Singapore: Sustainable Property Market Measures Published by MAS

The Government of Singapore announced increases in the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates in order to support a sustainable property market.

The revised rates will “take effect from 27 April 2023.”

The implementation of the property market measures in December 2021 and September 2022 have “had a moderating effect.”

However, in 1Q2023, property prices “showed renewed signs of acceleration amid resilient demand.” Demand from locals “purchasing homes for owner-occupation has been especially strong, and there has also been renewed interest from local and foreign investors in [city-state’s] residential property market.”

If left unchecked, prices “could run ahead of economic fundamentals, with the risk of a sustained increase in prices relative to incomes.”

To enable a sustainable property market and prioritize housing for owner-occupation, the Government will “raise the ABSD rates further to pre-emptively manage investment demand.”

As mentioned in an announcement published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), specific ABSD rates increases are as follows:

  •  Raise ABSD rate from 17% to 20% for Singapore Citizens (SCs) purchasing their 2nd residential property;
  • Raise ABSD rate from 25% to 30% for SCs purchasing their 3rd and subsequent residential property, and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) purchasing their 2nd residential property;
  • Raise ABSD rate from 30% to 35% for SPRs purchasing their 3rd and subsequent residential property;
  • Raise ABSD rate from 30% to 60% for foreigners purchasing any residential property; and
  • Raise ABSD rate from 35% to 65% for entities or trusts purchasing any residential property, except for housing developers.

Based on 2022 data, the above ABSD rate “increases will affect about 10% of residential property transactions.”

The ABSD rates for SCs and SPRs “purchasing their first residential property, which constitutes about 90% of residential property transactions based on 2022 data, will remain at 0% and 5% respectively.”

For acquisitions made jointly by two or more parties of different profiles, the highest applicable ABSD rate “will apply.”

Married couples “with at least one SC spouse, who jointly purchase a second residential property, can continue to apply for a refund of ABSD, subject to conditions.”

These conditions “include selling their first residential property within 6 months after (a) the date of purchase of the second residential property if this is a completed property, or (b) the issue date of the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) or Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) of the second residential property, whichever is earlier, if the second property is not completed at the time of purchase.”

The ABSD currently “does not affect those buying an HDB flat or Executive Condominium unit from housing developers with an upfront remission, if any of the joint acquirers/purchasers is a SC.”

There will be “no change to this policy.”

The revised ABSD rates will “apply to all residential properties acquired on or after 27 April 2023.”

There will be “a transitional provision, where the ABSD rates on or before 26 April 2023 will apply” for cases that meet all the conditions below:

  • The Option to Purchase (OTP) was granted by sellers to potential buyers on or before 26 April 2023;
  • This OTP is exercised on or before 17 May 2023, or within the OTP validity period, whichever is earlier; and
  • This OTP has not been varied on or after 27 April 2023.

Correspondingly, the Additional Conveyance Duties for Buyers (ACDB), which “applies to qualifying acquisitions of equity interest in property holding entities (PHEs) will be raised from up to 46% to up to 71%.”

Significant Increases in Housing Supply

The revisions to the ABSD rates “to help moderate investment demand will complement our efforts to ramp up supply, to alleviate the tight housing market for both owner-occupation and rental.”

As noted by the MAS, they have “increased the supply of private housing on the Confirmed List to 4,100 units for the 1H2023 Government Land Sales (GLS) program, from 3,500 units for 2H2022.”

In 2022, they had “injected a total of 6,300 units under the Confirmed List.”

For public housing, they have “launched more than 23,000 flats in 2022 and will launch up to 23,000 flats in 2023.”

They are also prepared “to launch up to 100,000 new flats in total between 2021 to 2025.”

They will “continue to maintain a steady pipeline, to cater to growing housing demand.

While COVID-19 had “led to severe delays across private and public housing projects, they have made good progress to get back on track.”

With almost 40,000 public and private residential property completions in 2023, and near 100,000 units expected to be completed from 2023 to 2025, “there will be significant housing supply coming onstream over the next few years.”

The measures above have “been calibrated to moderate housing demand while prioritising owner-occupation, and provide sufficient housing supply.”

The Government will “continue to adjust policies as necessary to ensure that they remain relevant, and promote a sustainable property market.”

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