Step-By-Step Guide For Buying Property In Singapore As A Foreigner

Although small compared to other regional countries, buying a property in this affluent city-state is considered a blue-chip investment. That’s because over the last few decades, Singapore has transformed itself from a backwater fishing village into an exciting, cosmopolitan city thanks to events like the world’s first Formula One night race and featured prominently in Hollywood movies like Crazy Rich Asians.

A country where English is widely spoken, Singapore is also known for good governance, political stability, transparency, efficiency and ease for doing business. This has helped put Singapore on the radar among foreign investors and made it an attractive property market. Another reason why foreigners like Singapore is the strength and stability of our economy and currency.

As such, several high-profile foreigners now call Singapore home, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, renowned billionaire investor Jim Rogers and Chinese actor Jet Li.

You are considered a foreigner if you are not a Singapore citizen, a Singapore company, a Singapore limited liability partnership or a Singapore association.

What You Can And Cannot Buy

Under the Residential Property Act, a foreigner can buy public housing or private property without approval from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

Public Housing

The public housing market falls under the Housing and Development Board (HDB) with certain restrictions.


Here are several property types that foreigners are eligible to buy:
   1. A single non-Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR):

  1. A resale Executive Condominium (EC) that is more than 10 years old

  2. A single SPR

  1. A resale EC that is more than five to nine years old

  3. A couple (both SPRs)

  1. A resale HDB flat
  2. A resale EC that is more than five to nine years old
  3. A resale EC that is more than 10 years old

  3. A couple (one SPR and a non-SPR)

  1. A resale EC that is more than five to nine years old
  2. A resale EC that is more than 10 years old

  3. A couple (both non-SPRs)

  1. A resale EC that is more than 10 years old

Private property

The private property market covers the private residential sector.


Here are the common property types that foreigners are eligible to buy:

  1. An apartment or condominium unit
  2. A strata landed house in an approved condominium development
  3. A leasehold estate in a landed residential property for a term not exceeding seven years,
    including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal
  4. A landed property on Sentosa Cove


There are restrictions when buying a landed property on the main island of Singapore.
As such, you will need to write to the Land Dealings Approval Unit when looking to purchase the following:

  1. Vacant residential land
  2. Terrace house
  3. Semi-detached house
  4. Strata landed house which is not within an approved condominium development under the
    Planning Act (e.g. townhouse or cluster house)
  5. Shophouse (for non-commercial use)

The approval is on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants stand a better chance if they can show proof that they have made an “exceptional economic contribution to Singapore”, as SLA puts it.

How To Apply

You can contact SLA at the following address:
Land Dealings Approval Unit
Singapore Land Authority
55 Newton Road
#12-01 Revenue House
Singapore 307987
Tel: 6478-3444
Alternatively, you apply online at SLA’s website.

Procedures for buying property in Singapore

Step 1: Use The PropertyGuru's Affordability Calculator

Now that you have a general idea of where to buy, the next step is to see if you can afford it. Here, you can use our PropertyGuru Affordability Calculator to check the maximum property affordability based on the current government regulations and property cooling measures. This will only take around five minutes.

Step 2: Check If You Need To Pay Taxes

Foreigners are required to pay Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) when buying private property in Singapore. SPRs buying their first residential property will need to pay an ABSD rate of five percent and 15 percent for their second and subsequent residential property. Meanwhile, foreigners will need to pay an ABSD rate of 20 percent regardless of the number of residential properties purchased.

Calculate how much stamp duty you need to pay for your Singapore property

However, there is no need to pay ABSD for US nationals or nationals and Permanent Residents from Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

You also need to pay a Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) and Mortgage Duty whether you are buying from the public or private housing markets.

Do also note you need to factor in legal fees and other administration fees.

Step 3: Go through PropertyGuru's listings

Our listings provide a comprehensive selection of resale HDB flats, ECs and private condos as well as new private property launches to suit your budget and desired location.

As a general guide, you should consider proximity to nearby amenities, MRT stations, parks, economic drivers and ease of commuting to work as part of your selection criteria.

Get more insights on the right locations for your new home at AreaInsider

Step 4: Hire an agent

An agent can help you scout for the best deals, do your financial calculations, settle your paperwork and other nitty-gritty details. They will typically charge an agent fee of one percent.

Looking to buy a home in Singapore? Speak to one of PropertyGuru’s preferred property agents and get advice

Step 5: Apply for a bank loan

Foreigners are only eligible for a bank loan in Singapore.

You can get up to 80 percent financing on the property's purchase price for the first property and 60 percent for the second and subsequent property.

Bank loans are subjected to floating rates meaning their interest rate can go higher or lower.

Banks are also very strict should you default on your repayments and will not hesitate to repossess your home.

Thus, you need to set aside at least 12 months of savings, just in case.

Step 6: Make an offer and seal the deal

Now that you have found your dream property in the HDB or private property market, it is time to seal the deal.

For HDB resale flats, you will need to log into the HDB Resale Portal with your SingPass.

You may refer to the resale procedure on the HDB website.

For condominiums, you will need to put down an option fee of one percent of the purchase price, secure financing and pay the remaining option fee of four percent within a month.

After this, you will need to place a downpayment of 15 percent in cash and/or CPF for SPRs.

For foreigners, you will need to pay this in cash.

Subsequently, you need to pay the remaining five percent in cash while the rest will be loaned by the bank.

Happy house hunting!

Source: Property Guru

Step-by-step guide for buying property in Singapore as a foreigner