Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying appealed to legislators and the public to support property market cooling measures on Tuesday after the proposals were tabled in the Legislative Council in Admiralty on Monday.
Speaking before an Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Leung said the measures had been effective in curbing flat prices amid heated market sentiments in recent months.
“If the government had not stood firm on the cooling measures, I am afraid that property prices would have followed the surges seen in the stock market,” he said.
“This would have have helped the stability of the financial system and the affordability of flats,” he said.
Leung said that therefore his government would retain the curbs in order to stabilise the property market, urging lawmakers and the community to support them.
The cooling measures introduced last October are a 15 per cent “buyer’s stamp duty” levied on foreign and corporate buyers of residential flats, a “special stamp duty” against the resale of flats within 36 months, adjusted from 24 months, and a “double stamp duty” levied on all buyers of residential and non-residential properties, except Hong Kong permanent residents who don’t already own a flat.
The taxes have already taken effect, although the Legislative Council only started its scrutiny of the relevant bills on Monday.
There have been calls to exempt certain kinds of buyers – such as charity groups and companies set up by Hong Kong permanent residents – from the new buyer’s stamp. But Leung has refused to offer exemptions, arguing that exemptions would only weaken the measures.