Who Can Buy Private Property?

All Singapore citizens and companies can freely buy any type of private residential property. However, there are HDB and CPF restrictions that may affect you when you buy a private property.

For flats bought directly from HDB (including flats bought from the open market with CPF Housing Grant)

a) The flats lessees must satisfy the required occupation period for the flat before acquiring the private property

b) The flat lessees must continue to stay in the HDB flat after acquiring the private property unless having met the required occupation period allowing them to rent out the HDB flat.

For flats bought from the open market without CPF Housing Grant

There is no need to satisfy the required occupation period for the flat before acquiring the private property. However, the flat lessees must continue to stay in the HDB flat after acquiring the private property unless having met the required occupation period allowing them to rent out the HDB flat.

Foreigners or foreign companies can buy certain types of residential property according to the Residential Property Act.

The Buying / Selling Process:

Select an agent

It’s optional, but recommended. A professional agent will not only help you to find the right property, but also ensure you get the right price, ensure all small details are covered prior to purchase, guide you through the process and make recommendations on financing and legal representation.

The most important factors to be considered while buying a property are: - Location, Budget, Rental Yield


Depending whether you are buying the property for own stay or investment, location plays an important role. Properties in prime districts retain their value very well and they usually have the highest capital gain in a bullish property market. Properties in the suburbs are lower in price and may be more suitable for own stay than investment. If you are purchasing the property for investment, the properties in prime districts like district 09, 10, 11 or the Central Business District are the safest buy.


Arranging Financing is a very important step before buying a property. Compare interest rates and special terms when choosing your finance scheme.

How much cash upfront are you willing to pay for the property? How much CPF is available in your ordinary account that you can use for the purchase? The latest MAS ruling allows purchaser to loan up to 80% of the valuation or purchase price, whichever is lower. 10% must be paid in cash and the other 10% can be paid using CPF or cash.

Nowadays Banks loan upto 90% depending upon certain pre-set criteria set by the bank which change from time to time. With effect from 20th February 2010, it will be more difficult and expensive for speculators to own and flip properties. A Seller's Stamp Duty will be imposed on all residential properties and residential land bought after Friday, and sold within one year from the date of purchase.

The housing loan limit will also be capped at 80 per cent - down from the current 90 per cent.
This new loan limit will apply to all housing loans granted by financial institutions for private homes, executive condominiums, HUDC flats and HDB flats, including those sold under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme. But loans granted by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) for flats, will still have a cap of 90 per cent.

Rental Yield

If you are buying the property for investment and intend to rent out the property, calculate the yearly rental yield versus the purchase price. Properties at district 09, 10 and 11 easily yield the highest rental returns. Due to the premium in price for freehold properties, they most likely have lower rental yields than leasehold properties.

If you are a non-residential foreigner (no valid employment permit or pass for long stay) purchasing a property for rental returns, do not forget to factor the personal income tax, which is moderately high at 20%. For foreigners who are working in Singapore with valid employment status, the tax rate will be much lower. Visit the IRAS website for more info on taxes.

Valuation & Loan

Check the indicative valuation for the property you intending to buy. Valuation directly affects the amount of loan you can get for the property. Take into account the number of years that you can loan, the monthly installments, etc.

You need to check whether your credit status and income proof can enable you to loan (with effect from 19 July 2005) 90% of the of the valuation or sale price (whichever is lower). For a foreigner, major banks or financial institutions in Singapore can only loan up to 70% or 80% of the valuation or sale price (whichever is lower).

If you are looking for competitive housing loan and indicative valuation, we have contacts with major banks and can help you get a good financial package. We can help you check for indicative valuation, apply for a housing loan or get an Approval-In-Principle before the purchase. Contact us for more details.


Find your property and agree on a price

When reaching a preliminary agreement to buy, ensure that all important points have been discussed and agreed, including any repairs or changes prior to purchase, what stays and what goes, any special requirements from both sides and the anticipated transaction completion date.

Appoint a Lawyer

You now need to appoint a lawyer to make legal enquiries on the status of the seller, the title of the property and the terms of the sale.

Option to Purchase

Sign an Option to Purchase For Private Property - The seller through their lawyer or agent will grant you an Option To Purchase sale contract for the property. At this point you are required to pay a non-refundable option fee (normally 1% of purchase price). The option period is usually 14 days.

Offer to Purchase

Alternatively, you can ask your realtor to prepare the Offer to Purchase and attention to the seller, clearly stating the price, sales completion date and others. Terms and conditions can be drafted by your solicitor or your realtor.

Stamp fee

will be payable to Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore within 14 days upon exercising the Option to Purchase or signing the Sales and Purchase Agreement when you buy from a property developer. For properties above S$300,000, stamp fee payable will be 3% of the purchase price minus S$5,400.

Legal Inspection & Completion

Your lawyer will carry out an investigation of title deeds and send requisitions to various government departments. The seller’s lawyer will also prepare the completion statement and send documents for stamping to effect completion.

Completion of Sale

From then on, leave it to your solicitor for the completion of the sale, which will be completed in around 8 to 10 weeks time (agreement between the vendor and purchaser). Your solicitor will lodge a caveat on the property, coordinate with the financial institutions, CPF board (if applicable), prepare the mortgagor/mortgagee documents.

Settle Payment and Handover

You now settle the outstanding balance of the purchase price. This might be 8 to 12 weeks after exercising the option. The seller’s lawyer will then handover the keys and title deed of conveyance, and you become the owner of your new home.

Commission Payable

For private property, agency commission is paid solely by the seller, which varies from 1% to 2% of the selling price.