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    Rules for Buying Property in Singapore - Eligibility criteria for citizens, PR, and more

    In the market for a new home in Singapore? Or thinking about moving out of your family’s place after putting up with them for so long?

    If you don’t fall under the usual category (i.e., two Singaporeans getting married and buying their first BTO HDB), you’re probably wondering what sort of property you can buy here.

    The new rules for buying property in Singapore essentially depend on a few factors:

    • Your citizenship
    • Your age
    • Your marital status or family nucleus
    • Your household income
    • Your ethnicity
    • Whether you own any other property in Singapore or overseas

    Here’s where it gets tricky though: Singapore’s conservative Asian culture tends to assume that you’re part of a family unit (or at least have a fiancé). That means if you’re single or under a certain age, you’ll hit many walls when trying to find the right property to buy.

    When you consider the rules for Singapore PRs buying resale HDBs or perhaps foreigners looking for property in Singapore, things can get terribly complicated.

    With that in mind, this article gives you the breakdown of what kind of property you’re allowed to buy (based on your demographic):


    If you’re a Singapore citizen…

    You can pretty much buy any type of property you want in Singapore.

    That is, assuming you’re not swimming in cash. If you and/or your spouse draw a very high salary, you won’t be able to take advantage of subsidized government housing.

    Another snag is that you might be restricted on the size of the subsidized HDB flat you can buy, particularly if you’re single or marrying a foreigner.

    We won’t go in-depth into the requirements here since we have other articles outlining how to take advantage of HDB’s schemes, but here’s a quick table outlining what kind of property you’re eligible to buy:

      Single Marrying a Singapore Citizen (SC) Marrying a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) Marrying a Foreigner
    BTO HDB Only 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates after you turn age 35 Only 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates
    HDB Balance Flat
    No, unless purchased with parents (Public Scheme) OR unmarried siblings (Orphans Scheme) Only 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates
    HDB Resale Flat
    No, unless purchased with parents (Public Scheme) OR unmarried siblings (Orphans Scheme)
    Design, Build, and Sell Scheme (DBSS) Flat
    No, unless purchased with parents (Public Scheme) OR unmarried siblings (Orphans Scheme) No, unless purchased with parents, siblings, or children who are Singapore Citizens/PRs (Public Scheme)
    Executive Condominium (EC)
    No, unless purchased with parents (Public Scheme), unmarried siblings (Orphans Scheme), or other singles over 35 (Joint Singles Scheme) Only if EC is > 10 years old, and assuming your spouse has a valid visa
    Resale Private Property
    New Launch Condo
    Landed Property

     

    If you’re a Singapore PR…

    Unfortunately, Singapore’s housing schemes are heavily skewed to the benefit of Singapore citizens. This means that as a mere PR, you won’t be entitled to the same privileges as a citizen.

    That is, unless you happen to be marrying a Singapore citizen.

    Even then though, you’ll have to pay an extra premium ($10,000 on top of the purchase price!) when you purchase that BTO flat with your soon-to-be-spouse. Part of the family grant will also be withheld until you convert to Singaporean citizenship.

    Obviously, the odds are not in your favor – but at least you’ll enjoy a few more privileges than foreigners.

    This infographic from HDB outlines the difference between a pure Singapore citizen household versus an SC/SPR or SPR/SPR household:

    PRs buying property in Singapore have fewer benefits compared to Singaporeans.

     

    And here’s a quick table summarizing the type of property you can buy:

      Single Marrying a Singapore Citizen (SC) Marrying a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) Marrying a Foreigner
    BTO HDB   ✔ (must pay $10,000 on top of purchase price)    
    HDB Balance Flat
         
    HDB Resale Flat
    No, unless purchased with family members who are SCs or who have been PRs for at least 3 years (Public Scheme) ($10,000 from the Family Grant will be withheld) (Both parties must have been PRs for at least 3 years) No, unless purchased with parents, siblings, or children who are Singapore Citizens/PRs (Public Scheme)
    Design, Build, and Sell Scheme (DBSS) Flat
    No, unless purchased with family members who are SCs (Public Scheme) No, unless purchased with parents, siblings, or children who are Singapore Citizens/PRs (Public Scheme)
    Executive Condominium (EC)
    No, unless purchased with family members who are SCs (Public Scheme) (Only if EC is > 5 years old) Only if EC is > 10 years old, and assuming your spouse has a valid visa
    Resale Private Property
    New Launch Condo
    Landed Property

     

    If you’re a foreigner in Singapore…

    Foreigners face the most restrictions when buying property in land-scarce Singapore.

    For one, you basically won’t have any access to government subsidies for housing. Also, there are more hoops to jump through if you’re purchasing an Executive Condominium or landed property, which is why you see so many foreigners buying condos in Singapore.

    All foreign buyers also have to pay an Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (15%) on top of the regular Buyer’s Stamp Duty unless your country happens to be one of the few that has a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore.

    That means if you don’t anticipate staying in Singapore for very long, you may want to look for a rental rather than purchase a home.

    Here’s a quick table outlining the sort of property you can buy as a foreigner:

      Single Marrying a Singapore Citizen (SC) Marrying a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) Marrying a Foreigner
    BTO HDB   Only 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates    
    HDB Balance Flat
      Only 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates    
    HDB Resale Flat
         
    Design, Build, and Sell Scheme (DBSS) Flat
           
    Executive Condominium (EC)

    (Only if EC is > 10 years old)

    (Only if EC is > 10 years old)

    (Only if EC is > 10 years old)

    (Only if EC is > 10 years old)
    Resale Private Property
    New Launch Condo
    Landed Property ✔ (with prior approval from Singapore Land Authority) ✔ (with prior approval from Singapore Land Authority) ✔ (with prior approval from Singapore Land Authority) ✔ (with prior approval from Singapore Land Authority)

     

     

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