Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The fallout has been felt most profoundly in the local property market where soaring prices last year attracted hordes of speculators snapping up condos in the hope of making a quick profit. This sudden reversal has prompted analysts to raise concerns over possible systemic risks posed to banks from the downward spiral in property prices, given their big exposure to real estate loans. Their biggest worry is focused on the record 14,811 private properties sold by developers to homebuyers last year. Many of these flats were sold under a 'deferred payment scheme', introduced 10 years ago during the Asian financial crisis to help developers offload unsold properties and which was scrapped only in October last year. This scheme enabled a homebuyer to pay only the stamp duty and 10 per cent of the purchase price upfront. The rest is paid only when the flat is given its temporary occupation licence (TOP

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