The real property gains tax (RPGT) for homes disposed within two to five years from date of purchase now ranges from 10 percent to 15 percent, said PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, during the announcement of the 2013 Budget.

However, RGPT is not applicable to residential properties that are sold once in a lifetime, as well as disposal of properties between husband and wife, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren.

Moreover, the minimum income requirement under the My First Home Scheme was also increased. For individual loans, the minimum income requirement was boosted to RM5,000 per month from RM3,000 per month while for joint loans between spouses, it was raised to RM10,000 per month.

"The requirement for a savings record of equivalent to three months instalments and minimum employment of six months will (also) be abolished," noted Najib.

Furthermore, the stamp duty exemption is extended until 31 December 2014, with the price ceiling for residential properties increased to RM400,000, he added.

Meanwhile, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (REHDA) is pleased that the government had not drastically increased the real property gains tax and had extended the stamp duty exemption, in Budget 2013.

"Although it is not in accordance with REHDA’s wish list, we are relieved that the government has not taken too drastic a measure to tamper with RPGT and/or stamp duty which may otherwise have adverse impact on the real estate and property sector," said Datuk Seri Michael Yam, President of REHDA.

Under Budget 2013, the RPGT rate for properties sold within two years was increased by five percent to 15 percent; while the rate for homes sold within three to five years was raised from five percent to 10 percent.

Although the new rate could negatively affect the property market in the short-term, it is an acceptable compromise to help curb excessive speculation.

"The announcement would also encourage home buyers to hold their properties for long term capital appreciation of their investment," noted Yam.

"Also, the extension for stamp duty exemption (by 50 percent) to 31 December 2014 with price limit on residential properties raised to RM400,000 (from RM350,000 previously) will further spur the growth of the housing and property sector," he added.


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