PropertyGuru Calls for Reduction of 15-Month Wait Period, Tweak ABSD, Property Tax Revenue To Increase $600 Million in 2024 and More

13 Feb 2024

5 to 13 February 2024 

In its Singapore Budget 2024 wishlist, PropertyGuru has urged the government to reduce the 15-month wait for private property downgraders and withhold the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for Singaporean families purchasing a second home. Meanwhile, Singapore’s residential property tax revenue is projected to increase by $600 million in 2024, up by 58% from the earlier forecast of $380 million.

1. PropertyGuru calls for reduction of 15-month wait period, tweak ABSD

hdb-facilities-fitness-corner-singaporeIn its budget wish list 2024, PropertyGuru has urged the government to reduce the 15-month wait for private property downgraders and withhold the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for Singaporean families purchasing a second home, reported Singapore Business Review.

Dr Tan Tee Khoon, Country Manager – Singapore, PropertyGuru suggested cutting the 15-month wait period for private property owners who wanted to acquire non-subsidised HDB resale flat since the policy, which was introduced as a temporary measure, had already helped temper demand as well as moderate HDB flat prices.

With the market now at a new stage, he believes it is time “to revisit some of the assumptions”.

To curb the financial stress of homeownership, Dr Tan also proposed withholding the ABSD for Singapore families buying a second property, noting that doing so could inadvertently raise the supply of rental properties.

Meanwhile, Dr Lee Nai Jia, Head of Real Estate Intelligence, Data and Software Solutions, PropertyGuru Group, called for the reintroduction of estate duty, abolished in 2008, to address wealth inequality.

He proposed applying inheritance tax more broadly to the population, with rates adjusted based on the type and value of housing owned, to ensure a fairer distribution of tax burden across various segments of the society.

2. Early transition to SORA provides more flexibility

Adrian, a 31-year-old fintech professional, was one of those who made an early switch from a Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (SIBOR) to Singapore Overnight Rate Average (SORA) home loan in 2020, in anticipation of market changes.

“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic and market uncertainty, I wanted more predictability to manage my loans and make partial pre-payments if necessary,” he said.

The move allowed him to reprice his $800,000 loan to a 3M Compounded SORA + 0.80% from 3M SIBOR + 0.45% package.

Those with SIBOR-referenced home loans have until 30 April 2024 to convert to an alternative package.

Failure to act will lead to an automatic conversion to SORA Conversion Package (SCP) from 1 June 2024.

This comes as SIBOR will be discontinued after 31 December 2024, with SORA becoming the key interest rate benchmark.

The transition is in line “with global interest rate benchmark reforms to improve the robustness and integrity of financial benchmarks”, said PropertyGuru.

Acting early provides homeowners more flexibility and control over their loan terms.

Notably, those with SIBOR-pegged loans have various options, including switching to prevailing package offered by their bank, switching to SORA Conversion Package (SCP) prior to 30 April 2024 or await automatic conversion.

Get expert advice to discover the right bank loan. Compare the best mortgage rates in Singapore on PropertyGuru Finance.

Related article: SIBOR to SORA Transition: Why You Should Act Now

3. Property tax revenue to increase $600 million in 2024

Singapore’s residential property tax revenue is projected to increase by $600 million in 2024, up by 58% from the earlier forecast of $380 million, reported TODAY.

Second Minister for Finance Chee Hong Tat attributed the bigger than expected hike to higher annual values due to higher market rentals for residential properties.

Chee made the statement in response to Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh’s question on property tax collections in 2024 given this year’s increase in property tax rates.

The hike, which was the second and last step of the property tax revisions unveiled in Budget 2022, was part of the government’s effort to raise wealth taxes for cars and residential properties over time.

Che noted that most owner-occupied residential properties saw their annual values rise by over 20% in 2024 due to the hike in market rentals from 2022 to 2023.

To cushion the impact of the tax hike on owner-occupiers, the government provided a property tax rebate of up to 100%, capped at $1,000.

With this, no property tax will be paid by owner-occupiers of HDB 1- and 2-bedroom units, while owner-occupiers of other HDB flat types will see an average tax increase of less than $3 per month.

Half of private property owner-occupiers will face an increase of less than $15 per month.

4. HDB approves 850 appeals to waive 15-month wait-out period

The Housing Board has received around 3,470 appeals filed by private property owners seeking to waive the 15-month wait-out period before purchasing an HDB resale flat from 30 September 2022 to 31 December 2023.

Of these, 850 appeals or about 25% were approved by HDB, shared the Ministry of National Development (MND) in a written reply to Parliament.

The approved cases mostly involved individuals facing financial difficulties and without alternative housing options, or those who submitted evidence that they had committed to dispose of their private property, or to purchase an HDB resale flat prior to 30 September 2022.

MND was responding to MP Sitoh Yih Pin who asked for data on the number of appeals received as well as the success rate of such appeals.

The government introduced various property cooling measures in September 2022, including that requiring private homeowners to wait 15 months from the sale of their property before purchasing an HDB resale flat.

However, the 15-month wait-out period does not apply to Singaporean couples if both spouses are 55 years old and above and are moving from their private home to a four-room or smaller resale HDB flat.

5. HDB gave out over $4.5 billion in housing grants from 2020 to 2023

From 2020 to 2023, HDB gave out over $4.5 billion in housing grants to new or resale flat buyers, reported The Straits Times.

Notably, about 63,700 households benefitted from the Enhanced Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant, which provides up to $80,000 to first-time HDB flat buyers, while about 44,700 household received the Proximity Housing Grant, which offered up to $30,000 to resale flat buyers who chose to live near or with their parents or children, said HDB in an update.

These grants have witnessed enhancements in recent years, with the CPF Housing Grant raised last year to support buyers of resale flats.

With this, close to eight in 10 flat buyers in 2023 serviced their HDB loans using their CPF contributions, with little or no cash payments.

HDB shared that over 1.5 million household also benefitted from its upgrading programmes by end-2023.

These include the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme to provide elderly-friendly fittings and fixtures to homes, the Home Improvement Programme to fix issues such as ceiling leaks and spalling concrete in ageing flats and the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme to revamp housing blocks and precincts.

6. 940 senior households who bought resale flats exempted from 15-month wait

Around 940 senior households who owned private properties purchased a 4-room or smaller HDB resale flat between 30 September 2022 and 31 December 2023, without waiting 15 months after disposing their homes, reported The Straits Times.

This formed less than 4% of the total resale transactions for such flats during that period, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a written reply to Parliament.

“Given the small numbers, there is likely minimal impact by this group of seniors on the prices and resale volume of 4-room resale HDB flats,” he said in response to MP Chong Kee Hiong, who asked if the exemption for senior private home owners had an impact on prices.

In fact, no “spillover impact” is expected on the prices of 5-room HDB resale flats, he added.

Property analysts believed the exemption for seniors contributed to the strong demand for 4-room resale flats, causing prices to increase.

Notably, 4-room HDB resale flats accounted for the biggest proportion of the overall HDB resale flat transactions in Q4 2023, at 44.4%.

7. Nearly 950 families in rental flats became HDB homeowners in 2023

Around 8,300 families living in public rental flats became HDB homeowners over the past decade, reported The Straits Times.

Of these, nearly 950 acquired their own HDB flats in 2023, up from 700 in 2022 and marking the highest since the start of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Majority bought their homes directly from HDB, while the rest turned to the resale market.

About two-thirds benefitted from grants for first-time buyers, like the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant, while 80 of the 950 rental households availed of the Step-Up Housing Grant.

As of December 2023, another 2,100 rental households booked new HDB flats still under construction.

Currently, around 50,000 households are residing in public rental flats.

8. Vacated flats in Tanglin Halt to be rented out as temporary housing from 2025

Some 2,000 vacated flats in Tanglin Halt will form the bulk of additional temporary housing for families waiting for the completion of their new flats, revealed the (HDB).

This will bring the total supply of flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) to 4,000 units by 2025.

To be spruced up before they are rented out under PPHS, the vacated flats are spread across 17 blocks in Tanglin Halt.

The blocks were among the 31 blocks in the estate to be identified for Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) in 2014.

HDB shared that the previous residents have been offered new flats in the Dawson estate and have since moved there.

“These flats will eventually be demolished to make way for redevelopment and will serve as a temporary housing option for PPHS families in the interim period,” explained HDB.

Refurbishment works on the flats include replacing fittings and fixtures like floor tiles, sanitary wares and water pipes.

Once completed, the HDB flats will be progressively let out under PPHS starting from the second half of 2025.

9. No award for tender of Marina Gardens Crescent site

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) made no award for the tender of the white site at Marina Gardens Crescent.

This comes as the sole bid submitted by a consortium comprising GuocoLand. Intrepid Investments and TID Residential was deemed to be too low.

Notably, the consortium offered $770 million or $10,591.77 per sq m (psm) for the 99-year leasehold site, designated for residential and commercial development.

With this, the 17,319.2 sq m site is now made available on the Reserve List of 1H 2024 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme, enabling interested parties “to submit applications for the sale of the site with a minimum price that is acceptable to the government”.

Meanwhile, the site at Media Circle has been awarded to CNQC Realty (Clementi) and Forsea Residence, after they submitted a $395 million bid.

Zoned for Residential with Commercial at first storey, the 10,632.1 sq m site has a maximum permissible gross floor area (GFA) of 30,834 sq m and a leasehold tenure of 99 years.

10. Investment sales to increase to $25 billion to $28 billion in 2024

The property investment market is expected to receive a significant boost from the launch of 25 Government Land Sales (GLS) sites, reported Singapore Business Review.

Edmund Tie expects investment sales to climb between $25 billion and $28 billion this year.

GLS accounted for $7.8 billion of total investment sales in 2023, up 40% from its contribution in 2022.

GLS’ share in investment sales doubled in 2023 at 38%, compared to 19.2% in 2022.

Notably, 14 GLS sites were awarded in 2023. Of these, four were awarded in Q4 2023, amounting to $2.9 billion.

The private sector, on the other hand, saw investment sales decline 45.8% to $12.7 billion, with collective sales emerging as a big contributor, making up 17.8% of total sales in 2023.

Taking into account GLS and the private sector’s contribution, overall investment sales for 2023 declined 29.4% year-on-year to $20.4 billion.

“As the economic recovery gains traction in 2024, investment activity in the office and retail sectors could pick up,” shared Edmund Tie.


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Fariza Salleh, Content Marketing Manager at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email:


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