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Thread: Lifting restrictions on foreigners purchasing landed properties will harm S'poreans

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    Default Lifting restrictions on foreigners purchasing landed properties will harm S'poreans

    The Straits Times, June 28, 2007

    Landed homes: Don't ease curbs on foreigners


    THERE has been disturbing talk in the media recently that the restrictions on foreigners buying landed homes in Singapore could be relaxed.

    I hope the authorities would quickly nip this rumour in the bud before there is too much public disquiet.

    Goldman Sachs (Singapore) is lobbying for the rescindment of the Residential Property Act, which has, since 1973, restricted foreigners and permanent residents from owning landed residential property without prior official approval.

    Goldman Sachs argues that this change would serve as a catalyst for further foreign buying of private homes and boost the current residential property up-cycle. To further support this argument, it implies that Singaporeans already have a stake in the country by virtue of public housing catering to 80 per cent of us.

    I doubt anyone in Singapore really feels that the property market requires more encouragement. If anything, the reverse is probably true and the authorities are probably contemplating measures to cool the red-hot market to bring it to a more sustainable level.

    Goldman Sach's reference to public housing also comes across as being a tad condescending to me.

    Hence I agree fully with the industry's opinion leaders, who were quoted to be mostly against this proposal.

    Mr Charles Chong, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee (National Development and Environment), was quoted as saying: 'Landed properties should not be priced out of Singaporeans' reach (or) it could lead to disgruntled Singaporeans.'

    Others said that the existing Act has the positive effect of 'encouraging foreigners to commit to Singapore, to sink their roots here' and that landed-property ownership is one of the 'privileges of being Singaporean'.

    In Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth, the protagonist Wang Lung chided his sons when he overheard them talking about selling the land which he had loved so much. He said: '...if you sell the land, it is the end.'

    Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan


    Today

    Friday, June 29, 2007

    Sell the land to foreigners? It is 'the end'

    Letter from Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

    RECENTLY, there have been reports in the media pushing for the restrictions on the sale of landed homes here to foreigners to be relaxed. I hope the authorities quickly nip this in the bud before too much public disquiet arises.

    Goldman Sachs (Singapore) is lobbying for the rescindment of the Residential Property Act which has, since 1973, restricted foreigners and Permanent Residents from owning landed residential property without prior official approval.

    The investment firm argues that this change would serve as a catalyst for further foreign purchasing of private homes as well as boost the current residential property up-cycle. To further support this argument, it implies that Singaporeans already have a stake in the country by virtue of the public housing catering to 80 per cent of us.

    I doubt anyone in Singapore really feels that the property market requires any more encouragement. If anything, the reverse is true in fact, the authorities are probably contemplating measures to cool the red-hot market and bring it down to a more sustainable level.

    Goldman Sachs' reference to public housing also comes across as being slightly condescending to me.

    I agree with the industry's opinion leaders, who were quoted to be mostly against this proposal. Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and Environment chairman Charles Chong was quoted as saying: "Landed properties should not be priced out of Singaporeans' reach (or) it could lead to disgruntled Singaporeans."

    Others, meanwhile, said that the existing Act has the positive effect of "encouraging foreigners to commit to Singapore, to sink their roots here" and that landed property ownership is one of the "privileges of being Singaporean".

    In American author Pearl S Buck's The Good Earth, the protagonist Wang Lung chides his sons when he overhears them talking about selling the land which he loves so much. In his words: "If you sell the land, it is the end."
    Last edited by mr funny; 30-06-07 at 06:36.

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    Default Re: Landed homes: Don't ease curbs on foreigners

    June 28, 2007

    Lifting restrictions on foreigners purchasing landed properties will harm S'poreans



    THE recent report and recommendation by an American bank that the restrictions on foreigners to purchase landed property be lifted is something which I feel the majority of Singaporeans would be up against.

    Additionally the economic arguments are flawed. The report seems to imply that lifting the restrictions will reduce the supply crunch and help control prices.

    I think lifting the restrictions will have detrimental effects - landed property prices will experience sharp jumps leading to an even greater frenzy in the property sector. Cost of living and cost of business will jump again, leading to higher inflation and further reduce our cost-competitiveness.

    However, the most important factors against it are the sociopolitical effects.

    Singapore is a country owned by Singaporeans. If the restrictions are lifted very soon, Singaporeans will be renting from foreigners to live in Singapore, leading to alienation and resentment among the population.

    Lifting the restrictions belittles the privileges of citizenship too.

    In the same way that National Service is expected only from citizens, certain rights and privileges should continue to be reserved for citizens.

    David Ng Boon Kiong

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    Default Re: Landed homes: Don't ease curbs on foreigners

    June 28, 2007

    Timely to allow foreigners to buy landed properties


    IT IS timely that our Government should rescind the strict ruling on foreigners buying landed properties in Singapore. It was imposed decades ago due to abuses and loose regulations then that affected citizens.

    Over the years that I have witnessed the development of our property market, there has been no runaway prices seen in the 1960s.

    I have been a supporter of conserving old landed properties and, having invested heavily in one, I found that for more than 10 years, I have yet to see any increase in my landed property which is a conservation terrace house, fully modernised at great cost, without expecting any subsidy from the Government.

    Now that I have a need to dispose of my conservation property to reduce my costly bank borrowing, I face great hardship in trying to dispose of my conservation property for two main reasons.

    I have foreigners keen to buy but they are put off by the need to apply for special permission which takes time. As a result, while condominium prices have gone up since last year, my conservation property of 3,000 sq ft remains stagnant in terms of price increases. Even if I could sell, the price is very low.

    I appeal to the Government to rescind this ruling so that those of us who have maintained conservation properties for the good of the nation would not be penalised in this way.

    Anna Su-Yin Wang (Ms)

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    Default Re: Lifting restrictions on foreigners purchasing landed properties will harm S'porea

    June 30, 2007

    Landed homes: No plans to ease foreign ownership


    I REFER to the letter by Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan ('Landed homes: Don't ease curbs on foreigners'; ST, June 28) on the recent report by Goldman Sachs suggesting a review of the Residential Property Act to relax restrictions on foreigners buying landed property.

    On June 28, the Ministry of Law spokesperson announced that there are no plans to liberalise the existing system. In land- scarce Singapore, landed properties have to be treated as a special category where purchases by foreigners are subject to special approval.

    Radha S. Khoo (Ms)
    Head
    (Corporate Communications)
    Ministry of Law

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