Seller’s stamp duties cut as Government eases some property cooling measures

Seller’s stamp duties cut as Government eases some property cooling measures

The seller's stamp duties rate will be cut by four percentage points, with those selling properties in the first year to pay 12 per cent, down from 16 per cent currently.

A view of private residential apartments and public housing estates in Singapore on Jun 13, 2016. (File photo: Reuters)

SINGAPORE: Home owners will only have to wait three years before selling their properties to avoid paying seller’s stamp duties (SSD), down from four years currently, under several adjustments made to property cooling measures.

With effect from Saturday (Mar 11), those who sell their properties within three years will also pay less in SSD, according to a joint press release by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of National Development and Monetary Authority of Singapore on Friday. This applies to residential properties purchased on and after Mar 11.

The rate will be cut by four percentage points for each tier - properties sold in the third year will be subject to SSD of 4 per cent, while those sold in the first year will be subject to SSD of 12 per cent, down from 16 per cent currently.

According to the agencies, the decision to revise the SSD was made after the number of property sales within the four-year window fell significantly since the measure was introduced.

The Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), which was implemented to encourage prudent borrowing by households, will also be eased. Currently, property loans should not exceed a TDSR threshold of 60 per cent.

However, some retirees have given feedback that because of the TDSR, they are unable to borrow against their properties to obtain more cash, the release said.

With the easing in rules, the TDSR will no longer apply to mortgage equity withdrawal loans with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of 50 per cent and below.

NO CHANGE IN ABSD, LOAN-TO-VALUE LIMITS

The Government has decided to retain the current Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duties (ABSD) rates and LTV limits, the release said.

“Transaction volumes in the private residential property market remain healthy. There is firm demand for private housing, in part because of current low interest rates and continued income growth.

“While the growth in outstanding housing loans has moderated, it is prudent for households to further build up their financial buffers to protect against future interest rate increases or any losses in income. The Government is therefore retaining the current ABSD rates and loan-to-value limits,” it said.

The “calibrated adjustments” made to the SSD and TDSR are part of the Government’s review of conditions in the residential property market, the release said, adding that the current property measures are necessary to “promote a sustainable residential property market and financial prudence among households”.

Source: CNA/cy

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