- NUS and NTU move up in world rankings
- Home prices may dip 20% by end 2015
- Hong Kong allows elderly in Guangdong to have allowance
Singapore's two oldest universities are getting better with age as they continue their march up the Times Higher Education (THE) World University rankings.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) edged up another three spots to 26th this year, after going from 40th to 29th in 2012. It also held on to its position as the second-best in Asia, after Tokyo University.
The Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which dramatically leaped 83 places the year before, moved another 10 rungs to 76th.
It is also ranked joint No. 1 in the world for industry income and innovation, sharing the accolade with 10 other universities, such as Johns Hopkins and Duke University, after coming in 15th last year.
Measuring how much research income a university was able to attract in the past year from industry, this was one of the 13 performance indicators used to determine the rankings.
The others covered teaching, which was partly based on how other academics around the world rated the university, research, international outlook and how much a university's work is cited by other institutions.
As with last year, American universities dominate the rankings, taking seven of the top 10 places.
The California Institute of Technology is first for the third straight year, with Harvard and Britain's Oxford sharing second.
Phil Baty, editor of THE World University Rankings, produced by Britain's leading publication in higher education, said: "Singapore continues to go from strength to strength."
He believes that NUS and NTU, which was established in 1991, will continue to climb the rankings, given the country's reputation as one of the world's leading hubs for research and innovation.
The 108-year-old NUS, he said, is not just rising in Asia but also proving its excellence along with other regional universities against the best from the West, including America, Britain and Canada.
NTU president Bertil Andersson pointed to the setting up of new research labs such as the S$75mil (RM191mil) Rolls-Royce aerospace technology centre as one reason for earning top spot for industry income and innovation.
He also noted that NTU has been rapidly ramping up collaborations with the world's leading multinationals and key industry players.
NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan was "delighted" with his university's move up the table.
He said NUS has, among other things, pioneered fresh approaches to education in Singapore such as the new University Town and the establishment of the Yale-NUS College. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Home prices could fall by as much as 20% by the end of 2015 in the wake of oversupply, tougher loan rules and rising interest rates, say analysts.
One warning comes from a Barclays report which noted that risks from a number of directions are putting pressure on residential values and hitting demand at new launches.
"We expect developer sales to fall by 30% in 2013, as the latest sets of measures bite," it said.
In a separate report, CIMB said that a large supply of new homes set to hit the market could cause prices to correct by 10% to 15% by 2015.
Affordability has become more of an issue since new loan curbs were introduced in June. These cap a borrower's total monthly debt payments at no more than 60% of his gross monthly income.
Developers sold 11,174 new units in the eight months to Aug 31 – 27% down on the same period a year ago, said Barclays in its report last week.
Transactions could fall to a monthly average of 1,000 to 1,100 homes by the end of this year, bringing the total number of sales expected this year to 15,500 – 30% below the 22,179 recorded a year ago.
The impending supply of new homes could also place downward pressure on home prices, added CIMB analyst Donald Chua.
Barclays estimates that this "total housing supply could average 40,000 units per annum, and peak at 47,000 in 2015... significantly above the historical average annual supply of 12,300".
Its analyst, Tricia Song, said a supply glut would cause vacancy rates of private homes to rise from 5.6% this year to 9.9% in 2016.
"Historically, when vacancy hits 8%, rents and prices tend to start declining," said Song. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
HONG KONG: Hong Kong's Social Welfare Department has launched the Guangdong Scheme, under which eligible Hong Kong elderly people aged 65 or above who live in Guangdong province will receive the monthly allowance of 1,135 HK dollars (about RM472) without the need to return to Hong Kong each year.
The department has received applications for the Scheme since Aug 1.
A spokesman from the department said if the applicant can provide all the necessary documents, the department will "generally be able to make the payment to an approved application within seven working days".
A Guangdong Scheme recipient will be entitled to a full year allowance if he/she satisfies the minimum residence period of 60 days in Guangdong in a payment year. — China Daily / Asia News Network
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