Tag Archives: Govt Policy

Use sharper tools to fix property market flaws

I REFER to Mr Bobby Jayaraman’s letter, ‘New measures won’t help market bloom’ (Feb 23). There may be room to re-examine market statistics in greater detail and consider sharper tools to tackle specific problems instead of slapping stamp fees on sellers across the board.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority keeps statistics of property transactions. Nineteen different headings are listed for each transaction, including ‘purchaser address indicator’ which describes whether a buyer is from HDB or private housing, and ‘type of sale’ which describes whether a sale is new, resale or sub-sale.

A quick comparison of non-landed property sales in districts 9, 16 and 27 over the past year shows different transaction patterns in different locations.

For example, in district 9, 20 per cent were reported to be buyers with HDB ‘address indicator’ and 21 per cent of the 2,500 transactions were ’sub-sales’. In district 16, only 10 per cent were ’sub-sales’ with 45 per cent buyers with HDB ‘address indicator’ in the 1,710 cases. In district 27, the total number of sales was 239, with 161 with HDB ‘address indicator’.

Armed with such info, the authorities can use sharper tools to correct market imperfections caused in particular locations or by particular groups of people.

Patrick Sio

Source : Straits Times – 25 Mar 2010

Govt amends Stamp Duties Act

Parliament has passed changes to the Stamp Duties Act. The amendments will give legislative effect to the seller’s stamp duty, which was re-introduced on February 20 as one of the measures to discourage property speculation.

Those who sell their residential properties and residential lands within one year of purchase February 20 will have to pay a duty of one per cent for the first S$180,000, two per cent for the next S$180,000 and three per cent for the balance.

Speaking at the second reading of the bill on Friday, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the government first introduced the seller’s stamp duty in 1996 to cool the overheating property market.

It was subsequently suspended in November 1997. Relevant provisions in the Stamp Duties Act were subsequently repealed in 2005.

Another key change – the government will now be able to introduce, vary or remove the seller’s stamp duty, via a Ministerial Order that will be published in the Government Gazette.

The Finance Minister said the process of introducing and repealing provisions in the Stamp Duties Act each time the government wants to introduce, vary or remove the duty is not efficient, especially when it has to respond to changes in the property market cycle in a timely and calibrated manner.

Mr Tharman stressed that the government does not intend to change the seller’s stamp duty liberally.

He said: “Any future change to the seller’s stamp duty will be a carefully considered decision, taking into account all prevailing and projected factors at the time.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 12 Mar 2010