Coldplay Concert Experience 2017

Below, find some images and videos from a recent Coldplay concert! Incredible friends and music –I had a splendid time. The concert took place at the National Stadium in Singapore on March 31. The band played everything from ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ to ‘Yellow’ to ‘Clocks.’ In addition to playing an incredible concert, Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin confirmed his status as a good guy by visiting the KK Hospital during his trip.

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Changi Naval Base, Singapore

I was invited to the Changi Naval Base in Singapore! The Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the United States of America and Commander, United States Third Fleet requested the pleasure of my company for a reception for the Carrier Strike Group ONE’s visit to Singapore on Tuesday, the fourth of April. Taking place at seven o’clock that evening onboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

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Singapore Leading in Urban Innovation

Singapore Leading in Urban Innovation - Anthony S. CaseySingapore, located on the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia, was recently named one of the principal cities leading the way in urban innovation. This is due to Singapore’s distinctiveness as a region that’s able to blossom and endure, despite limited resources. Some of the other metropolitan included on this list are Medellín, Colombia; Houston, Texas; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Singapore managed to find it’s way to the top of this list due to their ability to manage extremely limited resources. Despite setbacks, Singapore has been able to effectively promote education, maintain a government that’s reasonably free of corruption, and supports business. With very few resources to their name, Singapore has managed to be a financial, transport, and global commerce hub. The technology-ready island city-state frequently depends on the neighboring country Malaysia for its water, and imports nearly all of their food.  Also, approximately 30 percent of their population consist of non-permanent residents to stimulate the economy.

Singapore looks to the sea and sky to meet its water needs. Rainwater is treated to produce drinking water and water for flushing the toilet. Also, the two desalination plants can churn out 100 million gallons of water each day, using rainwater. There’s an ambitious wastewater reuse system in Singapore, which uses ultraviolet light as a disinfectant and advanced membrane filters. Though public water is sanitized to the point of it being safe for public consumption, it’s reserved for industry and air conditioning.

The bustling city is roughly the same size of New York City, and it’s considered to be “a city innovating under constraint.” More than other cities, Singapore was able to make significant use of limited space, and they’ve initiated “congestion pricing,” where drivers are charged when commuting into the business district during the bustling rush hour. Local government cap the number of vehicles that can be registered, and satellite devices track driving distances and adjusts tolls based on traffic. Motorists tend to pay quite a bit for commuting, but many have learned how to alleviate the financial burden of owning a car by doing their maintenance, utilizing carpooling services, and enrolling in gas station memberships.

Singapore’s ability to innovate has made the state attractive to tourists and real estate experts.

Family-Friendly in a Modernized Joo Chiat

Joo Chiat Singapore

Singapore is a historic center bristling with a legacy of trade and commerce, marked with modern architectural feats at its central skyline. However, in the quaint town of Joo Chiat on the east coast, tradition reigns supreme.

Here, the picturesque neighborhood is known for its diverse cuisine that follows strict traditional recipes (including hand-rolled spring rolls and the city’s oldest Peranakan restaurant), storing offering collectible wares, and shophouses awash in playful pastels; Joo Chiat is Singapore’s very first heritage town.

The New York Times recently reports one story of a family putting their own mark on one of these classic 1920’s Singapore shophouses.

With a child on the way, Michael and Katherin Puhaindran decided to settle into one of Joo Chiat’s highly-coveted 1920s shophouses. The architectural style is characterized by terra cotta roof tiles, French double-shuttered windows, and ornate garlands of sculpted plasterwork. The largely Chinese style was codified by Sir Stamford Raffles in the nation’s first town plan in the early 1840’s. Chinese settlers first brought the style to Singapore even earlier than that, making it the predominant architectural style throughout the rest of the region.

There once were streets similar the those of the community of Joo Chiat. However, they were destroyed in the second half of the twentieth century to make way for Singapore’s luxury high-rises and office buildings. According to Jane A. Peterson of the New York Times, over half of the seven thousand traditional Singapore homes are under some degree of conservation protection.

However, much like San Francisco’s Victorian rowhouses and NYC’s brownstones, these classic Singaporean homes are in high demand, but short supply. The Puhaindrans thought, why not? They embraced  the chance to buy one of these cherished homes when the opportunity arose

However, despite its architectural grandeur, the interior of the home did not suit the needs of an active, contemporary family.

The Puhaindrans found architectural remodeling professionals RT+Q. They designed a space that could retain the traditional style of the shophouse while overhauling the general flow of the space. By extending the back half of the property, they added space and made the the rooms more useful. The result was a new three-story structure that connected the house with an breezy, open courtyard. It’s a rectangular space that spans 72 feet deep with two additional floors and modern appliances.

To accommodate their lifestyle, the new space allows the family to host parties and most importantly, it provides their daughter with enough space to frolic.

The new design also provides an abundance of natural light, while keeping the bottom floors cool during the warm summer nights. Within the new back-half structure, elements such as closets and bathrooms are conveniently enclosed in filigree screens or glass enclosures.

The renovation costed the Puhaindrans $1.5 million Singapore dollars, but it has increased the home’s total cost to $4 million. This is certainly a well-spent investment for a modern rendition of a traditional treasure.

You can find this original post on AnthonySCasey.org. If you would like to read more on Singapore real estate, follow me on twitter @AnthonySCasey1.

The Impact of Singapore Real Estate

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There are 18 total real estate management and development firms in Singapore. The total market capitalisation of the group comes out to be $90 billion. Just how big is this overall? The combined $152 billion capitalisation of the Real Estate Sector compares to $97 billion for the three Singapore banks.

Over the past fifteen years the Real Estate Index generated nearly double the price gains of the Residential Urban

Redevelopment Authority Property Price Index.

Who are the leaders of the pack?

Hongkong Land Holdings Limited (SGX: H78), CapitaLand Limited (SGX: C31), Global Logistic Properties Ltd (SGX: MC0), and City Developments Limited (SGX: C09), are all heavily involved with the development of real estate in the city.

How strong is their influence? What should investors know?

The stocks that of the Real Estate subsectors comprise a mix of Singapore real estate and international real estate and combination of holders of local and international properties.

Income investors should know that the largest dividend among Singapore’s real estate management and development companies comes from Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (SGX: TQ5). Oxley Holdings are the top performing stock of the group. With a 66% total return over the past three years, this is a good stock to watch. On the other hand, blue chip companies such as City Developments and Global Logistic Properties recorded negative total returns of 36.2% and 33.4%, respectively, over the same timeframe.

With a market cap of $21 billion, Hong Kong Land Holdings leads the list. Founded in 1889, the Group owns and operates nearly 800,000 sq. m. of luxury retail property and office space in key Asian cities, primarily Hong Kong and Singapore. The group is incorporated in Bermuda with a standard listing on the London Stock Exchange as its primary listing.

CapitaLand is headquartered and listed in Singapore. It focuses Singapore and China, while identifying Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam as new growth markets.

To learn more, read the Singapore Exchange Limited February 2016 report.

Big Hotel to Sell for $203m

Big-Hotel

A Hong Kong-based private equity group, Gaw Capital Partners (GCH), is slated to purchase the Singapore Big Hotel for $203 million. In the past, GCH has restored iconic hotels like the Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles and The Strand in Yangon.

CGH directors Kenneth Gaw, Alan Lee Kam Hung, and Lee Wei Hsiung have been in the midst of acquiring Big Hotel since mid September. The 16-story, 308-room hotel offers accommodations for a range of visitors categorized into “hipster,” “rainmaker,” “explorer,” and “lover.”

According to the Straight Times, hotel investment in the region remains steady with an emphasis on larger, more mature markets. Singapore’s market has slowly started to strengthen as the Singdollar appreciates in value. Moreover, the CGH group has a positive reputation when it comes to high growth results. Since 2005, Gaw Capital has raised equity of US $5.22 billion and currently controls US $10.61 billion in asset management.

Although quite a large project, GCH has also been reported to have purchased Seattle’s tallest tower, the Columbia Centre for approximately $700 million as well as Hong Kong’s flagship InterContinental Hotel for US $938 million. They are expected to close later this year.

Booming Business for Rooftops

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As available real estate space in Singapore rapidly declines, businesses and event organizers are looking for alternatives via rooftop rentals. From highly coveted Orchard Road and the Central Business District to Chinatown, wide open rooftop spaces are available for the taking. More office and commercial buildings are converting drab rooftop spaces into restaurants, event venues, and urban gardens. Since last year, People’s Park Complex, an open-air carpark, was deemed one of the best nightlife spots in the city. Lepark, the manager of the 63,000 sq ft venue has been dedicated to consistently organizing outdoor events at the unexpected location, hosting concerts, craft markets, film screenings, and a yoga festival. .

The Getai Group has been equally dedicated to co-organizing public activities and events and joined forces with Lepark and TAJ back in May to produce the Getai Ethnica music festival as part of the Singapore Heritage Festival. The event attracted approximately 3,000 people over two days. Getai Ethnica mixed the world jazz sounds of Qilin Group with the acoustic songwriting of the HubbaBubbas followed by a performance from TAJ. TAJ is a Singapore based instrumental jazz hip-hop band comprised of Timmy D, JR, and Audrey 10k.

Open-air rooftop venues were particularly popular throughout the summer. In July, a concert featuring YouTube sensation Us The Duo performed at “A Rooftop Affair.” It allowed people to experience Singapore city from a very different perspective. According to Edmund Chye, executive director of Chye Lee & Sons, “In space-starved Serangoon Garden and Singapore in general, it’s difficult to find a space where the community can come together to bond.”

In addition to entertainment, rooftops give consumers access to urban farms. Bjorn Low, co-founder of the urban farming company, Edible Garden, has been on a mission to provide the city with numerous rooftop urban farms. Since last October, he and his team have been able to turn a 3,300 sq m garden on top of Wheelock Place into a vegetable patch.

Although there are various rooftop spaces available, this isn’t a quick fix for the lack of space available in the city. Moreover, because space is limited, many rooftop bars are tiny and can feel claustrophobic. What’s most important is that Singapore real estate investors now have more options – and the people love it.

Relief for Singapore Real Estate Market?

Singapore Housing

Relief is possibly on the way for the Singapore private property market. This year, the industry struggled due to falling prices and a general lack of enthusiasm. Ever since the government stepped in and enforced limits on financing, the Singapore market has rapidly begun to fall behind. And although buyer disinterest continues, developers are hopeful that 2016 will be more prosperous.

In the first six months of the year, real estate services JLL estimates only 3,496 private residential unit sold, a 21 percent decrease compared to last year. The lack of sales has nose-dived prices. Property prices are projected to reach a total decline of 6 percent by year’s end. Developers typically shy away from giving discounts any more than 15 percent of the initial asking price even in such a difficult situation. Fortunately, the upcoming general election has generated buzz around the potential end of government cooling measures in the near future.

Since 2009, the Singapore Government has placed restrictions on the housing market aimed at foreign demand in an attempt to stabilize market prices. Singaporeans currently have to pay an Additional Buyers Stamp Duty of 7 percent on their second home, and 10 percent on the third. Management companies are in hopes that the September or October general election will work in the favor of Singaporeans, rolling back additional fees.

In the current state of affairs, sellers aren’t the only ones feeling pressure. Renters currently face a dilemma due to a strong demand-supply imbalance. While 26,000 housing units are expected to be completed by year’s end, last year’s peak demand only hit just above 15,000. This year isn’t projected to be much different. This makes it difficult for renters to raise their tenants rent, hoping to keep up with the competition. A slow decline in the expatriate population further skews the issue.

With the continuos decline in rent, sellers and renters can only hope for a turn-around in this fall’s general election.

Square Yards Acquires Singapore Luxe Real Estate

Square-YardsA couple of weeks ago, Singapore-based real estate firm, Luxe Real Estate was acquired by Square Yards. Square Yards is the top pan-India organized real estate advisory group, toting a strong presence in 20 cities and 5 countries around the world. With over 600 employees and counting, the acquisition of Luxe Real Estate firmly places Square Yards in the top 30 Singapore-based agencies by number of agents. With direct access to prime Singapore Real Estate, Square Yards intends to hold a dominant position in the International real state market. Data from the International Project Marketing division in Dubai suggests high demand from influential counties like the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Square Yards hopes to reach the same level of presence in Asia.

Prior to the acquisitions, Luxe Real Estate offered investment, marketing, sales and rental services for private luxury and properties on its own. It will now operate in conjunction with Square, providing expertise in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and China. The joining between Luxe and Square Yards appears to be favorable and both teams are looking forward to the merge. Each company provides and unique outlook and niche market, forming the ultimate package.

Luxe Real Estate was recently founded in 2014 by Calvin Chao, an individual with a particularly strong background in domestic and international luxury real estate. Square Yards was establish only a year before in 2013. The company will bring it’s 500 A grade developers to the Luxe team.

Over the next two quarters, Square Yards intends to expand it’s global reach into 20 additional markets.

Top Residential Locations of the World’s UHNW Population

According to the 2015 Global Luxury Residential Real Estate Report by Sotheby’s International Realty, the top cities for ultra high net worth residents are:

  1. New York, USA
  2. London, UK
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Los Angeles, USA
  5. San Francisco, USA
  6. Washington D.C., USA
  7. Singapore
  8. Dallas, USA
  9. Mumbai, India
  10. Paris, France

Ultra high net worth (UHNW) is defined by those with a net worth of US$30 million or more. There are approximately 211, 000 individuals worldwide who meet this requirement and each person averages 2.7 properties. The report also states that “United States is the most popular country for foreign UHNW individuals looking to buy secondary residences.” As you can see from the list, the United States holds the majority of UHNW residents worldwide. Also important, the world’s UHNW population grew 6% between 2013 and 2014, increasing the demand for luxury properties. Luxury real estate is deemed as any property valued at US$1,000,000 or more. Amazingly UHNW individuals tend to own at least 2 properties, and many have 3 or 4. These estates are purchased primarily for practical and business reasons, but emotional satisfaction plays a vital role as well.

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New York City Luxury Apartment

The report graciously breaks down the typical profile of luxury property owners by city. For example, the average UHNW New York resident is 60 years old, occupied in banking, investment, or finance, and has a median net worth of US$120 million. Sotheby’s CEO Kathryn Korte reported that a new record was set in Manhattan for the most expensive co-operative apartment ever sold at $70 million in 2014. It later broke the record again at $71.3 million. Interestingly, the report also claims that the emerging UHNW class from China and Russia are primarily younger, self-made individuals. China’s UHNW population has an average net worth of US$141 million and often elects to live in neighboring countries like Hong Kong and Singapore.

Definitely take a moment to read through the report for some interesting information regarding the world’s elite, where they chose to live, and how it affects the global real estate market.