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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:31pm

15 per cent stamp duty

To rein in the city's runaway housing prices, Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced an additional 15 per cent stamp duty on non-permanent-resident and corporate buyers starting from October 27, 2012. The move prompted speculation over the effectiveness of taxation on the real estate market and criticisms that Hong Kong was turning away from its roots as a free market economy in favour of a more protectionist market environment.

 

NewsHong Kong
PROPERTY

Agents say their business hit by cooling policies

Heavyweights from the industry turn out to urge the government to withdraw extra stamp duties

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 4:07am

An alliance of property agents against the government's market-cooling measures said they hoped to collect 200,000 signatures in a month to urge withdrawal of the policies.

After organising a rally against the measures last month, attended by thousands, the alliance said yesterday that if the government maintained its double stamp duty, they would consider "more radical moves", including camping outside government headquarters in Admiralty.

Currently double stamp duty is levied on buyers of residential and non-residential properties, except Hong Kong permanent residents who do not own a flat.

This measure and another two - a 15 per cent buyer's stamp duty on foreign and corporate buyers of residential flats, and a special stamp duty on the resale of flats within 36 months - have already taken effect, but lawmakers can still veto or introduce amendments to bills on the measures, which have yet to be passed by the Legislative Council.

The alliance, led by Hong Kong Real Estate Agencies General Association chairwoman Chu Kin-lan, Centaline founder Shih Wing-ching, and Midland Realty's managing director Pierre Wong Tsz-wa, said people could leave their signatures at one of more than 4,000 shops. They hoped lawmakers would veto the government's bill or introduce drastic amendments.

Shih said the double stamp duty had forced the number of transactions down and was unnecessary, and that Centaline would barely maintain its current scope of operations if the situation continued. "We will have to lay off people then," he said, adding many agents had left the industry already.

"The policy is not beneficial to Hong Kong. Foreign investors may think the city is no longer a suitable place to invest."

Wong said the double stamp duty had not met its objective of increasing transactions and lowering prices for first-time buyers.

Tony Kwok Tak-leung, chairman of the Property Agencies Association, said he expected one-third of agencies to close if the measures continued. "Then more than 10,000 people would lose their jobs."

 

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This article is now closed to comments

mcheung
Shame to Mr. Shih! The number of transactions is down because there is little or no greedy speculators trying to exploit the poor and middle class Hong Kong citizens and deprive them of a decent affordable housing, which is exactly what these cooling measures are intended for. Shame! Shame! Shame on you Mr. Shih, trying to use loss of employment of your agents as chips to fatten your purse.
HK-Explorer
Sad that people will loose their jobs but there are currently too many property agencies in Hong Kong. Every street has 3-4 agencies on them. This was never sustainable. I can't imagine a place the size of Hong Kong needs 30,000 agents. 20,000 sounds more realistic.
aplucky1
lol at lame arguments from illiterate agents
"yes investors only want to invest in hong kong if property is sky high and there is a huge bubble"
mcheung
Sky high property prices will only hurt HK's competitiveness and drive away foreign investment.
chuchu59
You have to take the bad with the good. For decades the HK Government has relied on property as its lifeline and the coffers are full to the brim from land sales. Property agents in HK are the most unprofessional bunch I have ever seen. They know nothing on the property they are helping to sell yet they reap all the benefits of sales with commissions on both sides amounting to 1% of super-inflated prices. Honestly, are their services really worth that much. What they do is take prospective buyers to look at flats and if deals go through a few standard documents are prepared.
Now the Government refuses to withdraw the cooling measures and rightly so. They had it good for many years so what the heck is wrong with a blip. They stomp on the ground like babies and hope to be spoon-fed again?
Its now time to weed out those that are unprofessional and I dare say the unethical. For those that remain its high time to learn more about the trade. Learning to cope with the new policy of net floor area would be a good start.
babyhenry
Well more than 10,000 will just have to find real jobs.
daily
This Shih guy should really shut up.............has he thought that maybe there were too many agents in the market to start off with and that these agents were part of the problems pushing the speculators to push the market up?..............This is probably the only thing the HK government has done right in the last many many years.............Too many property agents in HK that are doing nothing to make a living..............time to weed them out and make them find real jobs............Property agents are just con men in cheap suits.
honkiepanky
Cry me a f*cking river.
dng18dng18
Every industry is changing now - just look at the regulations surrounding iBanks...
People leave industries and the world just keeps spinning. You gotta spin with it...

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