freehold condo for sale

Top Picks of Timeless Luxury Freehold Condos for Sale in Singapore

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As the market for high-end properties in Singapore’s Core Central Region (CCR) struggles to regain footing, the freehold condo sector in Singapore has remained resilient.

Industry analysts have noted that Singaporean purchasers are increasingly prominent in the high-end market, highlighted by the initial sales of Watten House in Bukit Timah. Over half of the 180 units available were quickly bought, with prices averaging $3,230 per square foot (psf), spanning from $3.06 million to approximately $14.5 million, as reported by URA Realis data.

freehold condo

Historically, foreign purchasers accounted for 7.8 to 17.7% of the luxury housing transactions in the CCR. Yet, doubling the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for foreigners to 60% in April 2023 has markedly diminished their presence in the market. Nonetheless, due to established free trade agreements, nationals from the US, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are exempt from the ABSD on their first residential property in Singapore.

The Singapore property market is experiencing contrasting trends. While foreign buyer activity in the Core Central Region (CCR) has significantly cooled, with purchases dropping from 162 units in Q1 2023 to just 39 units in Q3, the ultra-luxury segment reflected only six transactions above the $10 million mark in developments like Nassim Park Residences and Ardmore Park. The slowdown in the luxury residential market is anticipated to persist into the first half of 2024.

freehold condo Singapore

“This shift created an opportunity for more Singaporeans to access a market that may have previously been just slightly out of reach,” suggests Sunita Gill, cofounder and COO of Singapore Luxury Homes.

PropNex reports indicate that the CCR defied the general market downturn, with new home sales increasing 32% from 25 units in January to 33 in February. Notably, since the launch of Watten House in November 2023, no new projects have debuted in the CCR over the past 3 months. In February, the most popular CCR projects were Klimt Cairnhill and One Bernam, each selling 5 units at median prices of $3,434 psf and $2,567 psf, respectively.

Understanding Freehold Condo Ownership

Except for nationals from countries with free trade agreements granting them the same ABSD rates as Singaporean citizens, foreign buyers face a 60% ABSD on purchases of freehold condos for sale in Singapore. Permanent Residents (PRs) are charged 5% ABSD on their first residential condo, 30% on their second, and 35% on their third and any additional properties.

When purchasing a private residential condominium in Singapore, grasping the concept of legal ownership is crucial. This involves understanding the difference between freehold and leasehold condos. In Singapore, a few properties, including detached multi-bedroom mansions and luxury condominiums, are freeholds, meaning they can be owned indefinitely. Conversely, most properties are leasehold, implying that ownership is fixed. There are, however, some exceptions to this general rule.

condo for sale in Singapore freehold

Freehold property ownership is a common mode of ownership in several countries around the world. Singapore recognises freehold as the primary means of owning real property or a part of the land, in theory, and any immovable structures attached to such land. Freehold condo ownership offers a permanent stake in the property, unlike leasehold, where ownership eventually returns to the landowner upon lease expiration.

When you buy a leasehold condo, you may consider yourself a property owner. Still, you are technically only occupying it as a tenant for a set period — the term as agreed on your lease. Leases often last for decades, however. Typically, leases are sold between 99 and may extend to 999 years.

Generally, owning a freehold condo is better because it gives you greater ownership rights and control.

freehold or leasehold condo

For two otherwise identical properties, a freehold condo typically costs more. Due to their scarcity, freehold condominiums often fetch higher prices than equivalent leasehold properties with similar age, size, and views. 

If a property is bought as an investment rather than a home, renters usually don’t mind if it’s freehold or leasehold, given their short-term stay. However, for owners, the duration of the lease is significant as it may affect loan rates.

Foreigners can secure mortgages from local banks but with some key differences, according to Gill. “Be prepared for a larger down payment and stricter loan-to-value limits than Singaporean citizens or Permanent Residents.”

Singapore Freehold Condo Market Overview

The Straits Times highlighted that condominium resale prices increased 7.5% in 2023, continuing for the fifth consecutive month into December.

According to URA flash estimates, in Q4 2023, prices for private residential non-landed property, such as freehold condominiums, increased by 2.2%, mainly because of sales in new projects. Over the whole year, these prices increased by 6.5%, which is slower than the 8.1% rise we saw in 2022. Specifically, in the city’s central areas, these properties’ price growth slowed to 2.1% and 2.7%, from higher increases the year before.

freehold condo for sale Singapore

According to EdgeProp data, there were 4,560 private freehold condo resales, with an average price growth rate of 21% from 2014 to 2024. More recent, in February for the Core Central Region (CCR), Rest of Central Region (RCR), and the Outside Central Region (OCR):

ProjectRegionUnits Sold in Feb 2024Median Price in Feb 2024 ($PSF)

Source: PropNex Research, URA (15 March 2024)

Gill notes, “Sales of new private homes in February were subdued due to the Lunar New Year and a scarcity of new project launches.” However, she emphasised that “the average price growth, particularly in the resale market for condominiums, is still upwardly positive”.

Singapore freehold condo

A freehold property ownership typically lasts indefinitely, staying yours until you decide to sell. However, it’s crucial to know that rules and costs may evolve. Owners of freehold condos can sell the rights for future redevelopment to developers through an en bloc sale, with the diminishing lease not affecting freehold sites.

Consult with our team of luxury real estate advisors for a sound investment and to align with Singapore’s real estate market for your long-term financial objectives.

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