HomeReal EstateUltimate Guide For Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore
Exclusive Guide For Foreigners Buying Property In Singapore 2024

Ultimate Guide For Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore

1. Eligibility Criteria For Foreigners Buying Property In Singapore

Singapore is a vibrant financial hub in South East Asia and the city state has enjoyed political stability, strong economic growth and it is a melting pot of diverse cultures, a clean and safe country with an efficient public transportation system. Singapore’s air and sea ports are constantly ranked amongst the top in the world and provides a gateway to countries in the region.

Singapore views home ownership as one of the key pillars in nation building and it makes up the core of its public housing policy. Today Singapore has a high home ownership rate of close to 90% and more land is earmarked to accommodate the growing population. Generally foreigners are allowed to purchase properties in Singapore but it will be at higher taxes and there are certain restrictions to take note of. Foreigners buying properties in Singapore generally want to invest in their long-term future and to take advantage of favourable currency appreciation.

Singapore defines a foreign person as any person who is not any of the following:

  1. Singapore citizen;
  2. Singapore company;
  3. Singapore limited liability partnership; or
  4. Singapore society.

While a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) is also considered a foreign person, a SPR however receives certain privileges for buying property in Singapore such as a lower Additional Buyer Stamp Duty Rate (ABSD) for the first property and the eligibility to buy a HDB resale flat with a spouse as compared to a non-resident foreigner.

  1. Condominium unit;
  2. Flat unit;
  3. Strata landed house in an approved condominium development;
  4. A leasehold estate in a landed residential property for a term not exceeding 7 years, including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal;
  5. Shophouse (for commercial use);
  6. Industrial and commercial properties;
  7. Hotel (registered under the provisions of the Hotels Act); and
  8. Executive condominium unit, HDB flat and HDB shophouse. (subject to prevailing HDB guidelines)

3. Can Foreigners Buy HDB Flats In Singapore?

As a rule of thumb, foreigners are not allowed to purchase HDB flats singly. Foreigners must apply with their Singapore Citizen spouses to purchase resale HDB flats [except 3Gen and Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) flats].

Singapore Permanent Residents can apply to purchase HDB flats jointly with another Singapore Permanent Resident or Singapore Citizen. A SPR Household can buy all types of resale flats (except 3Gen flats) and all applicants and core occupiers must have SPR status for at least 3 years.

4. Can Foreigners Buy Private Property In Singapore?

Foreigners can buy private apartment units and condominium units without approval under the Residential Property Act.

5. Can Foreigners Buy Landed Property In Singapore?

Singapore Permanent Residents and Foreigners are not allowed to buy landed property in mainland Singapore without the prior approval from the Land Dealings Approval Unit (LDAU).

Singapore Permanent Residents are eligible to buy a landed property in Sentosa Cove while foreigners have to seek fast track approval from the LDAU for the purchase.

The restricted residential property must be owner-occupied and cannot be rented out. This condition is imposed on all foreigners buying restricted residential properties in Sentosa Cove.

6. Can Foreigners Buy Freehold Property In Singapore?

Singapore Permanent Residents and foreigners are eligible to buy freehold property in Singapore.

Type Of PropertySingapore Permanent Residents (SPR)Foreigners (Non-Residents)
BTO FlatYes, with a Singapore CitizenYes, with a Singapore Citizen (only 2-room flexi in non-mature estate)
Resale HDB FlatYes, with a Singapore Citizen or SPR (all must have SPR status for 3 years)Yes, with a Singapore Citizen
New Executive Condominium (EC)Yes, with a Singapore CitizenNo
Resale Executive Condominium (EC)Yes, for ECs that have fulfilled 5 years Minimum Occupation PeriodYes, for ECs that have fulfilled 10 years Minimum Occupation Period
Strata-landed houseYesNo. Requires LDAU's approval
Strata-landed house in an approved condominium developmentYesYes
Landed Property In Sentosa CoveYesYes, with approval from LDAU
Landed PropertyNo. Requires LDAU's approvalNo. Requires LDAU's approval

Yes foreigners are generally allowed to purchase non-residential properties in Singapore without restrictions. Foreigners can own commercial shophouses, office units, warehouses, retail shops with the same stamp duty treatment as the locals.

9. What Are The Stamp Duties And Property Taxes That Foreigners Have To Pay?

For this guide we will only touch on the stamp duties that foreigners have to pay for the acquisition of the property. Foreigners will pay the same property taxes as would a resident in Singapore.

10. Buyer's Stamp Duty Rates (BSD)

Purchase price or market value of the propertyBSD rates for residential propertiesBSD rates for non-residential properties
First $180,0001%1%
Next $180,0002%2%
Next $640,0003%3%
Next $500,0004%4%
Next $1,500,0005%5%
Remaining amount6%5%

11. Applicable Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) For Foreigners

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty is another type of tax on top of BSD. It was introduced as a cooling measure to rein in property speculation. However, it only applies to Singapore Permanent Residents and foreigners or Singaporean Citizens intending to buy more than one residential property in Singapore.

Singapore has recently increased the ABSD rate for foreigners’ purchase of residential properties from 30% to the current 60%.

There are exemptions given to Nationals or Permanent Residents of the following countries and they will be accorded the same Stamp Duty treatment as Singapore Citizens:

1. Nationals and Permanent Residents of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
2. Nationals of the United States of America.

The current ABSD rates applicable to a Singapore Citizen are as follow:
1. First Residential Property – Not applicable
2. Second Residential Property – 20%
3. Third and Subsequent Residential Property – 30%

12. Example: Computation Of Stamp Duties For Foreigners Buying A S$3 Million Property

Buyer’s Stamp Duty = (6% x S$3 million) – S$60,400 = S$119,600

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty = 60% x S$3 million = S$1.8 million

Total Amount Of Stamp Duty Payable = S$119,600 + S$1.8 million = S$1,919,600

13. Can Foreigners Apply For A Mortgage Loan In Singapore?

Yes foreigners are eligible to apply for a home loan for the purchase of a property in Singapore. The local and major foreign banks offer competitive home loan packages.

Before applying for a home loan, there are two important considerations:

  1. In-Principal Loan Approval (IPA)
    It is advisable that you obtain an IPA from a bank before you commit to a purchase. The IPA will inform you the maximum loan amount and tenure you can borrow up to.

  2. Loan-To-Value (LTV) Ratio
    The LTV ratio will indicate the loan amount the bank will lend you relative to the property’s purchase price or market valuation (whichever is the lower). If you don’t have an existing property loan, you can borrow up to 75% LTV of the property’s purchase price. The LTV will be determined based on the number of property loans, credit worthiness and ability to service the mortgage payments.

14. Does It Make A Difference If I Am A Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR)?

Yes it does. Permanent Residents enjoy significantly lower ABSD rates than foreigners. They also get more access to purchase HDB flats and Executive Condominiums. Permanent Residents still have to apply to the LDAU for approval to purchase landed properties. 

In the course of our dealings, we note that foreigners have various reasons for choosing to buy properties in Singapore. This could be due to wanting to diversify their risks for wealth preservation, hedge against inflation and their home currency and long term plans to settle their family in Singapore. It is important to first understand your plans before you decide to sell your property as you will have to pay a high ABSD rate should you decide to purchase a property later on. 

If you are a foreigner considering to buy a property in Singapore, you may like to consider to engage an experienced real estate agent to help you navigate through the process. Please get in touch with The Landed Collective Team to buy your property in Singapore

Thinking of buying a property?

You may be thinking what is the next step for you and if it is worth going through the necessary groundwork to buy a property.

When is the best time to buy and how can I purchase it at the best price?

Here at The Landed Collective, we specialise in residential properties and that means, HDB flats, Condos, Landed Houses and New Developer Sales. 

Before you start anything, speak to us for a complimentary consultation as we will provide you with comprehensive advice, run through the essentials on the property market and answer any questions you may have.