(Repeat Friday's story with no changes in text)
By Kevin Lim
SINGAPORE Jan 11 Singapore on Friday increased
a tax on foreign buyers as part of new measures to cool its
housing market which has seen continued strong demand in the
face of a weak economy and previous efforts to curb prices.
Foreigners and corporates who buy residential property in
Singapore will now be subject to an additional buyer's stamp
duty (ABSD) of 15 percent of the purchase price, up from the
previous 10 percent.
The Southeast Asian city-state also introduced, for the
first time, a seller's stamp duty of 5 to 15 percent on those
who buy and then sell industrial properties such as warehouses
and factories within three years.
Asian governments have been trying to cool their property
markets amid capital inflows from the West that have pushed down
interest rates and stoked inflation. Earlier this week, an
official Chinese newspaper said stricter implementation of
housing policies was needed to curb real estate prices.
Singapore private home prices rose 1.8 percent in the fourth
quarter from the third, quickening from a gain of 0.6 percent in
July-September despite government efforts in October to cool the
market by capping the maximum tenure for housing loans.
Resale prices of government-built HDB apartments, which
house about 80 percent of Singaporeans, rose 2.5 percent
quarter-on-quarter, the fastest gain in five quarters. As for
industrial property, prices are now double the levels of three
"Interest rates are extraordinarily low, globally and in
Singapore, and continue to add fuel to our property market. We
have to take this further round of measures now, to check recent
market trends and avoid a more serious correction in prices
further down the road," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in a statement.
Interest rates in AAA-rated Singapore, a key Asian business
and financial centre, have fallen to near record lows with banks
charging as little as 1 percent per annum on housing loans.
Also part of Friday's measures, Singapore citizens buying
their second homes will be hit with an ABSD of 7 percent, while
people with permanent residency status will pay an additional
stamp duty of 5 percent on their first home purchase.
The ABSD had previously applied to citizens buying their
third residential property and permanent residents getting their
In addition to the additional stamp duty, individuals
applying for a second or subsequent housing loan will have to
make a minimum cash payment of 25 percent, up from 10 percent
In its statement, the Singapore government said most
citizens buying their first home will not be hurt by the new
measures. Some concessions will also be extended to selected
groups of buyers, such as married couples with at least one
Singaporean spouse who are purchasing their second property so
long as they intend to sell their first residential property.
The government added that the new measures are temporary and
will be reviewed in future depending on market conditions.
(Reporting by Kevin Lim; editing by Ron Askew)