Lawmakers yesterday proposed an extension of the period when homebuyers are exempted from paying the 15 percent stamp duty on the purchase of new flats.
Instead of an exemption within six months, they would like to have it extended to nine to 12 months.
James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party said the new residential stamp duty has imposed a heavy financial burden on genuine users who wish to move to new homes.
He also said that six months are not enough for owners to dispose of their property in the market at a reasonable price, and he suggested extending the exemption period to either nine months or 12 months.
Holden Chow Ho-ding of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong also put forward an amendment, seeking an extension of the exemption period to 12 months.
Lawmakers, including Yiu Chung- yim and Abraham Shek Lai-him, said various demand-side management measures rolled out since 2010 play a vital catalytic role in enticing buyers to buy first-hand flats instead of opting for second-hand ones.
JLL said cooling measures imposed by the government have failed to curb growth of prices. Its managing director Joseph Tsang Hon-ping said the government could relax gradually in the secondary market the double stamp duty and loan-to-value measures to free up an estimated 1.6 million private flats.
"Under the existing cooling measures, the secondary sales market is at a standstill as more homebuyers are funnelled to the primary market," Tsang said.
Meanwhile, the Urban Renewal Authority has withdrawn proposed amendments to the Staunton Street and Wing Lee Street revitalization project due to opposition from conservation groups and other members of the public.
The URA has proposed to the Town Planning Board an increase in the project's maximum domestic plot ratio from 4.76 times to 7.45 times. The amendment would involve building a 21-story building instead of a 13-story block.