Across Singapore, the property market was booming. Interest rates were low, prompting buyers to take on more debt. Confidence was high. Banks built regional headquarters in Singapore and jobs were created. Singapore’s skyline changed drastically. A new financial district rose and Marina Bay Sands, a three-tower building housing a casino with a boatlike structure on top, was built for a reported $5.4 billion.
With the government unable to contain the heated market, the growing presence of foreigners and the rising cost of housing became a flash point for discontent. And Sentosa, with its new villas, yachts and luxury condominium towers, became a particular symbol of the rising inequality for many citizens.
Faced with simmering discontent over rising living and housing costs, the government executed a succession of cooling measures that have hit the high-end market especially hard…
On Sentosa Cove, few people are buying. Most of the unsold units from recent developments have been taken off the market and are being leased instead.
The few recent sales paint a grim picture. Most sellers have taken sizable losses.
- From the New York Times article: A High-End Property Collapse in Singapore
My hometown of New York City is currently ground zero for a luxury apartment building boom driven primarily by oligarchs using the units as savings accounts, and foreign criminals looking to launder wealth accumulated via corruption, fraud or worse. This isn’t a new story, I’ve been writing about it for several years (links at the end), but a recent New York Times piece titled, Stream of Foreign Wealth Flows to Elite New York Real Estate, has put the issue front and center.
Naturally, New York City isn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last place to encourage hot foreign money to flow into its real estate sector in a haphazard and harmful manner that could have severe long-term repercussions once the boom turns to bust — which it invariably always does.
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