image image

Hong Kong 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.

 

Cooling the housing market heats up commercial speculation. Photo: AFP

The Week Explained: Unintended Consequences

At best the new government plan to cool housing prices has only a small chance of success. But for those of us at the battered end of the small and medium enterprise spectrum, it is not only a failure but one that is producing damaging effects.