Property-related Budget measures are deemed developer-friendly

Market-watchers have welcomed Budget measures, announced by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Thursday, which are aimed at helping Singapore property developers through the current downturn.

While analysts had already expected the government to unveil help for the depressed property market, they noted on Friday that some of the moves are particularly creative.

These measures include allowing developers to rent out unsold units and deferring property tax for land approved for development. This deferment allows developers to hold back projects, easing near-term supply in the weak market.

Brandon Lee, investment analyst, DMG & Partners, said: “It’s a positive thing for the medium to long-term growth of Singapore’s property sector. If you look at these measures, a lot are pro-developer.

“It shows the government is giving a very definitive stance to help the developers tide through this tough period, while at the same time re-tweaking the demand-supply disequilibrium right now.”

On the flip side, some analysts said few measures actually benefit home buyers.

Nicholas Mak, director, Consultancy and Research, Knight Frank, said: “In the previous downturns, one of the measures announced was the deferment of stamp duty. That will lower the cost and demand for cash for home buyers.”

Demand-side concerns extend beyond the property market itself. For example, people are unlikely to buy a home when job security is an issue.

The government expects unemployment to increase this year due to the severe global economic downturn.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 23 Jan 2009

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