Home prices would have risen by a third without cooling measures

If the Singapore government had not introduced a series of cooling measures to control the growth of private home prices following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, such properties would have been more expensive than the current norm by up to a third, revealed a study conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and reported by TODAYonline.

Similarly, the number of private housing deals and the volume of mortgages in the city-state would have risen by a similar level, added the MAS.

The central bank also discovered that tax measures, like the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) and the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), had a more significant effect on prices and transaction levels as compared to land supply policies and lending curbs like the loan-to-value (LTV) ceiling and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework.

“The SSD reduced sub-sales significantly, whereas the ABSD raised the hurdle rate of return for property investors.”

This has led to an exodus of foreign property buyers. In Q4 2011, the share of private residential purchases by this group peaked at nearly 20 percent, but it plummeted after the ABSD was implemented.

As a result, weaker buying activity has dragged down property prices and mortgage lending, noted the MAS.

Meanwhile, the soft drop in home prices signals that Singapore’s housing market is moving to a more sustainable state over time, said the central bank, signifying that the authorities will likely keep the cooling measures in place.

In Q3 2015, private residential prices declined by eight percent from its peak in the third quarter of 2013.

However, MAS is still on the lookout for signs of renewed activity in the market in light of the continuing high prices in particular areas, such as those in the Outside Central Region, where it is still 30 percent above levels seen before the 2008 global economic downturn.

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