Saturday, April 25, 2009

Property market 'still weak'

HO CHI MINH CITY: Singapore's property market is still 'pretty weak' and the Government will not lift its suspension on land sales to developers until at least June, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said yesterday.

The city-state said last October that it will suspend its land sales, putting on hold sites for residential, office and hotel developmentsas the economy deteriorated.

The city's Private home prices fell 14 per cent in the first quarter, the Government said yesterdayy. Rents of offices, retail and industrial properties also retreated.

'At the moment, things are still pretty slow,' Mah said in an interview .'Property really depends on the economy, and the economy around the world and in Singapore still looks pretty weak,' Mr Mah said.

Singapore's economy may contract by as much as 9 per cent this year as the global recession saps demand for the island's exports, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has predicted. The slowdown has pushed residential prices lower for three straight quarters, halting a four-year rally.

'The Government will continue to invest in infrastructure, but the land sales programme will be suspended for the time being,' Mr Mah said. The existingsuspension will last till June and the Government will evaluate and make a decision 'some time in the next month'. he added.

CapitaLand Ltd, Southeast Asia's biggest developer, said first-quarter income slumped 83 percent due to lower sales from development projects and a drop in rents from commercial properties and serviced residences.

Net profit for the three months ended March 31 fell to S$42.9 million ($28.6 million) from S$247.5 million in the same period last year, the Singapore-based company said in a statement to the local exchange today.

Keppel Land Ltd., a developer building Singapore's largest office complex, said today it plans to sell S$712.3 million of stock to existing shareholders to bolster its balance sheet and fund acquisitions.


Source: Straits Times, 25 April 2009

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