Friday, October 16, 2015

‘Not time yet’ to ease property cooling measures: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE: It is still “not time yet” to ease the measures that were put in place to cool the property market, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Friday (Oct 16).

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Waterway Terraces BTO project in Punggol, Mr Wong said the price adjustments so far have been moderate compared to the increases in earlier years.

“We don’t want to risk a premature market rebound,” he said.

According to flash estimates from the HDB and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) earlier this month, home prices hit a two-year low in the third quarter of this year.

The easing of the cooling measures will also depend on several other indicators, Mr Wong said.

“We watch the situation very carefully, not just price indicators but a whole range of indicators – the economic situation, the situation overseas, whether the Fed (US Federal Reserve) is going to increase interest rates by how much, when, and our own domestic situation,” he added.

Mr Wong was also asked about adjustments to the Additional Buyers' Stamp Duty, which some industry practitioners have been asking the Government to consider to boost private home sales. He indicated that any such move is not on the cards yet.

The cooling measures implemented by the Government have helped to stabilise the property market, and allowed for an orderly adjustment in prices towards a more sustainable market, Mr Wong said.

"We don't have to adjust by unwinding everything, we could adjust by unwinding some parts of the cooling measures, particularly those that may be more cyclical in nature. But it's premature to say what exactly we will unwind, what will happen. I think for now, we are not planning to unwind any of the cooling measures and we should let it continue," he said.