Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) President Chia Ngiang Hong urged the government to allow first-time HDB upgraders to defer Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) payment until six months after the completion of their new home, reported TODAY.

According to ABSD rules, Singaporean homeowners will need to pay 12% of the purchase price or valuation of the property for second and subsequent properties, two weeks after they’ve exercised the Option to Purchase (OTP).

Chia believes the deferral would ease the cash crunch facing first-time HDB upgraders to private properties or executive condominium (EC) units.

He made the urgent appeal a day after the government restricted housing developers from re-issuing the OTP without the approval of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

“One of our urgent suggestions is for the government to consider allowing first-time upgraders (from) HDB to private properties to defer the ABSD payment to six months after the completion of the newly purchased unit,” TODAY quoted Chia as saying at the association’s virtual mid-autumn celebration, where National Development Minister Desmond Lee served as the guest-of-honour.

He added that the six-month deferment will “ease the cash flow of the genuine first-time upgraders and hence reduce the need to ask for an extension of the OTP”. Though this may not be a huge impact on upcoming new launches in the CCR such as Irwell Bank Residences. This however has a larger impact on other OCR developments.

Meanwhile, Lee did not respond directly to Chia’s suggestion, saying that the government will help the construction sector “ramp up and recover as quickly as possible” by continuing to work closely with it.

“We will continue to monitor closely the impact of the pandemic on the sector, and will adjust our policies as necessary,” he said as quoted by TODAY.

Among the initiatives currently in place include a six-month extension for developers to complete a project and ABSD remission timelines.

Lee also discussed the importance of building resilience within the system to be ready for future “black swan events”.

“We could, for example, look at how we approach the procurement and management of construction supplies, driving digitalisation and adopting more advanced building technologies,” he said.

“This pandemic has strengthened our collective resolve to quicken the transformation of our entire construction and built environment sector, so that we become more integrated and resilient.”

 

The Business Times

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