Media Statement

Singapore Quarter 2, 2018

2018 Q2 SNAPSHOT
Singapore’s economy grew by 4.4 per cent in Q1 2018, largely driven by the manufacturing sector, which expanded by 9.8 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y). Services producing industries also grew by 4.1 per cent y-o-y in Q1 2018. The growth in the services sector is expected to extend to H2 2018 and Singapore’s economy is projected to grow by 3.2 per cent in 2018, according to a survey in June 2018 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Despite a decline in overall private home sales, new sales rose significantly by 44.6 per cent q-o-q to 2,265 units as developers delayed their launches to Q2 2018. Resale prices for luxury apartments continued an upward trend, increasing by 2.0 per cent q-o-q. Similarly, there was a q-o-q increase of 0.6 per cent on rents for non-landed homes in non-prime districts.

Residential investment sales contributed to the bulk, or 61.6 per cent of total investment sales in Q2 2018, with the record sale price of Park House at $2,910 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr).

Monthly gross rents of first-storey space in Orchard/Scotts Road and suburban areas increased by 0.5 per cent q-o-q to $37.60 psf and $30.75 psf respectively in Q2 2018. On the other hand, rents of first-storey retail space in the other city areas remained unchanged q-o-q at $19.75 psf per month in Q2 2018.

Average monthly rents in the CBD increased by 1.0 per cent quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) to $9.00 psf in Q2 2018. Monthly gross rents of offices in Marina Bay increased by 1.5 per cent q-o-q to $10.90 psf. Monthly rents in Raffles Place (Grade A) also increased by 1.0 per cent q-o-q to $9.80 psf in Q2 2018. Rents of Grade B office buildings in Shenton Way/Robinson Rd/Cecil St/Anson Road/Tanjong Pagar remained constant q-o-q at $6.25 psf per month in Q2 2018.


TRENDS & UPDATES

Economic Overview

Key Highlights in Q2

  • Singapore’s economy grew by 4.4 per cent on a y-o-y basis in Q1 20181 , higher than the 3.6 per cent expansion in Q4 2017.
  • Manufacturing sector remained strong, particularly for the electronics sector with output expanding by 17.1 per cent in May 2018.
  • Within the services sector, the financial & insurance, wholesale trade and real estate industries anticipate more favourable business conditions from April to September 2018.

1Q2 2018 GDP statistics were not released as at time of publication.

Market Commentary
In Q1 2018, Singapore’s economy expanded by 4.4 per cent y-o-y (Figure 1), higher than the 3.6 percent growth in Q4 2017. Other than the construction sector that contracted, all other sectors including manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial and insurance sectors expanded in Q1.

The manufacturing sector grew the most by 9.8 per cent y-o-y in Q1 2018, largely due to the electronics, precision engineering and chemicals clusters. Additionally, the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) experienced the 21st month of consecutive expansion of Singapore’s manufacturing sector, despite a slight dip of 0.2 points to 52.7 in May 2018 (Figure 2). Exports have also continued to exhibit strong performance as non-oil domestic exports (NODX) exceeded forecasts to grow by 15.5 per cent y-o-y in May, largely due to non-electronic shipments. This was after a 11.8 per cent increase y-o-y in April. The increase in May was led by the expansion of non-electronics NODX outweighing the fall in electronics.

The services producing industries also contributed positively to the expansion of Singapore’s GDP in Q1 2018, growing by 4.1 per cent, faster than the 3.5 per cent in Q4 2017. All the services sectors expanded, with the financial and insurance sector posting the highest growth of 9.1 per cent. This was followed by the information and communications (5.7 per cent), and wholesale and retail trade (3.0 per cent) sectors. The strong performance in the financial and insurance sector was led by improvement in financial intermediation activities on the back of global cyclical uplift, as well as demand for life and general insurance products.

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Outlook
The robust growth in the services sector is expected to extend to H2 2018. Based on the Q2 2018 Business Expectations (Services Sector) report, the financial and insurance, wholesale trade and real estate industries are some of the industries foreseeing more favourable business conditions during the period of April to September 2018 (Figure 3). As such, the services sector is projected to be a stronger contributor to GDP growth in 2018, with concerns in the tapering of manufacturing activity. The manufacturing sector is forecasted to experience a slowdown with the easing in demand for semiconductors. Like Q1 2018, private sector economists, polled in the latest quarterly survey in June 2018 by the MAS, expect Singapore’s economy to grow by 3.2 per cent in 2018.

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Residential

Key Highlights in Q2

  • Private home sales declined by 3.3 per cent q-o-q to 5,941 units despite a significant increase in new sales by 44.6 per cent to 2,265 units.
  • There was a q-o-q increase of 2.0 per cent in prices for non-landed luxury residential properties whereas average prices for non-landed homes in prime districts rose by 2.5 per cent.
  • Similarly, prices for non-landed residential properties in non-prime districts grew by 0.3 per cent.
  • Average rents for non-landed homes in non-prime districts grew by 0.6 per cent q-o-q while that for prime districts increased by 1.3 per cent q-o-q.

Market Commentary
In Q2 2018, private residential sales fell by 3.3 per cent q-o-q to 5,941 units (Figure 4). Although there was a decline in overall sales, new sales rose significantly by 44.6 per cent q-o-q to 2,265 units. The improvement in new sales may be due to developers delaying their launches to Q2, after Chinese New Year.

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Districts 5, 14 and 19 had the largest number of new residential properties sold in Q2. The highest was District 5 with 738 new sales.

With the healthy demand and outlook for the private residential market, resale prices for private residential properties continued to increase, driven by the higher launch prices of new developments from costlier land acquisitions. Hence, resale prices for non-landed luxury homes grew by 2.0 per cent q-o-q, while the average unit price for non-landed freehold properties in prime districts rose by 2.5 per cent q-o-q (Figure 5). For the non-landed leasehold residential properties, the increase in average resale prices was relatively muted at 0.3 per cent.

Similarly, resale prices of landed housing were increasing, particularly for freehold landed properties in prime districts. Among these property types, the largest increase was for terraced homes, with prices increasing by 2.0 per cent q-o-q. Prices for detached and semi-detached homes in prime districts rose by a lower 1.5 per cent q-o-q due to the larger price quantum for such properties.

The rental market continued to improve on a q-o-q basis in Q2 2018. This may be attributed to the reduction in new completions as well as tenants and displaced homeowners from en bloc sales seeking temporary accommodation while waiting for suitable homes to purchase. This led to a q-o-q increase of 0.6 per cent on average rents of non-landed homes in suburban areas (Figure 6).

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Outlook
While the rental market appeared to have improved in H1 2018, it may take a few more quarters to ascertain a genuine recovery of the rental market. With an additional supply of land from the H2 2018 GLS Programme, it adds onto the current pipeline supply of residential properties. The total expected new supply is more than sufficient to meet the demand of homebuyers over the next one to two years.

Separately, with the slew of the new property cooling measures introduced in July, prices will be impacted.


Investment

Key Highlights in Q2

  • Investment sales grew slightly by 2.0 per cent q-o-q to $9.5bn in Q2 2018.
  • Despite a q-o-q decline of 18.4 per cent in residential investment sales, this sector contributed to the bulk, or 61.6 per cent ($5.9bn) of total investment sales.
  • Nevertheless, other sectors such as industrial, mixed-use, office, and retail registered large q-o-q increases in investment sales. Office investment sales grew the most, from $142.6m in Q1 2018 to $910.4m in Q2 2018.

Market Commentary
In Q2 2018, total investment sales rose to $9.5bn from $9.4bn in Q1 2018 (Figure 7). This was despite a q-o-q decline of 18.4 per cent in residential investment sales, which may be due to lower quantum of the residential collective sales that was transacted. In Q2, there was only one en bloc sale in the range of $500m to $1.0bn (Tulip Garden, for $906.9m), while there were five of such transactions in Q1 2018. Despite the lower quantum of the en bloc sales, sale of the freehold Park House for $375.5m to Shun Tak Holdings translated to a record collective sale price of $2,910 psf ppr based on the maximum allowable gross floor area (GFA) of 129,000 sq ft, excluding the 10.0 per cent bonus for balconies. This exceeded the previous record price of $2,526 psf ppr for the freehold Hampton Court site at Draycott Park, which was sold to Hong Kong’s Swire Properties. The transacted price quantum for Park House was also higher than the guide price of $308.0m. Nevertheless, residential investment sales was still the largest contributor to the total investment sales, constituting 61.6 per cent (Figure 8).

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Apart from residential investment sales, hotel investment sales also registered a decline. Despite the q-o-q declines in both sectors, investment sales in the other sectors rose significantly. The largest increase was from the office sector, expanding largely from $142.6m in Q1 2018 to $910.4m in Q2 2018. This was mainly due to the sale of Twenty Anson from CapitaLand Commercial Trust to an undisclosed buyer for $516.0m and MYP Plaza from MYP Ltd to Filipino billionaire Lucio Tan’s group of companies for $247.0m.

Separately, investment sales from Government Land Sales (GLS) also rose significantly in Q2, increasing by 81.6 per cent q-o-q to $2.9bn. This was attributed to the large price tags of the sites at Holland Road and Silat Avenue, with bid price exceeding $1.0bn each. While the residential site at Silat Avenue only attracted one bid of around $1.04bn, the commercial and residential site at Holland Road attracted 15 bids under the Concept and Price Revenue Tender and was eventually awarded to Far East Organization for $1.2bn.

Outlook
Under the H2 2018 GLS Programme, there will be six sites on the Confirmed List and nine sites on the Reserve List. The six sites on the Confirmed List comprise four residential sites (which includes one Executive Condominium site), one “white” site and one hotel site. This expected new residential supply was similar to the H1 2018 GLS Programme, which may allow the Government to control rising property prices and not create an oversupply. This is despite the large number of upcoming residential developments emanating from the numerous collective sales.

With the continuation of the en bloc fever, there appears to be a growing tendency towards well-located developments, particularly in the prime areas. In Q2 2018, around 13 residential sites were sold en bloc in the prime districts, compared to the nine in Q1 2018. As more options are available in the market, developers are more selective in strategically located sites that are realistically priced.


Retail

Key Highlights in Q2

  • In Q2 2018, monthly gross rents of first-storey retail space in Orchard/Scotts Road increased by 0.5 per cent q-o-q to $37.60 psf.
  • Similarly, monthly rents of first-storey retail space in the suburban areas grew by 0.5 per cent q-o-q to $30.75 psf in Q2 2018.
  • Gross rents of first-storey space in the other city areas remained unchanged q-o-q at $19.75 psf per month in Q2 2018.

Market Commentary
Monthly islandwide first-storey retail rents improved by 0.4 per cent q-o-q to $29.35 psf in Q2 2018. This is the second consecutive q-o-q increase since Q1 2018. There are signs that retail rents have bottomed out.

Monthly retail rents in Orchard/Scotts Road increased by 0.5 per cent q-o-q to $37.60 psf in Q2 2018 (Figure 9). Demand for retail was positive at the back of the growth in visitor arrivals and tourism receipts. To capture the diverse profile of shoppers who visit Orchard/Scotts Road, various high-end brands from overseas have expanded into Singapore.

Like Orchard/Scotts Road, monthly rents of first-storey space in the suburban areas also grew by 0.5 per cent q-o-q to $30.75 psf per month. Retailers in this subzone continued to do well as they largely serve the needs of shoppers who are living around the area. This was indicated by the positive change in demand of around 107,000 sq ft reported in Q1 2018. Many F&B and retail brands that cater to the masses have established their presence in suburban malls.

Outlook
There is around 2.5m sq ft of retail space in the pipeline and most of it will be completed from Q2 to Q4 2018 and in 2019 (Figure 10).

Moving forward, more retail stores will incorporate technology into their operations to focus on experiential shopping. They will continue to adopt an omnichannel strategy to capture a greater market share. These strategies are necessary to maintain their foothold in the industry.

Additionally, more landlords are introducing a shop, live and work concept into their malls. This is done by introducing more new-to-market brands and incorporating co-working spaces and lifestyle concepts. The integration of such concepts allows for greater diversity of tenants and for everyone to have a purpose to visit the mall.

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Office

Key Highlights in Q2

  • Average office rents in the CBD increased by 1.0 per cent q-o-q to $9.00 psf per month in Q2 2018.
  • Monthly office rents in Marina Bay improved by 1.5 per cent q-o-q to $10.90 psf in Q2 2018.
  • Gross monthly rents of Grade A buildings in Raffles Place rose by 1.0 per cent q-o-q to $9.80 psf in Q2 2018 while monthly rents of Grade B offices in the Shenton Way/Robinson Road/Cecil Street/Anson Road/Tanjong Pagar subzone remained constant q-o-q at $6.25 psf in Q2 2018.

Market Commentary
Monthly office rents in the CBD grew by 1.0 per cent q-o-q to $9.00 psf in Q2 2018. This is the third consecutive q-o-q increase since Q4 2017 largely driven by demand from the finance and insurance, info- communication and technology and co-working industries.

In the CBD, the growth in rents was the highest in Marina Bay. Monthly rents in Marina Bay increased by 1.5 per cent q-o-q to $10.90 psf in Q2 2018. Occupancy in this subzone also increased by 1.1 percentage points q-o-q to around 86.3 per cent in Q2 2018. Besides tenants filling up newer buildings, there was also demand from technology firms to take up space in other buildings.

Monthly gross rents of Grade A offices in Raffles Place also rose by 1.0 per cent q-o-q to $9.80 psf in Q2 2018 (Figure 11). There was an increase in office demand in Raffles Place in Q2 2018. Total shadow space in this subzone also declined from around 55,000 sq ft in Q1 2018 to around 35,000 sq ft in Q2 2018 (Table 1). Co-working operators also continued to expand their footprint in Singapore.

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Outlook
An estimated 4.4m sq ft of office space is scheduled to be completed from Q2 2018 to 2021. Majority of the supply will be completed between Q2 to Q4 2018 and 2021 (Figure 12). Out of the total office space that will be completed between Q2 to Q4 2018, around 874,000 sq ft of office net lettable area (NLA) will be in the CBD and are already pre-committed at healthy levels.

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As the services sector continued to improve in Q1 2018, increase in CBD office rents is expected. Demand may also spill-over to business parks.

Co-working operators will continue to contribute to office demand. These operators will locate themselves not only in new office spaces but also take up secondary spaces in other buildings, especially in the CBD. By the end of 2018, co-working spaces in Singapore will grow by around 42.3 per cent y-o-y and will be dominated by a few key players. Due to the proliferation of co-working operators, we may see further consolidation of these players.


 

GENERAL DISCLOSURE

DISCLAIMER - EDMUND TIE & COMPANY
This report should not be relied upon as a basis for entering into transactions without seeking specific, qualified, professional advice. Whilst facts have been rigorously checked, Edmund Tie & Company can take no responsibility for any damage or loss suffered as a result of any inadvertent inaccuracy within this report. Information contained herein should not, in whole or part, be published, reproduced or referred to without prior approval. Any such reproduction should be credited to Edmund Tie & Company

© Edmund Tie & Company July 2018
Source: Edmund Tie & Company. Reproduced with permission.

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