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PM Lee pledges further action on property if necessary

He says Friday’s measure will inject some market reality

(SINGAPORE) Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday said the government will continue to monitor property market trends closely and take further action if necessary.

His remarks come shortly after Friday evening’s announcement on the scrapping of the deferred payment scheme for property purchases, which Mr Lee described yesterday as a step that will ‘help to dampen excessive speculation and help to inject some reality into the market’.

Touching on various facets of property in Singapore, Mr Lee said that the government will also inject more office space into the market over the next two to three years to boost supply for the sector, which is facing an acute shortage of prime office space because of strong growth.

The government is also releasing more land for executive condos (ECs), a hybrid of public and private housing, Mr Lee said in his speech at the NTUC National Delegates’ Conference yesterday morning.

‘But more fundamentally than the ups and downs of the property cycle, the government is committed to keeping housing affordable for Singaporeans, for all Singaporeans,’ he stressed.

‘We will continue to monitor the property market carefully and watch the trends and if necessary, we will continue to take more action. And therefore we will be able to make sure that the property market stays in balance over the long term.’

To keep public housing affordable, the Housing and Development Board is building more flats. And to cater to the aspirations of Singaporeans who aspire to own a private condo unit, the government will step up the supply of land for ECs. This housing form was first introduced in 1996, at a time when private home prices were running away.

ECs cater to the ‘sandwich’ class of home buyers who cannot afford private housing but whose monthly household income is high enough to disqualify them from buying new flats in the public housing segment.

However, as the property market slumped and private home prices fell, the need for ECs diminished and the government stopped selling land for EC development. But the Ministry of National Development has reintroduced ECs into the Government Land Sales Programme, with a plot in Punggol that will be made available through the reserve list next month.


Source: Business Times 30 Oct 07

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