11 November 2011

Budget 2012: Another interesting debate --- RPGT

Property prices had been skyrocketing since 2009, creating more millionaires in Malaysia. The key factors behind the increasing properties prices were low interest-rate environment, attractive housing loan packages and ample of liquidity in financial system. These had prompt investors ,and general public too, to invest into properties searching for better return among all the investment instruments. Oppss... Favorable Real Property Gain Tax (RPGT) is one of the factor too.


While creating millionaires, many middle and low income groups are facing difficulties to come out the higher capital required to purchase their homes. Genuine buyers, who are first-time house buyers, were being forced to delay their buying and ended up renting. This will resulted in widening wealth gaps between Malaysians. As such, government had proposed to increase the quantum of RPGT to counter the potential socioeconomic backlash. (see attachment)

Curbing speculations?

Traditionally, there are two important tools available to government to curb excessive properties speculations and they are interest rate and RPGT. Since 2008 global financial crisis, central banks globally including Malaysia had slashed their interest rate to all time low in order to spur economic activities.

Picture taken from Business Times

On top of that, RPGT stayed low at a flat 5% for properties sold within 5 years. "5% only?" you may ask. Yes, and this is a contributing factor on why properties prices remain elevated.

Is it enough?
However, economists are saying that the latest announcement made on RPGT was relatively "too soft" in contain the problem. Anyway, this is a good news though for property speculators or investors as 10% RPGT within 2 years can be easily absorbed. Then, how much is enough?
     
     Genuine buyers said: "Higher is better".
     Property developers said: "Current rate is enough".

Finance Malaysia reckons that 10% is definitely not enough. The marginal increments looks like government is only "entertain" the perception of general public, while protecting property developers, we think. As such, we are suggesting a higher rate as below:


By imposing a higher RPGT, that could possibly boosted government tax revenue, thus lowering down the over-optimism budget deficit target. Why don't government implement that way?

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