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15 September 2009

Singapore to curb property speculation

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Singapore on Monday outlined steps to pre-empt any speculative bubble from forming in the private property market, according to a report posted on the website of Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Good sentiments have seen home buyers snapping up homes in the private property market. Demand for uncompleted private housing units has picked up strongly since February this year, with 10,017units already sold by developers in the first seven months of 2009, exceeding the 4,260 units sold for the whole of 2008.

Singapore's National Development Minister on Monday outlined the measures taken to ensure a stable and sustainable property market.

One of the steps will be the immediate withdrawal of the interest absorption scheme and interest-only loans.

These schemes are currently offered to buyers of uncompleted private residential properties and could encourage property speculation in a buoyant market where prices are rising rapidly, as they substantially lower instalment payments in the first initial years.

The removal of the schemes will also encourage home buyers to consider carefully their ability to afford the properties over the long term and not rush into any purchases, the minister said.

The immediate removal of the interest absorption scheme will apply to all private residential projects, except those projects that had already been offered the scheme before this announcement was made.

The minister also announced that the Government Land Sales (GLS)program, where the government sells land to developers to build private housing, will be reinstated in the first half of 2010.

While there are currently still 16 residential sites for private housing development, the government will replenish the supply, with more details firmed up towards the end of the year.

The minister also said that five assistance measures outlined earlier this year to stabilise the property market when demand fell sharply will not be extended given the change in the market conditions.


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