While most Singaporeans are familiar with the process of buying an HDB flat or condominium, few of us actually have the experience of buying landed property in Singapore. After all, only 5% of Singapore households reside in landed properties.
For those of us who are fortunate enough to buy a landed property in Singapore (or those of us who are just curious about the process), here’s a complete guide to buying landed property in Singapore.
Types of Landed Property Available in Singapore
There are 3 main types of landed property in Singapore: terrace houses, semi-detached and bungalows.
According to URA, a terrace house is a house with its own land title that forms part of a row of at least 3 houses with common walls between them. Usually, the corner terrace houses (i.e. the 2 houses at the end of the row of terrace houses) are more sought after as they typically have a larger land area.
A semi-detached house is one half of a pair of two houses, each with its own land title, separated by a common wall along one side of the premises. They are usually joined side-by-side but can be joined back-to-back.
A bungalow is a detached landed house with its own land title. The property doesn’t share any common walls with any other property and is surrounded by land space.
Note: it is possible for all these types of landed property to be strata-titled.
While a good class bungalow (GCB) is technically a bungalow, it is usually categorised separately due to the unique characteristics that distinguish a GCB:
- A GCB must be located within the 39 GCB areas listed by URA
- Generally, land size of at least 1,400 sq m (about 15,069 sq feet)
- Cannot be more than two storeys high (excluding attic and basement)
- At least 60% of the land must be allocated to greenery and landscape
How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Landed Property In Singapore?
According to URA data which tracks the private residential property data, the price index for landed property is 184.8 for 2Q2021, a slight dip from 185.4 in 1Q2021, which jumped 6.7% from 4Q2021. This is the highest of all the private residential types which include non-landed property (i.e. condominiums), except for Outside Core Region (OCR) non-landed property which hit a hit of 189.1 in 2Q2021.
Between January 2021 and August 2021, a total of 1,959 resale landed property transactions had their caveats lodged or options issued, according to URA’s Private Residential Property Transactions. We did not look at new sales or sub sales as most landed property transactions are for resale properties. We also did not look at strata-titled landed properties.
|Terrace Houses||Average Price||Number of Transactions|
|Semi-Detached||Average Price||Number of Transactions|
|Bungalows||Average Price||Number of Transactions|
As seen from the figures above, buying a landed property is not a small sum of money for most people. The supply of available landed property is also limited. In general, you would expect to fork out above $3 million for a terrace house, close to $5 million for a semi-detached, and about $14 million for a bungalow.
The location also matters. The Outside Central Region (OCR) is the most affordable region to buy landed property while the Core Central Region (CCR) is the most expensive. The CCR is also home to the Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) which are known to be the homes of the wealthiest in Singapore.
Foreigners And Permanent Residents Are Not Allowed To Buy Landed Property In Singapore Without Approval
In Singapore, landed property is a restricted property type. Under the Residential Property Act, all foreign persons who want to purchase a landed residential property must obtain approval from the Controller of Residential Property in Singapore Land Authority (SLA).
Foreign persons are defined as anyone who is not a Singapore Citizen, Singapore company, Singapore limited liability partnership or Singapore society. Foreigners (including Permanent Residents) will have to seek approval to buy landed property in Singapore.
The SLA assesses each application based on factors such as being a Permanent Resident for at least 5 years and exceptional economic contribution to Singapore, including your employment income assessable for tax in Singapore. While foreign persons are allowed to buy landed property in Sentosa Cove, they are still required to seek approval from SLA prior to the purchase.
You Can Use CPF And/ Or A Bank Loan
Similar to buying private condominiums, landed property buyers can tap on their CPF monies as well as take a bank loan to finance their housing purchase.
To use your CPF savings to buy a private residential property, the property must have at least a remaining lease of more than 20 years. The amount of CPF that can be used is prorated based on the age and remaining lease. To use the maximum amount of CPF, the remaining lease must cover the youngest owner using CPF for the property until age 95.
The maximum amount of CPF that can be used towards private residential property (included landed property) is up to the lower of the purchase price or the valuation price of the property at the time of purchase, if you have already not met the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) and up to an additional 20% of the lower of the purchase price or the valuation price of the property at the time of purchase, if you have met the BRS.
As for a bank loan the same loan-to-value (LTV) and total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) for a bank loan apply for private property purchases. If you have no outstanding loan, the maximum you can borrow is 75% with a minimum of 5% cash downpayment. In total, our debt obligations including our housing loan cannot exceed 60% of our gross monthly income.
Title Searches Are Important Before Buying Landed Property
Unlike buying HDB flats and condominiums, landed property comes with land and this adds another factor to consider when buying landed property.
Land can come with easements and covenants that may restrict the use of the land. An example of an easement is giving of right of way. For example, if your property is the only route of access to another property, most likely the land title will have an easement that allows access to the second property. This would mean that there may be sections of your land that you may not build without consideration to the easement.
Understanding the limits of your land title is also crucial to avoid trespassing into other properties or state land. One example is the case of a couple who trespassed on state land for nearly 15 years.
While most landed properties come without land easements or covenants, your appointed lawyer should conduct due diligence on your behalf and highlight any issues.
It Is Not Mandatory To Lodge A Caveat For Landed Property
According to URA, “caveats are legal documents lodged by purchasers with the Singapore Land Authority to register their legal interest in the property. Caveats are usually lodged by purchasers after the Option-to Purchase is exercised or the Sales and Purchase agreement is signed.”
As it is not mandatory to lodge a caveat with SLA, some landed property transactions may not be captured by URA’s Private Residential Property Transactions and thus be in the domain of public knowledge. However, it is advisable for buyers to lodge a caveat as it protects the buyers’ interest. In cases where there is more than one claim to the property, the time of lodgement of the caveat will determine who is the first claimant to the property. This lodgement is typically done by the lawyer as part of the conveyancing process.
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