by Ernie B. Calucag
Sales to foreign buyers of Singapore residential properties declined 78 per cent in the first quarter this year after a government decision late last year to apply a higher stamp duty to prevent the market from overheating.
The property market recorded only 293 transactions involving foreign buyers in the first three months of 2012 compared with 1,358 in the previous quarter, according to Reuters report that cited analysts at property broker Dennis Wee Group.
Meanwhile, transactions by permanent residents slipped 7.5 per cent while purchases by Singaporeans fell 12 per cent.
In December 2011, the government imposed an additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) for private property to moderate investment demand for private residential property and promote a more stable and sustainable market.
Foreigners had to pay additional 10 per cent ABSD for any residential property.
New private home sales in Singapore eased in March from February but remained high compared with historical data, indicating continued strong demand for apartments in the city-state despite market-cooling measures.
Singapore home prices fell 0.1 per cent in January-March from the preceding quarter – the first drop in nearly three years – following government measures to discourage speculative demand.