The Financial Secretary’s Office clarified on Tuesday afternoon that the government has no plans to relax the stamp duty on home purchases, just hours after Exco convenor Regina Ip said it was among policies under consideration to shore up the local economy.
During an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday morning, Ip suggested Hong Kong could waive the double stamp duty for mainland buyers.
“Mainland professionals have been clamouring for the double stamp duty to be waived for them, even before they acquire the right of abode,” she said in the interview.
“It is all a raft of measures under consideration and this is certainly something that the government could consider.”
Her comments triggered a rally in local developer shares, with New World Development at one point gaining six percent, and Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land and CK Asset each going up by more than three percent.
But Financial Secretary Paul Chan’s office issued a statement in the afternoon, saying there has been no discussion on the stamp duty issue.
"Regarding reports that the government is considering the relaxation of stamp duties for property, the government clarifies that there has not been discussion on the matter, and points out clearly that there are no relevant plans,” the statement said.
Ip later told Commercial Radio that waiving the stamp duty is only an idea of her New People's Party, and she will put forward the suggestion to the chief executive during his policy address consultations.
She also issued a statement of her own, saying in her Bloomberg interview, she was specifically referring to the buyer's stamp duty imposed on non-permanent residents.
All the property shares edged lower following the government's clarification on the matter.