Singapore announces measures to cool property market

SINGAPORE, December  7, 2011 (AFP) - Singapore on Wednesday announced another slew of measures to cool the property market after earlier moves failed to dampen price rises.

Under the new rules that will take effect Thursday, buyers acquiring private residential properties will have to pay additional stamp duty of 3-10 percent, the government said in a statement.

The Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) will be calculated based on the purchase price or market value of the property, depending on which is higher.

Foreign buyers and companies will have to pay an ABSD of 10 percent while permanent residents acquiring a second and subsequent property will pay an additional three percent, the statement said.

Singaporeans who already own two properties and are planning to buy more will also be subjected to an additional three percent stamp duty, it added.

"The additional buyer's stamp duty should help cool investment demand, and avoid the prospect of a major, destabilising correction further down the road," said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who also heads the finance ministry.

Private property prices have continued to rise despite strong measures introduced by the government in the last few years to quell speculation in the real estate market.

Prices of private residential properties are currently 13 percent above the peak of the second quarter of 1996 and 16 percent higher than the last peak seen in the second quarter of 2008, the government said in the statement.

"Even with the current economic uncertainties, the demand for private residential property remains firm," the government said.

"The government will continue to monitor the property market and adjust our property policies in step with changes in the market and the economy."