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Prices can't drop too deeply without affecting quality: Redas president

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A host of issues continue to plague developers here - from an oversupply of residential units, a ballooning unsold inventory to rising costs of development and operations.

A host of issues continue to plague developers here - from an oversupply of residential units, a ballooning unsold inventory to rising costs of development and operations.

"As such, prices cannot drop too deeply without affecting the quality of our products and operational obligations," said president of the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas), Augustine Tan, at the Redas anniversary dinner at Marina Bay Sands.

"Having made significant progress in the standard of our built environment, it is no longer possible to look back. We have to progress."

Mr Tan sought to reiterate his concern over the widening supply-demand imbalance and a impending higher interest rate environment.

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While developers have already reported price reductions of up to 11 per cent with some projects having had two price cuts since 2013 based on a recent Redas survey, the clock is also ticking on those 3,000 units from projects from the Government Land Sales Programme 2012 that have remained unsold to-date.

"Developers will have to sell out 100 per cent of the units in these projects by 2017 in order to qualify for the remission of the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) on the land cost," said Mr Tan, who is also executive director, property sales and corporate affairs, Far East Organization.

Since late 2011, developers here have had to develop any residential site they buy, and sell all the units in the new project within five years, or pay the ABSD of 10 per cent. Sites bought from Jan 12, 2013 onwards will incur a higher 15 per cent payable.

Also speaking at the Redas anniversary dinner, Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat noted that Singapore has, from time to time, experienced swings in the property market but these have not led to volatility in the broader economy.

"The government has always taken a medium-term approach towards managing land supply, based on fundamental demographic and economic factors, and has encouraged a competitive and transparent environment to ensure a well-functioning property market," he said.

"When necessary, we have judiciously used targeted prudential and fiscal measures to smooth out the cycles and promote market sustainability over the medium term," he told industry players there.

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