How to buy landed property in Singapore

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As stated in the Residential Property Act, foreigners since 1973 are not allowed to purchase landed properties in mainland Singapore.

An application to the Land Dealings Unit under the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) must be made if the foreigner has intentions in purchasing landed property in mainland Singapore. Form 1A will need to be filled up.

Only if approval is granted, can they go ahead and source for a landed property to purchase.

Typically only PRs (Permanent Residents) may be granted permission to purchase landed property with factors such as his qualifications and economic contributions to Singapore playing deciding roles.

SLA will take approximately 30 days to issue a verdict.

Foreigners who are not PRs are allowed to purchase landed property, provided the property in question is on Sentosa Island. In this case, due to the upscale nature of Sentosa property, the application can be processed within 48-hours.

Once approval has been given, the foreigner will need to acquire the services of a licensed real estate agent (RES). This can be done through PropertyGuru's portal.

Foreigners have to take note that aside from the purchase price and on top of the regular 3% stamp duty, there will be another 10% Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD). The ABSD extends to all residential property and includes residential land. The latest cooling measures in 2013 have increased the 10% ABSD by between 5% and 7% across the board.

The 2013 measures also requires the foreigner to make a minimum cash downpayment of 25% if the foreigner already has an existing housing loan. This amount was increased from 10%

Foreigners are restricted from buying good class bungalows or any landed property exceeding 15,000 sq ft. It does not matter if the property is a leasehold or freehold.

If the property purchased is a plot of land for the construction of a dwelling house or is a built up property which the foreigner intends to in the future tear down to re-build a new house, carry out reconstruction work and/or additions and alternation works to the house, then the foreigner is also disallowed from disposing the property within three years after the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) has been issued or three years after the Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) is issued, whichever is earlier.

If the property purchased was a house for personal dwelling, then the foreigner cannot sell the property within three years after the date of purchase for the project.

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