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Pre-emptive calibration of the measures

Pre-emptive calibration of the measures

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SINGAPORE — Joining a chorus of calls for property cooling measures to be relaxed, real estate agency Prop­Nex on Wednesday (March 9) put up its case for some of the curbs to be tweaked, including cutting Additional Buyer’s Stamp ­Duty (ABSD) for all groups of buyers.
The move follows earlier calls from property developers amid falling prices and sales, although the Government has repeatedly said it is not time yet to roll back any of the measures that were put in place to prevent the ­market from overheating. Upcoming new launch condo include Seaside ResidencesGrandeur Park Residences, Hougang EC, Yio Chu Kang EC, Hoi Hup EC while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Forest Woods and Straits Mansions, Sturdee Residences and Gem Residences. Grandeur Park Residences prices will be available soon.

However, PropNex asserted that it was the right time, citing reasons such as the fall in speculative activity, low levels of non-performing loans and weak demand amid rising supply.
“Against such a backdrop, we think a pre-emptive calibration of the measures rather than post-corrective ­actions would be a better way to go in achieving a stable and sustainable property market,” said PropNex chief executive Ismail Gafoor, adding that the agency had submitted its proposals to the Ministry of National ­Development and Ministry of Finance.
Speaking at a dialogue session at PropNex’s annual convention on Wednesday (March 9), Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said the Government was not averse to adjusting the curbs if circumstances change.
“It’s a question of whose timeline are we operating on. Obviously from the perspective of an individual, from the real estate sector, you’d feel that we ought to move faster, we shouldn’t be so cautious. Rightfully so, but we are trying to look at these issues through different lenses,” he said. The Government’s considerations ­include the economic environment and its ­impact on wages and people’s ability to borrow, as well as the housing supply situation, he added.
Among PropNex’s proposals are: Removing the 7 per cent ABSD for Singaporeans purchasing their second property, and reducing ABSD for third and subsequent purchases to 5 per cent from 10 per cent. For Permanent Residents, PropNex suggests removing the 5 per cent ABSD for their first purchase. It also asks for a reduction to 5 per cent from 10 per cent for their second property and keeping the 10 per cent for third and subsequent buys.
For foreigners buying homes priced above S$3 million, PropNex proposes reducing ABSD from the current broad-based 15 per cent for any number of purchases, to 5 per cent and 10 per cent for the first and second buys, respectively.
PropNex also proposes loosening loan-to-value limits on second and third housing loans, and raising the Mortgage Servicing Ratio limit for executive condominium buyers.
“We maintain the view that the various Government measures have been ­effective in achieving its intended ­objectives. However, it is timely to calibrate some of the measures to continue to steer towards achieving a more stable and sustainable property market in Singapore for the long term,” said Mr Ismail.

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