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Friday, December 25, 2009

Property stocks surge on gains tax move

PROPERTY stocks rose yesterday as investors bet developers would benefit from amendments to the real property gains tax (RPGT).

The tax, which comes into force next year, now only applies to those who sell properties within five years of purchase.

Shares of SP Setia Bhd, the country's biggest developer, rose 1.6 per cent to RM3.74, while those of United Malayan Land Bhd rose 4.5 per cent to close at RM1.40.

Shares of Glomac Bhd improved 4 sen to RM1.25, while IGB Corp Bhd ended up 3 sen to close at RM2.04.
Some analysts have upgraded the sector from neutral to overweight due to better property demand and the RPGT review.

The government had re-introduced the RPGT in the 2010 Budget announced in October. Under that announcement, the RPGT would be imposed on all properties sold from January 1 2010, regardless of the year of purchase.

But this was changed when on December 23, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the RPGT will only be applicable to properties sold within five years from its purchase.

Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda) chairman Datuk Michael K.C. Yam described the move as a New Year bonus for all.

"From equity point of view, economic sentiment and growth of the industry, it is a good move. A lot of people were aggrieved when the RPGT was announced and that anxiety has now been removed," Yam told Business Times via telephone.

But Yam said there should be clarity and certainty on the RPGT so foreign investors won't shy away.

Lingering concerns include whether the RPGT will exceed 5 per cent in future years.

Kenanga Research in a research report said the new rule would curbs speculative activities, mainly seen in the KLCC vicinity, Mont' Kiara/Hartamas and some areas on Penang island.

It would also allow those holding properties for over five years to sell their homes and recognise 100 per cent of the capital gains.

But the amendments to the RPGT also illustrates uncertainties in policy making, which may shake foreign investors' confidence, it said.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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