Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No Fear Of Property Gains Tax On Show

Source : The Business Times, July 13, 2009

Investors, home seekers throng property launches over weekend

FEAR and uncertainty over how gains from property sales would be taxed vanished as quickly as they came last week.

Home seekers still thronged showflats over the weekend and smaller apartments remained popular picks.

Turnout at property launches was healthy, observed DMG & Partners Securities analyst Brandon Lee, who visited a handful of showflats in the last few days.

News that the government could change income tax laws on profits from property sales did not seem to have an adverse impact, he said.

Word got round last Wednesday of a proposal to make current laws clearer - by guaranteeing that anyone who sells only one property in any four-year period will not be taxed on the gains.

This left many industry players wondering if sellers who failed to meet the criterion would automatically be taxed. Their fears were eased when the government said that this was not the case.

Given how much property prices have fallen, there is still a chance to profit - with or without taxes - said Mr Lee in a note last Thursday. 'Even if a maximum 20 per cent personal income tax rate is levied on profits, the seller should still reap healthy income.'

Investors seemed to recognise this and joined genuine homeseekers at showflats for new projects, such as Parc Imperial at Pasir Panjang, Ascentia Sky along Alexandra Road and Sophia Residence at Mount Sophia.

According to agents, buyers had taken up around 80 per cent of Parc Imperial's 138 units by yesterday afternoon.

Studio and two-bedroom apartments at the freehold project were the most popular, with prices starting from $1,200 psf.

At Luxus Hills, a recently-launched 999-year leasehold landed development at Ang Mio Kio, 63 of 78 units have been sold. Prices ranged from about $1.75 million for intermediate terrace homes to $2.05 million for corner terraces.

Existing properties also found buyers. In four days, The Straits Trading Company sold 10 units at Gallop Green, a freehold estate near Farrer Road which received Temporary Occupation Permit in 2002.

Prices averaged $1,400-$1,435 psf and buyers comprised owner-occupiers and investors, said the company's executive vice-president Eric Teng.

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