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No easing of property curbs until 2017, say experts

Singapore home prices have been falling over the past 11 consecutive quarters, its longest losing streak. Although home prices may start bottoming out in the next few quarters, which could prompt a moderate recovery from 2018, easing of property cooling measures are not expected until next year at the earliest, according to property experts at the Real Estate Developers’ Association (Redas) property market seminar on Tuesday (12 July), and reported TODAYonline.
Dr Chua Yang Liang, Research Head at JLL Southeast Asia, said the potential recovery range will likely be driven primarily by a pickup in the prime residential market, and in line with GDP growth.
“(Singapore’s housing prices) are close to a trough with economic conditions steady and physical market conditions balancing … The gap between the prime and non-prime market has narrowed and when economic conditions improve, we should expect the high-end market to pick up,” he said.
Meanwhile, growth in demand within the mass market segment will continue to be slow, with gradual price adjustments considering the policy measures and supply overhang. Chua also expects the residential rental market to remain soft.
Since 2009, the government has introduced a slew of property cooling measures and loan curbs to rein in the runaway property market, with the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) being the most significant.
The government has been reluctant to lift the property cooling measures, despite repeated calls from real estate agents and property developers for the measures to be eased.
Singapore saw private home prices soar by more than 60 percent following the 2009 Global Financial Crisis to peak in Q3 2013.
Since then, home prices have fallen by 9.4 percent over 11 consecutive quarters, or its longest losing streak on record, based on the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) latest flash estimates.
Nonetheless, property experts does not expect the property cooling measures to be eased anytime soon.
“I think the earliest we may see some unwinding of measures will be 2017 because we haven’t quite reached the double-digit price correction that they want,” said Selena Ling, Head, Treasury Research and Strategy, OCBC.
URA flash estimates released this month show that the private residential property price index dropped by 0.4 percent in Q2, a slight improvement from the 0.7 percent decline registered in the first quarter.
  Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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