The Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) has called on the government to ease the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) on the high-end residential market since it is “not a segment the government needs to safeguard”, media reports said.
“Not many Singaporeans are buying into this segment, and prices have indeed come down substantially. The imposition of ABSD on this segment runs counter to the Government’s efforts to encourage foreign investment flows into the country, to activate the economy, grow investments and create jobs for Singaporeans,” said REDAS President Augustine Tan during his speech at the association’s Lunar New Year celebration lunch held last Friday.
“Some high net worth foreign investors, who create jobs for Singaporeans and who have many choices of where they want to be from the world over, now feel that they are not welcome in Singapore.”
Commenting on residential vacancy rates, Tan stated the rate in Singapore could reach a “new record high” given that over 75,000 private homes are expected to enter the market from 2015 to 2019.
He noted that this could lead to a further slip in home prices and rentals, impacting investors and homeowners.
“Capital is tied up as owners and landlords are unable to sell or rent their properties which will lead to unproductive use of resources. Some may be forced to sell their properties,” shared Tan.
“This is a scenario that the Government, developers and asset owners, including homeowners, would not wish to see happen.”
Official figures show the vacancy rate of completed private homes, excluding executive condominiums, increased from 7.1 percent in Q3 2014 to 7.8 percent in Q4 2014.
Meanwhile, Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, graced the REDAS lunch but highlighted other topics involving developers – that of green building, public hygiene in commercial buildings and driving productivity in the construction sector.
She revealed that the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is exploring more incentives in order to help developers overcome the initial inertia as well as the cost premium of adopting game-changing productive technologies.
Ms Fu said more details will be announced during the launch of the second Construction Productivity Roadmap later this year.