Strong rumours of further curbs to private housing loans

The Monetary Authority of Singapore could be about to slash the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) for private residential properties in a further bid to moderate home prices, PropertyGuru understands.

The move, which sources have indicated will be announced imminently, is another bid to moderate home price growth which recorded a spike at the end of last year. The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) overall private-home price index rose 1.8 percent in Q4 2012 compared to the 0.6 percent increase in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, 2,013 private housing units were sold in January this year, a 43 percent increase over the 1,410 units sold in December 2012. This despite a slew of cooling measures introduced during the period to slow down home sales.

Currently, the MSR for private residential properties ranges between 30 percent and 60 percent but that could be revised to between 30 to 40 percent, according to a source familiar with the situation.

He noted that the new ruling may come into effect as early as this Friday or next week.

Back in January, the government lowered the MSR for HDB loans from banks to 30 percent as part of its cooling measures package to moderate price growth and sales transactions targeted at the public housing market.

But attention has now shifted to private property, said the source, adding that the central bank sees a need to expand restrictions in that segment of the market to moderate the private-home price index and control transaction numbers.

He also explained that this could be a way to instil best practices in the banking industry for private home loan assessment.

Private property transactions in the city-state generally accounts for about 60 percent of all home sales on a quarterly basis, noted the source.

Meanwhile, MAS was contacted for comment but had not responded prior to publication.

Source : PropertyGuru – 6 Mar 2013

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