Singapore Market Beat - by Colliers International

By The Folks @PropTalk - September 12, 2010 No Comments

A bit late in posting this one, as the wife and I are in Tokyo this weekend and over the next couple of days.

And you think the weather in Singapore is hot...

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PMI in August down after 15 straight months of growth,4582,402465,00.html?

Singapore's manufacturing economy shrank in August for the first time after 15 straight months of growth. But economists are not alarmed. They say a winding-down - after production surged earlier this year - was expected.

The Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) dipped into negative territory with a reading of 49.4 last month - down from 52.2 in July. A reading above 50 indicates growth, while one under 50 indicates contraction.

Overall new orders, new export orders, production output and employment all shrank in August, driving the PMI down, said the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management (SIPMM), which compiles the monthly index from surveys of purchasing executives at more than 150 companies.

Stocks of finished goods went back into expansion mode, while the sub-index for inventory levels expanded faster reading than in July. Imports and input prices grew too, but at a slower pace.

The decline is 'nothing alarming and reflects a healthy normalisation of economic activity after strong growth in the first half, as companies brace themselves for weaker demand,' DBS economist Irvin Seah said.

The electronics PMI - tracking the sector that accounts for 30 per cent of the manufacturing economy - fell to 50.6 in August, from 55.7 in July, reversing a sharp uptick from June's 50.5.

The current pause ahead of the busy year-end shipping season says little about how the peak production period will pan out, he added. Companies will be watching the major US retailers' 'back-to-school' August sales reports - due late yesterday - for an indication of how strong end-demand is.


New rules cool PR hunt for resale flats,4582,402458,00.html?

New rules that prevent people from owning both public and private properties appear to have discouraged some permanent residents (PRs) from buying resale flats here - at least for now.

Some agents have seen PRs delay house hunting, and they expect PRs to account for fewer resale flat sales going forward.

Behind the change in sentiment are rules introduced by the government this week to cool the residential property sector. PRs, some of whom already own or intend to buy properties back home, could be caught by the new rules.

A market watcher is among those who believe PRs' demand for resale flats will weaken. Currently, PRs account for about 20 per cent of all resale flat transactions. But there are also agents who do not expect the new rules to affect PRs' appetite for resale flats much.

Enforcing the new rules is one concern that several market watchers voiced. HDB has yet to say how it will keep track of foreign property ownership or what penalties it will impose on those who flout the rules.

While some prospective flat buyers have got cold feet, one group of private property hunters has gone full steam ahead, snapping up all 68 units at the newly launched Dorsett Residences above Outram Park MRT station.

The 99-year leasehold project was previewed on Wednesday and sold out in a day, said its marketing agent. The project has one and two-bedders ranging from 484-1,615 sq ft in size, and the average selling price was $1,800 psf. Business Times understands that agents had been gathering interest as early as July and started collecting cheques around two weeks ago.

Has the market reached its peak?

The prices of completed condominiums and apartments showed early signs of stabilising in July from the peak levels recorded in previous months.

This is according to the latest reading of the Singapore Residential Property Index (SRPI) developed by the National University of Singapore's Institute of Real Estate Studies.

In its latest reading, the overall SRPI recorded a marginal 0.1 per cent increase to 151.8 points in July from the previous month.

This compared to the index's overall reading of 151.6 in June, up 0.6 per cent from a month earlier.

Meanwhile, the SRPI for the central areas dipped 0.6 per cent in July to 161, while the reading for non-central areas rose 0.7 per cent to 148.5.

Industry experts attributed the price slowdown to dampened buyer sentiment amid uncertainty over the global economy.

Market observers added that it might take a few months to get a feel of how the local property market would respond to the new cooling measures announced earlier this week.

This response can be tracked by attendances at property launches and responses to land tenders, they said.

A $2 million dream$2-million-dream

With property prices hovering near record highs, can some home buyers still realise their dream of owning a landed property? Those who are serious about purchasing a landed property should start with $2 million as a realistic budget to work with, property experts said.

Of the 259 freehold landed properties sold for less than $2 million from January to August this year, 247 were terrace houses, 11 were semi-detached houses and one was a detached house, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

In comparison, around 31 semi-detached houses and 2 detached houses were bought during the same period last year.

Market experts said that as a guide, terrace houses located in the central region would cost some $2 million to $2.6 million, a semi-detached house would cost above $3 million and a bungalow would be more than $5 million.

But if buyers look east, they may find some good buys. At under $2 million, some terrace houses in the East offer a land area of 1,600 sq ft to 1,700 sq ft, property market observers said.

And if the buyer is fine with a 99-year lease, they could also opt for terrace house at $1.3 million or a semi-detached house for $1.6 million to $ 1.8 million, said a property agent.

Property experts said with the recent cooling measures, buyers may be able to pick up good deals as sellers may become more amenable to negotiation.


Big MRT improvements planned over 10 years: LTA,4582,402352,00.html?

New initiatives are in the works to upgrade and expand Singapore's rail network over the next decade, with the Jurong East MRT Station modification project the first to be completed next year.

Among the initiatives is the upgrading of the signalling system for the North-South and East-West MRT lines starting next year. This will shorten waiting times for passengers and increase capacity by 20 per cent. Additional trains will be bought for the North-South and East-West lines to take full advantage of the upgraded signalling. It will be upgraded in stages, with the North-South Line taking an estimated six years and the East-West Line eight years.

Meanwhile, the Jurong East modification project - the station is being modified to accommodate another platform and track - is slated for completion in May 2011, by which time LTA expects to have received five of 22 new trains.

Capacity on the North-South and East-West lines will rise 15 per cent by 2012 once all 22 trains have been deployed in the system, effectively reducing MRT waiting time to 2-3 minutes during peak periods, from 2.5-4.5 minutes now.

There will also be more trains for the 20km North-East Line (NEL), with plans to inject an additional train during peak hours next year and more trains to be bought, for delivery in about 4-5 years. This is to cater to expected ridership growth along the north-east corridor from HarbourFront to Punggol.

The Circle Line from Marymount Station to HarbourFront is scheduled to open next year, bringing down loading along Toa Payoh to Novena by 10-15 per cent.

All the initiatives will be funded from $60 billion that the government is setting aside to improve the rail network over the next decade.


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