Foreign buying and speculation in property market has shrunk: Khaw

Since aggressive cooling measures to deter foreigners from buying Singapore property were implemented, their numbers have fallen to 330 in the third quarter of this year, making up 7 per cent of private property transactions. -- ST FILE PHOTO: J
Since aggressive cooling measures to deter foreigners from buying Singapore property were implemented, their numbers have fallen to 330 in the third quarter of this year, making up 7 per cent of private property transactions. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Since aggressive cooling measures to deter foreigners from buying Singapore property were implemented, their numbers have fallen to 330 in the third quarter of this year, making up 7 per cent of private property transactions.

This is a sharp fall from the 17 per cent of transactions they accounted for in 2011, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in Parliament on Tuesday.

In December of that year, a 10 per cent additional buyers' stamp duty was levied on all property purchases by foreigners.

Replying to a question from MP Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), Mr Khaw also said that sub-sales transactions - a measure of the amount of property speculation in the market - have also dropped from 7.6 per cent in 2011 to 4.6 per cent in the third quarter of this year.

In absolute numbers, the number of sub-sale transactions has fallen from 670 per quarter in 2011 to 181 now.

Calling the trend "encouraging," Mr Khaw said that the Government will continue to monitor the market closely and will not hesitate to act further when necessary.

Responding to Mr de Souza's question if further ownership restrictions on foreigners here could be preferable over the "ad hoc" bag of measures the Government has thus far relied on to cool the market, Mr Khaw said that Singapore's property market is subject to many external factors beyond its control, and hence its regulatory policies must stay nimble.