Buying Property in Singapore

Is it a good time to invest into Singapore property now?

Private residential prices rose for a second straight quarter in the final three months of 2017, reinforcing signs that Singapore’s property market is emerging from a four-year slump. Now it’s a good time to consider buying property in Singapore to ride the wave of housing market recovery.

Singapore home price is on the rise now, prices may rise as much as 8-10% and up to 17 per cent over the period 2018 to 2021, supported by higher economic growth, falling physical completions and ongoing collective sale deals. Some analyst even forecast the home price to double by 2030.

So before we look into Singapore property investment, it is good to understand some of the rules and regulation pertaining to the purchase of a private residential unit.

(BSD)Buyer stamp duty and(ABSD) Additional Buyer stamp duty

What is stamp duty in Singapore?

Stamp duty is a tax on documents relating to the purchase or lease of a property. It is to be paid by the buyer to IRAS within 14 days after the date of the document (e.g. Sale & Purchase Agreement, Tenancy Agreement) if the document is signed in Singapore. If the document is signed overseas, it has to be paid within 30 days after the date of its receipt in Singapore.

Typically Buyer’s Stamp Duty is paid on the acceptance of the Option to Purchase (OTP) / Sale and Purchase Agreements (S&P). These documents are prepared and signed when you buy or sell your property. Stamp Duty is payable on the actual price or market price, whichever is higher. The buyer is responsible for paying Buyer’s Stamp Duty.

New Buyer’s Stamp duty rates.

The government will raise the top marginal buyer’s stamp duty rates for residential properties from 3 per cent to 4 per cent with effect on 20 February 2018.

Residential Properties that values more than S$ 1 million will be affected buy the new rates.

A calculation of the Buyer’s Stamp Duty for residential property

Payment% of Stamp Duty
On the first S$180,0001%
Next S$180,0002%
Next S$640,0003%
Remaining Amount4%

To simplify the stamp duty calculation for property above S$ 1 million;

Purchase Price (S$) x 4% -S$15,400

How about Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) was first introduced on 7 December 2011 as one of the cooling measures and was revised upwards on 12 Jan 2013 to further control the escalating housing prices in Singapore. A New revision of Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) was implemented on 6 July 2018.


There are nationalities of a few countries which would be treated as Singaporeans (for purposes of the ABSD) due to the Free Trade Agreements between Singapore and these countries.

The Following Groups would be treated as Singaporeans.
Nationals and PRs of
– Iceland
– Liechtenstein
– Norway
– Switzerland

​Nationals of

– United States of America (USA)

This is not automatic and you will still need to submit an application to IRAS but you can withhold the payment while submitting the application to IRAS.

HDB Minimum Occupation Period (MOP)

Before going into more details, for Singapore buyers who owns a HDB units (flats from Housing and Development Board) must fulfill the minimum occupation period (MOP) before they are allow to purchase a private residential property. Typically the MOP is 5 years.

The MOP starts from the date you take possession of your flat (including subsequent changes to flat ownership through outright transfer) to the following dates, whichever is earlier:

  • Date on which the Option to Purchase (OTP) the private property is exercised
  • Date of the Sale and Purchase Agreement of the private property, regardless of whether it is still under construction or ready for possession

Types of HDB Sold Flats


Computation of MOP

Flats bought from HDB5 yearsFrom date of taking possession/ transfer of your flat to the following dates, whichever is earlier:

  • Date on which the Option to Purchase of private property is exercised
  • Date of the Sale and Purchase Agreement of the private property
Resale flats bought with CPF Housing Grant
Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats bought from developer
Resale flats purchased without CPF Housing Grant
(for resale applications submitted on or after 30 August 2010)

Loan to value (Singapore property)

Loan to value (LTV) is one of the key criteria when a home buyer decides on a housing loan. It is simply a term to describe the housing loan quantum a bank or financial institution is willing offer as a percentage to the valuation of the property

Effective 12 January 2013

1) All residential property loans will now only allow a maximum loan tenor of 35 years.

2) If you take up a loan of more than 30 years or extends past the age of 65, you can either

a) borrow up to 50% of property value if you do not have an existing housing loan

b) borrow up to 30% of property value if you have an existing housing loan

3) Non-individual borrowers will now have a cap of 20% LTV