Forum: Try property cooling measures other than wait-out period

In the latest property cooling measures, private home owners will now have to wait 15 months after selling their homes before they are allowed to buy a resale flat, a temporary measure to moderate demand for resale flats (New cooling measures: Tighter housing loans, 15-month wait for private home owners to buy HDB flats, Sept 30).

I am baffled by this measure and the rationale given for it.

First, these aspiring resale flat buyers are already not allowed to own any other property in Singapore or overseas, and would therefore be buying the resale flat for occupation.

Second, while million-dollar resale flat transactions have been making headlines, quite a number involve very large apartments which may not necessarily translate to a very high price on a per square foot basis.

Finally, some private property owners are actually making a fiscally prudent decision to downgrade.

Maybe we should implement other property cooling measures.

First, prohibit spouses from purchasing properties under their separate names.

Second, implement capital gains tax on all property gains except for owner-occupied properties.

Third, revise the annual value of properties more frequently than once a year, and increase property tax rates for non-owner-occupied properties.

Finally, build more HDB flats in non-mature estates, and accelerate the construction progress so that first-time owners have a higher chance of getting their dream homes at a more affordable price.

Nevertheless, I applaud the Government for not applying the wait-out period to buyers aged 55 and above if they are buying a four-room or smaller resale flat, and to those buying a two-room flexi-flat on short lease or a community care apartment.

Given the geopolitical uncertainties, global inflation, tight monetary conditions and rising interest rates, we must exercise prudence in our financial affairs, especially for a big-ticket transaction like buying a property.

Buying properties for the purpose of investment should be done using a company, with taxes paid accordingly.

Ultimately, Singapore is a land-scarce place, and we must not become like Hong Kong where property prices are out of reach of many.

Ee Teck Siew

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