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Micro-managing the property market is hard to do: Redas chief

Developers rely on sustainable market for roll-outs, he says

(SINGAPORE) Property developers here are in it for the long term and want the government to know that they are not taking the current buoyant market for granted.

Speaking at the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) 48th anniversary dinner last night, Redas president Simon Cheong said: ‘As developers, we rely on a continuous and sustainable market to support a roll-out programme for real estate development.’

Mr Cheong was speaking to an audience of industry players and also present was guest-of-honour for the occasion, Minister for Trade & Industry Lim Hng Kiang.

Mr Cheong was likely to have been making a succinct reference to recent reports that developers were holding back on new property launches, being wary after the US sub-prime mortgage crisis and credit crunch.

His comments come at a time this year when developers have acquired 83 sites for potential redevelopment from collective sales.

However, rapidly escalating property prices have led government representatives to say on various occasions that they are prepared to release more government land sales sites if supply is short and prices rise too high. Most recently, the Housing and Development Board said that it could release seven sites for development through its Executive Condominium and Design, Build and Sell Scheme in the first half of 2008, with a potential supply of 3,200 units.

Mr Cheong said: ‘It has taken almost 10 years for the property market to turn around, and Redas is not taking the market for granted.’

But he added: ‘Redas is of the view that it is difficult to micro-manage, especially in a global context where the flow of funds into Singapore property is driven by a bigger picture than just short-term opportunistic buy-ins; it is more a positive systemic assessment of Singapore and the region by the international community.’

In his speech, MTI minister Mr Lim raised what he believes to be the concerns of the business community as a whole. He said: ‘Feedback from the business community reflects concerns of rising business costs and increasing rents for residential and commercial space.’

To this end, Mr Cheong said that Redas was in support of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s move to collate and release market information more regularly.

‘Redas believes the solution to moderating future real estate prices is transparency and timely release of demand and supply information,’ added Mr Cheong.

Redas also announced that it had created a Foreign Investment Committee chaired by Robert Garmen of Hongkong Land to look at foreign demand here.


Source: Business Times 5 Dec 07


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