Maintain property curbs until economy shows sustainable growth

Standard Chartered Bank Singapore chief executive Judy Hsu noted that this year, a cooling property market is likely to dampen the growth of the Singapore economy ("Bank chiefs eye growth areas to bank on amid volatility"; Jan 2).

However, I urge the authorities to maintain the property cooling measures until the local economy shows sufficiently strong and sustainable growth, supported by gainful employment and reasonable wage increases.

Relaxing the property cooling measures would encourage marginal buyers to commit to purchases and mortgages up to the limit of their earning capabilities, over loan tenures of 25 years or more.

Developers may also take advantage of the situation and offload unsold units without paying surcharges.

The United States Federal Reserve is expected to implement three interest rate hikes this year, which will impact housing loans repayments.

The current economic uncertainties and fluid geopolitical situation will take some time to pan out, and may spark off some surprises, too.

Hence, the authorities should continue to be vigilant to avoid creating an unsustainable asset bubble.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2017, with the headline 'Maintain property curbs until economy shows sustainable growth'. Print Edition | Subscribe