After repeated warnings of market exuberance, the Government finally announced a new set of property cooling measures which took effect on July 6. The measures included a hike of five percentage points in Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates for individuals and 10 percentage points for entities; a new 5 per cent non-remittable ABSD on purchases by developers of residential properties for development, as well as a lowering of loan-to-valuation limits.
The measures seem to have surprised both property buyers as well as developers. This should not have been the case. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been expressing concern about rising land and property prices, as well as over the en-bloc fever, since late last year. In November, the MAS indicated it would continue to monitor market developments and "where necessary, take appropriate actions to maintain a stable and sustainable property market". In its judgment, the time for such action has come.