In 2014, the property stamp duty assessed was at $4.11 billion. This year, the total amount for the period ending March 31 was 28 per cent lower at $2.96 billion. Property prices and transaction volume have also fallen since the peaks of 2009 and 2013.
The real estate market here has hit a number of speed bumps over the past 3 to 4 years and with the various cooling measures in place, buyers and investors have shied away from this previously almost-surefire means of investment. Introduced almost 5 years in December 2011, the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) has gradually taken effect on the market, perhaps in particular the luxury property sector which used to attract mostly foreign investors. With the 15 per cent ABSD imposed on them, and 7 to 10 per cent on Singaporeans, many may have thought twice about buying a second or subsequent property as the additional monies to be paid are considerable.
Much of the ABSD assessed came from share transfer from bulk purchases by non-Singaporean entities or shareholders who may have to let go of unsold units before they are hit by the Qualifying Certificate (QC).
But with the current financial and economic climate hazy at best, the future of other investment products fairly volatile, and local property prices having fallen to affordable quantum levels, could more buyers be picking off units to secure more stable future yields?