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Property price curbs achieved stabilisation goals: Lawrence Wong

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Almost a year after intervening to stem soaring property prices, Singapore has done what it set out to do and stabilised the property cycle, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said.

[SINGAPORE] Almost a year after intervening to stem soaring property prices, Singapore has done what it set out to do and stabilised the property cycle, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said.

"The property market last year, before the cooling measures were put in place, we saw prices rising very sharply," Mr Wong said in an interview with Bloomberg Television's Haslinda Amin in Singapore.

"There was a very real risk that prices would outpace fundamentals, and I think if that had happened then eventually it would lead to a destabilising correction and I think everybody would be worse off."

Singapore's government introduced cooling measures to slow price increases in July 2018, including raising stamp duties for second homes and entities, and tightening loan-to-value limits for housing loans granted by financial institutions.

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"It was, as we had stressed then, not to bring down prices but to stabilise and moderate the cycle, and I think we have achieved that effect," Mr Wong said.

Asked if he was concerned about property buyers moving focus from Hong Kong's ever-rising property market to cheaper Singapore, Mr Wong said there will always be foreign investors looking to buy in Singapore because they think it's a good investment. However, he said Singapore will continue to monitor prices and has a suite of available tools at its disposal to ensure stability.

"We welcome investors to our property market, but what we want to ensure is that demand, regardless whether it's local demand or foreign demand, doesn't cause the prices to move at a pace that outstrips fundamentals."

BLOOMBERG