Elections 'not a factor' in property cooling measures

Mr K. Shanmugam with Dr Lim Lan Yuan at the dialogue session yesterday. The minister tackled questions on topics ranging from property cooling efforts to the Greek debt crisis and the stock selldown in China.
Mr K. Shanmugam with Dr Lim Lan Yuan at the dialogue session yesterday. The minister tackled questions on topics ranging from property cooling efforts to the Greek debt crisis and the stock selldown in China.PHOTO: RE/MAX SINGAPORE

It's about the state of supply and demand, prices and linkage to wages: Shanmugam

Property cooling measures are not linked to general elections, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said yesterday.

Talk of possible tweaks to the longstanding measures has been sparked by seven straight quarters of declining private home prices.

Mr Shanmugam was asked about a possible review of the measures, which include borrowing limits, at a property seminar yesterday.

He said: "Someone just told me they are all hoping that after the elections it would be taken off. I don't know why people link it to the elections.

"Cooling measures came in a long time ago. They either make sense or they don't make sense... Elections by itself is not a factor... what is, is the state of the economy, the state of supply and demand, the prices and the linkage to wages."

Mr Shanmugam was the guest of honour at the inaugural RE/MAX Asia Pacific Convention at Raffles City Convention Centre.

The event, attended by 500 real estate industry figures, saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between RE/MAX Singapore and RE/MAX Australia, RE/MAX New Zealand, RE/MAX Japan and RE/MAX Korea.

The alliance would see the five companies offering cross-border training opportunities to their real estate professionals.

ON COOLING MEASURES

They either make sense or they don't ... Elections by itself is not a factor.

MR K. SHANMUGAM, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law

RE/MAX Singapore also announced the launch of its Real Centre Academy (Asia), which will provide regional and international courses catering to the region. Participants will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in international real estate transactions.

In a one-hour dialogue session moderated by Dr Lim Lan Yuan, president of The Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers, Mr Shanmugam was asked how the Greek debt crisis could affect Singapore. "Life will carry on. Singapore is always being seen as a place which is safe... our dollar is strong, Government is stable, no major changes in policy, Government doesn't borrow money, land prices are stable," he replied.

He believed that with the "right measures", Singapore would be able to ride out the crisis.

As for how falling stock prices in China could affect Singapore, Mr Shanmugam said this could affect the ability and willingness of Chinese people to invest overseas and that could have an underlying effect on Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2015, with the headline 'Elections 'not a factor' in property cooling measures'. Print Edition | Subscribe