Daily Management Review

Business Applauds Singapore's Surprise Property Moves


Business Applauds Singapore's Surprise Property Moves
After more than 3 years of sinking prices, revisions to the city-state's property cooling measures is being welcomed by Singapore’s largest listed property firm.
"Together with the government's policies to support population and economic growth, such measures will help to ensure a stable property market and healthy demand for new homes in the long term," said Wen Khai Meng, CEO of CaitaLand Singapore, said.
The company manages a global asset portfolio worth 78 billion Singapore dollars ($55.1 billion) and is South East Asia's biggest property developer.
"We believe that projects with excellent locations and transportation connectivity, good range of facilities, proximity to shopping malls and established amenities, and a reasonable pricing will continue to attract buyers," he added.
In a bid to stabilize a market that has seen house prices decline for 13 consecutive quarters, policymakers relaxed regulations by detailing a series of “calibrated adjustments” to the Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD) and Total Debt Services Ratio (TDSR).
The rapid roll out of the reforms appeared to catch major firms and investors off guard as the government had indicated a reluctance to curb its cooling measures in the past.
Suggesting an expected continuation of the policy, CapitaLand President and CEO Lim Ming Yan said in a February interview that "there is no compelling reason for the government at this point to make major changes" to property curbs.
The policy relaxations was described as "both measured and prudent" by international real-estate firm City Developments.
"We welcome the government's adjustments to the Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework," the company said in a statement.
The firm is one of Singapore's largest commercial landlords and has developed more than 36,000 homes. With shares advancing as much as 10 percent on the Friday announcement, its stock has been a core beneficiary of the reforms.
"Real estate is one of the key instruments of investment. The revised SSD in particular, will provide flexibility for property investment and is expected to inject increased activity into the residential property market," it added.
the aim of buying property as a form of long-term investment is supported by the measures, believes City Developments.
"We are confident that the government will continue to monitor the market conditions closely and make necessary tweaks to the other property cooling measures as and when the situation warrants," it concluded.
Analysts at CBRE and DBS struck a similar tone in their reaction reports regarding the Stamp Duty revisions.
"This is not expected to have a major impact on transaction volumes in the near term, as it applies to residential property purchased on and after March 11," said Desmond Sim, head of CBRE research in Singapore and South East Asia.
"However, this benefits buyers as it offers a respite as they would not have to wait up to four years to sell their property without incurring SSD."
The top local bank said the relaxation "kick starts a loosening trend", while analysts at DBS Bank acknowledged the announcement came without warning.
"We have previously highlighted the possibility of a government policy tweak in 2017 but the timing of this relaxation in 1Q17 caught us and investors by surprise following cautious statements from the government to maintain property measures prior to this move," it said in a research note authored by Derek Tan and Rachel Tan.
"Although the adjustments are marginal and the impact to the property market should be gradual, we see this as a signal of a turn in policy stance which could lead to further relaxation in the future. Given uncertainty from the pace of Fed rate hikes and its impact on mortgage affordability, this move confirms expectations that the government is ready to act preemptively to stabilize the property market."
(Source:www.cnbc.com )

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