Changes to support property counters

SINGAPORE — Shares of developers surged on Friday on the Singapore Exchange after the Government eased some housing market cooling measures and loan curbs, with analysts saying the changes will support property counters that have been weighed down by a three-year losing streak in home prices.

Shares of Singapore’s largest listed developer CapitaLand jumped as much as 6.2 per cent to a high of S$3.79 each before closing at S$3.70, or a 3.6 per cent gain on the day. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

City Developments shares soared to a high of S$10.59, or a 10.2 per cent rise, before ending with a 5.6 per cent gain at S$10.15.

UOL shares rose as much as 7.9 per cent to S$7.14 before closing at S$6.92, or a 4.5 per cent gain.

Together, the three property counters helped the Straits Times Index close 0.5 per cent higher at 3,133.35, taking the benchmark’s year-to-date gain to 8.8 per cent.

“The stealth move should lead to a scramble to re-rate property developers back to book value on optimism that property prices have bottomed and will start to rise from here,” said Mr Alan Richardson, at

Samsung Asset Management Co. The announcement took the market by surprise after the Budget speech last month did not mention property easing measures, he added.

Others were less exuberant. The measures are an “incremental positive” amid an abundance of housing supply coming to market coupled with a weak demand outlook, said Mr Joshua Crabb, head of Asian equities at a unit of Old Mutual.

For homes purchased from today onwards, the owner will not have to pay Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) if he or she sells the property more than three years from purchase, down from four years previously, the Government said. The SSD rates will also be lowered by 4 percentage points for each tier — to 4 per cent for properties sold in the third year; 8 per cent for those sold in the second year; and 12 per cent for those sold within the first year.

Rules on the Total Debt Servicing Ratio framework will also be relaxed, reflecting feedback from some borrowers that the measure limited flexibility to borrow against the value of their properties and raise cash, the Government said.

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