Sat, Jun 30, 2018 - Page 11 News List

HK to levy extra rates on unsold new apartments


Hong Kong is to charge additional rates on unsold new apartments in a bid to limit hoarding by developers and cool a red-hot property market.

Apartments left vacant for more than six months would be charged a 200 percent rate of their rental value, or the equivalent to about 5 percent of the unit’s price, said Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥), who announced the latest housing policies yesterday.

The amendment is subject to approval by the Hong Kong Legislative Council.

“Housing problems, as mentioned in my policy address, are the most important, most complicated and most rigorous issues,” Lam said. “The SAR [special administrative region] government will continue to do its best to turn around today’s housing situation of undersupply and surging prices.”

Lam’s latest efforts to tackle the crisis came ahead of Sunday’s anniversary of her first year in office, when critics will assess her record.

Asked if Hong Kong would consider a capital gain tax on foreign owners, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan (陳茂波) said the government does not currently have such a plan, but “we do not rule it out.”

The territory is following in the wake of Singapore, where developers face escalating fines if they take too long to sell units.

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