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Builders object to HK property curbs

China Daily
The Cheung Kong Center stands in Central. Major developers in Hong Kong joined hands to object to the government's recently announced cooling measures to curb home prices. [Photo/Agencies]

The Cheung Kong Center stands in Central. Major developers in Hong Kong joined hands to object to the government's recently announced cooling measures to curb home prices. [Photo/Agencies]


Major property developers in Hong Kong raised objections to the government's recently announced measures to curb skyrocketing home prices, and sought exemptions to a tax which targets overseas and corporate buyers, after home sales fell significantly following the measures' introduction.



"We are gravely concerned over the recent measures introduced by the government to manage the demand side of the property market, especially the proposed buyer stamp duty," Stewart Leung, chairman of the executive committee of the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong (REDA), wrote in a statement addressed to the government.


To prevent a property bubble from bursting, the government imposed its toughest property curbs on Oct 26.

Aside from slapping a 15 percent buyer stamp duty upon purchase of a residential property by non-local and corporate buyers, the government also raised a resale tax on residential property by 5 percentage points to make the tax as high as 20 percent, depending on the length of the holding period, and extended the period during which the resale tax will apply to three years from two previously.

Home sales in the city have slumped over the past several weeks as both buyers and sellers are playing a wait-and-see game, but prices have yet to fall significantly. During the weekend immediately following the announcement of the latest property curbs, only 16 units were sold in the primary market, down 80 percent from the previous weekend, while the secondary market saw only 10 deals in the 10 major housing estates, a record low in the past nine months, according to data from Centaline Property Agency, one of the two major real estate brokers in the city.


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