The Straits Times
Published on Jan 15, 2013

Offer grace period to genuine upgraders


THE intent of the new measures announced last Friday is to curb investment demand for properties, not to deter Singaporeans from upgrading ("Tough action to cool property market"; last Saturday).

However, the new measures seem to suggest that Singaporeans who own only one private property for owner-occupation would still be hit when they seek to upgrade.

Unless they sell their existing home before they buy their new home for self-occupation, banks may still reduce the limit of their home loan, insist on a higher proportion of cash upfront and impose Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty.

I hope the National Development Ministry will consider allowing a six- to 12-month grace period for genuine upgraders to sell their home after buying a new one for owner-occupation. This is because it typically takes three months to close a property transaction and another one to three months to renovate the new home, during which upgraders will still need to stay in their existing property.

As we curb investment demand to make homes affordable for Singaporean owner-occupiers, we should not unintentionally deter people from upgrading their homes as their families expand.

Low Shien Ang