Housing projects with ABSD deadlines in 2021 to 2023 are given a grace period by the Government

Developers are subject to ABSD of 40 per cent when they purchase land for residential development. Of the 40 per cent, 5 per cent is payable upfront, and the remaining 35 per cent is remissible if all the housing units are sold within five years. If the developer fails to sell all units within that timeframe, the 35 per cent is clawed back with interest, regardless of the number of unsold units.

In a concession rolled out in Budget 2024, a lower ABSD clawback rate was announced for projects that had sold at least 90 per cent of units within five years from the land acquisition date. Sites acquired between Jul 6, 2018, and Dec 15, 2021, had a 25 per cent remissible component.

Developers come under pressure to move unsold units as they approach the critical deadline, and some may offer discounts or incentives to clear the remaining units.

Cuscaden Reserve, located in the prime District 10, received its temporary occupation permit in August 2023, with 180 units out of 192 units unsold. Most of the remaining 180 units were one- and two-bedroom units.

The project was initially marketed at an average price of about S$3,600 per square foot (psf) when it launched in September 2019. Land for the project was acquired in April 2018 at a government land sale, at which the developer paid S$410 million or S$2,377 psf per plot ratio for the 61,597-square-foot (sq ft) plot.

Cuscaden Reserve relaunch

The developer was SC Global Developments, together with Hong Kong-listed New World Development and Far East Consortium.

Cuscaden Reserve made headlines in March 2024, when the project was relaunched at a discounted price starting at S$2,900 psf – 20 per cent lower than the original launch price.

The PropNex sales team said Cuscaden Reserve had sold 80 units as at Apr 1 at an average price of slightly above S$3,000 psf since its relaunch on Mar 16.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Realis data showed that the last transacted unit in the development before the relaunch was a 936 sq ft, two-bedder which fetched S$3.537 million, or S$3,777 psf, in December 2023.

In his written reply to Parliament, DPM Wong said that requests for extensions for the specified timelines were considered by the government on a “case-by-case basis”.

A total of 44 residential projects facing a critical sales deadline within 2021 to 2023 were granted an extension to their timelines, said Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong in a written response in Parliament on Tuesday (Apr 2).

These projects made for 12 per cent of housing projects that were approaching the deadline during that period.

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Extension of ABSD deadline to developers

DPM Wong, who is also Finance Minister, was replying to questions raised by Members of Parliament (MPs) Louis Chua and Sitoh Yih Pin on the extension of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) deadline to developers.

In particular, the MPs wanted to know whether the ABSD deadline extension was granted to the developer of Cuscaden Reserve, the reasons for the extension, the terms and conditions associated with it, and the number of projects granted ABSD deadline extensions since the implementation of rules regarding the remission of ABSD for developers.

The vast majority of housing developers have met the sale timeline for ABSD remission, after taking into account the extension provided under the Covid-19 Temporary Relief Measures. A small group of developers have applied for an extension.

He did not elaborate on the timeline extension for the Cuscaden Reserve case, citing confidential taxpayer-specific information.

These appeals were approved as they involved extenuating circumstances, such as the developer facing site-specific delays that were unforeseen and beyond its control.

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