While hard figures are hard to […]

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Singapore inflation stays at 26-year high

The Straits Times March 25, 2008 Prices jump 6.5%, driven by higher food, transport and housing costs CONSUMER prices surged 6.5 per cent last month from a year ago, continuing a rate of increase not seen in 26 years. Food, transport and housing costs were again the main drivers as a confluence of external and […]

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Realising the Marina Bay vision

Business Times – 22 Mar 2008 CHING TUAN YEE and BENJAMIN NG reflect on the planning of Singapore’s most ambitious urban project and highlight the exciting developments in store for Singaporeans and visitors alike THE vision for Marina Bay is that of a high-quality, 24/7 live-work-play environment, one that encapsulates the essence of the global […]

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Business confidence takes a dive

Business Times – 24 Mar 2008 BT-UniSIM survey shows companies gloomy about next six months, despite strong orders  (SINGAPORE) Business confidence in Singapore has slumped to its lowest level since end-2004, according to the latest business climate survey by The Business Times (BT) and SIM University (UniSIM). While sales and profit figures were largely unchanged […]

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Singapore interest rates likely to fall further

The Straits Times March 24, 2008 Fed cut and robust Sing$ could push interbank lending rate below 1% SINGAPOREANS can expect cheaper mortgages but lower savings and fixed deposit rates in the months to come. This is after a move by the United States Federal Reserve to slash a key US interest rate last week. […]

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PROPERTY: Muted market gives buyers more bargaining power

The Straits Times March 23, 2008 Prices aren’t tumbling but it’s a good time to get a unit at a reasonable price, say experts IT IS no secret that the residential property market is in a lacklustre mood. With many buyers and sellers having scurried to the sidelines as the United States sub-prime woes brought […]

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Behind latest Fed rate cut, inflation fears loom

The Straits Times – March 20, 2008 WASHINGTON – THE United States central bank cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point to 2.25 per cent, less than widely expected but more than what some of its policymakers were comfortable with. Two of the 10 voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee opposed […]

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Strong demand in Asia seen slowing next year

Business Times – 20 Mar 2008 This poses risks as firm US recovery unlikely: consultancy  (SINGAPORE) Domestic demand in Asian countries this year look strong, but may slow down in 2009. This may present risks to regional countries as the US economy is unlikely to make a strong recovery next year, according to consultancy firm […]

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Cheung Kong pips Far East in URA tender

Business Times – 20 Mar 2008 It offers $305psf ppr for West Coast condo plot next to Blue Horizon  (SINGAPORE) Cheung Kong Holdings-linked Billion Rise yesterday pipped Far East Organization to emerge as top bidder for a 99-year leasehold condo site facing West Coast Park and overlooking the sea. Billion Rise’s bid of $110.44 million […]

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Foreigners snap up homes as rents start to bite

Business Times – 12 Mar 2008Their purchases could account for half of 2007 transactions on the secondary market  (SINGAPORE) A record number of foreigners here have opted to purchase homes instead of renting them at ever-climbing rates. According to an analysis of transactions of private residential properties by DTZ Debenham Tie Leung, foreigners bought 6,536 […]

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Guocoland dives on options lapse

Business Times – 12 Mar 2008 Shares hit as Kuwaiti-linked fund pulls out of $815m property purchase SHARES of Guocoland fell victim yesterday to news that a fund company managed by Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad (KFHMB) did not exercise options to buy $814.8 million worth of  apartments in Guocoland’s upmarket project here. Following analysts’ […]

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Landed housing plot draws top bid of just $77.80 psf

Business Times – 12 Mar 2008 Only one other offer made; poor show seen as sign of uncertain market IN what is seen as a sign of an uncertain property market, a landed housing parcel in Jurong West drew only two bids, and a low top bid of $11.8 million – or just $77.80 per […]

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Wild swing reflects fears of US slowdown

Business Times – 12 Mar 2008 SHORT-COVERING and a late afternoon rebound on Nasdaq futures saw the Singapore market’s benchmark index chalking a remarkable 80-point turnaround in intra-day trading, first plunging to a new 16-month low, then rebounding to close in positive territory. Also boosting the market are expectations that the Federal Reserve may intervene […]

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Space crunch in Orchard pushes docs to Novena

March 12, 2008 The area could turn into medical hub as more private doctors set up clinics there PRIVATE doctors are flocking to the Novena area as the squeeze on clinic space in the Orchard Road belt tightens. The migration could turn the area into Singapore’s newest centre for private health services, some believe. In […]

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All eyes on govt land tenders this month

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 $500m site above Serangoon MRT, 3 suburban housing plots on offer AMID the current quiet market, all eyes will be on four 99-year leasehold suburban Government Land Sale site tenders that close this month. They comprise three private residential sites including one for landed housing, and a ‘white’ site […]

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China’s growth story due for reality check

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 Country may face headwinds of a US recession as its stock market, property sector cool THE beginning of Wen Jiabao’s second term seems remarkably similar to his first. In 2003, when Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, first took the helm as president and prime minister respectively, they were tested […]

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Economists trim S’pore Q1 growth forecast to 5.7%

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 Q2 may see another dip before rebound kicks in; inflation likely to rise  (SINGAPORE) Private sector economists have pared their forecasts of Singapore’s first quarter GDP growth to a median 5.7 per cent, from 7 per cent three months earlier. Economic growth is then expected to dip below 5 […]

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THE BOTTOM LINE: Fed slap in market face won’t work this time

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008LAST Friday’s employment report – which was so weak that it had many economists declaring that the US is already in a recession – was bad news. But it was actually less disturbing than what’s going on in the financial markets. The scariest thing I’ve read recently is a speech […]

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Investments push S’pore growth again

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 But the biggest problem facing policy-makers is inflation; if it doesn’t stabilise, we may see more drastic steps SINGAPORE has enjoyed exceptionally strong and stable gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the last few years. For many years after 1997, Singapore’s economy had suffered volatile growth even as it […]

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Investors eye real estate after tough 2007

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 Asian property and niche sectors are attracting assets (LONDON) Many investors in alternative assets plan to invest more in real estate after poor returns from the sector in 2007, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey showed yesterday. John Forbes, UK real estate leader at PwC, said some investors had been lured […]

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Ophir-Rochor corridor site to be marketed in France

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will market the first site in the new Ophir-Rochor corridor at the ‘Marche International des Professionals de L’Immobilier’ (MIPIM), a premier international property event in Cannes, France. The site will be launched for sale under the Confirmed List of the Government Land Sales Programme […]

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Opportunistic investors recoil from Asia property

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 They see more scope for picking up cheaper properties in US, Europe; loans in Japan tougher (HONG KONG) Opportunistic investors are pulling back from Asian property because they see more scope for picking up distressed assets in the United States and Europe, and loans are harder to get in […]

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Rising market pressures may trigger third wave of credit crisis

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 Nervous investors hanging on to pronouncements of central bankers (LONDON) Tight money markets and tumbling stocks and the US dollar are expected to increase worries for investors this week as pressure mounts on central banks facing what looks like the third wave of a global credit crisis. Last week, […]

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URA sets aside more land for offices

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 (SINGAPORE) Singapore will provide more land for offices as part of a strategy to strengthen its position as an Asian financial centre, the government’s real estate planning agency said yesterday. ‘The new growth area set aside for the seamless extension of the existing financial district … will be more […]

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Kuwait fund pulls out of bulk purchase of high-end homes

March 11, 2008 It allows options for 97 condo units at Goodwood Residence to lapse A KUWAIT bank fund that agreed in December to buy 97 units at posh Goodwood Residence for $818.4 million has let the purchase option lapse. Kuwait Finance House has given no reason for the move, which could result in the […]

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Property investors set sights on market trough in US, Europe

March 11, 2008 HONG KONG – OPPORTUNISTIC investors are pulling back from Asian property because they see more scope for picking up distressed assets in the United States and Europe. Hedge funds have stopped dabbling in property in the region, fund managers say. Although private equity firms will continue to develop property in India and […]

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China faces ‘very severe’ unemployment

20m new jobseekers expected every year: labour minister (BEIJING) China’s labour minister yesterday admitted that the booming economy faced a ‘very severe’ unemployment situation as millions of new jobseekers join the market every year. The flood of new entrants in both urban and rural areas will continue for a long time, labour and social security […]

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Inflation likely to have hit 8.3% in Feb: Bank of China

Reports of bank’s estimate trigger speculation of interest rate hike (BEIJING) China’s inflation likely hit a new 11-year high of 8.3 per cent last month on the back of rising food prices, state media reported yesterday, triggering speculation of a modest hike in interest rates. Severe winter weather which crippled transport networks, and the Chinese […]

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India losing its status as world’s top outsourcing hub

China, Morocco and EEurope among new locations for global IT services providers INDIA’S position as the No. 1 low-cost outsourcing destination is under threat, with China, Morocco and eastern European nations such as Hungary emerging as the sought-after locations by nformation technology (IT) services providers, a recent study has shown. The study by Pierre Audoin […]

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When will market slide reach bottom?

Dow, S&P still remain above bear market threshold despite plunge (NEW YORK) Recession may well be here, given the dismal February employment report last Friday. But on Wall Street, many investors still are having a hard time deciding how worried they should be. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 146.70 points, or 1.2 per cent, […]

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Punggol River set for big change

Work starts on $7.13m project to create reservoir park with man-made island by 2010 WORK to transform the Punggol River into a scenic reservoir park, complete with a man-made island, got off the ground yesterday. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was at the official opening of the adjoining Anchorvale Community Club in Sengkang, symbolically […]

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PROPERTY: Demand for single office units still going strong in quiet market

Investors turn more cautious, but small firms still interested in strata-titled officesALL has turned quiet on the housing front, but some other segments of the property market appear to have escaped that fate. Still going strong in particular are sales of single office units in larger commercial buildings. Known as strata-titled offices, these properties recorded […]

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PROPERTY: Demand for single office units still going strong in quiet market

Investors turn more cautious, but small firms still interested in strata-titled offices ALL has turned quiet on the housing front, but some other segments of the property market appear to have escaped that fate. Still going strong in particular are sales of single office units in larger commercial buildings. Known as strata-titled offices, these properties […]

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US employers cut 63,000 jobs in February

Payroll data indicate that probability of recession is more than 50 per cent (WASHINGTON) US employers cut payrolls for a second straight month during February, slashing 63,000 jobs for the biggest monthly decline in nearly five years as the nation’s labour markets weakened steadily, a government report yesterday showed. The Labor Department said that last […]

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Mortgage war breaks out as DBS and UOB offer new rates

Banks focusing on specific targets, waging battles without fanfare THE mortgage war finally erupted, as Singapore banks responded to a dramatic rate cut by Maybank three weeks ago – with one even offering a zero per cent package. That attractive deal comes from United Overseas Bank (UOB), which has relaunched a package with a teaser […]

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New rules ‘must keep sub-prime market open’

SPRINGFIELD (ILLINOIS) – LAWMAKERS must not be too heavy-handed as they react to the collapse of the United States sub-prime mortgage market and end up closing this source of credit forever, a senior Federal Reserve policymaker said yesterday. St Louis Fed president William Poole said the sub-prime market was now basically shut and might never […]

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US household wealth falls for first time in five years

WASHINGTON – HOUSEHOLD wealth in the United States fell in the fourth quarter for the first time in five years, while borrowing slowed as home values plunged and lenders restricted credit, Federal Reserve figures have shown. Net worth for households decreased by US$532.9 billion (S$739.5 billion) from the previous three months, the first decline since […]

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US reports surprise loss of 63,000 jobs

Biggest drop in five years another sign that economy is on the decline WASHINGTON – THE United States unexpectedly lost jobs last month for the second consecutive month, adding to evidence that the economy is in a recession. Payrolls fell by 63,000, the most in five years, after a revised decline of 22,000 in January, […]

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Casinos, other large projects push up cost of loans: OCBC

Casinos, other large projects push up cost of loans: OCBC SINGAPORE’S two casinos and other large projects will add S$30 billion to loan demand this year, pushing up the cost of corporate loans in the city-state, said Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp on Wednesday. Las Vegas Sands and Genting International have each borrowed about S$5 billion to […]

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Citigroup to sell, close some US branches: WSJ

(NEW YORK) Citigroup has agreed to sell its network of retail banking branches in Amarillo, Texas, and plans to shutter other branches in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Wednesday.Citibank, its retail banking unit, has agreed to sell branches in Amarillo to local lender Happy State Bank for an […]

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Existing home sales stay at just short of record low

Home foreclosures and rate of homes entering the process at record highs in Q4 (WASHINGTON) Industry data released yesterday show January pending US home sales were below analysts’ expectations and remained at the second-lowest reading on record. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes held at […]

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Growth slows in 8 of 12 regions in US: survey

Beige Book cites weak retail sales, slow manufacturing and housing woes (NEW YORK) The Federal Reserve says economic growth has slowed in eight of 12 US regions since the start of the year, hurt by faltering retail sales, manufacturing and a continued decline in housing. ‘Two-thirds of the districts cited softening or weakening in the […]

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Speculators holding out for higher prices

Subsale activity slows but transacted prices remain resilient (SINGAPORE) Property prices have been bolstered by speculators in the last year. But now that speculation is on the decline, could prices follow suit? An analysis by Savills Singapore of properties subsold last year after being bought from developers in the same year has revealed that while […]

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Aussie Q4 growth at lowest pace in a year

(SYDNEY) Australia’s economy grew at the slowest pace in more than a year in the fourth quarter as construction declined and bottlenecks at ports cut exports. Gross domestic product rose 0.6 per cent from the third quarter, when it increased a revised 1.1 per cent, the Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The gain matched the […]

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Fed and Bush moving closer to mortgage rescue

Bernanke calls for more action by banks and the govt to help millions of home owners (WASHINGTON) However much they might oppose it on ideological grounds, the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve are inching closer towards a government rescue of distressed home owners and mortgage lenders. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told a group of […]

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Mixed landed housing site for sale

CHESTNUT VILLE (I and II), a mixed landed site at Dairy Farm Crescent, has been put up for collective sale and the indicative price for the combined plot is $90 million. This represents a land price of $741 psf over the land area, inclusive of an estimated $1 million development charge. The development currently comprises […]

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Property valuations in focus amid Spanish angst

(LONDON) Spanish property developers, having enjoyed what once seemed an unstoppable boom, could face a severe mauling unless they bow to more realistic pricing as the economy slows and banks rein in lending. The true value of real estate is a growing bone of contention as more debt-doped property firms get into trouble, leaving creditors […]

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Punj Lloyd Singapore unit sees orders triple

(SINGAPORE) Sembawang Engineers & Constructors, a unit of India’s Punj Lloyd, said yesterday its orderbook has tripled from a year ago on a construction boom in Singapore. The strong demand helped Singapore’s largest construction firm by sales raise its orderbook to $2.1 billion and boosted gross profit margins to 7-8 per cent from 1-1.5 per […]

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Scams and schemes compound woes of US housing crisis

(CHICAGO) As the US housing meltdown forces hundreds of thousands of Americans from their homes, the extent to which fraud was a factor in the crisis is just coming to light.Products such as stated-income loans – known as ‘liar loans’ because no proof of income was needed – led to widespread misrepresentation by borrowers about […]

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A growth engine for the economy

Spore’s aviation players have been riding the wave of growth in the sector, but there are challenges, and opportunities too OVER the years, aviation has become the lifeblood for Singapore’s economic growth. This is despite the fact that the sector’s direct contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is rather small – at around 5 per […]

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S’pore ranked top Reit market in Asia-Pacific

Survey cites support from regulators to the industry as advantageous SINGAPORE has been rated as the best location in Asia-Pacific for overall real estate investment trust (Reit) potential – for a second year. According to the second annual Asia-Pacific Reit Survey – undertaken for financial services provider Trust Company and law firm Allens Arthur Robinson […]

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The slow unwinding of the US housing crisis

IT is becoming increasingly evident that the US housing crisis – the root cause of the US economic slowdown and the turmoil in the financial markets – is getting worse by the day. Any hopes for an economic recovery and a restoration of market stability will turn on how this crisis unfolds, and how it […]

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UK housebuilders face hard times

Fewer houses built as higher interest rates, credit crunch drive away buyers (LONDON) Britain’s housebuilders are building fewer homes in the face of tighter mortgage lending and an uncertain price outlook, but slashing volumes and costs may not be enough to lure back investors to the battered sector. Britain’s major builders completed fewer homes last […]

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UK lenders lost £700m to mortgage fraud

(LONDON) UK mortgage lenders probably lost £700 million (S$1.9 billion) last year to organised fraud that inflated real estate prices, according Britain’s Association of Chief Police Officers. Mortgage fraud for profit ranges from overvaluation of newly constructed homes to deliberate ramping of commercial real estate prices, often involving mortgage brokers, appraisers and attorneys, the association […]

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UOL betting big on hospitality business

(SINGAPORE) The UOL Group has earmarked some $500 million – or a third of its available funds – to expand its hospitality business in Asia-Pacific over the next three years, the group’s president and chief executive Gwee Lian Kheng told BT in an interview. The property company plans to add some 15-20 hotels and service […]

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US commercial property seen falling by 20%

But office properties should fare relatively well over the near term, say JPMorgan analysts (NEW YORK) The US commercial real estate market could decline by as much as 20 per cent over the next five to eight years as tighter credit squeezes business property but with less ferocity than it choked the housing market. ‘We […]

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US housing woes: It’s the affordability, stupid!

GLOOM. Doom. Calamity. Home prices are tumbling. We’re bombarded by sombre reports. But wait. This is actually good news, because lower home prices are the only real solution to the housing collapse. The sooner prices fall, the better. The longer the adjustment takes, the longer the housing slump (weak sales, low construction, high numbers of […]

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US regulators eye next trouble spots

(WASHINGTON) US regulators are watching credit cards and commercial construction loans for signs they may be the next trouble spots as strained financial markets constrain credit. The housing downturn, with its epicentre in the sub-prime mortgage market, remained atop the list of concerns. But banking regulators and Federal Reserve officials expressed concerns on Tuesday that […]

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Big US banks poised to fall further, says investment guru

Fed ‘making same errors’ Japan made trying to bail out everyone in 1990s FINANCIAL guru Jim Rogers painted a doom-and-gloom picture of the United States economy yesterday and predicted that Singapore’s two investment companies would lose money on their recent investments in beleaguered banking giants. Singapore-based Mr Rogers said investing billions of dollars in banks […]

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UOL unit unveils luxury serviced suites in Somerset

IT HAS been 28 years since Singapore’s listed UOL Group launched its last serviced apartment property, the Parkroyal Residences at Beach Road. Now, it is entering the luxury extended-stay business with the launch of its new property, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites, at 96 Somerset Road. The new property is similar to serviced apartments but has […]

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US regulators look for signs of credit crisis spreading

They are keeping a keen eye on credit card, home equity and building loans WASHINGTON – UNITED States regulators are watching credit card and commercial construction loans for signs that they may be the next trouble spots as strained financial markets constrain credit. The housing downturn, with its epicentre in the sub- prime mortgage market, […]

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Analysts paint bleak earnings outlook

Earnings per share growth of S’pore listed companies may not even make 6% this year (SINGAPORE) Faced with a small domestic market and a very open economy, Singapore companies are highly susceptible to any global slowdown and are therefore expected to chalk up one of the slowest corporate earnings growths in Asia in 2008. This […]

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Banks hit by sub-prime may need more cash

Dubai fund chief says much more is needed to rescue Citigroup, others (DUBAI) Banks and securities firms led by Citigroup may need more money from Arab states as losses stemming from the collapse of the US sub-prime mortgage market increase, the head of Dubai International Capital said. Citigroup, the biggest US bank by assets, received […]

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Buy-and-hold strategy looks as good as it ever will

WHAT a difference a year makes. Each year, Jim Reid and his colleagues at Deutsche Bank AG publish an influential analysis of credit markets that puts current yields and fundamentals in historical perspective. If you buy a bond from a company that might go bankrupt, then you expect to receive a higher interest rate. In […]

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China losing competitive edge in some industries: survey

(SHANGHAI) China is fast losing its manufacturing competitiveness in some industries, and companies need to upgrade their operations there to stay profitable, according to a survey released yesterday. The study comes amid reports that thousands of manufacturers, both Chinese and foreign, are shifting operations away from coastal regions, where labour and other costs are eroding […]

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Bernanke urges more action to fix housing slump

Vigorous response needed to reduce rising foreclosures, says Fed chief (WASHINGTON) Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called yesterday for additional action to prevent more distressed US homeowners from falling into foreclosure. ‘This situation calls for a vigorous response,’ Mr Bernanke said in a speech to a banking group in Florida. Even with some relief efforts […]

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For sale: 18th floor of Peninsula Plaza at $17.5m

NOVELTY Department Store Pte Ltd, part of the Novelty Group, has put the entire 18th floor of Peninsula Plaza up for sale, with a price tag of about $17.5 million or about $2,050 per square foot (psf) of strata area. Peninsula Plaza is a 999-year leasehold building near Raffles City. DTZ is marketing the property. […]

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KepLand to launch US$206m Vietnam project in Q4

AFTER announcing eight new development projects in Vietnam last year, Keppel Land plans to launch one of these in the fourth quarter of this year. In a statement released yesterday, Keppel Land said that it has been awarded the investment certificate by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee for its new waterfront residential development […]

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Key S’pore economic indicator takes another dip

PMI now just above threshold between expansion and contraction (SINGAPORE) The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slid for a third straight month in February, with declines in export orders and output. But the electronics index edged up, even though orders were also weak. With its latest 0.2-point drop, the PMI – a barometer of the manufacturing […]

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Time to plan for the recovery that’s lying around the corner

(NEW YORK) Say the economy has fallen into recession, as so many people on and off Wall Street think. Is it time to bail out of stocks? Selling may be the reflexive response by shareholders who have watched the value of their assets decline in step with economic indicators, but investment advisers contend that they […]

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Singapore tops among Asian expats: survey

The Republic is the best place for them to live worldwide; Baghdad ranks last (SINGAPORE) The Republic ranks as the best place for Asian expatriates to live worldwide, according to the latest survey by human resources consultancy firm ECA International. Singapore surpasses cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Copenhagen in Asian expatriates’ view, the […]

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US economy already in recession: Buffett

He sees slowdown across the board; withdraws offer to guarantee bonds NEW YORK – BILLIONAIRE investor Warren Buffett said the United States economy is in a recession and that stocks are ‘not cheap’ despite recent declines. He also said he is no longer offering to guarantee US$800 billion (S$1.12 trillion) of municipal bonds backed by […]

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Bernanke urges banks to forgive part of mortgages

ORLANDO – FEDERAL Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, battling the worst United States housing recession in a quarter century, has urged lenders to forgive portions of mortgages for more borrowers whose home values have declined. ‘Efforts by both government and private sector entities to reduce unnecessary foreclosures are helping, but more can, and should, be done,’ […]

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‘Magic dollars’ scam lets HDB flat sellers pocket cash

They declare a lower price, thus keeping the difference instead of returning funds to CPF A NEW scam involving HDB flats has surfaced, this time allowing flat sellers to pocket extra cash by craftily getting around the rules. The so-called ‘magic dollars’ scam involves reporting a falsely low sale price to the HDB – an […]

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Buffett retracts US$800b bond guarantee offer

Separately, he says US economy is in recession, stocks are not cheap (NEW YORK) Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said yesterday that the US economy is in recession and that stocks are not cheap, despite recent declines. Speaking on CNBC television, Mr Buffett also said that he is no longer offering to guarantee US$800 billion of […]

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China property shares cut to ‘underweight’

BNP slashes 2008 earnings growth for industry to 31% (HONG KONG) Investors should cut their holdings in Chinese property because of a slowdown in housing starts and home prices that will crimp earnings growth, BNP Paribas said. The bank downgraded China real estate shares to ‘underweight’ from ‘overweight’, and slashed the 2008 earnings growth forecast […]

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Far East’s Leong Horn Kee calling it a day after 15 yrs

PROPERTY giant Far East Organization announced yesterday that executive director Leong Horn Kee would be leaving the company on June 30 after more than 15 years of service.Mr Leong, who served as Member of Parliament for 32 years until he retired in 2006, said that he was venturing out to work on his own ‘projects’. […]

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SHK results may not reflect HK property frenzy

Company holding back most project launches, analysts say (HONG KONG) An upswing in Hong Kong home sales and prices is boosting big developers but will hardly register in earnings to be reported by Sun Hung Kai Properties this week, as the firm held back on project launches. With rising wages and falling interest rates sparking […]

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Hong Leong Bank eyes 10% home loans growth

It is confident of hitting target for cash-back product (KUALA LUMPUR) Hong Leong Bank is aiming for 10 per cent growth this year in its housing loans segment, which currently has about 130,000 clients. As part of its efforts, the bank yesterday introduced a cash-back home loan product which it said enables customers to save […]

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Sub-prime, debt still top US economic threat: poll

Inflation jitters a distant 3rd; terrorism fears down the list (WASHINGTON) The combined punch of sub-prime mortgage defaults and heavy debt remains the biggest risk to the health of the US economy, a panel of business economists said yesterday. ‘NABE members are increasingly concerned over the short-term risks associated with sub-prime mortgages and other forms […]

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UBS drops on writedowns warning

(LONDON) UBS AG, Europe’s biggest bank by assets, declined to the lowest level in almost five years in Swiss trading after Credit Suisse Group said the company faces further writedowns from ‘troubled’ assets. ‘Further writedowns appear likely and could be large,’ analyst Daniel Davies said yesterday in a research note. ‘Taking more pessimistic assumptions in […]

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US housing crisis deters first-time buyers

US housing crisis deters first-time buyers Greater security seen in renting as home prices fall and foreclosures surge (BOSTON) For decades, buying a home was a key step on the path to financial security for the American middle class. Home owners could count on a fixed mortgage payment rather than rising rent, take advantage of […]

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JTC will still provide affordable industrial space: Hng Kiang

THE JTC Corp is not deviating from its role to provide affordable factory space, said Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang yesterday in response to a question on whether JTC is shifting its focus with its recent plans to divest its industrial properties into a real estate investment trust (Reit). This concern was […]

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If the US goes into a recession…

How will a US slowdown or recession affect your organisation and industry, and the Singapore economy in general? What can businesses do in the event of a slowdown? THE US recession had already started since December 2007. I predict that the federal funds rate will drop to one per cent by September 2008. After that, […]

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ECB expected to lower growth forecasts, not rates

It faces dilemma as a rate cut could aggravate euro zone’s high inflation FRANKFURT – THE European Central Bank (ECB) will make a cut of sorts this week – but with euro zone inflation stubbornly high, the cut will be in its growth estimates, not interest rates, said economists. ‘The ECB council will cut on […]

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Bernanke doesn’t utter R-word but he means it

His replies confirm economy is in recession: analysts (NEW YORK) US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke didn’t utter the word, but analysts reading between the lines of his testimony to the US Congress this week say that he came as close as a central bank chief can to acknowledging the chances of recession. Since the […]

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More landed housing sites up for auction

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has launched the second phase of Sembawang Greenvale after auctioning all parcels in Phase One last October. In the first phase, 12 sub-divided landed housing plots near Sembawang Beach were auctioned for a total of $37.09 million, which works out to about $285 per square foot (psf) of land on […]

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DC rate hike lower than expected

Average industrial rates up 16.8%, muted increases for most other uses THE government yesterday announced modest, lower-than-expected increases in development charge (DC) rates for most use groups, except industrial. ‘Limited transactions in the past six months, amidst cautionary sentiment set about the US sub-prime debacle, were probably an important factor for the moderate gains this […]

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DC rate hike lower than expected

Average industrial rates up 16.8%, muted increases for most other uses THE government yesterday announced modest, lower-than-expected increases in development charge (DC) rates for most use groups, except industrial. ‘Limited transactions in the past six months, amidst cautionary sentiment set about the US sub-prime debacle, were probably an important factor for the moderate gains this […]

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Property development charges barely budge

Small revision of fees points to dwindling deals, slow price growth IT’S official: the property market has gone deathly quiet. The Government barely tweaked development charges in its semi-annual revision of fees yesterday, reflecting the property sector’s subdued state over the last six months. Development charges, which can run in the millions of dollars, are […]

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Bernanke’s signal for rate cut stokes fears of inflation

Investors worry that stagflation could hit the US but Fed chief rejects the notion WASHINGTON – UNITED States Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s readiness to cut interest rates to avert a recession is stoking concerns that prices will get out of hand. ‘Mr Bernanke has really overweighted the economic risks relative to inflation,’ said Mr […]

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CDL able to weather uncertainty for next 3 yrs

It posts full-year profit of $725m; bottom line would be $2.8b if fair value gains included THE top brass at City Developments Ltd (CDL) yesterday said the property group has ‘the financial muscle to weather the current period of uncertainty even for the next three years’, after announcing a record full-year net profit of $725 […]

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CDL boss punctures popular wisdom

Mid-market may not shine and high-end is unlikely to collapse, he says (SINGAPORE) City Developments Ltd (CDL) executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng yesterday turned a popular market view of the Singapore residential sector on its head. Many have whispered that the high-end residential segment is in danger of being hardest hit by the sub-prime crisis […]

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HDB will cater to buyers with different income levels: Mah

THE Housing & Development Board (HDB) will continue to provide a range of housing options to cater to buyers of differing income levels and aspirations, Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan told Parliament yesterday. He was responding to concerns that the price gain in the HDB market is putting flats out of the reach […]

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Marina Bay to provide 1.1m sq m of office space

It will become a seamless extension of Raffles Place, says Mah THE upcoming financial district at Marina Bay will be twice the size of London’s Canary Wharf and will provide as much Grade A office space as Hong Kong’s Central. Revealing more plans for Singapore’s new financial hub, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan told […]

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Newton area growing as a hub for hybrid offices

NEWTON is shaping up as a centre for hybrid offices, with another company, The Ascott Group, moving to the neighbourhood. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) also said yesterday that it would release not one, but two, transitional office sites between Scotts Road and Anthony Road for sale. Ascott, which is officed at the former Temasek […]

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