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It's still cold in PropertyLand

BUYER'S MARKET: During Friday's Budget, Finance Minister Tharman said that it was still "too early" to relax property cooling measures. Experts predict that prices and transaction volumes will continue to slide this year.


    Feb 24, 2014

    It's still cold in PropertyLand

    WITH the property market cooling measures expected to stay in place for now, prices and transaction volumes will likely continue on their downward trajectory, said experts.

    During Friday's Budget, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that it was still "too early" to relax the measures, given the run-up in prices in the last four years, and that the Government would continue monitoring the situation and adjust the measures accordingly.

    It was a letdown for property players, who were hoping to see policies such as the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) rolled back.

    "The non-changing of the policies basically creates a buyer's market for another one year or so... Serious buyers will be able to buy a property at a fair discount," said PropNex Realty's chief executive, Mr Mohamed Ismail.

    Mr Ismail said yesterday that "marginal corrections" can be expected, with prices for public housing dipping 5 to 8 per cent this year, brought about by an onslaught of supply.

    For private property, prices will slide around 2 to 3 per cent, as investors stay away because of the ABSD, he noted.

    Mr Nicholas Mak, director of research and consultancy at SLP International, said the market will "continue on its current trajectory", with demand and prices continuing to cool.

    Mr Mak estimated that prices should fall by between 5 and 10 per cent this year.

    But he noted that there is still "quite a lot of demand and liquidity", with potential buyers waiting on the sidelines for the cooling measures to be lifted.

    Meanwhile, transaction volumes could fall by 10 to 20 per cent this year, Mr Mak estimated.

    Mr Ismail said: "The market will remain very cautious, with the volume of transactions not having a revival or any improvement compared to last year."

    Mr Alan Cheong, director for research and consultancy at Savills Singapore, said that foreign investors playing in the high-end market will look to put their money elsewhere.

    "The Chinese economy is a bubble, and the question is when it will burst. In the meantime, we are restricting the flow of cash (from Chinese investors) into the Singapore economy. So, basically, we are going into hibernation way before winter," he said.