Official: Singapore Cooling Measures to Stay

Official: Singapore Cooling Measures to Stay

Residential News » Asia Pacific Residential News Edition | By Francys Vallecillo | July 11, 2013 10:20 AM ET

Singapore's government is not ready to relax cooling measures aimed at preventing a bubble in the country's housing market, despite signs sales may be "stabilizing."

"The market as a whole is seeing some stabilization," Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told Reuters. "We're not ready yet to lift our measures or ease up on our measures so we're watching the market and have to make judgments without announcing our policy moves well in advance."

Since 2010, Singapore has introduced cooling measures to thwart rising home prices as incomes don't keep up. Measures that went into effect earlier this month mandated that a property buyer's monthly payment on a property loan cannot exceed 60 percent of their monthly income.

However, home prices increased for the fifth straight quarter in June, according to Reuters.

Although higher stamp duties for foreign investors are in place, he recognizes foreign investors are looking for high returns and not just a way of hiding "grey money," Mr. Shanmugaratnam said.

"Most of the demand for property in Singapore has been a search for yield rather than a search for a place to keep ill-gotten money," he said. "They've got enough islands in the world to keep their money stashed away."

The country does not want to dissuade rich foreign investors and plans to remain an open market, Mr. Shanmugaratnam said.

"It's not a closed-door policy, but we've put some sand in the wheels, a fair bit of sand in the wheels, and it's having some effect at the top end," he said.

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