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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rush to beat property gains tax deadline has reported an unusually high number of new listings after the 2010 Budget announcement as well as a high number of price cuts for properties on sale

The reintroduction of a real property gains tax (RPGT) from January 1 next year appears to have triggered a rush to sell properties but agents said it will be very tough to beat the deadline., a website that lets people advertise their properties for free, said it has seen an unusually high number of new listings after the 2010 Budget announcement.

There have also been a high number of price cuts for existing properties that are on sale. However, it did not provide detailed numbers.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the RPGT will return next year at 5 per cent after it was scrapped in 2007.
But agents think it is just a knee-jerk reaction. Property consultant Sharizal Supian said a property deal takes between three and six months to complete, which means it will be very hard to beat the January 1 deadline.

The RPGT has not been well-received as many think it would halt the growth of the property market. chief executive officer Asim Qureshi believes the re-introduction of the tax has been a year or two too soon.

"We need some of the feel good factor to gain momentum and this tax can only slow down that momentum.

"Furthermore, I believe that having a tax exemption for property owned for a certain number of years would be better as the tax would target property speculators," he said in a statement.

Asim said Malaysia is increasingly seen as an international property hot spot and the RPGT will somewhat undermine that view.

However, he thinks that at 5 per cent, the reintroduction has been gentle and it may not significantly disrupt the market.

"In terms of opportunity, it will be a good time to buy in the secondary market from now until year-end which is where the tax will have its most direct impact," he said.

Emkay Group chief oper ating officer Peter Teh has a different take. He thinks that any sudden surge in sales in the next few months would be mainly due to a recovering property market.

He said the tax will not deter serious home buyers. "They are also not really buying now but over a few years and they will not fell the pinch as it will pass through in the next coming years."

Property stocks took a beating yesterday as the property tax was "a negative surprise" to investors, analysts said.

IJM Land Bhd, the country's fifth biggest property developer, fell 2 per cent to RM2.44, while Sunrise Bhd slid 4.6 per cent to RM2.28. Eastern & Oriental Bhd shed 6.5 per cent to RM1.15.

By Business Times (by Zaidi Isham Ismail)

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