Educate property buyers on other investment opportunities

In recent months, the increasingly bullish prices fetched by residential sites sold en bloc have been making headlines, so much so that they have prompted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to warn of "excessive exuberance" in the property market (MAS warns of 'excessive exuberance' in property market; Dec 1).

Key to both developer and buyer behaviour is the ingrained belief that property is the best investment in Singapore, with prices only appreciating.

It is thought that, in bad times, the Government will not allow a massive correction in property values and will protect the owner or investor by providing a price floor.

Yet, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that HDB units - and in effect all leasehold properties - will on expiry of leases be returned to the state at no residual value.

The notion that our homes can devalue has become unthinkable.

As part of measures to temper the cyclical exuberance, buyers need to be educated more. Alternatives for growing savings and wealth should be presented to people to bring about a change in mindset. Till then, cooling measures can only effect short-term and temporary relief to frenzied market behaviour.

Vincent Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2017, with the headline 'Educate property buyers on other investment opportunities'. Print Edition | Subscribe