Is Singapore’s property industry in denial?

Letter from STEVE K NGO

I REFER to the report, “Private home sales shrink 46%” (Jan 16).

I am disturbed by the apparent obsession of “industry experts” in Singapore to over-stimulate the property market by painting a picture that is rosier than the situation dictates, particularly so in the midst of a looming financial crisis.

The truth is that the crunch is already upon us, with the United States in the throes of its housing woes brought on by the sub-prime mortgage issue.

With the uncertainty in the stock market since the start of trading this year, coupled with the repeated warnings from the international business community about the US (one of the world’s biggest consumers) going into a recession, are our property industry experts here in denial?

These experts are trying to justify why property sales were down last month – that buyers were on vacation during the holiday season – and that sales would pick up this year.

Let’s come to terms with the reality: The credit crunch means that the banks are now very tight in dishing out loans – they are beginning to ask more questions before they give out their money.

I don’t see rich Arabs, Chinese, Indians and Indonesians moving in droves into our suburban condominiums. It is also hard to imagine if indeed there are throngs of foreign property buyers snapping up luxury units in Singapore, pushing prices up further.

It would be best if the pundits could paint a more realistic picture given the challenging times ahead.

Source : Today – 17 Jan 2008

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