Singapore Property Loans for Foreigners: A Complete Guide

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I often receive questions from readers who look for local mortgages in Asia, not rarely in Singapore. Not only are there people with financial restrictions, I also come across wealthy investors who own a dozen of properties or more in different countries, looking for options to leverage their money.

Being one of the most economically free and transparent countries in the world, you have significantly more loan options in Singapore, compared to developing neighbours like Thailand and Cambodia.

Therefore, I decided to write this guide where you’ll learn the basics when applying for a property loan as a foreigner in Singapore.

Buying real estate as a foreigner in Singapore

It’s generally easier for local citizens and foreign PR holders to be granted property loans. Being a non-resident foreigner will add on some requirements. For example, verification of proof of incomes, the types of property you can buy and more (non-resident foreigners can only buy private properties, whilst PR holders can buy HDB apartments and have easier access to landed property).

You’ll also need to seek permission from the Singapore Land Authority, before buying property as a non-resident foreigner. PR holders and local citizens are exempted from this requirement.

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Top Conveyancing Lawyers in Singapore: The Ultimate Guide

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Singapore will continue to be a sought after location for investors, companies and traders who want to settle down in Asia. Some people claim that the Singapore real estate market has stagnated and that you have better options in places like Cambodia.

But the fact is that J.P. Morgan predicts that prices will increase as much as 8% in 2018 and that prices will double by 2030. Sure, maybe you can find better yields in some other places in Asia, but if you have the money, Singapore is not a bad bet.

Ownership regulations can be somewhat tricky though, for example, you can generally not buy a landed house as a foreigner. A Conveyancing lawyer can help you through a lot of hurdles and guide you through the purchasing process.

A problem is that you rarely find summarized information about the biggest Conveyancing lawyers in Singapore. Therefore, I’ve written this article, where I list some of the biggest firms.

Introductory remark

The firms are listed in a random order.

1. PKWA Law Practice LLC

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Getting an Overseas Property Loan in Singapore: A Complete Guide

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I get increasingly more questions from foreigners who look for financing overseas, might it be for purchases in the country where the loan is obtained, or elsewhere. Often, the buyers have sufficient with cash, but don’t want to put a big chunk of money in one investment.

There are countries in Asia that offer overseas property loans, one of the most popular ones is Singapore. I will continue writing about how you can get overseas property loans in Asian countries, but let’s start and have a look how it works when obtaining one in Singapore.

What is an overseas property loan?

If you’re a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident foreigner in Singapore, you can apply for a so called overseas property loan. Not all banks offer the loans, but you’ll find a handful of banks who do.

Simply put, overseas property loans are designed for investors who wish to buy property in another country, the banks normally offer the loans for purchases in a limited amount of developed countries, or sometimes even cities.

As a start, you can apply for the loan in your country of residence, but your main contact will be with a local branch in the country where you plan to buy.

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Top Real Estate Agencies in Singapore: A Complete Guide

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Do you plan to buy property in Singapore?
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Singapore is the financial hub in Southeast Asia and attracts plenty of foreigners who want settle down in one of the most well-functioning countries in the world.

Buying property is straightforward and regulations transparent, especially in comparison to other neighboring countries like Indonesia, Vietnam or Cambodia. You’ll be able to find a number of real estate agencies, all big and international players can be found here.

In addition, there are many local agencies that have grown much over the years and that provide great services.

As such, I’ve written this article where I list some of the biggest and most popular real estate agencies in Singapore.

1. Propnex

Having almost 7,000 agents, Propnex is the biggest real estate agency in terms of number of agents in Singapore. Recently, the company merged with another big real estate agency called Dennis Wee group. Ismail Gafoor is the CEO and originally from India, he has received a number of awards over the years such as:

  • 2008 – Entrepreneur of the Year (Association of Small and Medium Enterprises), Top Entrepreneur (eCommerce Awards), Overall Indian Entrepreneur of the Year (Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
  • 2015 – Entrepreneur of the Year (Spirit of Enterprise, Nexia-TS)

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Top 10 Singapore Property Developers: The Definitive Guide

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Singapore is home to dozens of developers and some truly stand out as they employ people in the thousands and operate both in the residential and commercial real estate market, locally and overseas.

This small nation is infamous for having one of the most expensive property markets in the world and finding a credible developer is not a big issue compared to its neighboring countries. But, you shouldn’t take anything for granted and you must do research beforehand.

As foreigners can generally not buy landed houses and public apartments in Singapore, most are left with the option to buy a condo or private apartment, often off-plan.

In this article, I’ve listed some of the biggest and most popular real estate developers that build condos in Singapore.

1. Far East Organization

First out we have Far East Organization, which is by far one of the largest property developers, not only in Singapore but in the whole world. Founded in 1962, Far East Organization is also one of the oldest property development companies in the nation.

According to some estimates, it’s managed to complete more than 750 real estate projects in Singapore alone. Making the calculation, it means that one in six families in Singapore lives in a house/apartment developed by Far East Organization.

The company is run by Robert and Philip Ng, ranked as two of the richest persons in Singapore. Besides, the group owns the Sino Group, which is one of the largest property developers in Hong Kong.

The company also has many projects and subsidiaries in various countries overseas. Some of the group’s most well-known subsidiaries include Yeo Hiap Seng Limited and Far East Orchard.

Notably, Far East Organization is the only property developer in the world that has won ten FIABCI Prix Excellence Awards, which is the most reputed international award for property developers.

Property types

Far East Organization offers plenty of property types and investment options. They develop everything from residential property, commercial property, offices, industrial buildings, hotels, serviced residences, shopping malls, and more.

You’ll be able to find many residential properties like terraced houses, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, semi-detached houses, and cluster housing built by the company.

The company is renowned for building houses of high quality at premium costs. Units rarely fetch below USD 1 million.

Current projects

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A Solicitor’s Advice to Singapore Property Buyers: By Eben Ong

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Buying property in a transparent market like Singapore’s is a relatively easy task.

But even if the buying process is straightforward, it’s important that you seek help from a Solicitor that understands the conveyancing process and foreign ownership regulations in and out.

Today, I have Eben Ong with me from Loh Eben Ong LLP, a reputable Singaporean law firm that works in a wide range of areas, providing services in Conveyancing & Property, Trademark, Deed Poll and more.

The firm was established in 1994 and has a long experience of helping foreigners buying property in Singapore.

Thanks for having you here Eben. First, can you please tell us more about yourself and your current business in Singapore?

I am a practicing lawyer in Singapore, and one of the founding partners of LOH EBEN ONG LLP, a boutique law practice in Singapore.

Our law practice has an established real estate legal practice for more than 20 years. More information about our law practice can be found on our website (see link above).

It gets increasingly popular for Singaporeans, and many other foreign buyers, to look for information themselves, relying less on services from agents. Is this something you’ve noticed while working in Singapore? How do you think the real estate industry will change in the coming years?

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