If you’re waiting to see if the developer of your property of choice might dangle discounts to counter the recent cooling measures, you might have to reconsider. The authorities have caught on to property developers‘ tactics of offering discounts as a means to entice customers to buy new properties, especially since the cooling measures have taken a huge chunk out of the business.
But fear not, only the indirect discounts are under review by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. These mostly refer to the rebates and vouchers that the buyer receives only after purchasing the property. Since these are not reflected in the upfront price which the buyer pays, it may make the cooling measures seem ineffective, which also means URA’s quarterly price index based on caveats lodged might not be a true reflection of the market situation.
Property developers on the other hand tend to lean towards indirect discounts as this helps placate early buyers who may not be happy that they had gotten the raw end of the deal. Keeping the upfront price high also helps to keep prices high all around.
Other ways which developers have been trying to help buyers out are through the partial or full absorption of the Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) which has been increased in the most recent round of measures. The frequency and fervency of this practice might be what the authorities are watching as it negates the effect of the property measures.
Another concern is also that the true value of the property needs to be conveyed truthfully to the home buyer, but with the discounts and cuts, it might not be the case and it might only confuse consumers. Not forgetting that home loans are based on the property value, thus might buyers be paying more in the end through bank loan interests for a higher priced property?
So are the cooling measures truly working? If it seems that discounts are offered more frequently, then it might be.