Hong Kong will extend the grace period for new homebuyers to obtain a refund of double stamp duty after the sale of their old flats, RTHK reported Tuesday.
“The extra time being given to homebuyers is appropriate,” Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung told the Legislative Council.
“However, it is necessary to maintain the current property tightening measures. The government will review the measures after one year,” Chan said.
Under the existing scheme, homebuyers get a tax refund on the new property if their former home is sold within six months of the signing of the provisional sales agreement. Now, buyers will receive a grace period of six months after the purchase is completed.
“The move will make it easier for homeowners to change flats, but it does not mean a U-turn in government property policy,” said Martin Cubbon, chief executive of Swire Properties.
Also, the government will remove the double stamp duty on parking spaces that are bundled with flats.
However, the double stamp duty on non-housing property will stay as the market continues to face uncertainty, Chan said.
The special levy has had some good results in cooling the property market, Chan said. Home price growth slowed to 0.1 percent in March from 2.7 percent in first two months of 2013. Rental growth also fell to 0.1 percent in March compared with a 0.4 percent rise in January-February last year.
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