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3 reasons why adjustments to property measures is not a good sign
March 14, 2017

Last Friday, a press release was jointly issued by Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Finance and Monetary Authority of Singapore to make adjustments to the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework, with effect from 11 March 2017.

1) The holding period liable for SSD is revised from 4 to 3 years. There is also a 4 percent reduction every year on the original SSD payable.

2) TDSR is exempted for mortgage equity withdrawal loans with LTV (Loan To Value) ratios of 50 percent and below.

3) A new stamp duty Additional Conveyance Duties (ACD) is introduced for residential property transactions undertaken via transfer of shares in property-holding entities. The seller pays a flat rate of 12 percent for a 3-year holding period. On top of that, a prevailing 0.2 percent stamp duty for transfer of shares applies.

Contrary to those who celebrated by dumping more money into new launch and property stock counters, the sudden tweak of the cooling measures is not a good sign for the property market.

1. If everything is going to be fine, you don’t have to do anything.

Singapore introduced the first round of cooling measures in September 2009. The last round of cooling measures, the 8th and the hardest round with the new TDSR framework, was announced in June 2013.

Necessary move was finally taken last Friday.

When the adjustment is on Seller’s Stamp Duty but not Additional Buyer Stamp Duty, this is not good.

Relaxing the ABSD implies that the government wants to stimulate demand. But tweaking the SSD means that the government perceives the market will go through a tough time soon... read more

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