Can a Singapore PR buy a landed property in Singapore?

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Here’s another question we sometimes get: Can a PR buy landed property in Singapore?

It’s not as often asked as “Can a PR buy an HDB flat?” (which you can check out our article on it here ). But if you’re wondering about a PR’s eligibility to buy landed property in Singapore, then you’ve come to the right article.

The short answer is yes, but it’s subject to approval

A Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) can buy landed residential property in Singapore, but they will need to get approval from the Land Dealings Approval Unit (LDAU) of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) beforehand.

Under the Residential Property Act, a foreign person has to seek approval from the authorities before buying a landed residential property here.

A foreign person refers to anyone who is not any of the following:

  • Singapore citizen
  • Singapore company
  • Singapore limited liability partnership
  • Singapore society

So under this definition, a Singapore PR is considered a foreigner. This means that if you’re a PR, you will have to apply for approval if you plan to buy a landed residential property.

What are the conditions for approval?

According to SLA, each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. But they do consider factors such as the following:

  • You should be a Singapore PR for at least five years, and
  • Have exceptional economic contributions to Singapore. Factors such as your employment income assessable for tax in Singapore are taken into consideration for this.

Applications have to be submitted online via this portal. The processing time generally takes around a month.

What types of properties do a foreign person have to seek approval for purchase?

Here’s a complete list of the types of properties that a foreign person (including PR) has to get approval from the authorities before buying one. This includes the various types of landed residential properties here, such as terrace houses and bungalows.

  • Vacant residential land
  • Terrace house
  • Semi-detached house
  • Bungalow/detached house
  • Strata landed house which is not within an approved condominium development under the Planning Act (eg. townhouse or cluster house)
  • Shophouse (for non-commercial purpose)
  • Association premises
  • Place of worship
  • Worker’s dormitory/serviced apartments/boarding house (not registered under the provisions of the Hotels Act)

It’s also why when it comes to good class bungalows (GCBs) , which are the most prestigious form of landed housing in Singapore, we often hear that quite a number of the buyers are new Singapore citizens . Given their new citizenship status, they would no longer need to get approval from the authorities when buying a landed property such as a GCB.

What’s the approval rate?

This is something that we don’t know. And probably a figure that SLA will never reveal.

But we do know that there are landed residential property transactions by PRs, though they form a very small minority of the total transaction volume.

ALSO READ: Condo, terrace house or HDB? Housing considerations for foreigners when moving to Singapore

According to URA’s REALIS, out of the 12,009 transactions for landed residential properties from 2017 to 2021, only 103 transactions were made by PRs. The main bulk of the transactions (11,229) was by Singaporeans.

And out of these transactions by PRs, there’s the S$45 million Cluny Road GCB purchase by James Dyson back in 2019. This came just weeks after he bought the super penthouse at Wallich Residence for $73.8 million (which was a record at that time). As a Permanent Resident here, he had to get approval from the SLA to buy the GCB.

Are there any other landed properties that PRs can buy without getting approval from SLA?

The good news is that yes, when it comes to buying a landed house in Singapore, PRs have a few options that do not require them to get approval from SLA.

These are:

  • Strata landed house in an approved condominium development (not projects classified as apartments on URA)
  • A leasehold estate in a landed residential property for a term not exceeding seven years, including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal

ALSO READ: Will landed homes continue their momentum in the Singapore market for 2021?

While there are many examples of strata landed houses in a condo (like Kent Ridge Hill Residences , Riverfront Residences and Affinity At Serangoon ), if you’re a PR, it is best to reconfirm with URA, the managing agent or developer on whether the project is classified as a condominium or apartment. Of course, unlike a typical landed house, these houses share communal facilities such as swimming pools. Much like a condo, these developments are managed by the MCST.

How about non-PR foreigners?

There is an exception for foreigners who aren’t PRs. They can still get approval from SLA to buy landed residential property in Singapore, but they’re restricted to Sentosa Cove .

Likewise, they’ll need to submit the application online, with the processing time taking around one month. Another thing to note is that the land area of the property must not exceed 1,800 sqm.

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