‘Less pessimism’ in luxury housing outlook: Keppel

Property developer Keppel Land sees less pessimism in Singapore’s luxury-home market and says mass-market demand should stay supported amid signs that the global economy is on the mend.

Mr Augustine Tan, president of Keppel Land’s Singapore residential arm, said yesterday that recent economic indicators suggesting a healthier American economy and receding fears over Greece’s debt crisis meant “there is a lot less pessimism” in the luxury market despite the recent Government intervention that cooled demand in that segment.

Analysts say luxury-home sales have slowed since the Government imposed on Dec 8 an additional stamp duty for some buyers, with a levy of 10 per cent on foreigners.

While the performance of the luxury segment is likely to continue lagging that of the mass market for some time, Mr Tan believes that certain high-end projects, including premium waterfront housing, would draw healthy demand despite the cooling measures.

“Singapore, in the medium to long term, is still very attractive for foreigners to come and put their money,” Mr Tan said, adding that demand would mainly come from buyers from China, Malaysia, India and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the mass market will also enjoy support from improving economic sentiment and low mortgage rates, he said, noting healthier interest in the primary market compared to secondary sales.

Keppel Land has not lowered the selling prices of its units following the December measures and does not currently have plans to do so, Mr Tan said. But further Government intervention is possible should there be instability in sales volumes and prices, he added.

Property prices in Singapore, like those in China and Hong Kong, rose significantly when the economy rebounded in late 2009. To prevent a price bubble, regulators in these markets have sought to stem speculative activity through a variety of tightening measures.

Source : Today – 23 Mar 2012

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