Property prices still stable despite uncertainty over US economy

The number of transactions in the property market has gone down due to uncertainty over the US economy.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said this is to be expected but added that property prices have not shown any signs of correcting.

He was speaking to reporters at the sidelines of a community event on Sunday evening.

He said: “There is a slowdown in the market as reflected in the level of uncertainty. I think prices as far as the monitoring is concerned, I look at the prices of transactions and so far I don’t see the prices correcting as yet. But the level of transactions, the number of transactions, have come down. I think that reflects the uncertainty in the market.

“People are not sure what is happening, particularly in the US. And I think that’s a right attitude to take. Wait for a while, let the dust settle, then see what’s happening. As far as the government is concerned, we’ve taken the necessary measures over the last year to try and remove some of the speculative elements in the market. So I think we’ll see what happens in the next few months.”

As for those who wondered why there were no specific measures targeted at housing in this year’s Budget announcement, Mr Mah said the new key initiatives had been announced at last year’s National Day Rally.

And some of it, like the Home Improvement Programme, Neighbourhood Renewal Programme and the Remaking the Heartlands project have since been rolled out.

Mr Mah added that service and conservancy charge rebates, which were part of the GST Offset Package, continue to apply this year.

On rising construction costs, the Minister said he’s not worried that this will lead to a rise in costs or delays for upgrading programmes.

He also announced new Home Improvement Programmes at Marine Parade and Ang Mo Kio.

More details on the programmes are expected soon.

Commenting on this year’s Budget, he said: “As far as this year’s Budget is concerned, I think housing and public housing in particular has had its fair allocation, fair share of the housing budget. In the years ahead, I expect there’ll be a lot more expenditures from the Budget on public housing.” – CNA/ch

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 17 Feb 2008

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