Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Singapore property shares plunge on gov't cooling move

SINGAPORE - Shares of Singapore property developers fell sharply on Thursday after the government announced new measures to cool the city-state's housing market.

CapitaLand Ltd shares fell as much as 6.5 per cent to S$2.44 while smaller rival City Developments Ltd fell 7.6 per cent to S$9.26 and Wing Tai Holdings was down 6.5 per cent at S$1.00.

Shares of Ho Bee Investment Ltd, which develops high-end condominiums in Singapore, tumbled by as much as 12.1 per cent to S$1.09.

Singapore said on Wednesday foreigners who buy private homes will have to pay an additional stamp duty equal to 10 per cent of the property value.

Analysts said they expect developers with greater exposure to high-end luxury apartments to face more pressure because as foreign buyers make up a large chunk of their sales.

"We believe each of the key residential demand drivers, foreign buying, job creation and credit availability, will likely see signs of softness," Goldman Sachs said in a report.

It added that this could lead to a 15 per cent decline in home prices over the next 18 months with the prime segment facing more immediate pressure as foreign buyers pull back.

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