Singapore curbs to slash home sales in 2013

Singapore home sales may fall as much as 27% in 2013 after climbing to a record this year as six rounds of housing curbs by the government crimps demand, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Private home sales in 2013 may drop to 16,000 units from 22,000 units this year, said David Neubronner, the head of the property brokerage’s Singapore residential business. The island state introduced measures including higher down-payments for second home purchases and new taxes for foreign buyers since the start of 2010, he said.

“Like a boxer who gets punched too many times, every measure will chip away at the market,” Neubronner said in an interview on Wednesday. “This has been a stellar year, an exceptional year. I don’t think after six rounds of measures, the market can escape.”

Singapore home prices climbed to a record in the third quarter, prompting Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to say in October that the real estate market may get “bubbly.” The government won’t allow home prices to outstrip gains in incomes, he said.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore or the central bank told banks on Oct. 5 to restrict home-loan maturities “to curb continued upward pressure on residential property prices,” in its latest attempt to avert a housing bubble. The government said in September it plans to cap the number of homes that can be developed in suburban projects as it seeks to curb the increasing trend of so-called shoebox apartments.

In December last year, the government imposed an additional stamp duty on foreigners and corporations buying property, and additional levies on permanent residents buying a second home and citizens purchasing a third residential property.

City Developments Ltd. (CIT), Singapore’s second-biggest developer controlled by billionaire Kwek Leng Beng, said yesterday it “hopes” the government will lift the housing curbs.

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Writer: Bloomberg