Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

May 12, 2008

UOB Q1 profit up, loan growth may slow

Filed under: Facts & Figures,Financing,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 1:35 am

United Overseas Bank, Singapore’s second-biggest lender by assets, posted a 2.1 per cent rise in quarterly profit, broadly in line with market forecasts, but the bank warned that loan growth could slow this year.

 UOB’s January-March net profit rose to $529 million (US$389.5 million) from $518 million a year ago

The first quarter saw double-digit loan growth that helped offset a drop in fee income from volatile global markets, but analysts warned the second half would be challenging amid a possible slowdown in the Asian economies.

‘Amidst current market volatilities we expect loan growth to moderate this year,’ said chief executive Wee Ee Cheong in a statement on Tuesday.

Analysts said that the result was a good omen for Singapore’s other two lenders, DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, who will announce earnings on Wednesday.

‘It’s not a bad start to the season,’ said David Lum, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research. ‘I think the most bullish aspect is the net interest income was very strong on loan growth as well as margin expansion.’

Singapore bank loans grew at 24 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, accelerating from 20 per cent growth in 2007.

UOB’s January-March net profit rose to $529 million (US$389.5 million) from $518 million a year ago. Analysts had predicted net profit of $522 million, according to an average forecast from six analysts polled by Reuters.

UOB took $43 million worth of fresh provisions for credit derivatives, which it said fully provided for its exposure to asset-backed collateralised debt obligations – complex instruments that pool loans or bonds and that were badly hit by the US sub-prime crisis.

UOB, controlled by chairman Wee Cho Yaw and his family, is considered the market leader in Singapore’s loan market for small- and medium-sized businesses, and has benefited from demand for construction projects.

‘While Singapore banks are not insulated from the global slowdown, the infrastructure projects that have been committed in the domestic economy should, in our view, provide a cushion against recession,’ said Jaj Singh, an analyst at UBS, before the results.

UOB’s net lending grew 19.4 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, slowing slightly from 20.5 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Net interest income rose 11.8 per cent to $852 million from a year earlier and 14.6 per cent from the fourth quarter, while non-interest income, which includes commissions and fees, fell 4.1 per cent from a year earlier to $414 million.

UOB shares dropped 3.8 per cent in January-March, better than a 13 per cent fall in shares of sector leader DBS Group, but underperforming third-ranked Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp’s 2.3 per cent fall. UOB shares have gained almost 41 per cent since hitting a low of $15.38 on Jan 22. — REUTERS

Source : Business Times – 6 May 2008

February 29, 2008

Regional expansion helps lift F&N first-quarter gain to $109m

Filed under: Commercial,Developer News,Facts & Figures,Financing — Propertymarketupdates @ 5:40 am

FRASER & Neave’s (F&N’s) aggressive drive to expand its businesses regionally from property development to soft drinks has paid off handsomely.

A breakdown of its first-quarter results by region showed that while Singapore remained the drink and property giant’s top profit-earner, markets like Malaysia and other parts of Asia enjoyed double-digit percentage growth in pre-tax earnings.

This drove up profit by 41.8 per cent to $108.6 million for the three months ended Dec 31 last year. The bumper number includes $5.4 million of exceptional gains, mostly from property sales. Revenue rocketed 19.2 per cent to $1.32 billion.

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PROFIT CENTRE: F&N’s beverages division remains profitable, with gains in its soft-drink arm growing 9.9 per cent and subsidiary Asia Pacific Breweries, which makes Tiger Beer, reporting a profit of $42.6 million. — PHOTO: ASIA PACIFIC BREWERIES

‘The robust profit growth… clearly supports our strategy of industry-cum-geographical diversification,’ said F&N chairman Lee Hsien Yang yesterday.

F&N’s property arm was the star performer. Pre-tax profit from property development rose 15 per cent to $66 million, with the group benefiting from strong profits booked from earlier sales in Singapore.

F&N sold 120 flats in the 417-unit Soleil@Sinaran in Novena and replenished its land bank by securing a residential site at Boon Lay/Lakeside Drive via a tender.

Revenue from commercial properties rose 21 per cent to $69 million, supported by the high occupancy of retail malls, industrial parks and offices, as well as management fees from Fraser Hospitality’s operations.

The beverages division also sparkled, with pre-tax profit in its soft-drink arm growing 9.9 per cent to $15.3 million, while income from dairies jumped 84 per cent to $7.5 million.

F&N’s weakest link – publishing and printing – recorded a 6.8 per cent drop in pre-tax profit to $15.4 million.

Earnings per share rose from 6.5 cents to 7.7 cents, while net asset value per share increased from $3.77 to $3.81. No dividend was declared.

F&N said ‘economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be moderate for the next 12 months’. Still, it expects profit to further improve in the current financial year.

Separately, F&N’s 39.7 per cent-owned unit – Asia Pacific Breweries – reported a 5.4 per cent jump in first-quarter profit to $42.6 million.

Its earnings were dented by a $2.1 million provision for professional fees, while revenues rose 19.2 per cent to $567.8 million.

During the quarter, it started production at two plants in India and Laos, bringing its total number of breweries in the Asia-Pacific to 35.

Source : Straits Times – 15 Feb 2008

F&N posts 41.8% rise in Q1 net profit to $108.6m

Filed under: Developer News,Facts & Figures,Financing — Propertymarketupdates @ 5:33 am

FRASER & Neave has gotten off to a good start in the current financial year by reporting a 41.8 per cent jump in net profit to $108.6 million for the first quarter ended Dec 31, 2007, from $76.6 million for the previous corresponding period.
 
The profit attributable to shareholders included an exceptional gain of $5.4 million mainly from the disposal of properties. But even without including exceptional items, net profit for the quarter surged 33.2 per cent to $103.2 million from $77.5 million.

‘This impressive profit growth stemmed from the progressive recognition of development property income and continued growth in food and beverage,’ said the property, publishing and food and beverage group. Turnover for the quarter climbed 19.2 per cent to $1.32 billion from $1.11 billion the year before.

Earnings per share after exceptional items rose to 7.8 cents from 6.5 cents despite the increase in issued share capital, almost all attributable to the 14.9 per cent stake sold to Temasek Holdings. Net asset value per share strengthened to $3.81 from end-September 2007’s $3.77.

Former SingTel head Lee Hsien Yang, who took over the chairmanship of F&N on Oct 15, said: ‘The robust profit growth in this quarter clearly supports our strategy of industry-cum-geographical diversification. Our businesses in the core markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Indochina and Australia have all contributed strongly to the sterling results.

‘The profit performance was led by the property division which has benefited from strong profits booked from earlier sales launches in Singapore and healthy rental rates achieved from new and renewed leases. The food & beverage division continued to benefit from its regional expansion strategy and turned in a set of sterling results.’

The property division saw profit before interest and tax (PBIT) rising 15 per cent to $66 million, benefiting from higher development margins.

During the quarter, the group secured a residential site at Boon Lay/Lakeside Drive through a tender, covering some 830,000 square feet of developable area. This mid-end segment site is expected to yield a potential pipeline of over 600 units. Including this, the group now has a total land bank of close to 3,000 residential units with total estimated saleable area of four million sq ft. Overseas, in China, Australia and Britain, it has over 34 million sq ft of residential and commercial development space.

Beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries, which is nearly 40 per cent owned by F&N, also delivered a healthy set of results with Q1 net earnings (after exceptionals) attributable to shareholders going up 5.4 per cent to $42.6 million from $40.4 million on a 19 per cent rise in turnover to $567.8 million.

Its chief executive Koh Poh Tiong said: ‘Once again, Indochina (ie Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) has excelled as our best performing region, reporting a robust volume growth of 37 per cent and a PBIT gain of 23 per cent . . . This stronger set of numbers is a testament to our intra-market growth strategy.’

F&N’s soft drinks side grew 12 per cent in revenue on higher volume and a price increase but this was offset by higher raw material prices and input costs resulting in PBIT going up only 10 per cent.

The dairies division saw consolidated revenue rising twofold to $254 million but PBIT was a lesser 84 per cent to $7.5 million due to lower margins from its Thai operations and higher raw material and packaging costs.

Its glass containers segment registered revenue and PBIT growth of 10 per cent and 19 per cent, to $35 million and $4 million.

Revenue and PBIT for the publishing and printing segment declined by 2 per cent and 7 per cent respectively, due to the divestment of the Australia printing plant and lower profit from its printing division.

On the Singapore Exchange yesterday, APB saw its share price rise six cents to $13.56 while F&N ended 22 cents up at $4.93.

Source : Business Times – 15 Feb 2008

Revision of DC rates expected to be ‘moderate’

Filed under: Collective Sale,Facts & Figures,Land Sale,Market Watch — Propertymarketupdates @ 5:13 am

Consultants project smaller DC rate rise for residential and commercial use

THE coming March 1 revision of development charge (DC) rates – payable to enhance the use of sites or build bigger projects on them – is generally expected to be more moderate than the past couple of revisions, which imposed steep rises.

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That’s because on the whole, land price increases have slowed considerably in the the past few months. And collective sales, which traditionally account for the lion’s share of private-sector land sales, have virtually ground to a halt, property consultants have told BT.

‘We believe collective sale brokers are unlikely to feel inspired by the upcoming DC rate revisions,’ says Jones Lang LaSalle’s regional director and head of investments Lui Seng Fatt.

Most consultants project smaller average DC rate increases for residential and commercial use this time. However, JLL is predicting bigger hikes for industrial and hotel use, as hotel and industrial sites sold at government land sale (GLS) tenders in recent months have fetched top bids significantly higher than the land values implied by current DC rates.

This can be attributed to the shortage of hotel rooms and strong demand for industrial space by office tenants looking for cheaper backroom space, says JLL’s head of research (South-east Asia) Chua Yang Liang.

For non-landed residential use, JLL reckons the average DC rate will go up just about 5 per cent come March 1, compared with the 58 per cent hike that took effect on Sept 1, 2007.

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CB Richard Ellis executive director (investment sales) Jeremy Lake also reckons that on the whole, non-landed residential DC rates are unlikely to rise significantly, although there may be hikes in locations where land sales have taken place at prices significantly above values implied by the prevailing Sept 1, 2007 DC rates.

Market watchers point to examples such as Westwood Apartments in Orchard Boulevard, Toho Garden in Yio Chu Kang Road and 15 terrace houses at Jalan Bunga Raya in the Balestier/Novena area.

Agreeing, Credo Real Estate executive director Yong Choon Fah says the increases for such locations could be in the order of 30-40 per cent, while the average islandwide hike will be much smaller at 5-20 per cent.

DC rates – revised every six months, on March 1 and Sept 1 – are listed according to use (for example, non-landed residential, commercial, and industrial) and 118 locations across Singapore.

Savills Singapore director Steven Ming, who predicts a 0-10 per cent rise in the average non-landed residential DC rate, reckons both prime and suburban/mass-market areas will see only moderate increases.

However, bigger rises may be seen in mid-tier locations like Pasir Panjang, Balestier, Upper Bukit Timah, Hillview and Upper Thomson, where condo prices have risen 20-40 per cent in the past six months.

For landed residential use, JLL projects the average increase this time could be 8-15 per cent – again lower than the 11.3 per cent rise in Sept 2007.

Jones Lang LaSalle expects the rates for places like Dunsfold Drive and Binchang Rise in the Bishan/Ang Mo Kio area, Sentosa and Chestnut Drive to increase about 20-25 per cent, as market values of landed properties in these locations are significantly above the values implied by prevailing DC rates.

JLL reckons that after a 42 per cent spike in the average commercial-use DC rate on Sept 1 last year, the rate could still rise a further 30-35 per cent come March 1. However, it believes rates may generally stay put in the central business district (CBD), and expects increases mostly in suburban locations, particularly in the Jalan Sultan and Toa Payoh areas. In the past few months in these areas, commercial GLS sites have been sold at prices more than double the land values implied by prevailing DC rates.

Agreeing, Credo’s Ms Yong sees the islandwide increase in commercial DC rates around 5-15 per cent, with increases mostly outside the CBD.

Market watchers highlight the sharply different top bids for two white sites – with stipulated minimum office components – at Marina View in the CBD sold just three months apart late last year, reflecting how swiftly investor sentiment in the office market turned cautious.

JLL estimates industrial DC rates will appreciate around 30 per cent on average, compared with a 2.2 per cent increase last round. It also expects the average hotel DC rate to go up 30-35 per cent, after a 23 per cent hike last round, pointing out that hotel sites offered under the GLS programme at Upper Pickering Street and New Market Road/Merchant Road have been sold at premiums of 80 and 64 per cent respectively above prevailing DC rate-based land values.

The coming round of DC rate revisions will have ‘minimum impact on the already slowing collective sales market’, according to Savills’ Mr Ming.

But for en bloc sites with a significant DC component, and where the reserve price has been fixed by owners, a substantial DC increase will make it even harder to find takers, says Credo’s Ms Yong.

JLL’s Dr Chua reckons owners of properties in fast-changing neighbourhoods like Buona Vista and Telok Blangah – and possibly Paya Lebar and Jurong East, which are earmarked by the government for development into business hubs – will be watching the coming DC rate changes as they may set the tone for potential change-of-use applications.

Potential bidders for reserve list sites under the GLS programme will also be watching the revisions to get a sense of the Chief Valuer’s sentiment before making any applications for these sites to be released, says Dr Chua.

Source : Business Times – 14 Feb 2008

February 28, 2008

More black-and-white homes for rental, spurred by keen response

Filed under: Facts & Figures,Regulators,Rental News — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:39 pm

About 36 units will be made available by first half of this year.

RESPONSE to the open bidding for black-and-white bungalows and apartments has been so keen that Singapore Land Authority is offering more such state properties for rent this month.

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Four bungalows and two semi-detached in Seletar, Sembawang and Lornie Road will be put up for bidding from next weekend. The rents start at $1,800 a month for the semi-detached and between $3,400 and $6,600 for the bungalows.

Bidders can submit their bids at SLA’s office on Feb 18, after the open house on Feb 16.

This follows a successful launch in January, which saw 75 bids for five residential properties comprising two black-and-white bungalows and three apartments.

There was keen interest with over 200 prospective tenants attending the open house at Clemenceau Ave North, Hyderabad Road, and Dover Road, said SLA in a statement on Tuesday.

The winning bids ranged between $1,856 per month for an apartment at Clemenceau Avenue North, with a built-in floor area of about 53 sqm, and $20,258 per month, for a bungalow at Hyderabad with a built-in floor area of 369 sqm.

‘SLA has received positive response to the open bidding. The open bidding system enhances transparency compared to the previous ‘first-come-first-serve’ under a waiting list or balloting system,’ said the land authority. ‘The public has access to a wide choice of properties and the process is also more efficient.’

SLA currently manages about 2,360 residential state properties and will make progressively place those with available tenancies for at least two years on the opening bidding system.

It plans to put up eight more properties for rent in March and about 36 units in total by the first half of this year.

Said SLA’s Deputy Director of Land Lease Private, Mr Teo Cher Hian: ‘The keen response to the launch of the open bidding system for residential State properties shows that the rental market for residential properties is still buoyant. This is evident even for the smaller apartments, which are very popular with singles and those with small families.’

The appeal of living in a heritage black-and-white building is shared by many. Lush greenery, unique and heritage architectural designs and most of all, the ideal location near many public amenities, were often cited as reasons for their penchant for heritage State buildings.

For 47-year-old Mr Quah Jin Kok, it appeared to be an obvious choice. A second-time bidder, he liked the new system as it allowed him to bid for the next available apartment if he was not successful in the previous round.

‘When I first saw a picture of the apartment, I was attracted to its simple structure and its peaceful environment. It is in a building built in the early 60s. I like its resemblance to an old colonial building with old style windows,’ said Mr Quah, a business analyst, who is renting a third -storey apartment at Clemenceau Ave North, after an unsuccessful bid for another on the eighth floor. He put in the top bid of $2,500 per month for a two-year tenancy.

Previously, Mr Quah was renting a HDB flat at Waterloo Street. ‘Most of the State properties that I am aware of are old but well-preserved.’

Besides Mr Quah, another first-time bidder Ms Norfalizah Bte Sowtali also managed to get the apartment she wanted. Ms Norfalizah, 29, a personal trainer, was looking for a place near her workplace at Novena, and which has public amenities nearby such as a MRT station and a food centre. The unit at Clemenceau North hence suited her needs.

The results of the bidding showing the top five bids will be published on SLA’s State Property Information Online (SPIO) website at www.spio.sla.gov.sg within hours of the close of bidding.

Source : Straits Times – 5 Feb 2008

Singapore population hits 4.6 million

Filed under: About Singapore,Expat Community,Facts & Figures — Propertymarketupdates @ 3:11 pm

Number of foreigners increasing faster than citizens, PRs

SINGAPORE’S economic planners think the country can hold 6.5 million people, a size they feel will be ideal to keep the economy humming.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, however, feels the optimum population size for tiny Singapore might be smaller, between 5 and 5.5 million.

The latest numbers released yesterday by the Singapore Department of Statistics – after some refinements that exclude persons who were away for at least 12 months continuously, in line with United Nations guidelines – show that Singapore is just less than one million people away from hitting that figure recently suggested by Mr Lee.

Singapore’s total population has swelled to 4.6 million – and that was seven months ago.

The drive to attract foreign talent to make up the local shortage is apparently bearing fruit. The number of foreigners who work and live here has crossed the one-million mark.

In the past five years, the figure grew three times as fast as the number of Singaporeans and permanent residents.

The result: foreigners made up 22 per cent of Singapore’s total population as at June 2007, up from 18 per cent in 2003. From 2006 to 2007, the number of foreigners jumped nearly 15 per cent to 1,005,500.

Locals and permanent residents rose by less than 2 per cent to 3,583,100.

Source : Business Times – 4 Feb 2008

2007 – A year of super profits

Filed under: About Singapore,Developer News,Facts & Figures,Singapore Economy — Propertymarketupdates @ 2:10 pm

Only one out of 33 listed firms which announced full-year results reports loss.

Many Singapore-listed companies last year enjoyed super profits in line with 2007’s buoyant economy, with some doubling their earnings.

As of Friday, full-year net earnings of 32 out of 33 listed companies which have announced results so far totalled $4.1 billion.

Keppel Corporation catapulted into the billionaire club when it announced a 50.6 per cent increase in full-year net profit to $1.13 billion last week, up from $750.75 million in the previous year.

Singapore’s ninth largest company in terms of market capitalisation, the conglomerate, which has four business segments – offshore & marine, property , infrastructure and investments – also achieved record turnover of more than $10.4 billion, up 37.2 per cent.

Property companies were among those which did particularly well in last year’s red-hot real estate market.

Keppel Land, which also reported full-year 2007 numbers last week, saw its net profit increase 289.2 per cent to $779.65 million on the back of sale of units of residential developments here as well as recognition of profit from the restructuring of its interest in One Raffles Quay. Turnover hit a record $1.41 billion, up 48 per cent.

Fragrance Land was the other property developer to see its earnings more than double in 2007 to $30.4 million from $14.84 million previously – thanks again to the hot property market. Its turnover increased 39.3 per cent to $136.12 million for the year.

Among the 20 real estate investment trusts, more than half have already posted full-year net earnings.

CapitaCommercial Trust reported a 2007 net profit of $120.42 million, an increase of 52.7 per cent, followed by City Developments Ltd Hospitality Trust with a net profit of $68.72 million and Macquarie MEAG Prime Real Estate Investment Trust with a net profit of $59.04 million, up 7.5 per cent.

Also reporting record numbers was STATS ChipPAC, which saw full-year net profit increase 22 per cent to $134.72 million and turnover of $2.33 billion (up 2.1 per cent), bolstered by its fourth-quarter performance. It attributed this to strong demand across the computing, communications and consumer-end markets, and revenue contribution from its recently acquired factory in Thailand.

But it was not all rosy in the tech sector.

Chartered Semiconductor saw its full-year net profit gain 51.7 per cent to $146.23 million. However, turnover fell marginally by 4.2 per cent to $1.95 billion. This was attributed primarily to weakness in the consumer sector and to a lesser extent the computer sector, partially offset by strength in the communications sector.

Fastech Synergy was the only company to announce a full-year net loss of $6.66 million, even though it posted three consecutive quarters of gross profit starting in the second quarter of 2007. Turnover for the year rose 5.9 per cent to $20.32 million.

But the euphoria that followed last year’s strong performance has proved to be short-lived, with some analysts cutting earnings projections for 2008 in the light of a possible global recession.

CIMB-GK has cut Keppel Corp’s earnings estimates for this year by 9.7 per cent. OCBC Investment Research has revised its target price for Keppel Corp shares to $14.80, from $17.10. Citi, in a research note, said that Keppel Land’s record numbers were ultimately ‘disappointing’, adding: ‘Excluding revaluation gains of $343.6 million, net earnings came in at $436.1 million for FY07, falling short of consensus and our estimate of approximately $500-510 million.’

Source : Business Times – 4 Feb 2008

February 27, 2008

Time for homebuyers to do their homework

Filed under: Facts & Figures,Market Watch,Regulators — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:55 pm

FIGURES from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) show that private home prices shot up 31.2 per cent last year – way up from 10.2 per cent in 2006 and very close to the spurt seen in the 1996 peak year.

High-end property prices have far exceeded the 1996 peak while mid-tier homes are on a par, noted one market watcher.

Mass market property is a different story. Prices are still below the last peak and good buys could pop up, Mr Ku said.

This segment remains supported by HDB resale flat prices, which rose 17.5 per cent last year, the fastest growth seen since prices shot up by 25 per cent in 1996.

Buyers need to do their homework and look for properties in ‘good’ locations, with easy access to public transport. They could consider fairly new, completed condominiums near an MRT station, said Mr Ku.

They might even look at suburban landed homes, said Mr Ku, who feels those in the Upper Thomson Road to Mandai Road stretch are still undervalued.

As for new mass market launches, the 99-year leasehold Waterfront Waves in Bedok Reservoir has done fairly well. Eighty of the 148 units have been sold. Prices remain at $690 to $870 per sq ft.

‘I think buyers are slowly gaining the upper hand – if they do not already have it,’ said Chesterton International’s head of research and consultancy, Mr Colin Tan. ‘For every buyer, there are many sellers right now. But their expectations are different, there is still a wide gap in between and no sales are taking place.’

Nevertheless, if the stand-off lasts longer than expected, some developers and sellers could panic and slash prices so as to draw in buyers, said market watchers.

These are likely to be the very small developers or new entrants facing a credit crunch, they said.

‘Singapore’s property market is still bullish. The external factors affecting it are actually good because they have stopped the market from overheating,’ said a seasoned property investor.

‘Developers were selling at tomorrow’s prices. Now, they might have to ask for today’s prices.’

Source : Sunday Times – 3 Feb 2008

Singaporeans and foreigners gain from job boom

Filed under: About Singapore,Facts & Figures,Regulators,Singapore Economy — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:15 pm

THE economy grew so fast last year it created a record-busting 236,600 jobs, with six in 10 of them going to foreigners as there were not enough locals to fill all the openings.
 
That is up from the 2006 figure of five in 10 jobs going to foreigners.

The Manpower Ministry said in its statement yesterday that both Singaporeans and foreigners gained from the job boom.

The number of new jobs that went to locals rose last year to 92,100, up from 90,900 in 2006.

But foreign employment soared to 144,500 last year.

The services sector was the main engine of growth, adding 144,100 jobs. Most of these were in the financial and professional services. The construction sector grew by 40,900 jobs, double that of the previous year, and manufacturing by 49,400.

At the same time, the overall unemployment rate fell to a 10-year low of 2.1% last year. On average, 56,900 Singaporeans and permanent residents were unemployed last year, down from 67,600 in 2006.

Retrenchment dipped to a 14-year low, with 7,200 workers laid off, the bulk from manufacturing. The ministry said that reflected the ongoing restructuring in the electronics industry.

National University of Singapore labour economist Park Cheolsung said it was unsurprising that in such a buoyant labour market, a larger share of the new jobs went to foreigners.

‘The labour market situation is so rosy that most Singaporeans should have jobs if they want to. For many companies, turning to foreigners is the only way they can find workers right now.’

The ministry, which has relaxed foreign worker quotas and hiring requirements in recent years, said the injection of foreigners enabled the economy to ‘grow beyond the limits of Singapore’s indigenous workforce’.

Singapore registered GDP growth of 7.5% last year.

Foreigners are key to the boom being enjoyed by the construction and marine sectors, where they are taking up posts that Singaporeans find unattractive.

In the shipping industry, workers from Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar are employed as tradesmen – who do work such as welding – as well as technicians and assistant engineers.

Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees’ Union president Wong Weng Ong said: ‘A welder gets $400 to $500 a month. Most Singaporeans won’t work for you for less than $1,000.’

An increasing number of foreigners are also working in the services sector, doing jobs that range from waiting on tables to high-end ones in finance, logistics and information technology.

As of December last year, one in three workers here – or 900,800 – were foreigners.

But job growth could moderate this year, economists say. Dr Chua Hak Bin of Citigroup said: ‘Already, the global credit crunch has resulted in some retrenchment in certain sectors, such as financial services.’

Source : Straits Times – 1 Feb 2008

Surge in lease of industrial space, land

Filed under: Commercial,Facts & Figures,Regulators,Rental News — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:13 pm

BUSINESSES in Singapore leased a record 214,700 sq m of ready-built industrial space and 341ha of land from industrial landlord JTC Corporation last year on the back of strong economic growth.

Figures released by JTC yesterday showed that the net allocation of ready-built space, which includes factory space and business park space, surged 68 per cent from 2006 and easily surpassed the last peak of 179,600 sq m set in 2005.

The jump, said JTC, was due mainly to the increase in the net allocation – space leased less any given up – of all its types of factory space.

Flatted factory space last year was taken up by the companies in the manufacturing and manufacturing-related sectors, which include those in the precision engineering and electronics industries.

The overall occupancy of JTC’s ready-built facilities rose 4.9 percentage points to 92.7 per cent last year.

Net allocation of prepared industrial land – which is land provided with road access and water and sewer mains at its perimeter – also hit a record high of 341ha, a 27 per cent jump from 2006.

The growth in net allocation of land was supported mainly by the chemical sector, which accounted for half of all the industrial land taken up last year.

The occupancy rate for prepared industrial land stood at 89 per cent last year.

Source : Straits Times – 1 Feb 2008

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