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Things to know before buying Residential Property in Singapore as a Foreigner

Singapore property

There are many reasons why foreigners are purchasing their properties in Singapore. If you have decided to purchase a residential property in Singapore, you are at the right page.

Buying a residential property in Singapore is not as complicated as it might seems to be. We are here to explain the things you need to know with your first purchase of residential property in Singapore.

Type of residential Property Foreigners can buy

There are many types of residential properties in Singapore – HDB, Condominiums, Landed Property, Shophouses, Apartment & etc.

HDB also known as public housing is residential flat built for Singapore citizens. Thus, foreigners are not allowed to purchase HDB flats.

The most commonly properties that foreigners purchase is property under strata title . Properties under the title can be Condominiums, Apartments and etc. These flats are classified as private property and comes with different sizes from Studio to 4 or 5 bedrooms.  

For landed properties, foreigners can purchase strata landed houses in an approved condominium development. Although there are not many supplies of such development, one can still try their luck in the open market   

Another option that some foreigners considered Sentosa Cove. Sentosa Cove is a special plot of land that Singapore Government has approved for foreigner to purchase. Sentosa Cove is located at a small Island in the south of Singapore.

Lastly, if all options fail, you can obtain approval from Land Dealing Authority Unit of Singapore for residential landed property in Singapore before purchasing one.

Ownership Tenure – Leasehold Vs Freehold

The ownership of property in Singapore is very different from many countries. Despite buying the property, you don’t own it forever. Most property tenure with leasehold range from 99 year lease to 999 year lease. If you are looking to handover your property to the next generation, you will need to look at Freehold properties.

With that in mind, - The remaining lease is one of the things you need to take note of when you purchase a property in Singapore 

Property Loan from Bank

Foreigners can apply for bank loan and loan amount varies. Knowing how much loan you can get helps you to budget during hunting for house.

Stamp Duties & Additional Buyers Stamp Duties

Foreigner need to pay buyer stamp duties (1- 4%) and additional buyer stamp duties (60%) when you purchase residential properties in Singapore. Do note that the stamp duties need to be paid after signing of sales and purchase agreement. One is not allowed to pay stamp duties via instalment.

An exception applies for US Nationals, or Nationals and Permanent Residents from Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. If you fall under this category, you will pay the same tax rates as a Singapore citizen.

Seller Stamp Duties

All residential property owner need to hold the property for at least 3 years to avoid paying seller stamp duties. This is a cooling measure implemented by the government on

Property Tax

Property Tax is rarely mentioned in any of the guide. Property tax is applicable for all property owner. There is a different rate of property tax for tax resident and non-tax resident.

Foreigner Staying in Singapore

Foreigners staying in Singapore for long term need working visa. For those who are not working will be considered on tourist visa. Depending on nationality, one can stay in Singapore for 30 or 90 days.

Long term pass is offered to foreigners who are:

– Holding an Employment Pass or S Pass.– Earning a minimum fixed monthly salary of $5,000– Sponsored by an established, Singapore-registered company (usually your employer)

Below are some FAQ by many and I thought this helps to clarify:  

Can Foreigner Buy HDB?

The answer is No. Only Singaporean is eligible to purchase HDB in Singapore. There must be minimum one Singaporean Citizen to be eligible for the purchase. Below are the schemes for foreigners to purchase for HDB Resale:

Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme (Singapore Citizen & Foreign Spouse )

Your spouse must have a valid Long Term Visit Pass or Work Pass at the time you submit your application to buy a resale flat. The pass must have a validity period of at least 6 months from the date of issue.

Note: Note: If you have a child from the marriage and the child is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident, you can buy a flat under the Public Scheme.

Non-Citizen Family Scheme (Singapore Citizen & Long Term Pass Holder)

Singaporean to form a family nucleus with foreign family member – parent, sibling or children. At least 1 parent/ child must have a valid Long Term Visit Pass or Work Pass at the time you submit your application to buy a resale flat. The pass must have a validity period of at least 6 months from the date of issue.

Note: If the pass expires during the transaction to buy a resale flat, it must be renewed and valid at the time you complete the resale flat purchase.

How can foreigner avoid paying ABSD for Singapore Properties?

The answer is pretty straight forward – Become a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident in Singapore. Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) pays 5% ABSD on their first property count.

How to become a Permanent Resident in Singapore?

The journey to becoming a SPR is a long journey and does not happen in weeks. Even foreigner with Singaporean spouse have to wait a couple of years to get their PR status. Thus, if you are planning to settle down in Singapore, do plan early. Below is the condition to become PR from official ICA website:

  • Spouse of a Singapore citizen (SC) or Singapore permanent resident (PR)

  • Unmarried child aged below 21 born within the context of a legal marriage to, or have been legally adopted by, a SC or PR

  • Aged parent of a SC

  • Holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass

  • Student studying in Singapore

  • Foreign investor in Singapore.

My Spouse is a Singapore citizen and I am a foreigner, do I need to pay for ABSD?

If this is your first and only matrimony house, you can apply for ABSD remission. Do note that you need to pay the stamp duties upon stamping and apply for remission afterwards.

A full ABSD remission may be applicable to a married couple who purchases a residential property jointly. The couple must include a Singapore Citizen (SC) spouse and the property must be purchased under both names of the couple only. In addition, both the spouses must not own any residential property.

My Spouse is a SPR and I am a foreigner, do I need to pay for ABSD?

Yes, you need to pay ABSD of 60%. ABSD remission only applies when one of the spouses is a Singapore Citizen.

Do you have more question? Do comment below !



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