Buying property in Singapore is a significant financial decision involving various costs and fees beyond the listed property price. This guide aims to provide prospective buyers with a clear understanding of these costs, including stamp duties, loan-to-value ratios, legal fees, agent’s fees, mortgage stamp fees, and payment schedules, to help them plan their finances effectively.

Key Costs in Property Purchase

Stamp Duty Rates

When purchasing property in Singapore, buyers must pay Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD) and, depending on their profile, Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD).

Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD)

BSD is levied on the purchase price or market value of the property, whichever is higher. BSD is rounded down to the nearest dollar, subject to a minimum duty of $1.

Purchase Price or Market Value (S$)
BSD Rates for Residential Properties (%)
First 180,000
1
Next 180,000
2
Next 640,000
3
Next 500,000
4
Next 1,500,000
5
Remaining amount
6

Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)

ABSD rates vary based on the buyer’s citizenship and the number of properties owned.

Buyer's Profile
Property Count
ABSD Rate (As of Apr 27, 2023)
Singapore Citizens
1st Property
Not Applicable
Singapore Citizens
2nd Property
20%
Singapore Citizens
3rd Property onward
30%
Singapore PRs
1st Property
5%
Singapore PRs
2nd Property
30%
Singapore PRs
3rd Property onward
35%
Foreigners
Any Property
60%
Entities
Any Property
65%
Housing Developers
Any Property
35% + 5% non-remittable

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio

The LTV ratio is the maximum amount a buyer can borrow from a bank as a percentage of the property’s value. As of the latest guidelines, the maximum LTV ratio for a housing loan is 75% for buyers who meet certain conditions.

Legal Fees

Legal fees are incurred for the conveyancing process, including preparing the mortgage and property documents. These fees vary depending on the property’s purchase price and the complexity of the transaction. Legal fees can range from S$2,500 to S$4,000 for a standard property transaction.

Mortgage Stamp Fee

The mortgage stamp fee is payable on the signing of the mortgage document. This fee is calculated as 0.4% of the loan amount, subject to a maximum of S$500.

Agent’s Fee for Resale Properties

For resale properties, buyers may need to pay an agent’s fee, typically ranging between 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price.

Payment Schedules

Understanding the payment schedule is crucial for financial planning. The schedules differ for resale properties and new launches.

Resale Property Payment Timeline

Timeline
Payment Details
Day 1: Option Fee
1% of the purchase price paid when the Option to Purchase is granted.
Within 2-3 Weeks from obtaining option to purchase: Exercise Fee
4% of the purchase price paid.
Within 8-10 Weeks from exercising option to purchase: Balance Payment
Additional 20% of the purchase price, totaling 25% downpayment.
Within 14 Days from exercising Option to Purchase
BSD and ABSD payable based on the rates mentioned above.
During Conveyancing Process
Legal Fees payable.
Upon Signing Mortgage Document
Mortgage Stamp Fee payable.
If Applicable
Agent's Fee (typically 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price).
Loan Tenure
Remaining amount (up to 75% LTV) payable according to the loan package.

Note: The option fee, exercise fee, exercise period, and completion period can be negotiated, although the norms are as stated above.

New Launch Property Payment Timeline

Timeline
Payment Details
Booking Day: Booking Fee
Mandatory 5% of the purchase price paid in cash.
Typically Within 8 Weeks from Booking Day
Additional 20% of the purchase price, totaling 25% downpayment (cash or CPF).
Within 2 Weeks from Booking Day
Sales and Purchase Agreement typically signed.
Within 14 Days of Signing Agreement
BSD and ABSD payable based on the rates mentioned above.
During Conveyancing Process
Legal Fees payable.
Upon Signing Mortgage Document
Mortgage Stamp Fee payable.
Construction Stages
Progressive Payments made at various stages.
Project Completion
Remaining amount (up to 75% LTV) payable according to the loan package.

Examples

Example 1: Buying a S$1,000,000 Resale Property

Cost Component
Amount (S$)
Property Price
1,0000,000
Option Fee
10,000 (1%)
Exercise Fee
40,000 (4%)
Balance Down Payment
200,000 (20%)
BSD
24,600
ABSD
Not applicable for first-time Singaporean buyers
Legal Fees
Approximately 3,000
Mortgage Stamp Fee
500 (Maximum)
Agent's Fee
5,000 - 10,000 (0.5% - 1%)
Loan Amount
750,000 (75% LTV)

Example 2: Buying at S$1,500,000 New Launch Property from Developers

Cost Component
Amount (S$)
Property Price
1,500,000
Booking Fee
75,000 (5% in cash)
Balance Down Payment
300,000 (20%)
BSD
44,600
ABSD
300,000 (20% for second property of Singaporean Buyer)
Legal Fees
Approximately 3,500
Mortgage Stamp Fee
500 (maximum)
Progressive Payments
Varies based on construction stages
Loan Amount
1,125,000 (75% LTV)

Seeking Professional Advice

It is highly recommended that prospective buyers consult with a qualified real estate consultant or banker before beginning their property hunt. These professionals can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to individual financial situations and property preferences.

Conclusion

Buying property in Singapore requires careful financial planning, considering various costs like BSD, ABSD, LTV ratios, legal fees, mortgage stamp fees, agent’s fees, and payment schedules. Whether you’re buying a resale property or a new launch, understanding these costs and planning accordingly is essential for a smooth property purchase experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How is the Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) calculated for joint purchasers with different residency statuses?

    • ABSD is calculated based on the higher ABSD rate applicable to any of the joint purchasers, depending on their respective residency status. You may check this page for more details on ABSD.
  • Are any exemptions or rebates available for Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD) or Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)?

    • Certain exemptions or rebates may be available under specific conditions, such as for married couples with differing nationalities. It’s advisable to consult the IRAS guidelines or a property expert for specific cases.
  • What are the typical bank loan interest rates for property purchases in Singapore?

    • Interest rates for property loans vary among banks and depend on factors like loan tenure and market conditions. Rates are subject to change and should be confirmed with the respective banks. You may check this page for the latest bank rates.
  • How much should I budget for renovation and furnishing costs for a new property?

    • As a rule of thumb, renovation costs are typically 5 to 10% of the property price, but buyers are strongly advised to check with contractors for a realistic estimate.
  • Is there a Goods and Services Tax (GST) on property purchases in Singapore?

    • Note that all residential properties, including those purchased from developers, are exempted from GST. GST is applicable only on commercial properties.
  • What are the typical maintenance fees for condominiums and private estates in Singapore?

    • Maintenance fees for condominiums and private estates vary based on factors like the size of the unit, facilities provided, and the management council’s policies.
  • Can I negotiate the commission rates with real estate agents?

    • Yes, commission rates with real estate agents are negotiable, though they typically range from 1% to 2% for sales and slightly lower for rentals.
  • Are there any additional costs for purchasing a property under construction (BUC – Building Under Construction)?

    • For BUC non-landed residential properties, buyers should be aware of the costs in the event of potential delays in project completion.
  • How does property valuation impact my loan amount and other costs?

    • The property valuation affects the maximum loan amount you can borrow (as per the LTV ratio) and may influence the BSD and ABSD payable. There is also a valuation inspection cost involved.
  • Are there any costs associated with selling my current property to buy a new one?

    • When selling a property, you may incur costs such as agent’s commission, legal fees, and potentially Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) if the property is sold within a certain period after purchase.