Too early to declare victory and unwind property cooling measures: Minister

SINGAPORE’S Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Monday maintained that the property cooling measures have been effective in stabilising the property market and it remains “too early to declare victory and unwind the measures”.

A week ago, Member of Parliament Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah) had reiterated his call for the government to take a gradual approach in easing the property cooling measures.

On Monday, MPs Alex Yam Ziming (Marsiling-Yew Tee) and Chong Kee Hiong (Bishan-Toa Payoh) made similar suggestions as well in the Committee of Supply debate.

Mr Chong is also CEO of OUE Hospitality Trust, and declared his interest in the real estate industry.

Mr Wong replied that the underlying demand for property is still strong and relaxing the measures too early may risk a premature market rebound.

“Nonetheless, we recognise that the housing market is affected by the broader economy and global events. We will keep a close watch, and will be prepared to respond where needed,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Mr Wong also pointed out that resale prices of Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats have moderated and are more affordable now.

Plotting HDB resale prices against household income, he said: “At one time, prices were rising faster than income. But this is no longer the case. Between the last property market trough in 2009 and 2015, HDB resale prices increased by 35 per cent; but median household income increased by 44 per cent.

” So housing affordability has improved and there are many attractive options available in the resale market.”

He added that the softening of the property market means that there are now many more attractive resale options for buyers to consider when purchasing a home.

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