Property cooling measures have served objectives

It is disappointing to see no indication of a change in stance on the property curbs in place in the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS') latest Financial Stability Review ("MAS cautions property investors as risks emerge"; Nov 30, and "Financials are sound, but watch growing debt: MAS"; Nov 28).

When the property cooling measures were first implemented, the objective was clearly to curb demand and supply.

That objective has largely been achieved as demand has dropped and growth in housing loans has eased considerably.

Some of the measures have already served their objectives.

I cannot see how keeping measures, such as the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD), in place can help.

If the concern is about some families overextending themselves financially in an uncertain economic environment, there are already strict limits on borrowing which protect buyers.

MAS can tighten and more strictly enforce them.

By removing the ABSD and SSD, the authorities would be opening up an avenue for some of these property owners to exit the market and free themselves from their liabilities.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2016, with the headline 'Property cooling measures have served objectives'. Print Edition | Subscribe