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  • LINC Team

Considerations When Buying Real Estate for Foreign Residents in Singapore

Singapore's real estate market is a good choice for foreign resident investors, whether you’re buying an investment property or somewhere to live, thanks to a combination of limited land availability and consistent interest from global investors. For foreign residents, purchasing real estate in Singapore involves a series of steps, considerations, and criteria that must be met, though. In this article, we’ll look at:


Considerations When Buying Real Estate for Foreign Residents in Singapore

  • Property ownership options for foreign residents

  • Summary of eligibility scenarios for foreigners buying property in Singapore

  • Property restrictions for foreign buyers

  • Tax considerations and estate duty

  • Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) and Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)

  • Getting a bank loan

  • Loan-to-value (LTV) limits

  • Is buying real estate in Singapore a good investment?

  • Expert guidance


Property ownership options for foreign residents


Navigating property ownership in Singapore involves specific options for both Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) and non-SPRs. Depending on your residency status in Singapore, you are able to purchase different types of properties. Here's a breakdown of property ownership possibilities for foreign residents:


  • Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) can buy resale Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats jointly with another SPR or a Singaporean citizen.

  • SPRs are eligible to purchase resale Executive Condominiums (ECs) once they fulfil the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) requirement.

  • SPRs have access to private ECs.

  • Non-SPRs can purchase private condominiums and private ECs.

  • Non-SPRs are also eligible to buy strata-landed homes.

  • Landed properties in Sentosa Cove are open for purchase to non-SPRs.

  • Special permission from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is required for non-SPRs to buy landed properties.



Foreigner residents have the opportunity to invest in both public housing and private properties under the Residential Property Act. However, certain buying restrictions are in place for non-residents.


Summary of eligibility scenarios for foreigners buying property in Singapore


  • Non-Singapore Permanent Resident (Non-SPR) Buying Alone:

    • Eligible to purchase a privatised executive condominium (EC) that is more than 10 years old.

  • Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) Buying Alone:

    • Allowed to buy resale Executive Condominiums (ECs) after the five-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) has been fulfilled.

    • Cannot purchase a resale Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat individually, except for new HDB flats.

  • SPR Jointly Buying With Another SPR:

    • Eligible to acquire a resale HDB flat three years after obtaining SPR status.

    • Permitted to purchase a resale EC that is more than five years old.

    • Can invest in a privatised EC that is more than 10 years old.

  • SPR Buying With a Non-SPR:

    • Allowed to buy a resale EC that is more than five years old.

    • Eligible to acquire a privatised EC that is more than 10 years old.

  • Joint Purchase by Non-SPR Couple:

    • Eligible to purchase a privatised EC that is more than 10 years old.


Properties restrictions for foreign buyers


Foreign individuals seeking to purchase landed properties in Singapore encounter specific limitations. Prospective foreign buyers are required to contact the Land Dealings Approval Unit for certain following property types:


  • Vacant residential land

  • Terrace houses

  • Semi-detached houses

  • Bungalow/detached houses

  • Strata landed houses not within an approved condominium development under the Planning Act (e.g. townhouses or cluster houses)

  • Shops for non-commercial use


Applicants may increase their likelihood of approval by demonstrating evidence of an "exceptional economic contribution to Singapore," as stated by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). The application process can be completed online via SLA’s official website.


Tax considerations and estate duty


There are no tax implications from buying property in Singapore, and neither is there a Singaporean capital gains tax when you sell your real estate in Singapore, however, foreign residents may be liable to capital gains taxes on their global gains in their country of origin, depending on the tax rules in that country.

If you purchase real estate in Singapore as a rental investment, you will be liable to Singaporean income tax at normal rates for residents.

One tax advantage is the Singaporean government does not levy estate duty, which is beneficial for those planning to pass on their property to their heirs. In addition, property taxes are relatively low compared to other global cities, enhancing the overall return on investment properties.


Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) and Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)


When you buy real estate in Singapore, you have to pay Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD). A significant consideration for foreign residents when purchasing property in Singapore is the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD). ABSD was introduced in 2011 to disincentive non-permanent resident foreigners from buying properties and residents from buying multiple properties, due to limited housing supply. While Singaporean citizens and permanent residents benefit from lower ABSD rates, foreigners who aren’t permanent residents face higher rates, making it essential to factor in these costs when budgeting for property investment.

Below are the Singapore ABSD rates for 2023:


  • Singapore Citizens (SCs) buying their first property: 0%

  • SCs buying their second property: 20%

  • SCs buying their third and subsequent properties: 30%

  • Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) buying their first property: 5%

  • SPRs buying their second property: 30%

  • SPRs buying their third and subsequent properties: 35%

  • Foreigner residents buying any property: 60%

  • Entities (companies or associations) buying any property: 65%

  • Trustees for any residential property: 65%

  • Housing developers for any residential property: 35% (additional 5%; non-remittable)


Getting a bank loan


Foreigners in Singapore can secure bank loans, typically with a variable interest rate. It's important to note that banks have strict rules regarding repayment defaults and can repossess your property. To be safe, consider setting aside at least a year's worth of income in savings as part of your financial planning.


Some of the banks in Singapore that are often favoured by foreigners include: DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, UOB (United Overseas Bank) and Standard Chartered Bank.


Loan-to-value (LTV) limits


Foreign residents should also take note of Loan-to-Value (LTV) limits, which determine the maximum percentage of the property's value that can be financed through a loan. For foreign residents, the LTV limit tends to be lower compared to citizens and permanent residents. As a result, foreign buyers may need to provide a larger upfront payment when securing their property.


Is buying real estate in Singapore a good investment?


Whether you’d like to invest for rental income or capital appreciation, real estate in Singapore can be a great investment for foreign residents, despite Additional Stamp Duty, which can reduce the appeal of investing in Singaporean real estate for non-residents.


This is partly due to resilient price increases over time due to limited space to build new housing, while low local income tax rates and no capital gains tax contribute to the appeal of investing in real estate in Singapore, although you may be liable to global tax rules in your country of origin.


Expert guidance


Real estate purchase in Singapore should align with your financial planning and investment goals, and seeking the assistance of a qualified Singapore investment advisor who specialises in working with foreign residents will help you make the best decisions in your long-term best interests and also help you secure the best loan for your circumstances, should you require one.


If you have any questions about financial planning as a resident in Singapore, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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