Time may be right to tweak property cooling measures: Kwek Leng Beng

City Developments Limited’s (CDL’s) executive chairman and industry veteran Kwek Leng Beng has suggested that it may be the right time for the government to tweak the property cooling measures, amid concerns over the global economy.

Mr Kwek gave his views during a speech when he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at an event organised by the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) on Friday.

He said as the property market cools, the government could perhaps consider lifting the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for foreigners, Singapore Permanent Residents, and also Singapore citizens, as speculative activity is low.

Currently, Singaporeans who already own one residential property have to pay an additional buyer’s tax of 7 per cent when they buy a second property in Singapore, while foreigners have to pay a 15 per cent tax to own a home in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Singapore PRs who are buying their first home will have to pay an ABSD of 5 per cent or 10 per cent if they already own more than one property.

Separately, REDAS president Chia Boon Kuah said the property market is showing signs of decelerating on the back of concerted efforts by the government to manage housing supply and curb speculative buying.

Restrictive home loans, the increased supply of residential units and fast increasing labour costs have been “unnerving” to developers.

Mr Chia said: “This is a resilient industry, and when the going gets tough, we just get more resourceful.”

Meanwhile, REDAS also called on members to refocus attention on workplace safety and welfare of migrant workers in the industry.

It will hold a forum to identify and discuss common causes behind construction workplace incidents, key challenges to risk reduction and best practices.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 7 Feb 2014

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