Property market stabilising but curbs will stay: Tharman

Property market stabilising but curbs will stay: Tharman

SINGAPORE - Property prices in Singapore are starting to stabilise but the Government is not ready to take its foot off the property market brakes, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

"Our intention is to stabilise the market, if possible have some softening of prices," he told Reuters in an interview yesterday.

"Longer term, our intention is to try as best as we can, although it's difficult, to have prices not run away from incomes, which means that on a trend basis, we would like to see some stability in prices relative to median incomes especially."

After seven rounds of cooling measures since 2009 and a move last month to cap Singapore home buyers' debt payments relative to their income, Mr Tharman said the property market is showing signs of calming down.

"The market as a whole is seeing some stabilisation," said Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) chairman.

"We're not ready yet to lift our measures or ease up on our measures, so we're watching the market and have to make judgments without announcing our policy moves well in advance."

Singapore's private home prices have risen more than 60 per cent over the last four years on the back of record low interest rates and copious capital inflows, fuelling concerns about affordability for first-time buyers.

As prices rose, households have also taken on more property debt, raising concerns about pockets of over-leverage being exposed when interest rates rise.

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