This article was originally on GET.com at: Transfer Of HDB Flat Ownership No Longer Allowed Except For Special Cases
Since April 1, 2016, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore has implemented restrictions when it comes to transferring flat ownership among spouses and family members.
Only those in special cases like an event of an owner's death, marriage, divorce, financial hardship, renounced citizenship, and medical reasons will be allowed to make a change in flat ownership.
For example, couples who have agreed to transfer ownership to either person in the case of a divorce will be able to do so.
Others who do not fall into any of these categories would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Before this restriction was put in place, HDB flat owners would make use of the transfer of ownership to dodge the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) when they purchase a second residential property.
This used to be a common practice among Singaporeans who wish to own more than one property, where couples would give up their place as a co-owner and only become an official occupant.
However, even after the transfer of ownership, the sole owner of the house will have to ensure that he or she has sufficient funds to service the home loan, including paying back the previous co-owner's Central Provident Fund (CPF) mortgage contributions as well as a transfer fee. Plus, just making one person the sole owner of the property could potentially cause tension within the household when the couple decides to sell off the house in the future.
While it seems convenient to put such a measure in place to address the dodging of the ABSD, the HDB has made it clear that this is not the case and that the new regulation is a result of a standard policy review.
This new policy can also be seen to help prevent home buyers from facing financial strain and exercise prudence when buying another property, especially since not everyone can afford a $1.5 million condo.
Keen to find a property?
Even though it might cost a little more to buy another property because of this regulatory policy, perhaps the drop in resale prices of completed condos might slightly make up for the cost of the ABSD.
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Refinancing your home loans could also be an option. If you're interested, don't forget to check out these 4 things you can consider when comparing home loans.
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