Loan tenure curb may moderate housing demand, says UOL

Loan tenure curb may moderate housing demand, says UOL

SINGAPORE - UOL Group, which last Thursday posted a 13 per cent year-on-year drop in third-quarter net profit to $87.8 million, said that the recent restrictions to the tenure of housing loans could moderate housing demand in Singapore.

This, combined with more supply coming on-stream, means any rise in private home prices is expected to be moderate.

"The residential market is still driven by high liquidity and low interest rates...Competition for acquisition of new (residential) sites is expected to remain intense," it added.

On the Singapore office sector, it warned that the slowing rate of economic growth and new supply could put pressure on rents.

However, retail rents are expected to remain stable, it added. UOL - which owns 82 per cent of Pan Pacific Hotels Group - also noted that while the outlook for hotels in Singapore remains positive with the addition of new attractions, global economic uncertainties could impact demand for hotel accommodation in the Asia-Pacific.

UOL's lower Q3 group net profit was largely because of a decline in income from property development and a 31 per cent y-on-y drop in share of profit from associated companies arising from a smaller contribution from Marina Centre Holdings (MCH) and United Industrial Corporation (UIC) - which in turn stemmed from the closure of Pan Pacific Singapore hotel for major renovations from April to September 2012.

The hotel is owned by MCH, which in turn is 23 per cent owned by UOL and 57 per cent owned by UIC's subsidiary Singapore Land.

UOL owns slightly over 43 per cent of UIC.

UOL's revenue decreased 33 per cent y-on-y to $277.7 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2012.

This was primarily due to lower revenues from sale of development properties following the completion of some of the group's development projects last year and this year (such as Duchess Residences and Meadows@Peirce), as well as a drop in revenue from hotel management services.

The latter was largely because of the closure of the Pan Pac Singapore.

Next year, UOL is expected to launch a five-storey freehold condo on the former St Patrick's Garden site and a 22-storey condo on a 99-year site in Bright Hill Drive.

The latter is a tie-up with SingLand.

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