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Property Association requests relaxations on restrictive policies

The property market in Macau has been shrinking in recent years. Chong Sio Kin, President of the Associação Geral do Sector Imobiliário de Macau, said on Monday that the current downturn in the property market has triggered a series of problems in people's livelihoods and society, and suggested that the government should cancel the restrictive measures in the property market and reintroduce the investment residency for commercial properties, allowing foreigners who buy commercial properties of 30 million patacas or more to be granted the right of abode.

In his speech, Chong said that property prices have already reached the “red line”. If property prices continue to fall, the bank loans of small property owners will become insolvent, and banks will then recall their loans (commonly known as Call Loans). At the same time, banks will not renew short-term bank loans for commercial properties and land upon expiry of the contracts, which will lead to an increase in the non-performing asset ratio of banks, destabilising the financial system and giving rise to a series of livelihood and social problems.
With the gradual improvement of the public housing policy, the supply of public housing has increased significantly, and the supply of social housing and economic housing has begun to meet the demand, reflecting that the SAR Government has fundamentally solved the problem of taking care of Macau residents who are unable to buy their own homes, as well as the problem of housing demand. In addition, with the resumption of more than 100 idle lots in the past decade, the Macau government has more “chips” at hand to use, such as increasing land supply to regulate the property market. The Macau government is well-positioned to fully liberalise the private property market, said Chong.

According to Chong, at present, there is no more speculation and property bubble in Macau’s property market. It is suggested that the government should completely remove the three major restrictive measures, namely the Imposto do selo da aquisição, o imposto do selo adicional and o imposto do selo especial, so as to bring back the free trading in the private property market and to facilitate the healthy development of the real estate industry. If the property market becomes overheated after the Government’s relaxation, the Government can always make necessary adjustments and make flexible use of policies to revitalise the backlog of capital flow in the property market, thereby helping people’s livelihood and the economy to recover, boosting confidence in investment and consumption.

As a world centre of tourism and leisure, Macau needs talents. All over the world, there are policies to attract investment and talents. For example, Hong Kong has re-launched its policy of attracting talents and investment and residence, actively attracting investment and talents from all over the world to come to the city. At present, the office and shop properties in Macao are seriously vacant. With reference to Hong Kong’s policy of attracting investment and talent residence, the Association proposes that foreigners who invest in shop, office and industrial building properties, with a cumulative total of more than MOP$30 million, may be granted the permanent right of abode. Regarding the sharing of Macau’s welfare benefits, the government and the Legislative Assembly can reduce the government’s financial burden by improving the supporting policy adjustments in laws and regulations.

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