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Today is Oct 23, 2019
Desmond Kuah
Associate District Director
CEA Licence No.:
L3008899K / R014713G
Call (+65) 9338 8388
Foreigner Purchase

The Residential Property Act of Singapore states that a foreign person cannot acquire or purchase restricted residential property unless he obtains prior approval. Such property includes:

(a) vacant residential land; 
(b) landed property [i.e detached house, semi-detached house, terrace house (including linked house or townhouse)]; and 
(c) landed property in strata developments which are not approved condominium developments under the Planning Act.

A foreign person is defined under the Residential Property Act to be: 
(a) any person who is not a citizen, 
(b) any permanent resident, 
(c) any foreign company or any converted foreign company, 
(d) any foreign society or converted society.

Hence, even a permanent resident is categorised as a foreigner unlike in the case of purchasing a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat, whereby a permanent resident could be the applicant or the authorised occupant of the said flat. However, it does not necessarily mean that all foreigners are restricted from purchasing restricted residential properties in Singapore. A foreign person can still buy resticted residential property caught under the Act if he/she had obtained explicit approval from:

Land Dealings (Approval) Unit
Singapore Land Authority
55 Newton Road
#12-01 Revenue House
Singapore 307987

The approval will be looked upon favourably if: 
(a) the individual is a permanent resident
(b) an individual who can provide economic benefits to Singapore or makes adequate contribution in Singapore; and
(c) one who possesses professional or other qualifications or experience which are of benefits or advantageous to Singapore. 

foreigners who attained ownership of residential properties in Singapore prior to the commencement of the Act in 1973 can have the right to retain it. In the event the said foreigners are desirous to sell their properties, it shall have to be sold only to any Singapore citizen or approved purchasers as stipulated by the Act.

Foreigners who are interested in purchasing restricted residential properties but have yet to attain explicit approval from the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit, the real estate agent can still have the foreigners to commit in the sale and purchase of the property concerned by spelling out clearly in the Option To Purchase documents by the insertion of a clause, i.e.
“the intended purchase of the above mentioned property by the intending Purchases, namely one ___________ is subject to explicit approval from the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit, Controller of Residential Property, as stipulated by the governing Residential Property Act. In the event the approval is not validly obtained, it is hereby understood that the owners shall refund all monies without interests accrued to the said intending Purchaser and thereafter neither party shall have any claims, demands, proceedings, costs, expenses whatsoever against each other as pertaining to the said cancellation of intending sale and purchase of the said property concerned”.

Foreigners can acquire or purchase in Singapore the following residential properties without a written approval:
(a) An apartment in a building
(b) A unit in an approved condominium development. 
(c) Any non-residential, commercial or industrial property.
Note: A foreign person is not allowed to acquire all the apartments within a building or all the units in an approved condominium development without the prior approval of the Minister for Law.

For restricted residential property such as vacant land, landed properties such as bungalows, semi-detached, terrace houses, townhouses and strata landed property, foreigners need to apply for approval from Land Dealings (Approval) Unit, Singapore Land Authority before buying. For more details on application, visit the Singapore Land Authority website.

For HDB flats, HDB shop-houses and executive condominiums, eligibility is subjected to the Housing and Development Board.

To buy a flat directly from HDB, you must be a Singapore citizen, must include another Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident to form a family nucleus. To buy a flat from the resale market, you must be a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident. Include at least one listed occupier who is a Singapore permanent resident or Singapore citizen.

Are there any restrictions on home loans for foreigners?
Foreigners and permanent residents can borrow loans up to 70% - 80% of the purchase price of the property subjected to different banks criteria. Non-Singapore companies cannot be granted Singapore dollar loans to purchase residential properties.


What conditions must I fulfill if I am a Permanent Resident getting a home loan?
To obtain a Singapore dollar loan, you have to provide a
written understanding that you do not have outstanding housing loans from any other financial institutions in Singapore.
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