SINGAPORE – Madam Halimah Yacob looks set to become the next President of Singapore after the two other presidential hopefuls, Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, fell short of the qualification criteria.
What might the Halimah presidency mean for property owners in Singapore, if anything?
The decision to disqualify the other two candidates, and to award the presidency to Halimah in a walkover, resulted in a huge public outcry on social media, as Singaporeans expressed their disappointment online.
No doubt this very unpopular decision will cost the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) quite some votes in the next General Election, which must be held by 15 January 2021.
Firstly, one likely consequence is that the government might accelerate its citizen growth by importing higher numbers of foreigners and granting of citizenships.
The theory is that new citizens typically lean towards the ruling party as a gesture of gratitude for attaining citizenship. These pro-establishment votes would mitigate the loss in vote share of existing Singaporeans.
The resulting acceleration in population growth would also spur demand for housing and put upward pressure on property prices.
Secondly, the spotlight would likely fall on public transport in the run-up to the elections. This is because public transport issue is something Singaporeans face everyday, while most are likely to forget the presidential non-election three years later.
Hence, we can expect significantly more government resources to be poured to rescue the failing public transport system before 2021, in order to save itself in the next general elections.
This can only be good news for property owners, especially those who own properties near MRT stations.
The last 7 years of frequent train breakdowns have caused the often-used proposition “my property is near MRT” to lose its value and meaning. If the government manages to save the public transport system, this would be good news for property prices.
Thirdly, a Salleh or Farid presidency would be another huge distraction for the government, which would then not being able to focus at all on the more important issues facing Singapore, including public transport, jobs, and the economy in general – all of which directly impact property prices.
Whether you accept the Halimah presidency or not is another matter, but the above three factors, coupled with the fact that property prices are on a run-up currently, are expected to be positive for real estate prices in Singapore, at least for the short term.