According to a joint publication by the National Population and Talent Division, Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office, the Singapore Department of Statistics, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, Ministry of Manpower, the permanent resident (PR) population as at June 2021 was 0.49 million.
A PR refers to a foreigner who has been granted permanent residence status which allows him/her to reside in Singapore on a permanent basis.
This leads to the question - are Singapore PRs eligible to buy an HDB resale flat and what are the housing options for them.
In today’s article, we will look into these issues.
The criteria for PRs buying property in Singapore is that he/she must be at least 21 years and be a PR for at least 3 years.
If you have met the criteria, the first thing on their minds would be - am I eligible to buy an HDB flat?
HDB resale flat
HDB resale flats are sold on the open market and the general rule is - at least 1 Singapore Citizen (SC) or 2 Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) when submitting the application, under the HDB Public Scheme (with family i.e. parents, spouse, children or siblings) or the Fiance/Fiancee Scheme.
However, when deciding on the location of the HDB resale flat, it is very important to take note of the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and the Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) Quota of the estate.
As Singapore is a multi-racial society, the EIP is put in place to preserve Singapore’s multi-cultural identity and promote racial integration and harmony. It ensures that there is a balanced mix of the various ethnic communities in HDD estates.
The EIP limits are set at block/ neighbourhood levels based on the ethnic makeup of Singapore.
The SPR quota ensures that PR families can better integrate into the local community.
Only Malaysian PRs are not affected by this quota due to the close cultural and historical similarities between the citizens of both countries.
So if your household comprises at least one SC or one PR who is a Malaysian, you only need to ensure that you meet the EIP.
But if your household comprises of non-SCs and non-Malaysian PRs, then you must comply with both quotas.
For the EIP quota, you or a family member must be of the same race or ethnic group as the seller of the flat, and there must still be space for your ethnic group in the HDB block or neighbourhood where you plan to purchase.
The quotas are updated every first day of the month. You can check the EIP and SPR quotas of the place you are looking to purchase at the HDB eService website.
Build to order (BTO)
For BTOs, PRs married to an SC spouse or 2 PRS can apply to buy a new HDB flat, which is subject to an income ceiling of $14,000.
However, first-time buyers consisting of an SC and one or more PRs must pay a $10,000 premium to buy a BTO.
But not to worry, you can get the money back by applying for the $10,000 Citizen Top-Up Grant when you or your spouse convert to Singapore citizenship, or when you have a child who is an SC. Applications for this grant must be submitted within 6 months of eligibility.
All BTOs have a Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years, during which, you are not permitted to sell the flat or rent out the entire unit.
Also, both you and your spouse must not be owners of any private properties both locally or overseas. If you have ownership of such, you must sell or dispose of them within 6 months after taking the keys to the new flat.
Executive condominiums (ECs)
Source: Parc Canberra | Hoi Hup
A single PR can buy a resale EC from the open market, as with any private property.
But if you are eyeing new launch ECs, you must buy them with a SC spouse.
New launch ECs are subject to HDB public housing regulations such as a household income ceiling not exceeding $16,000.
There is also the MOP period of five years after which you can sell to SCs and PRs only.
The EC will become fully privatized once it reaches 10 years only and then, it can be sold on the open market to anyone including foreigners.
Single PRs can purchase an EC one on his/her own if the property is more than 10 years old.
Source: Guoco Midtown | Guocoland
If you are thinking of buying private property as a PR, you have to be very careful. That’s because of restrictions placed on certain types of private properties for PRs and foreigners by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).
PRs are free to purchase condominiums, fully privatised ECs (more than 10 years old), strata-titled landed houses, with building plans approved before April 2012 and landed houses in Sentosa Cove.
Restricted private properties for PRs include:
• Vacant residential land
• Terrace houses
• Semi-detached houses
• Bungalow/detached houses
• Townhouses or cluster houses
• Places of Worship
• Workers dormitories, service apartments, and boarding houses that are not registered under the Hotel Act
As a PR and if you wish to invest in any of the above-mentioned properties, you will need to sort approval from the Singapore Law Minister.
Applications can be submitted to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) website.
Please take note that with effect from April 2021, applicants are required to login into the government digital services for businesses (G2B) using Singpass instead of Corppass. Find out more information here.
Applicants will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account (but not limited to) the following factors:
1. You must be a PR for at least 5 years
2. You provide an “exceptional economic contribution” to the country, as seen from the taxes you generate. The government may also consider your investments in Singapore, your business activities and amount of people you employ here.
When purchasing properties in Singapore, there are two stamp duties you must take note of - Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD).
Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) is taxed based on the purchase price or market value, whichever is higher, on all home purchases in Singapore. The amount taxable is in the chart below:
As an example, if you are purchasing a $2 million property, the BSD payable will be $64,600 as shown in the below computation.
Purchase price / Market Value
Additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD)
ABSD is applicable for SCs who are buying second and subsequent properties.
However, for PRs, a 5% ABSD is payable for the first purchase and for the second and subsequent purchases, the ABSD is 15%.
So if you are buying your first home for $2 million, the ABSD payable is $100,000, and if you are buying a second property for $2 million, the ABSD payable will be $300,000.
Are you looking for an HDB resale flat or private property? Head to MOGUL.sg to browse the properties of your preference for sale in 3D.