UOL chief calls for ABSD policy tweaked

26 Nov 2020

A tweak of the ABSD policy to align with what is in place for EC buyers “can help genuine HDB upgraders to transition to a private property”, UOL group Chief Executive Liam Wee Sin explained.

UOL group Chief Executive Liam Wee Sin has called on the government to tweak the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) policy by allowing genuine first-time HDB upgraders to a private property defer ABSD payment, reported The Business Times (BT).

“It is our hope that the government will grant ABSD remission – similar to EC (executive condominium) buyers – giving them time to sell their HDB home six months after collecting their keys,” said Liam as quoted by BT. 

He made the statement at a media briefing for the launch of Clavon, UOL’s latest residential project.

He noted that demand for private residential market is genuine, which substantially come from HDB upgraders who aspire to own a condo.

Recommended article: Is It Time for Singapore to Remove ABSD?

A tweak of the ABSD policy to align with what is in place for EC buyers “can help genuine HDB upgraders to transition to a private property”, he explained.

Should the remission be granted, HDB upgraders purchasing a private residential property would no longer be pressured into paying the ABSD 14 days from the signing of the sale and purchase agreement.

Under the present ABSD regime, an owner of HDB flat would need to pay 12% ABSD within such period if they have not disposed of their existing home.

“The 12% is a substantial amount to pay,” said Liam.

With this, he urged the government to consider allowing HDB upgraders acquiring a private property to receive ABSD remission – much like HDB upgraders to ECs, which are a public-private housing hybrid.

EC buyers are given six months to sell their HDB flats after collecting the key to their new EC unit.

Suggested read: 6 Ways to Upgrade from your HDB to a Private Condo or EC in 2020

This means that HDB upgraders would also have six months to dispose of their HDB home after collecting the keys to their new condo unit, as against the current requirement of selling their HDB unit six months following the acquisition of private property, said Liam. 

“This is logical in many aspects. Besides easing their cash flow, this also addresses other considerations that buyers have to contend with, such as the logistics of finding interim accommodation while still waiting for the new private property to be completed,” he said. 

The head of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore in September had also called on the government to allow first-time HDB upgraders to a private property to defer their ABSD payment till six months following the completion of the private property.

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