The Government announced today that, with effect from 19 February 2010, all private property buyers who sell that same private property within one year will be subjected to pay stamp duty. Furthermore, bank loans for mortgages are now capped at 80%, where previously loans of up to 90% were possible.
While many may feel that prices will go down due to these regulatory measures, the effects will be mainly psychological.
“The prices and volume of private property sales are not likely to be significantly impacted,” says PropNex CEO Mr Mohamed Ismail, “as the stamp duty imposition is meant to weed out speculators. Many private property buyers would be unaffected as they have bought their properties for dwelling, with a mid-to-long term view of their purchase.”
He notes that the main area to be affected would only be the Core Central Region, which is the usual focus of speculators. And they would still be allowed to sell, as long as they are willing to pay the stamp duty.
“This policy, aimed at discouraging flipping, is much preferable to the Capital Gains tax,” he opines, “which had a much greater impact on the appreciation of property assets.”
Mr Ismail also commends the Government for instituting an 80% cap for mortgage loans from banks.
“While 90% loans were not uncommon previously,” he says, “they usually came with a higher interest rate. This cap will encourage buyers to really examine their finances and exercise prudence when making their purchase.”
And for those who have been complaining that PRs have been affecting HDB resale prices, this cap should also ease their fears somewhat, as some PRs may have insufficient funds in cash and/or their CPF to meet the 20% initial payment.
“However,” reminds Mr Ismail, “with PRs and foreigners making up only 12% of the HDB flat dwellers in Singapore, they would already have had a negligible impact, if any, on resale prices.”
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