Stamp duty waiver, more help for first-time buyers, lower gains tax top real estate agents’ Budget 2021 wishlist

PETALING JAYA: A survey of real estate agents revealed that the top three items on the real estate industry’s Budget 2021 wishlist are the elimination or reduction of stamp duty on property purchasing, more support for first-time buyers and a lower property gains tax.

Proptech group Juwai IQI and operator of real estate brands Juwai and IQI Global, conducted the survey of 344 Malaysian real estate agent panellists between June 16 and Aug 10, 2020.

Juwai IQI executive director Kashif Ansari said the real estate industry hopes for the same Budget 2021 measures as most property buyers and investors.

“Stamp duty exemption is the essential item for supporting the property market, according to the surveyed real estate agents. A stamp duty exemption would save home buyers at least RM20,000 on a typical purchase. It would also make it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the property market, stimulate investor activity, and encourage trade-up buyers to move while the exemption is in effect,” he said in a statement.

Second most important, in the property industry’s view, is the provision of more generous support for first-time buyers. First-time buyers are generally the most vulnerable of property buyers, with the least amount of money on hand. Any measure that reduces their costs limits the size of the loans and monthly payments or makes their purchase more affordable would be of great benefit.

“The earlier that a buyer gets into the property market, the more time they have to benefit from appreciation. Property ownership is a route to wealth that is only available to those who can purchase their first home,” said Kashif.

The third most important budget measure for the property industry would be to lower the property gains tax. The government has already put in place real property gains tax (RPGT) exemption for Malaysians who sell their residential property between June 1, 2020 and Dec 31, 2021. The exemption, however, is limited to the disposal of three residential properties by an individual.

“The RPGT exists to curb speculation and to discourage people from buying and selling houses for a quick profit. These are laudable goals that support long-term property ownership and the financial health of families. The fact that the real estate industry ranks the property gains as a top-three budgetary measure shows how vital this exemption is. It stimulates transactions and encourages investors. It will encourage upgraders to enter the market and reassure investors that they will be able to keep more of their earnings, rather than be taxed upon sale.”