|Realtor wants stamp duties cut by 50%|
Guardian Business Reporter
Published: Jul 04, 2012
A local realtor is calling on the government to reduce stamp taxes across the board by 50 percent, which he believes will create a buyer-friendly environment.
Ryan Knowles, an estate agent and associate appraiser at H.G. Christie Limited, called the government’s decision to reduce stamp taxes a move in the right direction. However, he told Guardian Business that more can be done that would benefit all buyers, not just those in the high-end market.
“As it stands, the higher end of the spectrum is going to benefit, but people who are buying properties under $250,000 are not really getting any benefit. It’s a move in the right direction, but I think they can do a lot more with the stamp tax,” according to Knowles.
“In my opinion, I think they should cut it by half across the board. We should have 12 percent going down to six percent and 10 going to 5, eight going to four, etc., because what you see when you do that, is it encourages people to buy.”
He continued, “You don’t make as much on each sale, but you make up the revenue by the shared number of transaction, so it’s more of a volume proposition.”
Knowles noted that if economic activity is to be generated, costs have to be reduced. He noted that The Bahamas should look to places like Puerto Rico, where this type of initiative has proven to be successful.
“If you look at other countries like the Turks & Caicos Islands and Puerto Rico for instance, they launched a huge program where they pretty much slashed all of the taxes as it relates to buying real estate,” Knowles said.
“The real estate industry totally exploded as a result, because when you reduce the cost of buying real estate, the more people buy, that’s basic economics.”
“Puerto Rico eliminated stamp taxes on the construction of new homes. This was done in the middle of a worldwide economic recession. It can be done. We just need to become more aggressive and be willing to do something that’s a little outside of the box.”
Knowles said Bahamians will be able to see an immediate benefit of the recent reduction implemented by the government. He encouraged persons to start purchasing real estate, as the prices are the best they been within the last two decades.
“People are going to start stepping up to plate and begin buying. We don’t really know how long this is going to last, so the window of opportunity is now. To be honest, prices are never going to be as good as they are right now. This is the best time within the last 25 years to buy real estate in The Bahamas,” Knowles added.