That follows Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat's comments in January, when he said the property market must remain stable so young Singaporeans can own their homes. Among the ideas are higher stamp duties and tighter loan limits for subsequent properties and foreigners.
One idea floated is to either set a minimum size for each unit or again increase the average minimum size for new developments. Kiwi Lim - real estate advisor from Huttons Asia believe that this would effectively raise the quantum amount that buyers need to pay for new condo units.
The intended effect of increasing the average minimum size for upcoming new condo projects is to bump up home sizes for occupiers, while building fewer shoebox apartments that typically appeal to investors due to the lower quantums. The first time the average size was increased, it raised quantums (absolute prices) for smaller units as many buyers are happy to forgo some space for an upgraded lifestyle.
Some observers do not expect cooling measures - at least not till the second half of this year. The performance of the different segments of the property market was not uniform either. For instance, though the rental market is showing initial signs of bottoming out, it is still not yet out of the woods.
Single-person households living in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats are becoming far more common as a result of Singapore’s ageing population and a rule change in 2013 that allowed singles aged 35 and above to buy new two-room flats. This group — which could include live-alone seniors, singles, widows and divorcees — made up about one in eight HDB households, or 11.9 per cent, in 2018.In 2003, it was about one in 14 households, or 7.1 per cent. This was one of the key findings of HDB's latest sample household survey results, which were released on Feb 10.
Mr Lee Sze Teck, head of research at property agency Huttons Asia, said that HDB will need to keep abreast of this demographic change and renew its housing provision accordingly, pointing out that the number of singles had jumped by almost 300,000 from 2000 to 2019. This has resulted in the number of one-person households almost tripling, from 75,400 in 2000 to 208,000 in 2019, he added.
On the finding that fewer citizens and permanent residents are living in HDB flats, Mr Lee said that it is reflective of rising income and affluence. Median monthly household income has more than doubled from S$4,398 in 2000 to S$9,198 last year, he noted. “Coupled with a desire to change their lifestyle, some families and singles have opted to move to a private condominium. This has supported the healthy demand in the private residential market.
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