Singapore’s homebuyers to seek bargains on discounts disclosure

Singapore homebuyers will drive harder bargains in an already depressed housing market as new rules that require developers to disclose discounts and other perks unmask the actual value of properties for sale.

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Starting Friday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority will publish weekly net prices on home transactions that will take into account incentives and rebates, such as those for stamp duties, to improve transparency.

"It will give homebuyers more bargaining opportunities," said Donald Han, managing director at real estate broker Chesterton Singapore Pte. "Buyers are already asking for more perks, so this gives them additional information that they can use to negotiate a better price." Hefty furniture rebates became the subject of a S$181 million lawsuit in November after United Overseas Bank Ltd claimed it was a "victim of a conspiracy" and handed out larger-than-permitted housing loans after some buyers at the luxury Marina Collection on Sentosa island didn't declare perks that cut prices by as much as 34 per cent.

Now, freebies such as luxury goods vouchers, jewelry and furniture used to entice homebuyers will be made public. Home sales dropped to a six-year low last year, while prices fell for a sixth straight quarter in the three months ended March 31, the longest losing streak in more than a decade.

Source: The Business Times JUN 5, 2015


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