UOL chief calls for stamp duty deferment for HDB upgraders

A key player in the property sector has joined calls to allow genuine first-time Housing Board flat owners upgrading to a private condo to defer payment of the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD).

UOL chief executive Liam Wee Sin told a briefing yesterday: “It is our hope that the Government will grant ABSD remission – similar to EC (executive condominium) buyers – giving them time to sell their HDB home six months after collecting their keys.”

He said demand for the private residential market is genuine, and substantially from HDB upgraders, who have higher aspirations of living in a condo.

“It makes logical sense to promoting the aspirations of Singaporeans,” added Mr Liam, who was speaking at the launch of UOL’s latest residential project.

“A tweak to this ABSD policy to align with what is already in place for EC buyers can help genuine HDB upgraders to transition to a private property.”

A HDB owner must now pay a 12 per cent ABSD within 14 days of signing the sale and purchase agreement for a private property if he has not already sold his existing home.

“The 12 per cent is a substantial amount to pay,” said Mr Liam.

Remission would mean upgraders would not face the pressure of having to pay this within 14 days of signing the sale and purchase agreement.

Mr Liam wants the Government to consider allowing such buyers the same ABSD remission enjoyed by HDB upgraders purchasing ECs, a public-private hybrid.

These buyers get six months to sell their HDB flats after getting the keys to their new EC home.

Mr Liam said giving upgraders moving into the private market six months to sell their HDB flat is “logical on many aspects”.

“Besides easing their cash flow, this also addresses other considerations that buyers have to contend with, such as the logistics of finding an interim accommodation, while still waiting for the new private property to be completed.”

Mr Liam’s call echoes one made by the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore in September, which urged the Government to urgently consider allowing first-time HDB upgraders to defer payment of the ABSD until six months after the completion of the private property.

At the briefing, UOL also appeared quite optimistic about selling its new project as prices are “realistic and affordable”, said Mr Liam.

The 640-unit Clavon in Clementi Avenue 1 features flexible spaces, smart-home amenities and technology solutions.

Pricing at the two 37-storey towers starts from $1,475 per sq ft.

Comparable project Parc Clematis has a median unit price of $1,634 per sq ft, while Kent Ridge Hill Residences‘ median unit price was $1,770 per sq ft for the January-to-October period, noted Ms Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie’s head of research and consultancy.

Clavon – an 80:20 joint venture between UOL and subsidiary United Industrial Corporation – comprises one-to five-bedroom units ranging from 527 sq ft to 1,690 sq ft. There are 356 one-or two-bedders sized from 527 sq ft to 764 sq ft.

More than half of the 640-unit development is priced below $1.5 million. A one-bedroom starts from $800,000, a two-bedder from $1 million, a three-bedroom unit from $1.45 million, a four-bedroom unit from $1.9 million and a five-bedroom home from $2.5 million.

Mr Liam said the market for new private homes is stable.

There were 8,021 new units sold in the year to October, with Mr Liam estimating that 9,000 to 10,000 units will be moved over the full year, compared with 9,912 last year.

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