Singapore developers attack cooling measures

Commercial and residential buildings stand at dusk in Singapore, on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Bloomberg pic)

SINGAPORE: A leading developers’ group in Singapore has challenged the government’s latest round of property-cooling measures, saying that there’s no rationale for the steps as the market is only in the early stages of a recovery, the Straits Times reported, citing a statement from the group.

The market started to pick up only last year, and the volume of transactions is within expectations, the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore said in the statement, according to the report. The group described the measures as tough, and said the market should be allowed time to find its own course.

The wealthy Southeast Asian city-state has a history of stepping into the property market to restrain demand and prices, and announced the latest measures late Thursday before they came into effect hours later. The tightened rules, which were rolled out after the central bank noted “euphoria” in the market, raised buyers’ stamp duties for entities such as developers and tightened borrowing limits for individuals taking their first housing loan.

Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index dropped 2% on Friday as property developers and banks led declines, with City Developments Ltd. and UOL Group Ltd. sliding more than 13% each.