NOTICES, CIRCULARS AND ADVISORIES

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27 MAY 2022 [CEA NOTICE 14-22] ADVISORY ON SCAMS INVOLVING SCAMMERS IMPERSONATING REAL ESTATE SALESPERSONS TO POST FAKE PROPERTY LISTINGS AND COLLECT VIEWING FEES ILLEGALLY

1. This advisory is to update Key Executive Officers (KEOs) and Real Estate Salespersons (RESs) on the recent spate of scams involving scammers impersonating RESs and posting fake property listings to trick property consumers into paying fees to secure viewing appointments.
2. These scammers would use photos, names and registration numbers of registered RESs to deceive property consumers into believing that they are legitimate RESs. Property consumers who are interested in viewing the property as advertised would be asked to make refundable fees to secure a viewing appointment, and be provided with bank account numbers or phone numbers to transfer the money. These property consumers would only discover that they had been scammed after the scammers have ceased contact with them. The RESs who have been victims of such impersonations have accordingly lodged police reports to alert the authorities.
3. Such scams may unfairly cause property consumers to lose confidence in engaging registered RESs for their property transactions as consumers would be wary of the advice given by RESs.
4. CEA has taken steps to inform and educate consumers on how to protect themselves against these scams. However, combatting such scams needs to be a joint and consistent effort by not only CEA, Singapore Police Force (SPF) and relevant government agencies, but also the real estate agency industry.
5. While CEA will continue to regularly educate consumers on such scams, we urge KEOs and RESs to work together to continue to bring awareness of these scams to your clients, and remind them regularly of the steps they can take to prevent falling victim to these scams. Specifically for impersonation scams, we encourage you to remind your clients of the following:
a) No fees should be paid to secure a viewing appointment.
b) All property agents must be registered with CEA through a licensed property agency, and each property agent has a unique CEA registration number. It is an offence for any individual to carry out estate agency work without a valid CEA registration.
c) Search for a property agent on the CEA Public Register using the advertised phone number. If the search does not lead to a property agent's profile page, it means that the phone number is not registered with CEA by any property agent, and could be an indication that the advertisement is a scam. 
d) File a police report if one believes that he/she may have been a victim of a scam.
6. Such consistent messaging should become part of your standard business operating procedures given that scams in general are unrelenting and require equally persistent counteraction.
7. In the course of your estate agency work, should you get word of new or resurgent scams, we ask that you inform SPF and CEA of these scams so that we can act accordingly with you to quash such activities.
8. Thank you.

10 MAY 2022 [NOTICE 13-22] FOR INFORMATION: IRAS' NOTICE - 2022 ADDITIONAL BUYER'S STAMP DUTY (ABSD) RATE CHANGES FOR TRUSTS

1.    On behalf of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), we would like to share with all Key Executive Officers (KEOs) and Real Estate Salespersons (RESs) the key details of the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty ("ABSD") rate changes for living trusts[1].

2.    On 8 May 2022, the Government announced that ABSD of 35% will apply on any transfer of residential property into a living trust, where the transfer occurs on or after 9 May 2022. This will be known as ABSD (Trust).

3.    Where the beneficiary of the trust is a housing developer, the ABSD rate will remain at 35% (remittable upfront subject to conditions) with an additional non-remittable ABSD component of 5%.

ABSD (Trust) Remission

4.    There will also be a remission introduced for ABSD (Trust). The conditions to be met are:

a.    all beneficial owners of the residential property are identifiable individuals;

b.    beneficial ownership of the residential property has vested in all of these beneficial owners at the time of property transfer into the trust; and

c.    the beneficial ownership cannot be varied or revoked, or be subject to any condition subsequent, under the terms of the trust.

5.    The amount refunded will be based on the difference between the ABSD (Trust) rate of 35% and the ABSD rate corresponding to the profile of the beneficial owner with the highest applicable ABSD rate. The application for the refund must be made to IRAS within six months after the instrument is executed.

6.    Trustees or their representatives may apply for the remission on IRAS' e-Stamping Portal. More information on the remission can be found on the IRAS website.

7.    We seek your assistance to disseminate this notice to your RESs, so that they can better advise and safeguard the interests of their clients when advising them on property purchases and the stamp duty implications. If you or your RESs require any further information on the ABSD (Trust) changes, please visit the IRAS website here.

22 APR 2022 [NOTICE 12-22] UPDATED ADVISORY ON PROPERTY TRANSACTION ACTIVITIES

1.              CEA has published Notice 12-22 on the Updated Advisory on Property Transaction Activities by Estate Agents and Real Estate Salespersons as We Move Towards COVID-19 Resilience.

2.              To access the Notice and updated Guide, please click here.

3.              Thank you.

25 MAR 2022 [NOTICE 09-22] UPDATED ADVISORY ON PROPERTY TRANSACTION ACTIVITIES

1.              CEA has published Notice 09-22 on the Updated Advisory on Property Transaction Activities by Estate Agents and Real Estate Salespersons as We Move Towards COVID-19 Resilience.

2.              To access the Notice and updated Guide, please click here.

3.              Thank you.

11 MAR 2022 [NOTICE 07-22] UPDATED ADVISORY ON PROPERTY TRANSACTION ACTIVITIES

1.              CEA has published Notice 07-22 on the Updated Advisory on Property Transaction Activities by Estate Agents and Real Estate Salespersons as we Resume our Transition to Resilience.

2.              To access the Notice and updated Guide, please click here.

3.              Thank you.

17 FEB 2022 [NOTICE 05-22] UPDATED ADVISORY ON PROPERTY TRANSACTION ACTIVITIES

1.              CEA has published Notice 05-22 on the Updated Advisory on Property Transaction Activities by Estate Agents and Real Estate Salespersons as we Reset our Measures to Live with the Omicron Variant.

2.              To access the Notice and updated Guide, please click here.

3.              Thank you.

18 JAN 2022 [NOTICE 03-22] REMINDER ON COVID-19 WORKFORCE VACCINATION MEASURES

1.              CEA has published [Notice 03-22]: Reminder on COVID-19 Workforce Vaccination Measures for the Real Estate Agency Industry.

2.              To access the Notice, please click here.

3.              Thank you.

06 JAN 2022 [NOTICE 02-22] PUBLIC CONSULTATION BY URA ON THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE HOUSING DEVELOPERS RULES

1.    The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is seeking public feedback on key proposed amendments to the Housing Developers Rules (HDR). The key proposed amendments require developers to provide more information to home buyers to help them make better informed decisions, and enhance the protection for buyers of uncompleted private residential properties. Please refer to the press release at this link for more details.

2.    URA would like to invite you to submit your feedback online at go.gov.sg/hdr-consult from now until 5 February 2022. URA will take the feedback into consideration before finalising the amendments to the HDR.

3.    If you have any questions, please contact URA at ura_coh_registry@ura.gov.sg. Thank you.

17 DEC 2021 [NOTICE 52-21] FOR INFORMATION: IRAS' NOTICE ON 2021 ADDITIONAL BUYER'S STAMP DUTY (ABSD) RATE CHANGES

1.    On behalf of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), we would like to share with all Real Estate Salespersons (RESs) the key details of the ABSD rate changes announced by the Government on 15 Dec 2021.

Reason for the ABSD Rate Changes

2.    The private residential and HDB resale markets have been buoyant, despite the economic impact of COVID-19. Left unchecked, prices are likely to run ahead of economic fundamentals and increase the risk of a destabilising correction later on.

3.    To promote a stable and sustainable property market, the Government announced on 15 Dec 2021, the following package of measures which took effect from 16 Dec 2021:

a.    Tighten Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) threshold from 60% to 55%;

b.    Increase Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates across the board, except for Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents buying their first residential property; and

c.    Tighten the Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit for HDB housing loans from 90% to 85%.

New ABSD Rates

4.    To cool the property market, the ABSD rates have been adjusted and apply to all acquisitions of residential properties on or after 16 Dec 2021 as shown in the table below.

Profile of buyer

Old ABSD Rates

6 Jul 2018 to

15 Dec 2021

New ABSD Rates

On or after

16 Dec 2021

SC^ buying 1st residential property

0%

0%

SC buying 2nd residential property

12%

17%

SC buying 3rd and subsequent residential property

15%

25%

SPR* buying 1st residential property

5%

5%

SPR buying 2nd residential property

15%

25%

SPR buying 3rd and subsequent residential property

15%

30%

Foreigners (FR) buying any residential property

20%

30%

Entities buying any residential property

25%

35%

Plus additional 5% for housing developer#

(non-remittable)

Plus additional 5% for housing developer#

(non-remittable)

^SC refers to Singapore Citizens

^SC refers to Singapore Citizens

*SPR refers to Singapore Permanent Residents

#Housing Developers refer to entities in the business of housing development (i.e. construction and sale of housing units) with respect to the subject property acquired. (Note: This definition of Housing Developer is the condensed version. You may refer to paragraph (1) of Article 3 to the Stamp Duties Act for the full definition.)

ABSD Transitional Remission

5.    There is a transitional remission for residential properties acquired on or after 16 Dec 2021 such that the old ABSD rates, instead of the new ABSD rates, apply. For buyers to be eligible for the remission, all of the following conditions must strictly be met:

a.    The option to purchase ("OTP") is granted on or before 15 Dec 2021;

b.    This OTP is exercised on or before 5 Jan 2022 or the date of expiry of the OTP validity period, whichever is earlier; and

c.    No changes are made to the OTP (including any extension of the validity period) on or after 16 Dec 2021.

6.    Please note that the transitional remission does not apply to SCs or SPRs buying their first residential property as there is no change to their ABSD rates.

Fact Sheet and Guide

7.    Please refer to the enclosed Fact Sheet and "Stamp Duty at a Glance for Estate Agents" Guide for key information about the ABSD rate changes, the transitional remission, the application process as well as a list of FAQs.

ABSD Webinar

8.    IRAS will be holding a webinar on 28 Dec 2021 from 3.30pm to 5.00pm to go through the ABSD rate changes, details of the transitional remission, the application process as well as some common scenarios and FAQs. Please note that the information covered in the webinar can be found on the IRAS webpage as well as the enclosed Fact Sheet and Guide. If you are interested in attending the webinar, please register here. Registrations close on 23 Dec 2021.

9.    If you require any further information on the ABSD changes, please visit the IRAS ABSD webpage here.