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Saturday, October 8, 2011

RPGT increased to 10%

Under Budget 2012, it was proposed that a real property gains tax (RPGT) of 10% be applied to properties held and disposed of within two years.

Meanwhile a rate of 5% will be maintained for properties sold within the third, fourth and fifth years after purchase.

The current RPGT, imposed after Budget 2010, is 5% for all properties sold within the first five years of purchase.

However, consultants and analysts said the 5% increase in the RPGT, for units sold within the first two years after purchase, would have little impact on speculative activities in the property market and escalating house prices.

Property consultant CB Richard Ellis (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Paul Khong said speculative activities in the property market would only be slightly curbed by the RPGT increase.

“This latest RPGT increase is a small negative point to investors but not detrimental. Investors will be more cautious in doing their profit calculations.”

Khong hoped that there would be no more negative changes in the RPGT quantum within the next few years, and pointed out that many investors would be rushing to liquidate their positions prior to Jan 1, 2012 in order to enjoy the current 5% RPGT this year.

HwangDBS Investment Management Bhd head of equities Gan Eng Peng also agreed that the latest RPGT increase was not an effective measure to curb speculative activities.

“To curb speculation, the RPGT should be higher than 10%,” Gan said.

Henry Butcher Marketing Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Tang Chee Meng also did not think that the latest RPGT increase would have a major impact on property sales.

“The Government is sending a message that it is serious in preventing an asset bubble and wants the property market to be more orderly. If the market is hot, an RPGT increase to 10%, for the first two years after purchase, will not really curb speculation,” said Tang.

A property analyst said the quantum of the RPGT increase was quite gentle.

“It is obvious that the Government does not want to dampen the property market. The marginal increase in RPGT is considered to be friendly and accomodative towards growth in the property sector,” he said.

Another research analyst concurred, and said the latest RPGT increase would help to slightly “cool off” demand in the property market.

“It would make investors think twice before “flipping” their properties within a short period after buying them,” she said.

“Our outlook for the property market next year is that of flat demand year-on-year. Rather than this gentle RPGT increase, investors should look at the central bank's policy on liquidity and ease of getting housing loans.”

KPMG Tax Services Sdn Bhd executive director Tai Lai Kok opined that the Government's move was fair.

“Any upside in tax revenue from the RPGT increase would be marginal. So, rather than to increase tax revenue, the Government's move is very focused towards curbing speculation in the property market,” said Tai.

Meanwhile, House Buyers Association (HBA) vice-president Brig-Gen (R) Datuk Goh Seng Toh said the latest RPGT increase was negligible.

“We think there will hardly be any effect in curbing escalating house prices. Certain developers do not allow buyers to sell within the first two years, when the house is still under construction. Also, many buyers only sell after the first two years, when their properties are completed.”

Goh added that the Government should not have a “one size fits all” RPGT rate. “The RPGT should be applied differently based on the type and price of the property.”

Meanwhile, Budget 2012 also proposed to increase the maximum price ceiling for houses under the My First Home (MFH) scheme to RM400,000.

Also, this improved scheme will be available to house buyers through the joint loans of both husband and wife beginning January 2012. Under the present MFH scheme, houses are priced within the RM100,000 to RM220,000 range.

The scheme is opened to private sector employees aged between 18-years old and 35 years old; drawing a monthly salary of not more than RM3,000. Property consultants said the Government's objectives under Budget 2012 were clearly to curb excessive property speculation and boost house ownership for lower-income groups.

Goh said while the improved MFH scheme would made it easier for those who qualify to obtain loans for properties priced at RM400,000 and below, it might also add pressure on the disposable household income of lower-income groups.

“Our household debt-to-income ratio is already high. Also, this might make it easier for property developers to increase the prices of their units from a lower price range to RM400,000 and buyers might actually end up paying more.”

Another property analyst pointed out that developers in the Klang Valley would still find it tough to cater to the RM400,000 and below price segment due to land and construction costs. “Nowadays, there are not many property launches at this (level of) pricing in the Klang Valley,” the analyst noted.

However, Mah Sing Group Bhd group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum welcomed the improved MFH scheme and said that property prices in reasonably well-located townships are currently in this price range.

“For example, we intend to offer beginner homes priced from RM390,000 onwards in our latest township M Residence@Rawang in the first half of 2012. For this price, buyers can get a 22ft x 70ft home with a 2,000 sq ft built-up in a location that is less than 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur,” said Leong.

By The Star

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