Skyscrapers Stalled: Singapore Construction Falls Most Since ’10

The high-rise buildings that make up Singapore’s skyline aren’t soaring as much these days.

Construction, which made up 4.4 percent of the economy last year, fell 2.7 percent in the three months through September from the previous period, data showed today. That extends a fall of 2.4 percent in the second quarter and compares with a 4.6 percent drop in the third quarter of 2010, following a global slowdown.

The data add to evidence that Singapore’s measures to rein in property prices in Asia’s second-most expensive housing market are having an impact, with home prices declining for a fourth consecutive period last quarter, the longest losing streak in five years. At the same time, a clampdown on foreign labor amid an economic restructuring plan has made it harder for developers who had become accustomed to a steady supply of cheap overseas workers.

“The whole cooling measures, plus foreign manpower curbs are really starting to bite,” said Selena Ling, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. “It’s no surprise that you see construction continuing to cool, but the pace of the cooling in the third quarter, I must say, was a little bit eye-boggling.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in May the government will defer S$2 billion ($1.6 billion) worth of building projects for one to two years to spread out the demand for construction workers. The move may save 20,000 to 30,000 foreign workers, he said. Expect fewer skyscrapers.

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