RESIDENTIAL

2007 was a record breaking year for the residential property market, which witnessed blistering performances in both sales activity and transaction prices. The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) property market information showed an all time high take-up of around 15,000 new private residential units sold by developers in 2007, an increase of approximately 33% year-on-year.

In 2007, prices of private residential properties increased by 31.2%, compared with the 10.2% increase in 2006. Unlike in 2006 where improved capital values were mainly driven by prices of private apartments in Core Central Region (CCR), price appreciation in 2007 was more widespread throughout the whole island where prices rose by 32.7% in CCR, 30.4% in Rest of Central Region (RCR) and 26.4% in Outside Central Region (OCR). CCR comprises the prime districts (9, 10, 11, Downtown Core and Sentosa Cove), while RCR refers to the area within the Central Region that is outside CCR.

The sterling performance was prevalent in all segments of the residential market, from mass market to mid-tier projects as well as the luxury and high-end projects. The star performer however, was the high-end market.

Although the traditional prime residential districts (9-11) and central districts (1-4), which include the Orchard Road area, Sentosa Cove and the Marina Bay area achieved record prices and strong take-up, developers also enjoyed brisk sales and premiums in new residential hotspots at areas such as Buona Vista, Balestier and Keppel Road, in addition to choice locations in the East and West Coast areas.

Shelford Suites, CDL's boutique 77-unit residence off Dunearn Road, will be launched in 2008.

The year also witnessed a foreign brigade of property investors including private equities, finance houses and pension fund managers who went into “bulk buying” of projects, thus providing further impetus for growth in sales activity.

In 2008, the residential property market is expected to remain relatively healthy given the forecast of sustainable economic growth of between 4% and 6%, low interest rate environment, low unemployment rate of 1.6% (a 10- year low according to preliminary data by the Ministry of Manpower on 31 January 2008), continued arrival of more expatriates and foreign expertise leading up to the opening of the two Integrated Resorts and Marina Bay Financial Centre in 2010, as well as continuous efforts by the government in remaking Singapore’s economy with new and sustainable growth engines.

Rental growth in 2007 was 41% and is expected to remain strong in 2008 with limited new residential units completing in the next 2 years. This is expected to underpin investors’ confidence and sustain capital values as the market digests the US sub-prime situation.

OFFICE

Favourable economic conditions, bolstered by a fifth consecutive year of growth in the global economy and Singapore’s reputation as an international financial centre and hub city, have resulted in rapid business expansion in the banking and financial related sectors and service industries. Incidentally, such buoyant conditions coupled with an existing supply crunch of office space have benefited the office property market which grew from strength to strength in 2007.

The URA property market information showed that prices of office space increased by 32.6% and rentals rose 56.1% for the year. According to a CB Richard Ellis market report, Grade A office space rents grew 96.5% year-on-year to average $17.15 per square foot per month in the fourth quarter 2007. The URA statistics also showed that the island-wide vacancy rate has dropped to 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2007 with Grade A office vacancy hovering at 0.2%, the lowest since the Asian Financial Crisis.

 
The demand for Grade A office space such as Republic Plaza, CDL’s flagship building, will continue to remain strong in 2008.

Moving forward, office supply is expected to remain tight with limited new space coming onto the market over the next 2 to 3 years. Hence, any new supply should be easily absorbed as demand for office space is likely to remain buoyant, averaging about 2 million square feet per annum in the next few years.

RETAIL

It was another bumper year for the retail industry in 2007 with better retail sales and rental. CB Richard Ellis reported a total retail sales of $23.83 billion year to date which is 7.1% higher than 2006. The year 2007 saw the completion of 625,388 square feet of retail floor space with the introduction of new retail malls like The Central in Clarke Quay, AMK Hub in Ang Mo Kio and Square 2 in Novena.

According to the URA statistics, vacancy rate island-wide was the lowest since 1997 at 7.2% and overall rentals for shop space have increased by 18.2% year-on-year. In addition, a report by Colliers International indicated that average monthly gross rents for prime ground floor retail space in Orchard reached $42.25 per square foot.

Come 2008/2009, shoppers can look forward to many new and exciting concept stores, flagship stores and new entrants to the retail market as approximately 2 million square feet of retail space will be added. This includes ION Orchard (663,000 square feet), Orchard Central at Somerset (250,000 square feet), and Iluma at Victoria Street (191,580 square feet). Demand will continue to be underpinned by sustainable economic growth, low unemployment rate and an expected influx of tourists for international events such as the upcoming 2008 FORMULA 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, as well as other tourist attractions.

HOTEL

A new record performance for the Singapore tourism sector in 2007 was announced by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as a new high of 10.3 million visitors (5.4% increase over 2006) arrived in Singapore and a new record of about $13.8 billion in tourism receipts (11.3% over 2006) were generated. The STB has set its targets for 2008 to attract 10.8 million visitor arrivals and to achieve $15.5 billion in tourism receipts.

On the back of buoyant demand and continued supply crunch of hotel rooms in 2007, the STB statistics showed that both average room rate and average occupancy rate registered all-time record highs of $202 (23.1% increase over 2006) and 87% (1.7% increase over 2006) respectively.

The year 2007 also saw the opening of the St. Regis Singapore, the first internationally-branded luxury hotel to open here in 11 years. The outlook for the hotel industry looks bright in 2008, with many new tourism developments including the launch of the Singapore Flyer, the inaugural 2008 FORMULA 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix and the Singapore Airshow. To meet the growth in the tourism sector, a new supply of 1,476 hotel rooms has been projected by the Ministry of National Development (MND) to be added in 2008.

The St. Regis Singapore — the first hotel in South East Asia to offer the legendary St. Regis experience.