How to Buy Property in Singapore as a Foreigner

Who can buy property in Singapore?

Foreigners in Singapore can acquire private properties such as apartments and condominiums without restrictions, but government approval is required for the purchase of landed properties like bungalows. They are also limited to buying Executive Condominiums (ECs) that are at least ten years old. However, foreigners are ineligible to purchase HDB flats in Singapore.

In Singapore, individuals who do not hold Singapore citizenship, operate Singapore companies, engage in Singapore limited liability partnerships, or belong to Singapore associations are categorized as foreigners. This classification encompasses Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs), who are also considered foreigners in property transactions and other legal matters.

Do the research

Singapore, a sovereign city-state and island country located in Southeast Asia, is renowned for its economic prosperity, cultural diversity, and modern infrastructure. Despite its small size, Singapore has emerged as a global financial hub, attracting businesses, expatriates, and tourists from around the world. The country´s strategic location, efficient governance, and commitment to innovation have propelled its rapid development and transformation into a vibrant metropolis.

Investing in Singapore real estate presents several compelling advantages. Firstly, Singapore has a stable and transparent regulatory environment, which provides investors with confidence and security in their investments. The country´s strong legal framework, respect for property rights, and low corruption levels make it a safe and attractive destination for real estate investment. Additionally, Singapore is renowned for its high-quality real estate developments, characterized by modern design, innovative amenities, and sustainable features. Whether it´s luxurious waterfront condominiums, upscale landed properties or mixed-use developments, Singapore offers a diverse range of investment opportunities to suit various preferences and budgets. Finally, Singapore´s favorable tax regime, including low property taxes and absence of capital gains tax on property appreciation, enhances the investment appeal of its real estate market. Combined with the potential for rental income and capital appreciation, investing in Singapore real estate offers investors an opportunity to build wealth and diversify their investment portfolios in a secure and prosperous environment.

Here are some highly desirable locations for real estate investment:

  • Orchard Road - Known as Singapore´s premier shopping and entertainment district, Orchard Road is lined with luxury apartments and condominiums. Its central location and proximity to upscale malls, restaurants, and entertainment venues make it highly desirable.
  • Marina Bay - Offering stunning waterfront views and iconic landmarks like Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay is a prestigious residential area. It´s a prime location for luxury condominiums and penthouses, with access to world-class amenities and proximity to the Central Business District.
  • Sentosa Cove - As an exclusive residential enclave, Sentosa Cove features waterfront properties, including luxurious villas and condominiums. Its resort-style living, private marina, and proximity to Sentosa´s attractions make it a coveted address.
  • District 9 - Located near Orchard Road, District 9 encompasses areas like River Valley, Robertson Quay, and Somerset. It offers a mix of upscale condominiums, heritage shophouses, and trendy lifestyle options, attracting affluent residents and investors.
  • District 10 (Tanglin, Holland, Bukit Timah) - Known for its lush greenery and prestigious schools, District 10 is popular among families and expatriates. It features upscale landed properties, condominiums, and bungalows, with convenient access to amenities and nature reserves.
  • East Coast - Offering a laid-back coastal lifestyle, the East Coast is prized for its beachfront properties, park connectors, and recreational facilities. Areas like Katong and Marine Parade feature a mix of condominiums, landed homes, and heritage shophouses.

Where to find properties online:

Financing

Non-residents are eligible to apply for home loans in Singapore, albeit subject to an additional 20 percent stamp duty compared to permanent residents. As a foreigner seeking a home loan in Singapore, expect to furnish a comprehensive set of documentation during the application process.

Due Diligence and Sales Contract 

While there is no explicit law in Singapore mandating due diligence in residential property purchases, it´s strongly recommended. Neglecting this step could result in acquiring a property entangled in legal disputes, structural deficiencies, or financial burdens unbeknownst to you. Engaging professionals such as real estate agents, lawyers, and surveyors can prove invaluable. With their expertise, they can uncover crucial details you might overlook and navigate you through the intricacies of the process.

In Singapore, the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act regulates all contracts for the sale and purchase of houses by licensed housing developers. The Option to Purchase (OTP) and Sale and Purchase Agreements that you are obligated to sign adhere to standard form contracts outlined in the Housing Developers Rules.

Property Buying Costs and Taxes in Singapore

Transaction Costs
    Who Pays?
Option to Purchase (OTP) HDB - SGD1 - SGD1,000 ($0.75-$741)
Private Condo - 1%
buyer
Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD) 1.00% - 5.00% buyer
Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) 5.00% - 60.00% buyer
Conveyancing Fees SGD2,300 - SGD3,200 ($1,705-$2,372) seller
Real Estate Agent´s Fee HDB - 1.00%
Private Condo - 1.00% - 2.00%
buyer
buyer % seller
Seller Stamp Duty 0.00% - 12.00% seller
Costs paid by buyer 7.00% - 68.00%
Costs paid by seller 1.05% - 14.05%
ROUNDTRIP TRANSACTION COSTS 8.05% - 82.05%
Source: Global Property Guide

*HDB - Singapore Housing & Development Board

Footnotes to Transaction Costs Table

Buyer´s Stamp Duty Breakdown

When acquiring your initial property, all buyers, regardless of nationality (Singaporean, PR, or otherwise), are required to settle a Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD). The amount of BSD payable is contingent upon the percentage of the property´s market value or the purchase price, whichever is greater.

Buyer´s Stamp Duty (BSD)
Market Value of the Property BSD Rates for Residential Properties BSD rates for Non-residential Properties
First $180,000
1%
1%
Next $180,000
2%
2%
Next $640,000
3%
3%
Next $500,000
4%
4%
Next $1,500,000
5%
5%
Remaining Amount
6%
-

Additional Buyer Stamp Duty Breakdown

For individuals considering the purchase of a second or subsequent property in Singapore, an Additional Buyer´s Stamp Duty (ABSD) must be paid in addition to the Buyer´s Stamp Duty (BSD). The specific amount owed is determined by the buyer´s citizenship status (Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or foreigner) and the number of residential properties already owned.

Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)
  1st Property 2nd Property 3rd Property
Singapore Citizens
Not Applicable
20%
30%
Permanent Residents
5%
30%
35%
Foreigners
60%
60%
60%
Corporate Entities
65%
65%
65%

ABSD is rounded down to the nearest dollar, subject to a minimum duty of $1.

Seller´s Stamp Duty Breakdown

The Seller´s Stamp Duty (SSD) is calculated by applying the applicable SSD rate to the higher of either the selling price or the market value of the residential property as of the sale or disposal date.

Seller´s Stamp Duty (SSD)
Holding period SSD rate
Up to 1 year
12%
More than 1 year and up to 2 years
8%
More than 2 years and up to 3 years
4%
More than 3 years
No SSD payable

SSD payable is to be rounded down to the nearest dollar.