SOME 900 flat buyers in Singapore cancelled their Build-To-Order (BTO) bookings with the government-run Housing Board last year in yet another sign of a cooling property market in the city-state.
The would-be buyers cancelled the bookings because they could no longer afford the unit, changed their minds about moving or had bought a resale flat, according to the Straits Times.
Thirty-eight percent of the cancelled bookings involved four-room flats, 25 percent were two-room “flexi” or similar units while 22 percent comprised five-room flats.
Three-room homes made up for the remaining 15 percent of the cancelled bookings, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday.
He said the buyers who cancelled their bookings before signing the lease agreement would lose their booking fees ranging from SGD500 (US$369.22) to SGD2,000 (US$1,476), depending on the type of flats involved.
He added five percent of the booking fees would be forfeited from those who cancel after signing the lease agreement.
“They would also need to wait a year before they may apply for another subsidised flat.”
Wong said the forfeiture of the fees was to ensure that buyers were serious about buying a flat, and so that they do not “deprive others who are in urgent need of buying a flat”.
However, he the government can waiver the forfeiture on valid grounds and on a case-to-case basis.
Brokers predicted the prices of residential properties in city-state would remain stagnant or even dip this year.
While the prices of homes were predicted to increase as much as 10 percent this year, estimates compiled by Bloomberg show a decline of up to three percent next year and home sales below 2017 levels this year may not appreciate any further next year.
Singapore’s regulators saw the need to introduce the measures in wake of a seven percent hike in prices during the first half of the year owing to aggressive land bids from developers and collector or redevelopment transactions.