Singapore property tax hikes freeze out foreigners

STORY: Singapore has shocked property buyers, with a move to effectively freeze out foreigners.

In a surprise move late Wednesday (April 27), stamp duties for overseas buyers were doubled to 60%.

One real estate agent told Reuters the door was now closed to foreigners.

The hike in duties is one of the harshest moves to cool the city’s property market in years.

It comes after a rush of foreigners back into Singapore in recent years, with Chinese buyers accounting for most luxury property purchases.

Now policymakers are concerned that overseas buyers see the city’s property as a hot asset, driving up prices and squeezing out locals.

Singapore home prices have seen strong gains over the past two years, contrasting with falls in China and other parts of the region.

The latest moves did also raise taxes on Singaporean buyers, but only on second and subsequent properties.

Shares in major local property companies tumbled Thursday (April 27), with City Developments and UOL both down around 5%.

Some doubt the new moves will have a lasting effect, however.

Stamp duties for foreigners were raised to 30% in December 2021, but home prices have still gained since then.