Monday, January 14, 2013

Australian model could be adopted to curb property prices, says MP


SINGAPORE: Singapore can possibly take a leaf out from other jurisdictions to look at how they curb rising property prices. Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Christopher De Souza, said this includes learning from Hong Kong and Australia.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Mr De Souza added that both jurisdictions are potential reference points for Singapore to refine its property measures.

He also pointed out that Singapore home prices are 16 per cent higher than the recent peak in the second quarter of 2008.

Mr De Souza said he prefers the Australian model. He said: "What the Australian model does is prevent foreigners from buying anything except new developments in Australia, and then hold on to that and eventually if they want to sell, to sell only to an Australian citizen.

"This allows the local population to set a correct pricing mechanism, which I feel is a good alternative for Singapore."

Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo said Singapore already has such restrictions on the entire HDB market and executive condominiums.

Currently, foreigners are not allowed to buy HDB flats and they are also barred from buying units in executive condominium developments that are less than 10 years old.

Mrs Teo said the latest comprehensive measures announced last week were to ensure a stable and sustainable property market.

She said: "Deputy Prime Minister Tharman had indicated that these are temporary measures designed to cool the property market and will be reviewed at an appropriate time.

"During that time, references to practices in other countries are certainly useful but ultimately, Singapore has to evolve a set of policies that are relevant to our needs and meet our requirements."


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