According to Heng Swee Keat, the Deputy Prime Minister, the country has no plans in the short-term to loosen property measures. This is despite the clamours by developers to ease the measures which will penalize them in the event that they are unable to complete and sell new projects within five years.
Mr Heng stated that in a Bloomberg TV interview on Wednesday (19 Feb) that “It is not on our radar at this point because we need to make sure that we stabilize the economy and we address long term structural issues.”
In July 2018, the government put in place measures with the aim to limit the growth of house prices and stop land hoarding. After the purchase of the land, developers have five years to build and sell all property units. Failing to do so will mean that developers will be slapped with a 25 per cent levy, which is a measure that developers have deemed as punishing.
Prices have been increasing just 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, which is a testament to the effectiveness of the measures in arresting market prices. Also, sales have been fluctuating, as shown by the 15 per cent increase in transactions in January following a 54 per cent slump in the previous month.
Earlier in February, some developers gain the benefit when the government eased another restriction, which meant the exemption of listed companies with a strong connection to Singapore from the Qualifying Certificate regime. Under the Qualifying Certificate regime, development must be completed within five years by firms, and all units in the project must be sold within two years of its completion.
The regime has sparked speculation of further deregulations in the property measures, but Mr Heng commented that “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. That everyone must feel that this is my home, this is something which I as an ordinary worker has something to look forward to,” Mr Heng concluded.