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S’pore buyers call for more property curbs

SINGAPORE — Repeated rounds of cooling measures and loan restrictions may have put a squeeze on home prices here, but potential buyers continue to view affordability as a major concern and are calling for additional curbs to bring prices down even further.

S’pore buyers call for more property curbs

While acknowledging the effectiveness of the repeated rounds of cooling measures, 52 per cent of survey respondents are calling for more restrictions. TODAY FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE — Repeated rounds of cooling measures and loan restrictions may have put a squeeze on home prices here, but potential buyers continue to view affordability as a major concern and are calling for additional curbs to bring prices down even further.

A biannual survey by real estate portal iProperty.com showed yesterday that 51 per cent of the 2,853 Singapore respondents intend to buy a property in the next two years, with condominiums topping the wish list of many. However, 74 per cent said prices have yet to become more affordable.

General manager at iProperty.com Singapore, Mr Sean Tan, said: “The cooling measures have begun to lower prices, which respondents recognise and support … The question now is, when will buyers feel comfortable with adjusted prices and jump back in?”

Latest data from the Housing and Development Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority show that current curbs such as the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty have started to take effect, with prices of public resale and private homes dipping in the first three months of the year compared with the previous quarter.

However, while acknowledging the effectiveness of the cooling measures, 52 per cent are calling for more restrictions.

To address the affordability concerns of buyers, developers have started to price units more competitively, Mr Tan said.

“Although respondents are concerned with financing options, more than half, or 51 per cent of them, have a budget above S$800,000 … Some developers are already pricing their projects or lowering prices of previously-launched projects to within this range,” he said.

The survey also showed buyers taking an interest in overseas properties, with 43 per cent of the respondents saying they intend to purchase a property outside Singapore in the next two years, and 26 per cent in the next 12 months.

Malaysia emerged as a top choice despite recent cooling measures introduced by the government, edging out Australia, the United Kingdom and Thailand.

“The survey shows consumers retain great confidence in the property sector,” said Mr Getty Goh, director of real estate research and investment firm Ascendant Assets.

“Prices are declining and, while buyers are currently hesitating, the appetite for property remains very strong at both the national and international level. The property market will certainly see a revival in demand; the big question is when. Timing the market is always tough.”

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