News: No plans to ease property curbs: Deputy PM

Feb 20, 2020

His statement comes after developers made renewed calls to loosen a measure penalising them for their failure to complete and sell new projects in five years. 

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat revealed that the government has no plans to ease the property cooling measures.

His statement comes after developers made renewed calls to loosen a measure penalising them for their failure to complete and sell new projects in five years.

“It is not on our radar at this point because we need to make sure that we stabilise the economy and we address long-term structural issues,” explained Heng in a Bloomberg TV interview.

The city-state introduced the curbs – which developers described as punitive – in July 2018 in a bid to rein in house-price growth.

To stop developers from hoarding land, the government gave them five years from the date of acquisition of a site to build and sell all units. Otherwise, developers will face a 25% ABSD levy.

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The curbs have been successful in keeping a lid on the market as prices rose just 0.5% in Q4 2019. Sales also fluctuated, with January registering a 15% hike in transactions, reversing the 54% slump seen in December, reported Bloomberg.

Earlier in the month, Singapore eased another restriction for some developers by exempting listed firms with substantial connection to Singapore from the Qualifying Certificate regime.

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Under this regime, firms are mandated to complete development in five years and sell all units within a project in two years of its completion.

The relaxing of the measure prompted speculation that the government would be unwinding property curbs.

“They are reading too much into that. In Singapore’s context, property is not just an investment, it is a home for people and we must make sure that we get that right,” said Heng.

“That everyone must feel that this is my home, this is something which I as an ordinary worker has something to look forward to.”

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg`

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