Singapore developers post lowest new home sales

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Singapore developers sold the lowest number of new homes in 14 months, as mortgage curbs cooled demand in Asia’s second-most expensive housing market.
Developers sold 301 units in February, down 7 percent from the revised 323 units in January, according to data released Tuesday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. While annual sales rose just under 2 percent to 7,440 units in 2015, it’s still half the clip recorded in 2013.
Singapore home prices have dropped for nine quarters, the longest losing streak in 17 years, as property curbs cooled demand. An index tracking private residential prices fell 0.5 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 from the previous quarter, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
That took the annual decline in prices to 3.7 percent, almost matching the 4 percent drop in 2014, which was the first year-on-year slide since 2008.
The city-state’s government began introducing residential property curbs in 2009 as low interest rates and demand from foreign buyers raised concerns that the market was overheating. They have included a cap on debt repayment costs at 60 percent of a borrower’s monthly income and higher stamp duties on home purchases.
Still, it is too early to relax property market cooling measures, as doing so could result in a market rebound, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a written reply to Parliament on Feb. 29.
Singapore was ranked the second-most expensive city to buy a luxury home in Asia after Hong Kong, according to a 2016 Knight Frank LLP wealth report.

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