Can a foreigner buy a flat in Singapore?

The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2023 says Singapore’s housing market is “fairly valued” now.

Despite the government’s efforts, it’s still a good time for non-Singaporeans (or foreigners) to think about buying property in Singapore.

Key Takeaways

  • Foreigners can purchase private residential properties in Singapore, but there are restrictions on public housing and executive condominiums.
  • Foreign buyers are subject to additional taxes and duties, such as the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) and the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD).
  • Foreigners can apply for mortgage loans in Singapore, but they face stricter loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and cash down payment requirements.
  • Acquiring landed properties in Singapore is generally restricted for foreigners, with some exceptions for the Sentosa Cove development.
  • The immigration status of the foreign buyer plays a significant role in their eligibility to purchase residential properties in Singapore.

Understanding Foreign Property Ownership Rules in Singapore

In Singapore, who can own property is very defined. The Singapore Land Authority says a “foreign person” is someone not from Singapore. This can include Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs), who aren’t citizens but live there long-term.

The Singapore Residential Property Act sets the rules for foreigners to own property. It details what foreign person can and cannot do when buying in Singapore.

Key AspectsDetails
Foreign Person DefinitionAny non-Singaporean, including PRs, not owning property through local companies or groups.
Singapore Residential Property ActCovers how foreigners can buy homes in Singapore, defining their rights and restrictions.
Permanent Resident EligibilityPRs must follow the same rules as other foreigners when buying property in Singapore.
Non-Resident Purchase RestrictionsLimitations exist on what properties non-Singaporeans, including PRs, can buy.

To buy property in Singapore, foreign person definitions and the Singapore Residential Property Act are key. Knowing the rules helps non-residents plan their investments wisely.

Can a Foreigner Buy a Flat in Singapore?

In Singapore, the rules on buying property can seem rather tricky, especially for foreigners. Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) enjoy more flexibility, while foreigners encounter some limits.

Restrictions on Public Housing and Executive Condominiums

Foreigners can’t buy public housing units subsidized by the government and sold by the HDB. These units are for citizens and PRs only. Yet, Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) can purchase resale HDB flats, with a few rules to follow.

Foreigners also face a no-go on executive condominiums (ECs), a mix of public and private housing. Only Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) may buy ECs.

Eligibility for Private Residential Properties

Even though foreigners can’t buy many types of property, they can get private ones. This includes private homes like apartments, condos, and landed houses (with extra checks).

But, buying these private properties might come with more hurdles. That’s because foreigners may need to pay higher fees and meet stricter loan rules. These steps help keep the housing market steady in Singapore.

Taxes and Duties for Foreign Property Buyers

Foreigners buying property in Singapore face specific taxes and duties. They include the buyer’s stamp duty (BSD) and the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD). There are also property tax rates designed for foreign owners.

Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD)

The Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) is a tax for all property buyers in Singapore. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or not. The rate is higher for foreigners, who must pay between 1% and 4% of the property’s price or value.

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)

Foreign property buyers also deal with the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD). It’s an extra tax on residential property purchases. Right now, the ABSD for foreigners is 20%.

Property Tax Rates

Foreign property owners pay more in property taxes than locals. Rates for foreign owners range from 10% to 20% of the property’s annual value. This depends on the property’s type and use.

Tax/DutyRate for ForeignersRate for Singaporeans/PRs
Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD)1% to 4%1% to 4%
Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)20%0% to 25%
Property Tax10% to 20%4% to 16%

These extra taxes and duties can make buying a property in Singapore cost much more. It’s important for foreign buyers to be aware of them.

Landed Properties and Sentosa Cove

Foreigners can look into buying property in Singapore. But there are rules for buying landed homes. Foreigners cannot own bungalows, terrace houses, or shophouses unless it’s for business.

Requirements for Landed Property Purchase

Foreigners must get okay from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to buy landed homes. They do this by submitting an application. The SLA looks at where the buyer lives, what they plan to do, and the home’s use.

Sentosa Cove Exception

The rule changes for the exclusive Sentosa Cove area. Here, foreigners can buy and own luxury homes without special business needs. This is a unique chance for foreigners to have a piece of landed property in Singapore.

Eligibility for Landed Property in SingaporeForeigners have to ask the SLA for approval to buy most landed homes, but not in Sentosa Cove.
Sentosa Cove Landed Property OwnershipThey can buy homes in Sentosa Cove, given they meet certain rules.

Mortgages and Financing Options for Foreigners

Foreigners buying property in Singapore have different mortgage options. But, they must follow specific rules. These rules are for people from other countries.

Loan-to-Value Ratio and Cash Down Payment

For foreigners, the LTV ratio is lower than for local citizens and residents. The limit is currently set at 55%. This says that foreigners need to pay 45% in cash for the property’s price. The aim is to make sure they can handle their mortgage payments well.

Documentation Requirements

Buying a property in Singapore if you’re from another country requires a lot of paperwork. Foreign buyers need to show how much they earn and where they work. They also need to prove they can afford the property. This includes showing a copy of their passport and their permission to live in Singapore. This makes sure they’re allowed to buy land there.

Mortgage Options for ForeignersLTV RatioCash Down Payment
Residential Property55%45%
Commercial Property50%50%
Landed Property40%60%


Foreigners can buy property in Singapore, but they must follow some strict rules. These rules are not the same as those for Singaporeans or permanent residents. Foreigners must understand the laws of the Singapore Residential Property Act. They should also know about the taxes and ways to pay for the property.

Singapore is known for its strong economy and great living conditions. This makes many foreigners want to invest in its real estate. It’s wise for them to learn the rules and work with local experts. This will help them make smart choices that suit their future plans.

Deciding to invest in Singapore’s real estate takes serious thought and study. But, with the right help and effort to learn the system, foreign buyers can do well. They can enjoy the benefits of owning property in this exciting city-state.


Can a foreigner buy a flat in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners can buy private homes in Singapore, like condos and apartments. But, they can’t buy public housing from the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

What is the definition of a “foreign person” in Singapore?

In Singapore, a “foreign person” means someone not from there. This includes those without citizenship, and even those who are Permanent Residents (PRs).

What are the restrictions on property purchases for foreigners in Singapore?

Foreigners can’t usually buy certain types of homes in Singapore. These are like bungalows and terrace houses. They need special permission from the government to buy such properties.

What taxes and duties do foreign property buyers in Singapore need to pay?

Buying property in Singapore comes with extra costs for foreigners. They must pay higher Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) than locals.

Can foreigners apply for mortgage loans in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners can get mortgage loans in Singapore. But they face some extra rules, like needing more money upfront and providing more documents.