Singapore property may be heading for long-term drop in value

A series of cooling measures progressively introduced in the last six years has led to a patchwork quilt covering the property market that is now uncomfortably scratchy and somewhat suffocating. Calls to relax the cooling measures began to ring out two years ago. In recent months, developers, property agents and industry associations have repeated their calls, with some predicting that measures may be lifted or amended by the end of 2016.

With recent Government Land Sales still seeing strong responses at eight to 10 bids per land tender, and with developers and property agents recording commendable profits for 2015, I do not think that cooling measures will be relaxed until this sort of profits transform negative.

Seeing that 2010, the cooling procedures have added onto a list of “defects” in our residence market that might culminate within a significant destruction of residence values in the next a long time. We always check here six to eight issues that will probably further expand the chips.

Firstly, the executive residence (EC) phase provides a obvious illustration with the extent of oversupply inside residential sector. The term “sandwiched class” people implies a compact market phase, sandwiched between your families who all are eligible to obtain new HDB flats plus the wealthier people that can manage private homes. Since ECs were relaunched for sale in Late 2010, or older till January 2016, developers have managed to satisfy the needs of just over 14, 700 sandwiched households.

During that period, the household monthly income cap for EC buyers was raised from S$10, 000 to S$12, 000 in 2011 to widen the buyer pool. Amid softening demand, the household income ceiling was further revised upwards to S$14, 000 a month in August 2015. Notwithstanding that families with S$14, 000 monthly household income stand at the 77th percentile of households ranked by income levels, these families who can well afford ECs are further funded by generous subsidies of taxpayers. Yet, sales of ECs continued to be lethargic.

The number of EC units launched but left unsold climbed rapidly in 2015, allowing us to conclude that (1) we have already exhausted most of the demand for ECs and (2) raising the income ceiling did not lead to significant additional demand. Add the fact that as at Dec 31, 2015, there initially were 1, 540 completed EC units the fact that remained nonincome producing (yes, nonincome producing despite least Occupation Time rule), this would mean that the rest of the category of “EC investors” is exhausted.


Secondly, Singapore has somewhat few economical policies and taxes the fact that positively discriminate against foreigners and PRs (permanent residents). The Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) is an exception.

In addition to deterring foreigners and PRs from investing in Singapore’s residential market, this policy has turned Singapore’s desire to be a wealth-planning hub on its head. Wealthy families who have invested heavily in Singapore and who are now considering estate and succession planning find their solutions limited in regards to their personal assets.

Ahead of ABSD was introduced, these kind of families may transfer their whole properties towards a living trust or a framework by paying of the normal press duty of just under 3 or more per cent. Along with the ABSD of 15 %, transferring your company’s accumulated personal assets to the trust will set you back a beyond reach 18 % in assignments. So ABSD does not simply just cool the residential current market, it also cooled off the money planning market, slowing down this business for trust managers, lenders and solicitors.

Thirdly, one of the most successful evaluate that restrained excessive personal investments — termed the overall Debt Repairing Ratio (TDSR) – includes discounted the importance of real estate solutions to virtually zero.

Created in mid-2013, TDSR is the maximum mortgage loan for homes based on the flexibility of the lender to repay the monthly loan, stress-tested for 3. some per cent each year interest rates pertaining to residential properties and 4. some per cent pertaining to commercial real estate.

The TDSR framework respect a borrower’s income and type of income (commissions, set salary, returns, ad hoc fees, etc) because the main supply of mortgage repayment and the financial loan size and loan tenure are decided based on the borrower’s age and credit worthiness.

The globally approved practice of asset-backed financing for real-estate did not apply in Singapore once TDSR was applied. Since the income of the debtor is the main determinant of the size of the property financial loan, the value of the home itself is usually secondary. This kind of inherently implies that a retiree of age 67 without income and residing in a fully paid private house that is really worth S$500, 000, or S$5 million, or perhaps S$50 million for that matter, will never be able to have a dollar of loan up against the property to sustain his daily cashflow needs.

Wherever is the inherent value of the piece of real estate termed home whenever in the face of the bankers and the respective authorities, value solely exists during the income of your borrower?

The case of require being worn-out with the previous six number of massive source, the ABSD and the TDSR framework gloves up portion one of the two-part document. In the next portion, we is going to discuss the fact that finished level of quality of recently available projects, the hazy guidelines such as the ones around strata floor space and the huge home ownership amount may lead to a good long-term downfall in building values.