Singapore Aug private home sales still feeling effects of govt curbs
SINGAPORE, Sept 16
SINGAPORE, Sept 16 (Reuters) - New private home sales by developers in Singapore remained subdued in August, with the timing of the Chinese Hungry Ghost month further curbing demand that had already been hurt by the government's latest property cooling measures.
According to the latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore developers sold 742 private homes in August, up from 482 units in July but well below the monthly average of around 1,800 units in 2012.
Developers in Singapore sold 1,427 private homes in August 2012.
Including executive condominiums or ECs, a category of apartments aimed at middle-income Singaporean families, developers sold 1,468 units in August, about two-and-a-half times the 594 units sold in July.
According to Chinese tradition, the ghosts of the departed visit the earth during the Hungry Ghost month, which is based on the Lunar calendar. Some buyers tend to avoid the property market during this period.
The Hungry Ghost month started on August 7 this year, earlier than in 2012 when it began on Aug 17.
Buying interest in Singapore private homes, which house around 20 percent of the city-state's 5.3 million people, weakened sharply in July after the central bank introduced rules to ensure that the buyers' monthly mortgage payments do not exceed 60 percent of their combined incomes.
The latest measures, introduced on June 28, were aimed at ensuring that property would not be caught out by a rise in interest rates, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said.
MAS estimates that between 5 and 10 percent of borrowers had "probably over-leveraged on their property purchases" based on their total debt service payment ratio of more than 60 percent of monthly income. (Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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