Weekly Property News Highlights: 11 March - 17 March 2020


The Business Times - Mar 16

Developers in Singapore sold 975 private homes in February, 57 per cent higher than January's take-up, as more units were launched for sale last month.

933 units were launched in February, of which 601 were in the Core Central Region, 115 in Rest of the Central Region and 217 were Outside the Central Region. In comparison, 598 units were launched for sale in January, and 596 units were released in February a year ago.

Meanwhile, the number of units sold in February last year was 455, or less than half the 975 private homes moved in February this year.

Tricia Song, Head of Research:

In recent weeks, the COVID-19 outbreak has further heaped uncertainty on the global economy and while we remain cautiously optimistic about home sales, much would depend on the economic fallout from the outbreak and whether there are large-scale job losses – widespread retrenchments, should it happen, will certainly dampen housing demand.

At this stage, we are maintaining our forecast of 9,800 units of developers’ sales for the full year 2020, with downside risks. While the COVID-19 outbreak could weigh on market sentiment, we note that the surprise rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve recently meant that interest rates would remain lower for longer, and would be supportive of housing demand. Mortgage rates based on SIBOR have come off 30-40bps since the first 50bps rate cut by Fed, and should come off further.   

However, rate cuts and Quantitative Easing are no magic bullets should the global and Singapore economy descend into a recession. Unemployment rate could then rise, and we should expect demand and prices for residential property to decline. Read our analysis.



The Business Times - Mar 16

As the global coronavirus epidemic strikes at Singapore's tourism-related sectors, the staycation market is taking on newfound importance.

While the Singapore Tourism Board predicted last month that visitor arrivals could fall by up to 30 per cent this year, domestic spending could stem some of the bloodshed.

Hotels are pulling out all the stops to dangle promotions and woo domestic visitors, especially with the March school holidays now on, and the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) lists some 100 staycation packages by members on its website.

Tang Wei Leng, Managing Director:

The COVID-19 outbreak has hurt the tourism sector and its impact deepens as countries around the world roll out travel restrictions on inbound travelers and advise against non-essential travel. We expect a steep drop in demand in the near-term; at the present occupancy rate, hotels would barely breakeven on a daily basis. Low occupancies will directly impact operation cashflow, which in our view is not sustainable. Much will also depend on hotels’ ability to hold on to rates. We are tracking this situation closely with our clients. Read our blog post on hotel sector outlook.



The Business Times - Mar 11

Singapore property auction listings could rise by 10 per cent in 2020 as more properties are put up for sale amid an uncertain environment, Colliers International said on Tuesday.

This is particularly in view of the potential economic impact should the Covid-19 outbreak become protracted, the real estate services firm said in its latest research report.

"In particular, mortgagee sales in the retail, industrial and residential sectors could increase in the second half of 2020," said Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore at Colliers International.

Steven Tan, Senior Director of Capital Markets:

We believe the higher mortgage payments due to rising interest rates during 2015-2019, coupled with a subdued residential rental market, have contributed to the increase in residential mortgagee sale listings. Personal circumstances such as loss of job or bankruptcy could also have led to higher defaults. Post cooling measures in July 2018, we think possibly more distressed owners were unable to dispose of properties quickly enough and may have defaulted on their loans.

We believe the declining success rate reflected the continued price gap between buyers and sellers. Also, we notice that only 8 out of 21 (or 38.1%) of the properties sold during auctions were transacted above their respective opening prices, indicating that buyers remained cautious during auctions and sellers are still holding onto prices. It may also be a case of buyers needing more time before taking the plunge, which resulted in some sales being done after auction sessions – these sales are not reflected in the data set under successful auction sales. Read our research report.


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Tricia Song

Director and Head


Tricia Song is a Director and the Head of Research at Colliers International Singapore. Ms Song brings with her more than 13 years of experience in real estate equity research and capital markets in Singapore and ASEAN. Before Colliers, she was the lead analyst for the Singapore Real Estate and REITs sector at Equity research at Barclays Bank PLC and before that at Credit Suisse, HSBC, CIMB-GK, and UOB KayHian. She was the lead analyst on various IPO pre-deals such as Ananda Development, iREIT Global and CapitaMalls Asia.

She also has prior experience in private equity, working on M&A deals in Asia Pacific at Newbridge Capital. Ms Song graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) degree from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


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WeiLeng Tang

Managing Director


I am the Managing Director of Colliers in Singapore.  I am responsible for the growth strategy and direction of the business. We are an enterprising real estate service solutions provider – we are a team of experts advising our clients on their business space requirements, to their property investment choices and decisions, managing and driving their asset performance, as well as advising and valuing their assets.  

My expertise is Capital Markets. I have a wealth of experience in selling buildings, hotels and development land for nearly 30 years. Headhunted from government service, I sold my first office building at 20 Malacca Street at Raffles Place barely one year into my new role. That same relentlessness saw me through many more deals, some bigger others smaller.  I have developed a great network and invested in strong relationships over the years. People very often ask me, what drives you?  That inexplicable joy I see on my clients’ face when I close a deal!

These trusted relationships allowed me to successfully entered into joint ventures with both Capitaland and City Developments Limited (CDL) during my stint on the buy side with Wells Fargo (then Wachovia Real Estate).

Taking on Singapore’s leadership role is a significant career progression for me.  Together with my team of experts, we have multiply our profitability six-folds since 2016. We continue to collaborate with our colleagues across markets to deliver strong results for our shareholders. One of my key focus is to accelerate the success of our people. I mentor, nurture and help them become experts, and I like to see the next generation of leaders emerge amongst them. Being a mother of three daughters, I understand my people’s aspirations.

Colliers has given me tremendous space to accelerate my success and I like to accelerate yours too. Connect with me!

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Steven Tan

Senior Director


Steven has over 25 years in the real estate business and progressed through various roles in this industry from property management to valuation and auction then into investment sales to leading the  non-institutional capital markets – added to his original role as head of the auction team in Colliers Singapore.

Steven is known to preserve a close relationship with his clientele who are High Net-worth individuals - known in the local as Tow Kay (big boss in local dialect), investors from all walks of life and business partners big and small, making him the leading choice to head the non-institutional capital markets.

Steven was lauded for brokering the first freehold industrial sale in the year 2020 for 190 Macpherson Road at $88m. His other notable and worth-mentioning deals include the collective sale of 2-24 Phoenix Road at $42.6M which was sold above its reserved price and another industrial building (food factory) at 200 Pandan Loop at $56.8M.

Steven also qualified as a licensed appraiser with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, a member of Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (MSISV) and member of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (MRICS).


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