Monday, December 12, 2011

Singapore's property investment climate still among world's most open

Straits Times: Mon, Dec 12
BY IMPOSING the additional buyer's stamp duty to prevent property price dislocation from real economic fundamentals, the Government has shown fortitude and sound judgment ('Hefty stamp duty hike targets foreign buyers'; last Thursday).

I commend the Government's bid to stamp out the unceasing influx of hot investment-driven capital, the result of an unprecedented increase in money supply globally.

The lessons of 2008 clearly demonstrate that easy credit in the United States alone led to vast systemic failures that hit even Asian livelihoods.

We cannot have a Ground Zero repeat of that disaster on our small island.

I am flabbergasted by the absence of restraint by the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore in lamenting the lack of government consultation before the measures were introduced.

As an investment professional well-versed with trade advocacy, I ask the business community to exercise good judgment and strong discipline before countering well-thought-out economic policies protecting our vital resources.

We must never toy with the core interests of our future generations.

In fact, even with the new measures, Singapore's property investment landscape is still one of the most open anywhere.

Countries such as Australia and Canada have more closed markets with stricter laws preventing foreign ownership of land.

Therefore, I urge the Government to further monitor the micro demand curves.

We should consider following the example set by Australia - itself a top destination for foreign investments - which allows foreign-owned properties to be resold only to Australians.

We should also bar permanent residents and foreigners from owning landed property altogether.

In this modern day, Singapore no longer needs foreign direct property investments to drive up its people's standard of living. Let us save land like we save water resources.

Ed Cheong

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

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