More Singapore homeowners are defaulting on mortgage in 2015 with an increase in more than 80% residential properties put up for auction according to property research firm DTZ. Singapore banks foreclosed 87 units in 2015, double that of 47 in 2014, while listing for owner’s sale via auction spiked to 135 units from 77 in 2014.
Among the properties auctioned which saw the largest increase are landed properties and apartments with strata area of more than 2,000 sq ft. The property market is currently seeing a panic selling phenomenon as many property investors are not able to afford paying the mortgages of their properties. Many property investors in Singapore were in for a speculative quick buck, hoping to sell them off for a higher price than what they acquired.
Currently, prices are still barely moving downwards with only a 3.7% decrease in private property prices in 2015. However sales volume have crashed 49% just in Dec 2015 alone. The Singapore government is trying to salvage the property market by reducing land supply with the land sales programme, which recently announced only 925 units for residential units in Dec 2015, down 85% from a previous 7,000 units peak.
700 unsold units across 13 developments will also be hit by qualifying certificates (QC) rules where developers with at least on foreign shareholder or director, will be required to complete construction within 5 years and sell them within 2 years of completion, or incur tax charges up to S$10 million. The other tax charge, Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), are also hitting the property developers with unsold units, with charges up to 15% per unit if they are not sold within 5 years.
The Real Estate Developer’s Association of Singapore, who represents developer’s interests, is lobbying for the Singapore government to remove property cooling measures like ABSD, QC and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), hoping to save themselves tens of millions from these tax charges. In the Parliament, PAP MP Christopher De Souza represented the rich developers’ interests and lobbied for the government to remove ABSD.