Macau (MNA) – While the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) may increase house prices, local policy might be a barrier for most buyers from outside Macau, according to Alex Cheng, General Manager of Ambiente Properties Limited.
Speaking to Macau News Agency (MNA), Mr. Cheng said: “The housing market in Macau is very different from Hong Kong unless policy changes.”
“In the last two to three years the Macau SAR Government has levied special stamp duties. Firstly, if you don’t hold a Macau identity card you have to pay 10 per cent extra.”
In addition, Macau banks have agreed to lend young local residents who are first-time buyers up to either 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the agreed value of a property, a type of loans that foreign investors do not have access to.
These loans are available for properties worth up to MOP3.3 million (US$408.2 million).
In addition, Mr Cheng points out that investors will not be incentivised to sell properties quickly as properties sold within a year attract a penalty of 20 per cent of the sale of the house, while those sold within two years attract a penalty of 10 per cent.
Stamp duty is another factor as the new stamp duty mandates homebuyers to pay 5 per cent of a property’s value on top of taxes for second homes.
For third properties and over, an additional stamp duty of 10 per cent of the property value will be levied.
In an article published in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, Raymond Kwok, Associate Director at Guo Du Real Estate told the paper that once vehicles start crossing the bridge, prices in Macau could experience growth of between 5 to 10 per cent, hence closing the gap between the property prices in the two cities.
The article claims that in the first three months homes in Macau were changing hands for HK$10,433 per square foot, an all-time high but still about a quarter of Hong Kong’s HK$12,833 per square foot during the same period.
“Mainland Chinese investors see buying a property in Macau as an investment. Some Koreans also go there for gambling, and so a Macau flat would be seen as a good investment,” Mr. Kwok was quoted as saying.