Can a Foreigner buy a House in Singapore?
Yes, a foreigner can buy a house in Singapore. But that would depend on exactly what type of housing we’re talking about.
You see in the Lion City, even apartments are considered ‘houses’ to a degree considering that they tend to be purchased, not rented, by individuals. For instance, even Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, which technically are public housing, are actually owned in most cases by the primary resident(s). Yet a foreigner cannot own (i.e. purchase) an HDB flat unless he or she is also a permanent resident of Singapore or married to a Singaporean. And in the latter case it would have to be a new flat and one that s/he and the Singaporean spouse purchase as a couple.
But outside of that all other forms of home ownership are open to foreigners, albeit with respective stipulations. For instance, an outsider can in fact purchase an Executive Condominium (EC). ECs are similar to HDB flats in concept but tend to be a lot more luxurious. But the caveat is that if a foreigner were to buy an EC, said unit would have to be at least 10 years old.
Also in terms of landed properties, i.e. properties which are bought for the express purpose of being rented out, a foreigner will need to acquire government approval before purchasing one. But generally speaking, it seems that the chances of actually acquiring such certification are slim.
However, other private properties, such as apartments, condos and houses in which the HDB are not directly involved, are more fair game. However, in terms of condominiums for instance, the building in which they’re situated cannot be taller than six storeys. Also as with landed properties, government permission must first be ascertained. Moreover, since such properties are free of direct government intervention, they also tend to be more expensive (i.e. non-subsidized). So when you keep that in mind, on top of the fact that Singapore is by far one of the costliest housing markets in the world, a foreigner looking to buy a home in the Lion City should expect to pay a pretty penny in doing so. In other words, they will not receive the same type of financial assistance from the government as some resident home buyers enjoy.
It would be a stretch to say that the government of Singapore does not want foreigners buying homes in their country. Yet all things considered, it’s pretty perceivable that they favor their own over outsiders. But that being said if you, a foreigner, have the funds, it is very much possible to acquire your own home in the Lion City. The options may be relatively-limited, but chances are you aren’t looking to purchase an HBD flat anyway.
So if you are in fact a foreigner wanting to buy a house in the Lion City, it is highly recommended that you do so via a trusted property agent who is actually located in Singapore. Indeed having someone on the ground to help you through the process is imperative, as you don’t want to find yourself in a situation for instance where you may have already paid for a house, apartment or condo only to find out later that you don’t qualify to own it. Indeed as a general rule of thumb, a foreigner should always have in my mind that he or she does not qualify to own a particular home without government permission unless a government agent or real estate professional tells them otherwise.