Published November 12, 2008

Redas offers more insights after bleak reports

It calls meeting to advise analysts that URA data may not give full picture


(SINGAPORE) The recent string of negative reports on the property market has prompted the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas) to engage analysts and offer them alternative sources of market data.

This came as analysts have drawn very bearish conclusions in recent weeks, based on official supply numbers from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

These included a string of research notes from firms such as Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs which have projected significant falls in mass-market, mid-tier and high-end private home prices.

Redas' position is that URA's numbers are general in nature. On certain specific issues, they feel it is better to check with property consultants who can provide more detailed data.

Sources say the industry body met property analysts from local and foreign research firms last Friday. The meeting was chaired by Redas president Simon Cheong, who is also chief executive of upscale residential developer SC Global Developments.

Analysts from several foreign banks - including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Nomura and UBS - attended the meeting, together with those from key local research firms such as DBS Vickers and CIMB-GK.

Also present were members of Redas' management committee including representatives from CapitaLand, City Developments, Keppel Land and Far East Organization.

Sources say consultants from all the major property firms in Singapore - CB Richard Ellis, Colliers, DTZ, Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank and Savills - as well as a legal advisor close to Redas also lent their weight.

Redas held the meeting to give equity analysts a more in-depth understanding of property issues in the light of the difficult economic environment, BT understands.

The perception is that while there are seasoned analysts who know the market well, there are others who are either new to the area of property research and lack historical perspective, or too young to fully understand the workings of the market.

The major property consultancies were there to offer help to analysts, and the legal advisor was present to explain technical issues including those involving the rights of buyers and sellers in property transactions.

Sources say one analyst present at the meeting suggested that the large developers could release their own data regularly to further improve clarity.

This is the first time Redas had organised such a briefing but based on the response, more such dialogues may be organised in the future. Views were freely exchanged, sources who were present told BT. Analysts also said they would take Redas' points into consideration.