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Tweak property cooling measures to help retirees

I hope the Government can tweak the property cooling measures to help property-owning retirees tide over the current economic slowdown.

A simple but specific calibration to enable us to refinance our existing mortgages (to enjoy lower interest rate) without having to significantly reduce the tenure or quantum of the loans would help cash-strapped retirees.

Currently, doing so results in additional cash payments for the principal reduction or increased monthly loan repayments.

For example, I refinanced two loans with a bank to enjoy a 2.7 per cent interest rate. But the monthly repayment of one loan is now $16,150, from $11,245 previously; and the other is $6,509, from $5,269.

This requires considerable financial sustainability. With the drastically reduced rental demand, rising number of vacant properties and distressed property auctions, the outlook is bleak.

Tweaking the cooling measures in the way suggested will not jeopardise them, but will greatly benefit retirees with no other income.

Tan Bee Cheng (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 19, 2017, with the headline 'Tweak property cooling measures to help retirees'. Print Edition | Subscribe