Tighten property curbs for foreigners

The Government should keep the property cooling measures in place and do more to prevent foreigners from speculating in private and commercial properties.

The president of the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas) has called for property measures to be re-examined to avert property collapse due to uncertain global economic conditions ("Manage cooling measures exit 'for soft landing'"; Sept 17).

Singapore's private and public property prices have easily risen by 50 per cent to 125 per cent over the past 10 years, but Singaporeans' wages have not caught up with the fast-rising property prices.

From 2005 to 2008, and again from 2009 to 2012, when the property market was booming, did Redas encourage the Government to put in place cooling measures?

It is clear that property developers benefited during these years. Property consultants, agents and banks prefer a bull market because everyone will make money. Now that condominium sales are down, they want the cooling measures lifted.

The cooling measures, like the loan tenure limit, loan-to-value limits, minimum cash down payment and Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) are prudent steps that will help keep our property prices in check.

I suggest the authorities go an extra step to look at increasing the ABSD for permanent residents buying their first, second or subsequent property to 7 per cent, 14 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Foreigners should be allowed to buy only one residential property.

With the glut of private and public residential units, property prices will still have room for correction. This will definitely lighten the burden on younger Singaporeans hoping to own a flat and start a family, and allow them to have more disposable income for retirement planning.

David Goh Chee Hoe