The recovery of the local property market, alongside the
upturn in Macau's gaming revenue recorded since late 2016, has
motivated the Macau SAR government to prepare, and submit for
Legislative Council (LegCo) approval, some control measures to
introduce more transparency and to increase the number of
residential properties in the market.
On August 10 2017, the legislators approved Law 13/2017,
which introduced some amendments to the lease regime. The most
important change was the provision of mandatory certification
of the parties' signatures in a lease contract, which eased the
collection of the applicable stamp duty and property tax.
Legislators failed, however, to agree on criteria to protect
the tenants against vast increases in their rental fees.
Two other bills were approved by the LegCo in early February
2018, one to amend the property tax regulation (Law 1/2018),
and the other to create a special stamp duty due upon the
acquisition of a second, or further residential units (Law
Law 1/2018 has put an end to the exemption of property tax
previously applicable to vacant properties. Respective owners
will now be subject to the payment of a six percent tax, hence
it is expected that some will release properties into the
market in order to cover the increased taxation.
With Law 2/2018, investors will be subject to the payment of
a five percent stamp duty tax on the purchase of a second
residential property, and 10% on subsequent properties
purchased after that. However, there is room in the law to
recover the amounts paid on account of the new tax.
Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority of Macau has eased the
loan-to-value limits for young adult buyers who qualify as
first-time homebuyers, for the purposes of them applying for
The effectiveness of these rules is yet to be proved by the
market, and it is certain that the Macau people will demand
further intervention from the government.
|João Nuno Riquito