Singapore cooling: Your views

By Cheryl Tay and Shabnam Muzammil:  Two days after the government's slew of property cooling measures came into effect, the general view from members of the public is that the policies are quite helpful, but not for everyone.

To get a better understanding of how the curbs will impact home buyers and investors in Singapore, PropertyGuru spoke to several locals and expatriates to get their opinions. The following are their comments which have been edited:

"While I'm inclined to think the timing of the announcement was politically motivated, with the by-election just around the corner, I see actions taken to differentiate between citizens and non-Singaporeans. The limits on housing loans will certainly make it more difficult for people looking to buy their second property for investment. Personally, I think it may be good so people don't jump into the market hoping to make capital gains after several years. The measures will lower the demand for private homes. However, I suspect these measures won't be sufficient to rein in the still rising HDB prices."

Chong Wai Fung, 42, Research Analyst

"LTV (loan-to-value) limits force down payments of a certain amount but don't directly ensure that the buyer is not overstretching, thus creating additional default risk for HDBs. There should also be a blanket prohibition on subletting. The MND (Ministry of National Development) should be more precise and, for example, prohibit the subletting of more than one room in a four-room flat, more than two rooms in a five- room flat and prohibit subletting altogether in smaller flats. On the whole, however, I think this set of measures is reasonably well thought-out."

Jeremy Chen, 30, PhD Student

"It will affect a certain percentage of the market as these measures are quite drastic. I don't really understand them. It seems strange that the government is actually encouraging people to have more children, but is making the houses smaller and more expensive. So if a couple is to set up a family of their own and increase their family size and have more children, they have to change houses. If they're going to buy the second or third one, with the enforcement of stamp duties, there will be more burdens on them. So how are they going to handle that? I can't really understand that."

Lina, 30s, Tutor

"It does discourage PRs and foreigners to own HDB flats. But HDB can't stop them from investing and profiteering their units in the open market. Honestly, HDB shouldn't even allow any of its units to be sold in the open market. All transactions of units should be handled by HDB itself and not by property agents, even if these units are sold for the second and subsequent times."

Ain Ismail, 30, Housewife

"The cooling measures are good if they protect Singaporeans. Property will still go up regardless of the measures. They must stop foreigners using the property market as an option to invest and not really live in it. As for the stamp duty for citizens, if the government thinks they could afford it, I say go ahead and impose the rule. I don't think the government can help it. This is not only happening in Singapore. This property issue is taking place worldwide...Hong Kong, America, everywhere."

Stephen Wong, 50s, Retiree

"Well my perception is that investors are greatly affected as they need to be more cautious before investing again in a secondary purchase. For the general public, the market will provide more options. Good for them."

Alok Shukla, 40s, IT Manager

"For middle-class PRs who want to own a house to overcome skyrocketing rentals, this comes as bitter news. The additional stamp duty is a nightmare."

Aashadh, 35, Regional Manager Let us know what you think about the latest cooling measures. Your comments could be featured on our site. Send them to editor@propertyguru.com.sg Cheryl Tay, Editor of CommercialGuru, and Shabnam Muzammil, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact them about this or other stories email cheryltay@allproperty.com.sg and shabnam@allproperty.com.sg Related Stories:

Singapore cooling: Property measures spell danger

Tiny homes under scrutiny

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