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Cut cooling measures? But prices still near record highs

I refer to the report “COV for HDB flats falls to zero as resale volume slumps” (March 7). The report comes in the wake of recent calls by developers and property agencies that the Government scale back the cooling measures for the property market, before the market crashes.

I refer to the report “COV for HDB flats falls to zero as resale volume slumps” (March 7). The report comes in the wake of recent calls by developers and property agencies that the Government scale back the cooling measures for the property market, before the market crashes.

I find such calls absurd, premature and not in the national interest.

First, the actual selling prices for the various properties have hardly moved from all-time peaks.

If private homes prices are a good measure of price movements, data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in January showed that prices fell by 0.9 per cent in the final three months of the year from the previous quarter. In the years prior to that, we saw increases in almost every quarter. For the whole of last year, private home prices rose by 1.1 per cent, following a 2.8 per cent increase in 2012, a 5.9 per cent increase in 2011, and 17.6 per cent in 2010.

Second, sky-high properties prices are not in the interest of Singapore’s residents and businesses. They will translate into high rental and housing cost, driving away investment.

Singapore must not lose its edge as an attractive global business and commercial centre. According to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey, we are now the most expensive city in the world for expatriates. Surely, we do not want to remain so for too long.

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