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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Singapore govt says ready to stop any property bubble

SINGAPORE, July 29 (Reuters) - The Singapore government stands ready to step in to prevent a property bubble after signs of speculation in the real estate market, state media quoted a cabinet minister as saying on Wednesday. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan told reporters it was not clear if the buying momentum of new private homes in the past few months could be sustained and the government was keeping a negative growth projection for such demand this year. "I wouldn't say there's excessive speculation at the moment, but there is some element of speculation involved. I think some of the practices that you saw in the last property boom are starting to come back. So I think we'll have to be careful," Mah was quoted as saying by state radio 938LIVE's website. Property and stock prices in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia have jumped in recent months after central banks and governments pumped cash into the ailing global economy, but Asia's monetary authorities may be set to ignore frothy markets. "I would say that there is more than sufficient supply over the next couple of years and it's a bit too early to say whether there is a speculative bubble or property bubble building up," the Straits Times newspaper's website quoted Mah as saying. Cautioning buyers not to be lured into buying a home beyond their means, Mah said the government would step in should the situation get out of hand. He said the government could bring back its suspended land sales programme if necessary, the Straits Times reported. Private home sales have soared since February as prices fell. Singapore leapt out of recession in the second quarter and the government raised its 2009 forecast for the economy to shrink by 4 to 6 percent, from a previous forecast for a contraction of up to 9 percent.

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