Landed home buying tips for foreigners

Foreigners buying landed property in Singapore have to work through a number of applications and restrictions. Here’s what you should know to make the process smoother.

1) Determine the definition of “foreigner”. It may seem straightforward, but in the eyes of the law here, a foreigner is someone who is not a Singapore citizen, company, limited liability partnership or society. As long as you meet none of these criteria, but are working and living here legally, you are considered a foreigner and are subject to the laws governing foreign ownership of property in Singapore.

2) Know which types of property purchases require government approval, and which do not. Typically, foreigners buying landed residential property in Singapore do not need approval from the Singapore Land Authority if the property is a strata landed home in an approved condo development, or leasehold residential property in a landed estate for a maximum term of seven years, including any further term which may be granted via an option for renewal. Foreigners need approval to buy other types of landed residential property, including bungalows, terrace and semi-detached homes, and strata landed houses not within approved condo developments under the Planning Act, such as cluster houses or townhouses.

3) Sentosa Cove’s landed homes are hugely popular among foreigners. However, the rules for buying there differ from those in mainland Singapore. In mainland Singapore, only permanent residents (PRs) are allowed to buy landed homes, excluding Good Class Bungalows (GCB), and they have to fulfil the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years.

4) In Sentosa Cove, both PRs and foreigners are allowed to buy landed homes, and do not have to fulfil any MOP. However, in both mainland Singapore and Sentosa Cove, they can only buy one home at a time, and cannot rent it out.