Macau's rental housing market has always been the subject of lively discussion. Residents are critical of the legal system, which they deem unfair. However, problems do not always arise from the law, but often from market dynamics. A new draft law is nonetheless expected to be presented to the Legislative Assembly in the hope that it will meet tenants' expectations.
A new Urban Planning Law has been enacted which deals with the objectives and hierarchy of urban plans, but with the prevalence of a master plan to establish strategic guidelines for the entire Macau Special Administrative Region. The law binds public and private entities to urban plans and determines the responsibility of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau for technical assessment of urban planning.
Speculation in the housing market has boomed due to Macau's economic development. The government sought to contain this by imposing a special stamp duty on property or property rights transactions; however, it soon became clear that the scope of such duty was too limited. Therefore, a new law seeks to expand the special stamp duty to other forms of property, as well as imposing a new tax on housing transactions.
Despite the fact that a revision of the Land Law has been under public consultation since January 2011, no forecast has been announced as to when such revision will be presented to the Legislative Assembly, approved or enter into force. As such, the law, which dates back to July 1980, remains the main piece of legislation relating to land in Macau. This update outlines the law's key provisions.
In order to address the problems arising from the large number of people working in the real estate sector who lack the necessary competence, the government recently requested that a comparative study of the legislation which governs the sector in other countries and regions (eg, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Portugal) be carried out with a view to developing a draft law to be submitted for public consultation.
The recent economic growth in Macau has led to a sharp rise in housing and office property prices. The Legislative Council has passed a bill to stabilise the housing market by introducing a special stamp duty on property and property rights transactions within two years of the transaction.