Singapore Faces Real Estate Bubble Challenge

Singapore’s famously efficient government faces a challenge that has stymied many a country before: safely guiding its toppish property market to a soft landing as interest rates rise.

Property prices in the city-state have surged over 60 percent since 2009, propelled by rock-bottom global interest rates and quantitative easing in developed economies, even as Singapore’s government has enacted a series of cooling measures to prevent a bubble from forming.

But the prospect of rising interest rates as the U.S. Federal Reserve begins tapering its asset purchases has spurred fears that Singapore’s property market could be headed for a crash as higher mortgage payments could spur forced selling and defaults.

This week, Singapore indicated the specter of forced selling remains a serious concern, with the central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), relaxing one of its cooling measures, the Total Debt Servicing Ratio, or TDSR. The measure aimed to ensure that buyers’ monthly payments do not exceed 60 percent of their income, so they wouldn’t be caught out by a spike in interest rates. Most mortgages in Singapore have adjustable, rather than fixed, rates.

via CNBC

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza