DEVELOPERS are already offering packages on homes to offset the stiff new stamp duty measures that came into effect only two days ago.
Far East Organization is offering a 5per cent relief package to affected buyers at all of its already-launched projects.
It will reimburse buyers 3 per cent of the unit price to offset the new stamp duty. Buyers will also get a furniture voucher worth 2per cent of the flat price.
They will get the voucher only after putting down a 30 per cent deposit if the project has not been completed.
The package applies across the board to Singaporeans, permanent residents (PRs) and foreigners, so foreigners will still be worse off after the new measures.
Far East's already-launched projects have another discount that differs between properties.
Prices of units at its Seastrand project in Pasir Ris Drive 3 are discounted by up to 14per cent, making the cheapest unit an estimated $937 psf. But with only three- and four-bedroom units left and the smallest three-bedder at 1,109 sq ft, the minimum purchase now would cost about $1.04 million before stamp duty.
With an additional 10per cent buyer's stamp duty for foreigners of $104,000 now, Far East's relief package would help a buyer save almost $52,000 - about $30,000 initially and the rest subsequently.
However, a Far East agent said that unofficially the discount rate could go up to 16 per cent of the original unit price. This means buyers can negotiate a 21 per cent discount off the original total price by combining the uniform 5 per cent cut with the discount that applies to the Seastrand.
This would more than offset the extra stamp duty incurred, although it is believed that the discount applies on a case-by-case basis.
Far East has not announced a deadline for its relief package but the agent said it could last until the end of this month.
The Seastrand's temporary occupation permit (TOP) is expected on Dec31, 2016.
Wing Tai's luxury Helios Residences at Cairnhill Circle is also offering a relief package, said a company sales agent.
Buyers will get a cash rebate of up to 2per cent of the total price upon payment. That goes up to 2.5 per cent at the start of the second year of occupation and 3per cent at the start of the third year.
They will not be allowed to sell their unit for three years following purchase.
The smaller units can cost around $4.2million, said the agent, adding that the relief package is meant to help 'lessen the burden' on customers.
The agent said the deal is only applicable to Helios Residences, as its target market is foreigners, who are more likely to be affected by the stamp duty imposition, but did not specify a deadline. Helios Residences obtained its TOP on Jan 28.
Sales agents at Keppel Land, UOL and CapitaLand did not know of any discount packages being offered.
Real estate agents at DWG, DTZ and Huttons also said their firms were not offering discount packages, but some said they might be able to negotiate an additional 1 per cent cash rebate.
Meanwhile, property stocks slid further, albeit at a more subdued pace.
After plummeting by 84 cents on Thursday, City Developments (CDL) lost 18 cents yesterday to close at $9, 10.2 per cent down on its Wednesday close.
CapitaLand fell 19 cents on Thursday and seven cents yesterday to $2.35, a 10 per cent slide since Wednesday.
Keppel Land fell 21 cents on Thursday and seven cents yesterday to $2.35, down 10.7 per cent from Wednesday.
SC Global Developments lost seven cents on Thursday and 11 cents yesterday to 99 cents, a 15.4 per cent fall from Wednesday.
Two counters hit 52-week lows during trading yesterday: Wing Tai and Ho Bee Investment. Wing Tai ended the day with a 9.4 per cent slide since Wednesday, while Ho Bee lost 12.5 per cent.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang