Property Tax to increase for both Owner-occupied and Investment Residential Properties

In the latest Budget 2013 announced by the Fin­ance Min­is­ter, the prop­erty tax rate for invest­ment prop­erty will increase pro­gress­ively for those prop­er­ties with Annual Value (AV) above $30,000, instead of flat rate of 10% cur­rently. The new tax rates range from 10% to 19% in 2014 and 10% to 20% in 2015. Please see table below.

Invest­ment  Res­id­en­tial Prop­erty Tax Rate

Annual Value Tax Rates
from 1 Jan 2014
Tax Rates
from 1 Jan 2015
First $30,000 10% 10%
Next $15,000 11% 12%
Next $15,000 13% 14%
Next $15,000 15% 16%
Next $15,000 17% 18%
In excess of $90,000 19% 20%

So it seems that if you want to invest in res­id­en­tial prop­erty to earn the rental income, it is bet­ter to get a small unit with AV less than $30,000. Then your tax rate will still stay at 10% bracket.
There is one more risk now. Even if the prop­erty is left vacant, you are still liable for the prop­erty tax from 1 Jan 2014, instead of seek­ing prop­erty tax refund for vacant prop­erty.
And for owner-occupied res­id­en­tial prop­er­ties, the tax rate will increase sub­stan­tially for the top 1% of the house­holds. The cur­rent max­imum tax rate is only 6% but will become 16% in 2015. Please see table below.

Owner-Occupied Res­id­en­tial Prop­erty Tax Rate

Annual Value Tax Rates
from 1 Jan 2014
Tax Rates
from 1 Jan 2015
First $80,000 0% 0%
First $47,000 4% 4%
Next $5,000 5% 6%
Next $10,000 6% 6%
Next $15,000 7% 8%
Next $15,000 9% 10%
Next $15,000 11% 12%
Next $15,000 13% 14%
In excess of $130,000 15% 16%

With all the many rounds of cool­ing meas­ures on prop­er­ties and the new tax rate, it is prob­ably good to diver­sify your invest­ment to over­seas prop­er­ties or REITS that are lis­ted in Singa­pore Exchange. REITs are not sub­ject to the hassle of enga­ging agent to find ten­ant, main­tain­ing the prop­er­ties and also pay­ing higher prop­erty tax.