James Hee, a property agent who lives with his family of four in a government-built flat he owns in Singapore, was eyeing a condo for about S$1.5 million ($1.2 million) earlier this year. Then Hee discovered that he wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage after the government restricted lending.
“Being self-employed, only 70 percent of what I earn is considered for the loan calculation, and with my car loan I can’t get the amount I would need to upgrade,” Hee, 32, said.
Singapore curbed lending after home prices climbed 25 percent between 2006 and 2008. While the measures pushed down prices, they also prevented some Singaporeans, who mostly live in government-financed units that they own, from buying privately built apartments. The central bank said in July that it’s too early to ease property restrictions, a view that some economists support to protect borrowers from an impending rise in interest rates.