In the 2011 general election, the People's Action Party, which has been the ruling party since Singapore's independence from Malaysia in 1965, won by the narrowest margin in its history.
Soon after the elections, the government took measures to reduce foreign investment. While it had already adopted broad-based measures to cool speculation, the latest moves were more targeted at the high-end market.
"There was concern that was aired in the last election that foreigners participating in the property market were contributing to high prices," said Christopher Fossick, the managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle in Southeast Asia.
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To slow demand, foreign buyers were charged an additional tax on top of a basic buyer's stamp duty. This tax was raised a year later, bringing the total tax for foreigners to 18 percent.
Today, anyone who wants to resell a property within a year of buying it must pay a 16 percent tax on the sale price. If they sell within two years, the tax is 12 percent. The levy gradually decreases over the following two years.
The most effective measure taken by the government was to cap the amount of debt a borrower was allowed to take as a percentage of their income.
Since then, new property sales across Singapore have fallen strikingly; in 2014, the number of properties sold was half what it had been the previous year. Residential prices fell 4 percent last year, and some analysts forecast double-digit declines this year.
"We would need to see these cooling measures removed before we see some recovery in prices," Mr. Fossick said.
On Sentosa Cove, few people are buying. Most of the unsold units from recent developments are being leased.
Borrowers are running into trouble as well. In a recent case, United Overseas Bank accused an Indonesian developer, the Lippo Group, of conspiring with buyers at a property in Sentosa Cove to inflate the value of their home loans. In the lawsuit, the bank says 37 of the 38 borrowers have defaulted on mortgages worth 181 million Singapore dollars.
The suit claims that the developer handed out furniture vouchers, which amounted to a rebate of as much as 20 percent of the sales price; the buyers did not disclose the discounts. The Lippo Group has denied the accusations.
The few recent sales paint a grim picture. Most sellers have taken sizable losses.
At one apartment building called the Turquoise, a unit sold last July for 4 million Singapore dollars. The seller bought the apartment in November 2007 for 7 million Singapore dollars, according to government data compiled by Maybank Kim Eng Securities.
At another building, the Oceanfront, a unit sold for 3.99 million Singapore dollars last September. It was listed in 2010 for 4.7 million Singapore dollars.