Govt tweaks property cooling measures for SSD and TDSR

The property cooling measures remain necessary given that the underlying demand for private residential properties continue to be firm amid a persistently low interest rate environment and foreign investors looking for good yields

The government will now reduce the holding period for imposing the Seller’s Stamp Duty from the current four years to three years.

With effect from 11 March, the government will implement changes to the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework, but will retain the current Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty rates and loan-to-value (LTV) limits, according to a joint statement from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Development on Friday (10 March).

Currently, the SSD is paid by homeowners who sell their residential property within four years of purchase, at rates of between four percent and 16 percent of the property’s value. However, since this measure was introduced in January 2011, the number of property sales within the four-year window has fallen significantly.

As such, the government will now reduce the holding period for imposing SSD from the current four years to three years. The SSD rate will also be lowered by four percentage points for each tier. The new rates will range from four percent for properties sold in the third year to 12 percent for those sold within the first year.

Meanwhile, the TDSR framework will no longer apply to mortgage equity withdrawal loans with LTV
ratios of 50 percent and below. This comes after some borrowers shared that the TDSR framework limited their flexibility to monetise their properties in their retirement years.

At the same time, National Development Minister and Second Minister for Finance, Lawrence Wong, will introduce legislative changes in Parliament today implementing stamp duties for property holding companies that undertake a transfer of equity interest in an entity holding residential properties. This would be similar to what would happen if they were to buy or sell the properties directly.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg