The government has no plans to waive double stamp duty for property buyers from mainland China, a spokesperson from Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary’s Office has clarified after the convenor of the chief executive’s advisory board said the government had plans to do so.
“Regarding reports that the Government is considering the relaxation of stamp duties for property, the Government clarifies that there has not been discussion on the matter, and points out clearly that there are no relevant plans,” the government statement from Tuesday read.
The clarification came after Regina Ip, lawmaker and convenor of the Executive Council, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday that cutting stamp duty for mainland buyers was under consideration.
“Mainland professionals have been clamouring for the double stamp duty to be waived for them, even before they acquire the right of abode,” Ip reportedly told Bloomberg. “It is all a raft of measures under consideration and this is certainly something that the government could consider.”
Several of the city’s property stocks rose following Ip’s comments, including CK Asset Holdings, Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited, New World Development Company Limited.
Ip later clarified in a statement on Tuesday that she “was not referring to any specific measure under consideration by HKSAR government,” and that she “was commenting on possible measures the government could adopt to attract more talent to settle in Hong Kong.”
The lawmaker said that cutting stamp duty was a suggestion from the New People’s Party, which she is the chair of, and that it would be submitted to Chief Executive John Lee next month during the consultation period for the Policy Address.
Following the publication of Bloomberg’s interview, Ip’s Facebook posts were flooded with netizens’ comments on the matter, with some criticising her for ignoring the city’s skyrocketing property prices.
“There are a lot of people in Hong Kong who have yet to buy a flat, it is ridiculous to green light the mainland once [the property market] dropped a bit,” one comment read.
“[The government] has failed to increase [housing] supply after saying they will do so for so many years, but the first thing is to cut taxes such that the housing prices increase even more, go to hell!” another comment read.
Hong Kong’s housing market has long been one of the most unaffordable in the world. Currently, mainland Chinese buyers have to pay 30 per cent in stamp duty when they buy a property in the city.