Property cooling measures prompt last-minute deals

Latest measures to cool the property market announced on Friday have prompted some buyers to seal last-minute deals, before the new rules kick in.

From yesterday, buyers who opt for home loans over 30 years, or past the retirement age of 65, will have to fork out significantly more cash.

Older investors, like 60-year-old Madam Doris Lim, are the hardest-hit by the latest restrictions on home loans.

“I heard the news (yesterday)… so I called my bankers. The manager came down to collect my documents,” she said.

Madam Lim bought a condo in Sengkang for S$850,000.

If she had waited one more day, she would have had to pay 60 per cent of it in cash, instead of the usual 40 per cent.

That is a S$170,000 difference.

Over at Yishun, a new project also saw strong sales on Friday.

The Skies Miltonia condominium was launched on the same day the cooling measures were announced. Before the night was over, more than 60 per cent of the units had already been sold.

“It was slightly above our expectations… you’re talking about 200 over units,” said Mr Leow Ban Leong, the condominium’s developer.

But Mr Leow said most of them were not last-minute deals.

“The news only came out in the evening. By that time, around 80 to 90 per cent of our sales had already been done,” he said.

Most of the shoppers at the launch were families looking for their second or even third property.

With curbs on long mortgages, shorter loans also mean buyers have to pay higher monthly instalments.

Mr Lee Mun Teck, an engineer, said: “Even though the interest rate is low, people will look at affordability right now instead of just the interest rate.”

But not everyone is affected.

Madam Soh Hwee Gin, who is currently servicing one home loan, said: “We are not risk-takers, so for us we have parked aside much more funds.”

Developers said there will be some impact, but they are expecting sales to stay healthy, as there are genuine buyers with sufficient cash in the market.

Source : Today – 7 Oct 2012

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