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Singapore property cooling measures could be reviewed at year-end: UOB

Friday, June 19, 2015 - 15:02

THE Singapore government could potentially review its property cooling measures towards the end of this year, said UOB in a research note on Friday.

UOB said that a relaxation in seller's stamp duty (SSD) and selected reductions in additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) rates for Singaporeans may be likely, given the bank's expectation of a 5 to 10 per cent correction in housing prices this year.

"In our view, it may make sense to tweak some of the stamp duty measures such as the ABSD and SSD as market speculation has fallen significantly and the TDSR (total debt servicing ratio) framework and LTV (loan-to-valuation) limits essentially ensure financial prudence.

"Nonetheless, the government is unlikely to act in the absence of a larger price decline as the sharp rise in property prices was a key flash point during the last 'watershed' general elections."

UOB believes anything short of a 10 per cent fall in property prices may not suffice in prompting a loosening of cooling conditions.

"Historically, the government only reacted when faced with major external shocks such as the Asian Crisis (and the) dotcom crisis, which led to significant price declines (45 per cent peak-to-trough in the former and 20 per cent in the latter)," said the note.

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