Hong Kong says it has held no discussions on relaxing property stamp duty

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Private residential blocks are seen behind a cemetery in Hong Kong

HONG KONG -Hong Kong’s government said on Tuesday it had no plans to relax its stamp duty on property, responding to media reports that it could consider waiving the extra stamp duty that mainland Chinese have to pay to buy property in the city.

“(The government) clearly states that there are no relevant plans,” a spokesman for the Financial Secretary’s Office said in a statement.

Shares of Hong Kong property developers fell back from highs after government’s clarification. New World Development Co was still up 3.3%, but had risen by as much at 6.1% in the morning.

Sun Hung Kai Properties was up 2.6%, while CK Asset Holdings and Henderson Land Development both gained over 1%.

Regina Ip, convenor of the government’s advisory Executive Council told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday morning Hong Kong may consider waiving extra stamp duty on homes for mainland Chinese buyers as a way to shore up the economy and reverse a brain drain.

She later clarified to Commercial Radio Hong Kong it was a suggestion from her New People’s Party, which would be raised to the government during the consultation period for the Policy Address.

Whereas permanent residents pay stamp duty of up to 4.25% on buying their first home, foreign buyers, including those from mainland China, have to pay a total of 30%.

Hong Kong earlier this year was ranked by survey company Demographia as the world’s most unaffordable housing market for the 12th consecutive year.

Hong Kong private home prices fell at a faster pace in June and dropped to the lowest since December 2020, as homebuyers stayed on the sidelines due to an uncertain outlook and rising interest rates.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Sam Holmes & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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