For Expats and Foreigners: Your Essential Singapore Property Buying Guide

The latest statistics once again prove that Singapore is a hotbed for property investment for prospective buyers worldwide. With its transparent and efficient processes, stable economy and sound political leadership, owning a luxury home in the sunny island state is something many investors have turned to despite the economic downturn worldwide. Not only does this attest to the stability of the property market here, it is also evidence of the future growth of luxury homes in Singapore. This month's Insight provides the essential buying guide for foreigners, with statistics and details for even the most discerning.
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Singapore is a lively and vibrant nation, with many annual expat surveys ranking the city-state as among the best, if not the best place to live, regardless of culture or background.

The Singapore real estate market has also piqued the interest of many High Net Worth expats, the bulk of whom hail from China, India, the U.S., and neighbouring countries like Indonesia.

If you’re in the market for luxury properties in Singapore, here’s a basic guide to help you get started.

1. Who is a foreigner/expat?

Let’s begin with clear definitions – a foreigner or expat is someone who is not a citizen of Singapore. As for entities, it covers those that are

  • not a Singapore company
  • not a Singapore limited liability partnership
  • not a Singapore society


2. What if I’m a Permanent Resident (PR)?

Great! You have access to buying a wider range of luxury properties, including Landed Homes (if you apply for a special concession with the Singapore Land Authority and fulfil their criteria).

3. What are the taxes and duties I’ll have to pay?

Firstly, there’s the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD), which everyone is required to pay, regardless of citizenship status, which can be calculated here. Then there is the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), which stands at 60% for foreigners. If you’re a PR, your first property’s ABSD rate stands at 5%, with the second property at 30%, and the third and subsequent properties at 35%.

Do note a major caveat:

  • foreigners hailing from the United States, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein do not have to pay this ABSD on their first residential property purchase in Singapore.

Foreigners may also apply for mortgages here. Speak with one of our luxury realtors if you have questions regarding mortgage duty, loan-to-value ratio limits, and other administrative and legal fees.

4. What types of properties are available for sale?

Among the Singapore properties for sale to foreigners, one can find an entire spectrum, ranging from executive condominiums above 10 years old, condos and luxury condos certain strata landed houses and landed properties on Sentosa Island, renowned for celebrity owners such as Australian hedge fund manager, Stephen Fisher, whose island home bears the title of one of the most relaxing homes in the world, according to tech site Gizmodo.

5. Where are some of the most coveted properties for foreigners and expats?



A resort island connected to the mainland by a short bridge or monorail, one can find sprawling luxury homes belonging to the well-heeled, both local and expat, in the exclusive Sentosa Cove enclave on the eastern side of the island, with white sandy beaches practically at one’s doorstep.

Foreigners may own landed properties here, the only place in Singapore where this is allowed. These homes are famous for their impressive interiors and world-class architecture, appearing in magazines both locally and internationally, as well as their oceanfront views and private marinas for the residents’ seacrafts.

Condo residences include the Coast at Sentosa Cove, with its large-format apartments, each boasting a sea view and the Reef at King’s Dock (housing Singapore’s only floating pool). If it’s a private waterfront bungalow estate with a resort feel you prefer, then Coral Island would be your choice.


Keppel Bay

In the same district but on the mainland, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the Keppel Bay condominium developments, with their elevated views of the surrounding seas and spa-like amenities.



Orchard Road

In the heart of town, one will find the coveted and prestigious Orchard Road properties. You might already know Orchard Road for its world-famous status as the shopping district of Singapore, but did you know that this area is also where some of the country’s top public and private schools are located, along with some of the best medical facilities like Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre? 

The Cairnhill residences perch on the rise behind these magnificent shopping malls, a quiet residential enclave with various developments such as bungalows, heritage shophouses and luxury condos. It’s simply amazing how these homes are right in the centre of town while still retaining a sense of privacy and exclusivity, as they are tucked away amongst verdant greenery and buffered from the busy streets below.

Among the most impressive condos located here are Boulevard 88 and Ritz-Carlton Residence. The renowned Moshe Safdie designed Boulevard 88, which is the same architect responsible for the world-famous Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s iconic casino, hotel, and shopping mixed development that dots the city skyline by the bay.

Like Marina Bay Sands hotel, Boulevard 88 also boasts a rooftop infinity pool, with magnificent views of the prime Orchard Road and Cuscaden shopping district.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, true to its name, is the first freehold Ritz-Carlton Residence property in Asia. Built on elevated land in Singapore’s prime central district, these 56 residences and two penthouses are the pinnacles of luxury living in Singapore. Each apartment has superior finishes, designer fittings and appliances, and en-suite bathrooms for each bedroom. Residents get to enjoy the beautiful amenities and service excellence that is synonymous with The Ritz-Carlton name.


Robertson Quay

Suppose you love the city lights but also enjoy a riverfront experience. In that case, Robertson Quay is a beautiful expat enclave along the Singapore River, not 10 minutes from Orchard Road uptown and the downtown business and administrative hubs of City Hall and Raffles Place. Bars, cafes and restaurants of every kind imaginable dot the riverside, while the nightlife is always exuberant and welcoming.

Martin Modern and Rivière are two gorgeous condos right by the riverside. They offer views of the surrounding city and its namesake river, complete with a modern, sleek design and classy interiors.


Amber and Meyer Road

An idyllic coastal residential area, The East Coast has always been known since Singapore’s early days as a family-friendly abode for those who enjoy the more languid culture of the eastern part of the island, away from the busy ports and Central Business District in the south and west. 

The Amber Road and Meyer Road apartments are located here, along the East Coast Parkway highway linking the airport to the city. This is the place to live if your family loves the sun, sand and sea because right across the road lies the East Coast Park and its kilometres of white, sandy beaches and azure-blue water. This iconic beach park is accessible via a series of underpasses that link it to the nearby condos.

Two condos that embody the area’s resort-like feel are Silversea and Meyer Mansion. Silversea is one of the best-selling condos in the area, with its proximity to shopping malls, restaurants and hawker centres that serve a gourmand’s dream of local fare. With its panoramic sea views, luxurious interiors and lush tropical landscape, every day will feel like resort-living  

Not to be beaten is Meyer Mansion, which boasts a whole 75% of its site reserved for impressive amenities and landscaping that will amaze any nature enthusiast. Talk about having your private tropical garden at your doorstep!

With so many choices, we can imagine that the last but not least important question on your mind would be the following.


6. How do I find myself a luxury realtor that I can trust?

At Singapore Luxury Homes, we’re amply equipped to help you navigate through all the necessary documentation and financial transactions to facilitate a smooth and fuss-free experience. We are happy to tailor our services to suit your specific needs. Our fees are pegged to the current market rates so that you can be assured of complete transparency and our utmost integrity.

Feel free to get in touch with us at info@sgluxuryhomes.com.sg

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