The government announced yesterday the fourth round of property cooling measures as the previous measures have not really managed to stop the continued increase in prices. The measures take place immediately from today.
1) Increasing the holding period for imposition of Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) from the current three years to four years.
2) Raising the SSD rates to 16 per cent, 12 per cent, 8 per cent and 4 per cent of consideration for residential properties which are bought (from today) and are sold in the first, second, third and fourth year of purchase respectively. The stamp duty increase is quite significant and is as good as a capital gains tax. In fact, it is more powerful than a capital gains tax as you have to pay the SSD even if you sell your property at a loss within the first four years !
The SSD will effectively put a huge damper on short-term speculators. The previous stamp duty was less than 3%.
3) Reducing the Loan-To-Value (LTV) limit from 70 per cent to 60 per cent for property purchasers who are individuals with one or more outstanding housing loans at the time of the new housing purchase.
4) Lowering the (LTV) limit to 50 per cent on housing loans granted by financial institutions for property buyers who are not individuals. This is a new ruling which helps to plug a loophole of individuals buying properties via a company.