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 society or converted society.
A foreigner can still purchase residential properties in Singapore. In fact, a permanent resident is also considered an alien or a foreigner according to the Residential Property Act, and yet they are allowed to apply and occupy a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat. They just need the explicit approval from the Land Dealings Approval Unit which is considered to be the Controller of Residential Property, as seen in Section 24 of the Residential Property Act, to be able to purchase a residential property.
The approval will be based on the following preferred criteria:
- Have Permanent Resident status
- Have the ability to benefit Singapore economically or contribute adequately in Singapore
- Qualified and experienced professionals of different fields that will benefit Singapore
Foreigners who are owners of residential properties in Singapore before the Act was released will retain their right to the property. In case they would like to put their property on the market, only Singapore citizens and other approved purchasers will be allowed to buy the property according to the Residential and Property Act.
If you are interested in buying a residential property in Singapore but still need to get the Land Dealings Unit approval to purchase, you can still do so. Just have a real estate agent include in the documents, in the section “Option to Purchase” the clause stating that “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 1976. 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 are allowed to purchase real estate properties without the written approval of the Controller of Residential Property Land Dealings provided that:
- It is a condominium unit by an approved developer
- It is any commercial, industrial, or non-residential property
- It is your job to buy property for your boss
To be able to purchase vacant lands, bungalows, terrace houses and semi-detached houses, 6-level buildings, foreigners need to get approval from the Singapore Land Authority. For more details, visit the website of Singapore Land Authority.
The Housing and Development Board is responsible for giving the eligibility to purchase their shop-houses, flats, and executive condominiums. HDB allows Singapore citizens to buy flats directly from them provided that the occupants include another Singapore citizen and a Singapore permanent resident. From the resale market, Singapore citizens are still able to buy HDB flats including Singapore permanent residents as long as one occupant is either a Singapore permanent resident or a citizen.
Are there any restrictions on home loans for foreigners?
Foreign persons are allowed a loan of up to 70% - 80% of the purchase price of the property still subjected to various bank criteria. Foreign companies are not able to get a loan in Singapore dollar to purchase residential properties.
What conditions must I fulfill if I am a Permanent Resident getting a home loan?
To be eligible to get a home loan as a Permanent Resident , you have to submit a written statement that you do not have outstanding housing loans from other financial institutions in Singapore.