Private houses bought by foreigners and companies fall sharply

The proportion of private residential properties bought by foreigners and companies has fallen sharply – from about 20 per cent in 2011 to 7 per cent in the first half of this year.

Short-term property speculation has also fallen sharply, as indicated by the relatively low volume of sub-sales.

And private home prices moderated significantly, rising marginally by 0.3 per cent in the first half of 2012 compared to the 6 per cent increase for the whole of 2011.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), together with the earlier rounds of cooling measures and the ramp up in both public and private housing supply, has produced “encouraging results”.

The ABSD was introduced last December to moderate investment demand for private residential property and to promote a more stable and sustainable market.

In particular, a higher ABSD rate for foreign buyers and companies was introduced, in view of the large pool of liquidity and strong buying interest from abroad, and the relatively small size of the Singapore market.

Mr Khaw said these measures have helped the home buyers, including those at the middle and low-end of the market.

For mass market private housing outside the central region, prices have moderated with a slower pace of increase of 0.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, compared to the 1.1 per cent increase in the previous quarter.

For the public housing market, the significant ramp up in new flat supply has enabled most first-timers a chance to select a BTO flat if they apply for one.

These are positive signs that the market is moving towards a stable and more sustainable path.

Mr Khaw said the government will continue to monitor the market closely, and remain ready to revise and enhance the policy, if and when the situation demands it.

Mr Khaw was responding in a written answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Nominated MP Tan Su Shan on Monday.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 10 Jul 2012

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