Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore: Eligibility Criteria and 6 Steps To Follow

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore: Eligibility Criteria and 6 Steps To Follow
Known for its good governance, political stability, transparency, efficiency and ease of doing business, Singapore is a popular location for foreign investments But can a foreigner buy a property in Singapore? The short answer is yes, and therefore one of the biggest questions among foreign investors is buying property in Singapore and the steps required.
However, who is considered a foreigner and how do they buy a property in Singapore?

Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore: Who’s Considered a Foreigner?

Simply put, you’re considered a foreigner if you are not a Singapore citizen, a Singapore company, a Singapore limited liability partnership or a Singapore association. As such, Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) are also considered foreigners.

What Foreigners Can and Can’t Buy

What SPRs can buyWhat non-SPRs can buy
Resale HDB flats (with another SPR or Singaporean)Private condos
Resale executive condominiums (ECs) that have reached their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP)Private ECs
Privatised ECsLanded properties in Sentosa Cove
Private condosLanded properties (with special permission from SLA)
Strata-landed homes
Landed properties in Sentosa Cove
Landed properties (with special permission from Singapore Land Authority (SLA))
Under the Residential Property Act, a foreigner can buy both public housing and private properties. However, there are restrictions on what foreigners can and can’t buy.

Public/Public-Private Hybrid Homes

The public housing market falls under HDB with certain restrictions.
Note that both SPRs and non-Singapore PRs are restricted from buying new HDB flats such as Build-to-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBFs) units as singles (you have to be married to a Singapore Citizen).
There are also several conditions.

Eligibility for Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore

1. If You’re a Non-SPR Buying Alone

You can only buy a privatised executive condominium (EC) that is more than 10 years old.

2. If You’re an SPR Buying Alone

Apart from new HDB flats, SPRs can’t buy a resale HDB flat alone, and can only buy resale ECs that have reached their five-year MOP.

3. If You’re an SPR Jointly Buying With Another SPR

  • A resale HDB flat (three years after obtaining your PR)
  • A resale EC that is more than five years old
  • A privatised EC that is more than 10 years old

4. If You’re an SPR Buying With a Non-SPR

  • A resale EC that is more than five years old
  • A privatised EC that is more than 10 years old

5. If You’re Jointly Buying as a Non-SPR Couple

  • A privatised EC that is more than 10 years old

Buying HDB Flat as a Singaporean-Foreigner Couple

If you are wondering whether you can buy a property as a mixed nationality couple, you can!
For HDB flats, you are allowed to purchase only a 2-room Flexi BTO flat (with a 99-year lease) in non-mature estates but you would have to be at least 35 years old and meet the income ceiling of $7,000.
Or you could buy any resale flat (excluding 3Gen flats and Prime Location Public Housing resale flats) so long you are 21 years old. At the time you submit your resale flat application, if your non-resident spouse is 21 and above, they must have a valid Long Term Visit Pass or Work Pass of at least 6 months; if they are 35 years and above, they need a Visit Pass or Work Pass of any validity period.
If you’re buying an HDB flat, you will need to submit your details and apply for the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter. Through the HFE letter, you will be able to know your HDB flat eligibility, CPF Housing Grant eligibility (and the amount you can get), as well as HDB loan eligibility (and the amount you can loan). Simply log in to the HDB Flat Portal to apply for the HFE letter.

Buying Private Property as a Singaporean-Foreigner Couple

For private properties, there are much fewer restrictions than public housing. They also come with better fittings, and designs and are generally closer to the Central Business District (CBD). If you’re buying a private condominium, they also come with facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, saunas, and more. The flip side is that they are more expensive compared to public housing.
But, does a Singaporean-foreigner couple have to pay Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)? The good news is that you don’t need to pay ABSD if you’re a foreigner or an SPR who’s married to a Singaporean and does not own any residential property.

Eligibility for Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore

Here are the common property types that foreigners are eligible to buy:
  • An apartment or condominium unit
  • A strata-landed house in an approved condominium development
  • 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
  • A landed property on Sentosa Cove

Foreigner Restrictions for Buying Private Property in Singapore

There are certain restrictions for foreigners 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:
  • Vacant residential land
  • Terrace house
  • Semi-detached house
  • Bungalow/detached house
  • Strata landed house which is not within an approved condominium development under the Planning Act (e.g. townhouse or cluster house)
  • 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.
You can apply online on SLA’s website. Alternatively, you can visit them at the following address: Taxpayer and Business Service Centre, Level 1, Revenue House. Do note visits to the Service Centre are strictly by appointment only.

Procedures for Buying Property in Singapore

1. Use 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.

2. Check If You Need to Pay Taxes

Foreigners are required to pay ABSD, on top of Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD), when buying private property in Singapore.

BSD Rates Rates For Buying Property in Singapore (2023)

First $180,000
Next $180,000
Next $640,000
Next $500,000
Next $1.5 million
In excess of $3 million
Or just use our stamp duty calculator to work out your duties payable on your new home.

ABSD Rates For Buying Property in Singapore (2023)

SPRs buying their first property5%
SPRs buying their second property30%
SPRs buying third and subsequent properties35%
Foreigners buying any property60%
Source: IRAS
SPRs have different rates depending on the number of residential properties purchased. Meanwhile, thanks to the April 2023 property cooling measures, an ABSD rate of 60% applies to foreigners buying any residential property in Singapore.
However, there is no need to pay ABSD for US nationals or nationals and PRs from Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. You can read all the conditions for remission on IRAS.
Aside from these costs, also note you need to factor in legal fees and other administrative fees too.

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, such as MRT stations, parks, economic drivers and ease of commuting to work as part of your selection criteria.
Browse all available properties for sale on PropertyGuru.

4. Hire a Property 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 1%. You can find a property agent in our property agent directory.

5. Apply for a Bank Loan

Foreigners are only eligible for a bank loan in Singapore. You can get up to 75% financing on the property’s purchase price. Bank loans are subjected to floating rates, meaning their interest rate can go higher or lower. Do note that bank home loans highly depend on the market.
Banks are also very strict should you default on your repayments and will not hesitate to repossess your home. Thus, it’s advisable to set aside at least 12 months of savings, just in case.
If you are unsure how to navigate the home loan application process, reach out to our friendly Mortgage Experts for personalised home financing advice. From choosing the best mortgage package which suits your financial needs to guiding you through the paperwork, they’re here to help!
If you’re looking for a mortgage, consider signing up for a home loan with PropertyGuru Finance. You’ll be rewarded with up to $700 worth of shopping vouchers. This promo is open to those who have just bought a new home and are searching for a mortgage too!

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 Flat Portal with your SingPass. You may refer to the resale procedure on the HDB website. Here is a quick outline of the timeline for an HDB resale flat:
For condominiums, you will need to put down an option fee of 1% of the purchase price, secure financing and pay the remaining option fee of 4% within a month. After this, you will need to pay the downpayment of 25%.
For foreigners, you will need to pay the downpayment in cash. For SPRs, you can use a mixture of your CPF OA savings and cash (of which at least 5% must be in cash).
For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.
Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. PropertyGuru Pte Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

More FAQs About Foreigners Buying Property in Singapore

Foreigners can only buy an HDB resale flat if they are married to a Singapore Citizen. As a non-resident spouse who is not a Singapore Citizen or Permanent resident, they need to have a valid Long Term Visit Pass or Work Pass (if 21 years and above), or a valid Visit Pass or Work Pass (if 35 years and above).

Yes, foreigners can get a home loan from a bank.

Yes. An SPR and a foreigner have different ABSD rates. Foreigners buying any property in Singapore have to pay a 60% ABSD tax.

Yes, you can! Refer to our article for more details.