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Singapore has announced a partial relaxation of property cooling measures which have softened prices in one of Asia’s most expensive housing markets.

Stamp duty will be payable by sellers after three years of purchase, down from four, the Ministry of Finance and two other government agencies said in a statement on Friday. The rate of this duty will be cut by four percentage points for each tier.

The new rates range from four per cent for properties sold in the third year after purchase to 12 per cent for those sold in the first year.

The measures take effect from Saturday. An additional stamp duty for buyers will remain in place.

Singapore private residential prices fell 3 per cent in 2016, the third consecutive year of declines.

The city-state remains the world’s seventh-most expensive city for luxury property, ranking between Sydney and Shanghai, according to property consultant Knight Frank, which rated Monaco and Hong Kong the two most expensive cities in the world last year.

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