Handful of expats win right to buy Singapore homes

13 August 2013

Just six expats have been green lighted to buy homes on mainland Singapore by the government in the first six months of 2013.

Singapore politicians have tightened up the rules for granting permanent residents permission to purchase homes to make more homes available for locals.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA), reports the number of purchase approvals granted to permanent residents dropped from 145 in 2010 to 117 in 2011 and 31 last year.

Law Minister K Shanmugam has announced that the number of approvals to permanent residents buying landed homes would fall by over half to no more than 50 approvals a year.

Meanwhile, a controversial government decision to build two-bedroom flats that was slammed as unnecessary by the market has proved to be an overwhelming success.

Cooling market

More than 8,500 singles have applied for the flats – leaving 55 people chasing each home, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

The average applicant is 43 years old and earns S$1,800 a month.

“I am really pleased with this new housing policy, and from the response, so are the thousands of singles who have applied for the units,” said the minister.

“The move will let more singles own their own home. The criticism was this would take homes away from families, but it has proved not to be true.”

The Singapore housing market has been under pressure for some years, with high demand and a shortage of properties.

The government has tried to cool the market by introducing tax and limits on borrowing that did little to stop prices rising until another round of taxes were announced.

Meanwhile, developers have brought new housing projects online nearly every weekend for the past few months and extended building to outlying regions of the city state.

Young and wealthy

This has helped to meet demand, and several thousand more units are in the pipeline.

The cooling measures have taken the heat out of the market by discouraging wealthy foreigners and expats from buying investment properties to speculate on quick profits from fast rising prices.

Singapore has an area of just 1,000 square kilometres to house a population of 4.8 million.

The population has a young median age of just 37.6 years.

Incomes are high – Singaporeans are ranked as having the fifth highest spending power in the world. As a comparison, the USA is ranked 11th.

Source: iExpat

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