Singapore is one of the most attractive countries in the world to own a property in and it’s not hard to see why. It has a stable political environment, transparent system, low crime rates, good education system, and excellent infrastructure.
Not surprisingly, there is also a strong foreign demand for properties here in Singapore. However, under the Residential Property Act, only certain types of properties can be purchased by foreigners. Here are the types of properties a foreigner can (or cannot) buy in Singapore.
Who Is Considered A Foreigner In Singapore?
Property buyers are categorized into citizens of Singapore and approved purchasers under the Singapore Land Authority. Approved purchasers, or foreigners, are people who are not Singapore citizens. Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) and non-PRs fall under this category.
What Types Of Properties Can Foreigners Buy In Singapore?
According to the Singapore Land Authority, both PRs and non-PRs can purchase condominium units, strata landed houses in approved condominium developments, and leasehold estates in a landed residential property for a term not exceeding 7 years, including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal.
For executive condominiums (ECs), a PR can only buy resale ECs that have reached their 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) while non-PRs can only buy a privatized EC that is more than 10 years old.
In addition to these residential properties, foreigners are also able to purchase shophouses (for commercial use) and industrial and commercial properties.
What Properties Foreigners Cannot Buy Unless They Receive Approval For
These are the properties which a foreigner must seek approval to purchase:
- Vacant residential land;
- Terrace house;
- Semi-detached house;
- Bungalow/detached house;
- Strata landed house (eg. Townhouse or cluster house);
- Shophouse (for non-commercial use);
- Association premises;
- Place of worship;
- Worker’s dormitory/serviced apartments/boarding house (not registered under the provisions of the Hotels Act).
If you’re a foreigner (PR or non-PR) wanting to purchase any of the properties listed above, approval is granted on a case-by-case basis by the Land Dealings Approval Unit. Some factors that are taken into consideration for the approval, include but not limited to are being a PR of Singapore for 5 years or more and have made exceptional economic contribution to Singapore (employment income assessable for tax in Singapore etc.).
What Properties Can Foreigners Buy When They Become Singapore PRs
If you decide to become a Singapore PR and your application has been approved, one of the benefits that you get to enjoy is your eligibility to buy certain properties that non-PRs cannot buy.
A PR is eligible to buy public housing units if he or she also meets the other criteria set out by the Housing Development Board (HDB). These HDB units cannot be purchased by non-PRs.
|What Singapore PRs Can Purchase||What Non-PRs Can Purchase|
|Private Condominiums||Private Condominiums|
|Strata landed house in an approved condominium development||Strata landed house in an approved condominium development|
|A leasehold estate in a landed residential property for a term not exceeding 7 years, including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal||A leasehold estate in a landed residential property for a term not exceeding 7 years, including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal|
|Shophouse (for commercial use)||Shophouse (for commercial use)|
|Industrial and commercial properties||Industrial and commercial properties|
|Hotel (registered under the provisions of the Hotels Act)||Hotel (registered under the provisions of the Hotels Act)|
|Executive Condominium Unit *||Privatized Executive Condominium Unit|
|HDB Resale Flat *|
|HDB Shophouse *|
*Buyers must also meet HDB criteria to be eligible to purchase these properties.
What Happens To Your Property When You Are No Longer A PR Or Singapore Citizen?
Let’s say after you have become a PR and bought an HDB flat but then decide to let go of your PR status, you will not be able to retain your flat. You will need to sell your flat in the open market.
If this happens before you have completed the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), since you are unable to sell your flat in the open market, HDB will acquire your flat at a compensation price determined by them.
Also, as a Singapore citizen, restricted residential properties such as landed properties and land can be purchased. However, upon citizenship being given up, the individual (who is now no longer a Singapore citizen) is required to sell the property within 2 years from the date of cessation of being a citizen.
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