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Singapore real-estate stocks soar to 2015 high as curbs eased

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Singapore developer stocks soared as authorities eased some property-market curbs, with analysts saying the changes will buoy shares that have been weighed down by a three-year losing streak for house prices.

[SINGAPORE] Singapore developer stocks soared as authorities eased some property-market curbs, with analysts saying the changes will buoy shares that have been weighed down by a three-year losing streak for house prices.

Authorities will adjust a framework that limits the amount that home buyers can borrow from March 11, and shorten the time that owners must hold a property to be exempt from a stamp duty on sale, according to a Friday statement. City Developments Ltd, CapitaLand Ltd and UOL Group Ltd led gains on the Straits Times Index, surging at least 4 per cent, while an index of 44 Singapore real-estate companies rallied to the highest since July 2015.

"The stealth move should lead to a scramble to re-rate property developers back to book value on optimism property prices have bottomed and will start to rise from here," said Alan Richardson, a Hong Kong-based investment manager at Samsung Asset Management Co.

Sentiment is positive and has taken the market by surprise after Singapore's budget speech last month didn't mention property easing measures, he added.

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Market voices on:

The measures are an "incremental positive" amid an abundance of real estate supply coming on coupled with a weak demand outlook, Joshua Crabb, head of Asian equities at a unit of Old Mutual Plc said.

"The question is whether the fundamentals are improving or it's too cheap rather than just the incremental positive which is now announced and known," he added.

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