Singapore implements new property cooling measures on 16 December 2021

The new measures will help promote a sustainable and stable property market in Singapore, says MND. 

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The Singapore government has announced a slew of property cooling measures on the night of 15 December 2021 to cool both the private residential homes and HDB public housing resale markets.

These measures, which are set to kick in on the following day (16 December 2021) include higher rates for Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duties (ABSD), reduced percentage on the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), and tighter limits on loan-to-value (LTV).

The Ministry of National Development (MND) mentioned in a media release that it has been watching the property market closely for several quarters.

It was noted that both the private homes and public housing resale markets have been seemingly ‘bullish’, despite the economic situation due to COVID-19.

Prices of private residential properties have surged by approximately 9 percent and the value of HDB resale flats has risen by around 15 percent since the 1st quarter of 2020.

MND has added that the objective of the measures is to ensure that housing in Singapore continues to remain affordable.

The last time round of that property cooling measures were revised was back in July 2018.

INCREASED STAMP DUTIES RATES

The current revision doesn’t affect Singapore citizens or permanent residents (PRs) who are purchasing their 1st residential property in Singapore.

The rates remain unchanged at zero percent and 5 percent respectively.

However, for these 2 groups, if they were to purchase 2nd or 3rd and subsequent residential property, the newly adjusted ABSD rates will apply.

Singapore citizens will now fork out an ABSD rate of 17 percent for their 2nd residential property, and for their 3rd and subsequent residential property, it will be 25 percent.

This is increased from the rate before of 12 percent and 15 percent respectively.

The ABSD rates for Singapore PRs purchasing a 2nd or a 3rd and subsequent residential property have been increased to 25 percent and 30 percent respectively, up from the previous 15 percent.

Foreigners and corporate entities will also have to bear an increased ABSD rate when acquiring any residential property in Singapore.

Property Cooling Measures in Singapore 16 December 2021 by CNA
Property Cooling Measures at a glance, 16 Dec 2021 by CNA

The revised rates for the ABSD will be applied to all cases where the Option to Purchase (OTP) was granted/issued on or after 16 December 2021.

However, the old ABSD rates will still apply for cases if it meets all the following listed conditions for OTP that:

  • Is granted by sellers to buyers on or before 15 December 2021
  • Is exercised on or before 5 January 2020, or it is within the stated validity period of the OTP, whichever is the earlier date.
  • Has not been varied or amended on or after 16 December 2021.

On a personal note, hence, there would be a good chance that potential homebuyers may explore routes such a decoupling their current property, in order to acquire a 2nd property in Singapore.

TIGHTER LOAN LIMITS AND DEBT SERVICING THRESHOLDS

The Total Debt Servicing Ratio threshold will be further tightened, reducing from 60 percent to 55 percent.

In short, It will mean that new mortgages issued shall not allow the borrowers’ total monthly mortgage repayments to exceed 55 percent of their monthly income.

Similarly, the revised threshold will be applicable to mortgages for the acquisition of Singapore properties where the OTP is granted/issued on or after 16 December 2021, and also for those mortgage equity withdrawal loan applications that were concluded on or after 16 December 2021.

However, mortgagors with loans granted by financial institutions (FIs) before 16 December 2021 will not be affected by the newly revised threshold for TDSR when they refinance their loans.

In addition, the LTV limit for mortgage loans obtained from HDB has also been reduced from 90 percent to 85 percent.

This effectively reduces the maximum amount that a potential homeowner can obtain via a loan from HDB.

For loans that are granted by FIs, there will be no changes and will remain at the LTV limit of 75 percent.

This new 85 percent LTV limit will be applied for all new flat (or better known as BTO) applications that are launched from 16 December 2021 onwards and completed resale applications that are received by the HDB on or after 16 December 2021.

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