Procedure for Purchase

Expat Guide - Buy Property in SingaporeExpat Guide - Buy Property in SingaporeExpat Guide - Buy Property in Singapore

This page covers some brief information on the procedures to buy or purchase property in Singapore. Tips for foreigners or investors buying apartment, house or other properties in Singapore.

Please also read our Expatriates FAQ for more information.

Eligibility to Buy Private Property

In the year 1973, the Singapore Government has imposed restrictions on foreign ownership of all private residential property in Singapore. Such ownership is governed by the Residential Property Act.

The Act aims to give Singaporeans a stake in the country by being able to buy and possess their own residential property at an affordable price and also encourage foreign talent by allowing permanent residents and foreign companies who make an economic contribution to Singapore to purchase such properties for their own occupation.

The Residential Property Act (RPA) is then amended on 19 July 2005 to allow foreigners to purchase apartments in non-condominium developments of less than 6 levels without the need to obtain prior approval.

For restricted property such as vacant land, landed properties such as bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses, prior approval is still needed if foreigners wish to buy. Landed properties is a special class of residential property that Singaporeans aspire to own, and should remain restricted. Foreigners need to apply for approval from Singapore Land Authority before buying.

If you are a foreigner (or expatriate) and you wish to purchase a restricted residential property, you need to download the application form at You can submit the form together with the relevant supporting documents such as your entry and re-entry permits and qualifications to:

Land Dealings (Approval) Unit
No. 8 Shenton Way,
#27-02 Temasek Tower,
Singapore 068811

What are the non-restricted residential properties?

Foreigners are not restricted from acquiring:

  • Developments approved as a condominium development under he Planning Act
  • A flat in a building of 6 levels or more including the ground level and any level below the ground level including HUDC Phase I, Phase II flats and privatised HUDC Phase III and IV flats
  • A leasehold estate in restricted residential property (refer to A) for a term not exceeding 7 years including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal

What are the restricted residential properties?

Foreign persons (including natural persons, foreign companies and societies) are restricted from purchasing:

  • Vacant land
  • Landed residential property, such as bungalows, terrace houses, semi-detached houses
  • Residential property in a building of less than 6 levels

Other restricted properties

  • A HDB Shophouse
  • A HDB flat purchased directly from HDB
  • A resale HDB flat where HDB has consented to the sale
  • Executive Condominium bought under the Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, 1996

Eligibility to Buy HDB Property and Executive Condominiums

HDB Flats are apartments built and maintained by the Housing Development Board (HDB). More than 80% of Singaporeans live in HDB housing estates. HDB housing estates are usually self-contained towns with clinics, schools, supermarkets, food centres, as well as sports and recreational facilities. For the classification of HDB flats, the living room is counted as one room.

To buy a flat directly from HDB, you must be a Singapore citizen, must include another Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident to form a family nucleus. To buy a flat from the resale market, you must be a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident. Include at least one listed occupier who is a Singapore permanent resident or Singapore citizen. Please visit the HDB website for more details.

Executive Condominiums (EC) were introduced to cater to Singaporeans, especially young graduates and professionals who can afford more than an HDB flat but find private property out of their reach. ECs are comparable in design and facilities to private condominiums as they are developed and sold by private developers.

The first owner of a Executive Condominium are not allowed to re-sell their unit in the secondary market within the first 5 years. After the initial 5 years, owners are allowed to sell their units to Singaporeans. Foreigners can be only buy a Executive Condominium after 10 years, in which all restrictions will be lifted.

For HDB flats, HDB shophouse and Executive Condominiums, eligibility is subjected to the Housing And Development Board. Interested purchasers can approach HDB directly to enquire on their eligibility to purchase a HDB unit or Executive Condominium unit.

For more information/queries, please contact:

Housing and Development Board
480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh,
Singapore 310460
Tel : (65) 6490 1111
Tel : (65) 6397 2477

Property Investments for Permanent Resident Application

Under the Global Investor Programme (GIP) administered by the Economic Development Board (EDB), foreigners can be considered for Permanent Resident (PR) status if they invest a certain minimum sum in business set-ups and/or other investment vehicles such as venture capital funds, foundations or trusts that focus on economic development.

Private residential properties investment will be considered for application for Permanent Resident application. A foreigner can be considered for PR status if he invests at least S$2 million in business set-ups, other investment vehicles such as venture capital funds, foundations or trusts, and/or private residential properties. Up to 50% of the investment can be in private residential properties, subject to foreign ownership restrictions under the Residential Property Act (RPA). This is to attract and anchor foreign talent in Singapore.

Property Search

Engage a Realtor

A professional property agent in Singapore will assist you and protect your interest throughout the purchase, secure the offer for you at the best possible price. With a much better knowledge of Singapore, the agent will be in a better position to recommend and advice on the choice of property. He will also ensure that all documents are in order and you are dealing with the rightful owner of the property.

Use Only 1 Agent

Most property companies share the same database of property listings in Singapore. Therefore use only ONE agent at a time. If you approach many agents at the same time, very likely that they will show you the same property. Much confusion and embarrassment will arise if you engage many agents. Using 1 agent, you will save valuable time for yourself and the agent. He will then understand your needs and requirements better after a few viewings. Only if they are incompetence, unresponsive or not showing the correct property you wanted, then start to look for another agent.

Location, Budget, Stamp Duty, Rental Yield


Depending whether you are buying the property for own stay or investment, location plays an important role. Properties in prime districts retain their value very well and they usually have the highest capital gain in a bullish property market. Properties in the suburbs are lower in price and may be more suitable for own stay than investment. If you can purchasing the property for investment, the properties in prime districts like district 09, 10, 11 or the Central Business District are the safest buy. Properties with sea view at the East Coast are also great for a resort home or investment.


How much cash upfront you willing to pay for the property? How much CPF in your ordinary account that you can use for the purchase? The latest MAS ruling allows purchaser to loan up to 80% of the valuation or purchase price, whichever is lower. 10% must be paid in cash and the other 10% can be paid using CPF or cash.

Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD)

Stamp Duty Based on the Purchase Price or Market Value, whichever is higher:

Every $100 or part thereof of the first $180,000 - $1
Every $100 or part thereof of the next $180,000 - $2
Every $100 or part thereof of the remainder - $3

For ease of calculation, if the purchase price is more than $300,000, stamp duty payable will be:
3% of purchase price minus $5,400

Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)

On 7 December 2011, the Government announced the introduction of the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) to be paid by certain groups of people who buy or acquire residential properties (including residential land) on or after 8 Dec 2011. Subsequently, on 11 Jan 2013, the Government announced the revised ABSD rates applicable to purchases or acquisitions of residential properties on or after 12 Jan 2013.

Affected buyers are required to pay ABSD on top of the existing Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD). From 12 Jan 2013, buyers or transferees who are:

a) Foreigners (FR) and entities would have to pay ABSD of 15% on the purchase or acquisition of any residential property.

b)(i) Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) would have to pay ABSD of 5% on the purchase or acquisition of their first residential property.

b)(ii) Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) who already own 1 or more residential properties would have to pay ABSD of 10% on the purchase or acquisition of another residential property.

c)(i) Singapore Citizens (SC) who already own one residential property would have to pay ABSD of 7% on the purchase or acquisition of the second residential property.

c)(ii) Singapore Citizens (SC) who already own two or more residential properties would have to pay ABSD of 10% on the purchase or acquisition of another residential property.

The ABSD is payable by affected buyers at fixed rates on the actual price paid or market value of the property whichever is the higher.

Profile of buyerABSD rates (from 12 Jan 2013)
FR and entities buying residential property15%
SPR buying 1st residential property5%
SPR buying second and subsequent residential property10%
SC buying the first residential propertyNil
SC buying second residential property7%
SC buying the third and subsequent residential property10%

ABSD: Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty
FR: Foreigners
SPR: Singapore Permanent Residents
SC: Singapore Citizens

Visit IRAS website for more info:

Rental Yield

If you are buying the property for investment and intend to rent out the property, calculate the yearly rental yield versus the purchase price. Properties at district 09, 10 and 11 easily yield the highest rental returns. Due to the premium in price for freehold properties, they most likely have lower rental yields than leasehold properties.

If you are a non-residential foreigner (no valid employment permit or pass for long stay) purchasing a property for rental returns, do not forget to factor the personal income tax, which is moderately high at 20%. For foreigners who are working in Singapore with valid employment status, the tax rate will be much lower. Visit the IRAS website for more info on taxes.

Valuation & Loan

Check the indicative valuation for the property you intending to buy. Valuation directly affects the amount of loan you can get for the property. Take into account the number of years that you can loan, the monthly instalments, etc. On 12 January 2013, MAS announced new property cooling measures by lowering the Loan-to-Value (LTV) Limits and increasing the Minimum Cash Down Payment.

a) For individual borrowers who have no outstanding housing loans, the LTV limit will be 80%, or 60% if the loan tenure exceeds 30 years or the loan period extends beyond the borrower's retirement age of 65.

b) For individuals obtaining a second housing loan, the Loan-to-Value (LTV) limits will be 50%, or 30% if the loan tenure exceeds 30 years or the loan period extends beyond the borrower's retirement age of 65.

b) For individuals obtaining third or subsequent housing loans, the LTV limits will be 40% or 20% if the loan tenure exceeds 30 years or the loan period extends beyond the borrower's retirement age of 65.

d) For non-individual borrowers, the LTV limit will be 20%.

For HDB flats, you may want to check the eligibility to get a concession loan from HDB. If you are not entitled to get the loan from HDB, the other way is to get it financed by a commercial bank.

Documentation for Private Property

Option to Purchase

You have decided to purchase a property. Prepare 1% of the purchase price (as a consideration) in exchange for the Option to Purchase from the seller. Option to Purchase is usually prepared by the seller's (vendor) solicitor or property agent. You are usually given 14 days to decide whether to proceed with the purchase. If you decide to proceed, exercise the option by signing in your solicitor's office and forward it to the seller's solicitor together with another 4% or 9% (agreement between the vendor and purchaser) of the purchase price.

Offer to Purchase

Alternatively, you can ask your realtor to prepare the Offer to Purchase and attention to the seller. Clearly stating the price, sales completion date and others. Terms and conditions can be drafted by your solicitor or your realtor.

Completion of Sale

From then on, leave it to your solicitor for the completion of the sale, which will be completed in around 8 to 10 weeks time (agreement between the vendor and purchaser). Your solicitor will lodge a caveat on the property, coordinate with the financial institution, CPF board (if applicable), prepare the mortgagor/mortgagee documents.

Stamp fee will be payable to Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore within 14 days upon exercising the Option to Purchase or signing the Sales and Purchase Agreement when you buy from a property developer. For stamp fee payable, refer to the 'Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD)' and 'Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)' sections above.

For HDB flats, there is also an option period of 21 days for the buyer to consider over the intended purchase, to check his eligibility, financing aspects and other issues such as whether the flat is affected by redevelopment/upgrading, the liability to pay upgrading cost/levy etc. If the buyer does not wish to buy the resale flat, he can let the Option expire and loses only the option fee. To ensure a standardised practice, HDB has the following guidelines for the Option Fee, Deposit and Option Period:

Option Fee - An amount not exceeding $1,000
Deposit - An amount not exceeding $5,000 (including the Option Fee)
Option Period - 14 calendar days

Please visit the HDB website for more details.

Inspection Before Taking Over Property

The buyer can request and state clearly in the Option to Purchase for permission to inspect the property before the completion of the sale. Check the fixtures and fittings, and also the items that the seller had agreed to sell with the property.

For HDB flats, HDB will do the inspection on your behalf. They will check for any unauthorised renovation. Seller will need to reinstate the flat into the condition allowed before HDB approve the sale.

Commission Payable

As each realtor may charge differently, please refer to your realtor for the service fee payable.

Buyer and seller should ensure that an invoice from a licenced real estate agency is issued to them. Upon payment, do not pay cash directly to the realtor, instead, issue a cross-cheque payable to the realtor's agency according to the invoice.

Related Page

Re: Cobra and python!

that is so cool!

Re: short term internet contract

I remember M1 have short term broadband package

Re: How soon can I re-enter SG after being refused entry? I will have an IPA for E pass

Yes I am female, professional. No I didn't get a ban. I want to avoid getting a ban all in all as travel to other countries would make it potentially difficult as well. I visited Singapore several times over the last 6 months but not only to Singapore. I was also travelling to 9 other different countries during the same period. I decided to take some time off work and wanted to travel around the world - UK, US, Australia, South and Southeast Asia.

What would be my best bet? Should I wait for the ICA reply, or is the IPA good enough? And how long does ICA reply with an outcome?

Thank you again.

Re: Singapore deputation - Things to Carry + Other Newbie Advice Needed

I had a paragraph, and then said the heck with it, and deleted it. I've done my share of regurgitation here. Let him use google or the very capable search engine on this site. All the answers are there. Or let JR8 write another 500 word reply to him. ;-)

Re: RE: Singapore deputation - Things to Carry + Other Newbie Advice Needed

. What other critical items am I missing out?

Thanks - Kapil

Probably a bit of search here, and Google would help a lot

Instead of throwing a generic wish list

Or so I feel

Re: 27F from Scotland just moved and looking for people to hang out with and explore singapore

Hi, I just moved to Singapore less than two weeks ago and I'm keen to meet people who want to hang out, have a few drinks and explore Singapore! I'm 27 and have been an expat for 5 years but this is my first time in Singapore. I'm loving it so far and just looking to widen my social circle beyond work friends. Let me know if you want to meet up, I'm really keen to go to Sentosa etc and explore that soon so if anyone is keen let me know and we can get something arranged :)


Do you have freckles and ginger coloured hair?

Re: Acne problems

Are you washing your razor in alcohol after shaving to disinfect it?

Re: German wife's LTVP/LTVP+ chances

Not entirely dissimilar (though reversed roles) to my wife and I, at the time of our first LTVP application.

In our case, when you file the application, if necessary the SVP is extended in order that the entire process can be seen through. So there might be little reason to submit it the very day she lands. I'd take a little time for her to unpack, check she has all her dox in hand etc., photocopies, passport pix, etc etc. Then you can proceed knowing you're giving it your absolute best shot. Presumably you have downloaded the forms, and she already knows she has every document required? It's waaay easier sorting this out before she arrives, than later on realising she needs original or copy dox from back home.

One thing you don't mention that perhaps counts is any employment history she has. If they see she has some experience, might not be sitting around twiddling her thumbs, and better yet can perhaps bring talents, skills and experience to SGs workplace then that is only to your advantage.

- No I don't see being EU 'counting against her'. There is probably some benefit in being of Chinese genes, so in that way being DE/EU is a disadvantage, but there's nothing you can do about that, and IMHO it is not something to concern yourself about.

On the LTVP application form these days there is a simple tick-box that reads (roughly) 'Would you like your application to additionally be considered for an LTVP+'. I don't see any harm in ticking it. Maybe they won't grant the '+' this time, who knows, perhaps they'll want to see how you cope on one income. But if so, as and when you come to renew it I'd tick it again. ... Maybe you'll get the '+' first time, it's impossible to say.

p.s. PR is another matter, and the rules/sands shift on it the whole time. I'd focus on getting the LTVP, the +, then later PR...

Good luck to you, let us know how you get on.

Singapore deputation - Things to Carry + Other Newbie Advice Needed


I'm being deputed to Singapore from Mumbai, India, in a few weeks time.

My workplace is at the western end of the island and hence I'm looking at Jurong (E), Boon Lay, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi and Bukit Timah for potential accommodation options. The accommodation would be a shared one with no stiff roommate requirements. Any suggestions with what to expect in which area would be welcome.

Is there a checklist of items that I should be carrying along from Mumbai? I will not be cooking much and mostly lunch and dinner would be done out of the house. I'll probably need an adapter for the electronics. What other critical items am I missing out?

Thanks - Kapil

Re: RE: How soon can I re-enter SG after being refused entry? I will have an IPA for E pass

Hi I need some help regarding re-entry into Singapore.

I am a previous E pass holder and has since returned to Philippines after my contract ended. 6 months ago my previous employer had contacted me and offered me a job at a different jobsite and we started with the paper works. 2 weeks ago I was refused entry to Sg for visiting too frequently. I have written an appeal to ICA but no reply yet. I expect my IPA to be issued within the next week, my question is will I be able to enter Sg again? I'm aware that I will be pulled into the ICA office again for questioning. Should I wait for an outcome for my appeal before I try to re enter Sg?
I will have enough cash with me, hotel booking and return ticket as well as I want to mark sure all things are in order because I really need this job.

Thank you and any help would be appreciated.

A lady I presume, frequently travelling to Singapore .. no guesses why ICA did an A to A.

With the IPA if you come back, should not have problems, unless you got a ban.

How many times did you visit Singapore after your last job here ?

Re: 27F from Scotland just moved and looking for people to hang out with and explore singapore


加我wechat:C a i L i n 8 7 9

Re: RE: JOb Change in Epass

I am in Epass. I am planning to change job. If my new employer applies Epass, is there any notifications will be sent to my current employer from MOM. I am thinking of telling my current employer after my new epass gets approved... Pls give me sugestion.

Your current employer will not be notified ...

... but if they have a very very kiasu HR, they may know it as soon as your new employer has submitted the application.

JOb Change in Epass

I am in Epass. I am planning to change job. If my new employer applies Epass, is there any notifications will be sent to my current employer from MOM. I am thinking of telling my current employer after my new epass gets approved... Pls give me sugestion.


Re: Singapore Elections and Immigration Policy Changes

@SMS. So how many MPs do you think the oppo's will see returned, based upon their own merits rather than NMPs?

Is Asia unique in being unsuited to democracy; and if so why do think this is?

I reckon they will return all they currently have and I would not be surprised if they actually pick up another small GRC and a single seat. But which ones I don't know, but I do know that the smell of death hasn't reached most of the disgruntled voters so they will still vote with the emotions and not with their heads. I'd really like to see either Aljunied or Hougang returned to the PAP. Aljunied for personal reasons and Hougang or Aljunied just to show the WP that their wins were just a fluke as well, and the disgruntled are starting to see the world for what it is.

On their own merits? Zero. None have any merit as far as I can see.

I don't know if any continent is more or less unsuited to democracy. I'm not sure, but it seems to me that for an Asian country to pull ahead, they need to be lead (read that "pulled") kicking and screaming to the next level. Harry Lee was just such a person. Could it ever be duplicated? That's the magic question. I seriously doubt it (and still have a quasi-parliamentary/democratic style of governance). Of course the whole world thought Lee was taking on a sure failure so, I really don't know.

Re: Singapore Elections and Immigration Policy Changes

Hmmm not wishing to nit-pick too much but Farage has never been an MP in the UK so cannot have been ousted. UKIP did have two MPs prior to the last election both Tory defectors, Carswell won his seat and the other chap whose name escapes me didn't. Farage is still an MEP (Member of the European Parliament) as he has been since 1999.