Empty apartment sales rush to avoid vacancy tax

8/2/2018 8:06:30 AM

In Hong Kong, empty apartments are being sold at steep discounts. Developers are in a great hurry to sell their empty flats, to prevent getting taxed under new vacancy tax legislation that may be introduced this summer.

The new law is intended to prevent hoarding of empty flats and – eventually – to ease Hong Kong’s housing crisis. The Hong Kong government wanted flats to be occupied instead of stockpiled; a vacancy tax came out as an effective policy after a comprehensive study and public consultations.

Some developers are offering steep discounts of up to 18 percent to quickly sell off dozens of flats that have been vacant for the past five years; others are seeking buyers for as much as 350 empty apartments.

The Real Estate Developers Association said it would oppose the vacancy tax. The group, which represents major developers, argued that there were only 3,000 flats that could be categorised as vacant. The Association want the 3,000 empty flats to be released in an orderly fashion instead of flooding the market.

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