The government has imposed an Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) for private property of between 3% and 10% for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and foreigners to moderate investment demand for private residential property and promote a more stable and sustainable market.
Foreigners will pay 10% Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) for any residential property.
Permanent Residents owning one and buying second and subsequent properties will pay 3% ABSD.
Singaporeans owning two and buying a third and subsequent residential properties will pay 3% Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty.
The ABSD will be imposed over and above the current Buyer's Stamp Duty, which are 1% on the first $180,000 of purchase consideration or market value of the property (whichever is higher), 2% on the next $180,000 and 3% for the remainder.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Finance and National Development ministries say the government's objective is to promote a sustainable residential property market where prices move in line with economic fundamentals.
They said prices of private residential properties have continued to rise, albeit more slowly in the last two quarters.
Prices are now 13% above the peak in the second quarter of 1996, and 16% above the more recent peak in the second quarter of 2008.
They said that even with the current economic uncertainties, the demand for private residential property remains firm.
Given the uncertainty in stock markets and with interest rates remaining low, private property in Singapore continues to attract local and foreign investors.
They added that excessive investment demand will make the property cycle more volatile, and thus increase the risks to Singapore's economy and banking system.
The government said the higher ABSD rate for foreign buyers in particular is necessary, in view of the large pool of external liquidity and strong buying interest from abroad, and the relatively small size of the Singapore market.
The government said foreign purchases account for 19% of all private residential property purchases in the second half of 2011, up from 7% in the first half of 2009.
For purchases made jointly by two or more parties (eg a Singaporean with a PR, or a PR with a foreigner), the higher applicable ABSD rate will be imposed.
For example, if a citizen purchases a property with a foreigner, the ABSD of 10% will apply.
In the case of a joint purchase by Singaporeans, who each already owns properties, the ABSD of 3% will apply as long as one of the purchasers already owns two properties.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam, said: "We have always had open markets and must keep them that way. However, the reality is that investment flows into our property market are now larger than before, and unlikely to recede as long as interest rates remain low.
"The additional buyer's stamp duty should help cool investment demand, and avoid the prospect of a major, destabilising correction further down the road."
Nicholas Mak, Executive Director of Research and Consultancy at SLP International, said: "It will curb investment demand for private residential properties quite drastically, especially demand from non-resident foreigners. And I think in the next one to two months or so, demand from non-resident foreigners will almost dry-up."
Home buyers are mixed in their views.
One Indian foreigner said: "I know there is a stamp duty, but any increase in that will probably take it out of my level where I want to buy."
An Indian who is a Permanent Resident said: "Nowadays, HDB properties are also difficult to buy, because of more conditions. So they have to buy property here. Definitely they'll keep buying more irrespective of whether the stamp duty is increased or not."
One Singaporean said: "It probably wouldn't have an effect in the short-term, because the property market prices are still rising, people are still speculating."
Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said: "We are ramping up the supply of new Executive Condominium units through the Government Land Sales Programme.
"This will help higher-income Singaporeans own private condominium units in an affordable way, as the sale of new EC units is restricted to Singaporean households only."
Singaporean first-time buyers and upgraders, and buyers of HDB flats will not be affected by the new measure.
Certain reliefs will be provided so that the measure will not impact home occupation demand by residents.
For example, relief will be provided for Singaporean-foreigner/PR married couples buying their homes.
Reliefs will also be provided for qualifying developers and for purchases falling within the scope of Singapore's international trade agreements.
The government will continue to ensure an adequate supply of private housing to meet-medium term demand.
There are 41,000 unsold private housing units in the pipeline.
The government will inject sites that can potentially yield a total of 14,100 units in the 1H2012 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme, similar to the supply in previous GLS programmes.
Of these, about 7,000 units will be from sites on the Confirmed List.
These numbers take into account the ample pipeline supply and the dampening effect of the ABSD.
The government will also expand the supply of executive condominiums (ECs) in 2012 and is prepared to release sites that can potentially yield 5,000 EC units for the entire year.
Sites for 3,500 EC units will be made available in 1H2012, including 3,000 EC units on the Confirmed List.
The Confirmed List quantum is comparable to the 3,000 EC units from five sites sold for the whole of 2011. More details will be provided in the press release for the 1H2012 GLS Programme on MND's website.
The Government will continue to monitor the property market and adjust its property policies in step with changes in the market and the economy.
Source: Channel News Asia
The wife and I have just returned from our short family vacation (literally that is, since we have only touched down like two hours ago) and this is the first piece of property news we happened to chance upon.
The Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) should appease (somewhat) those who are worried by the increasing number of private home purchases by foreigners, which they claimed have driven up property prices. It will also help to dampen the flow of "hot money" into our private property sector (which is probably the larger factor in driving up prices), given the current double-whammy of much higher buying and selling stamp duties.
And for Singaporeans that already own two private residential properties and wanting to buy a third, we reckon they should not complaint (too much) about the ABSD.
So maybe the government is finally listening, as they said they would...