Recent reports showing that sales of residential property by developers had surged in February made some people in Singapore wondering if the Singapore government is going to put in new rules to cool down the market.
I look at these people and ask two simple questions; “What do you mean by new rules?” and “Why are you surprised by the increase in sales?”
Once upon a time, HDB (Housing and Development Board) flats were built primarily to provide affordable housing for the masses. Public housing in Singapore is still currently managed by the HDB but the term “affordable housing” has become an oxymoron.
I mean how else can you explain a HDB flat in Toa Payoh selling for $894,000? A few months before that, a bungalow at Sentosa Cove sold for a record $39 million. Since last year, after the General Elections, the Singapore government has been talking about cooling the property market in Singapore. However that’s all they have been doing.
The current government policy seems to be trying to talk down the market instead of doing anything concrete. Any measures the Singapore government had put in place, like the stamp duty rule, have been half-hearted at best and both Singaporeans and foreigners know it. That is why housing prices has been holding steady since the end of the year and why it is slowly creeping up now.
What new cooling measures are people talking about when there were hardly any old cooling measures in the first place? As for the increase in sales…well, with all the half-hearted attempts, is anyone truly surprised by that?