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SPOTLIGHT

The seven year itch

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 00:00

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The itch to invest in property seems to be in the DNA of Singaporeans. Many love attending new launches and aspire to get rich by investing in property. The attraction to property is deep rooted. Most people here, when they look at their wealthy friends and relatives, have long concluded that owning property is a big part of being rich.

Moreover, they view buying property as a good discipline which forces them to save up to make monthly mortgage instalments. Eventually they end up owning a piece of real estate – a tangible asset that they can leave for the next generation.

Yet, in the past seven years or so, this itch has largely faded – after successive rounds of cooling measures.

But things are starting to change. On March 10, the government made the surprise announcement that it was tweaking the seller’s stamp duty (SSD) on residential property, reducing the holding period as well as the stamp duty rate. SSD has been a bugbear for investors.

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Another relaxation announced was that the total debt servicing ratio or TDSR – which has sapped the life out of property investors since its rollout in 2013 – will no longer apply to mortgage equity withdrawal loans with loan-to-value ratios of 50 per cent and below.

Those itching to invest in property hope that these maiden tweaks are but a precursor to how the authorities could further relax other cooling measures such as the additional buyer’s stamp duty. That said, other factors are also in play that should keep investors grounded – such as rising interest rates and substantial private home completions.

In this edition of The Business Times Property Supplement, we present the new paradigm for investing in residential property. There are also tips on buying landed homes and luxe condos. Another topic discussed is whether shorter tenures are the way to provide more affordable private homes.

Find out the outlook for executive condos and HDB resale flats.

Read about the implications of agile offices and co-working on office demand. We also present to you Knight Frank’s latest annual retailer sentiment survey, which revealed a progressive mindset in most Singapore-based retailers who view technology as “partner in crime” rather than an “enemy in waiting”.

What opportunities beckon in post-Brexit UK and in Malaysia?

It certainly looks like the seven-year property itch may be back.

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