(Property – and rising house prices – continues to be the number one issue concerning Singaporeans. Image courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.)
Noting that confidence in Singapore's economy, along with global monetary conditions, had the effect of driving up property prices – long an area of concern with Singaporeans – Lee promised, without going into specific policy details, that the PAP government would not allow a property bubble to form.
His speech also addressed rising concerns amongst many Singaporeans about being priced out of the housing market by foreigners – in a year when Chinese speculators in particular emerged as the biggest rising force in property purchases in Singapore. In what promises to be an election year for the PAP, Lee promised to “keep housing affordable to Singaporeans, especially public housing.”
In a recent survey it was shown that ‘the bottom 20 per cent of households suffered disproportionately from higher housing prices.’ It was these households that the government measures to cool the market were aimed at Lee added that more would be done if necessary.
However, one group the middle classes are increasingly squeezed by property prices, earning too much to qualify for HDB housing, but priced out of the private property market. At times walking a political tightrope in reassuring the public that property prices would not be allowed to spiral, Lee also sought to reassure home owners that “in a prospering economy home owners should see their properties appreciating in value over the long term.”
Singaporeans await with interest the actual details on whether Lee’s words will translate into a fresh round of anti-speculation measures, and how, at a time when the PAP is ever more conscious of the importance of maintaining electoral support, it will deal with the issue of affordable housing, which continues to be the main area of discontent amongst Singaporeans.
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