business

Singapore Home Tax Hike Not a Market Cooling Move, Minister Says

  • Stamp duty on homes worth more than S$1 million increased
  • Move comes as housing prices rebound from four-year slide
Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran discusses the Singapore economy, fiscal policy and taxes.

Singapore’s tax increase on home purchases exceeding S$1 million ($758,960) is aimed at making duties more equitable rather than imposing an additional property curb, said S. Iswaran, minister of trade and industry.

Stamp duty on the portion of a property’s price above S$1 million will be raised starting Tuesday to 4 percent from 3 percent, the government said in its budget Monday. Home prices have rebounded in the past two quarters, prompting aggressive land bids from developers as the property market shrugged off cooling measures ranging from additional taxes to limits on loans to emerge from a four-year slump.

"The measures have had the desired effect," Iswaran said. "If in fact there’s any concern, you would have seen far more significant measures."

While a recovery in home prices is not a cause for concern, “exuberance” in the so-called en-bloc market for redevelopments may not be warranted, Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said at a conference last month. Collective apartment sales for redevelopment in the first two months of 2018 totaled more than S$3.1 billion, almost double the S$1.66 billion seen in same period during the last en-bloc market peak in 2007, Nomura analyst Min Chow Sai wrote in a note dated Feb. 19.

— With assistance by Abhishek Vishnoi

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