Monday, February 22, 2010

Don’t sell your homes prematurely for a quick buck: PM Lee

Please take good care of your home and don’t sell it prematurely to make a quick buck.

It is an important investment for the future. It can help see Singaporeans through their old age. And it can be passed on to one’s children or grandchildren.

That’s the message from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the 1,300 residents attending the gala annual Teck Ghee Chinese New Year dinner in Ang Mo Kio yesterday.

‘I have seen so many residents come to see me at my meet-the-people sessions, who have sold their houses, who have used the proceeds to pay debts or to do something else, and now their money has run out and they are in trouble and they want help.’

He said that the government has been closely watching the property market and has announced recent moves to prevent a speculative bubble from forming so that more drastic measures will not be needed later.

‘The prices have risen very sharply over the last six months,’ Mr Lee noted. ‘It has not yet reached a dangerous level. But the trend has been so fast and the mood has been so exuberant that we were worried that people will get carried away and they will go beyond what is wise and we will have a bubble.’

The government cannot control property prices to the tee. ‘But what we can do is to make sure that for all Singaporeans, homes remain affordable,’ he said.

The Prime Minister is also worried that not enough Singaporeans are starting families and that they are not reproducing enough. He noted that Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate fell to a record low of 1.23 last year, and the rate among the Chinese is even lower at 1.09.

He urged Singaporeans to have babies this year, notwithstanding the Chinese superstition that babies born in the Year of the Tiger will take on the fearsome attributes of the Chinese Zodiac animal. ‘Tigers are good animals, and Tiger babies are good babies,’ he quipped.

‘So have a Tiger baby and have a new member to your family and a new member to the Singapore family.’

Source: Business Times, 22 Feb 2010

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