If you intend to make Singapore your long-term home, buying a house can be a consideration but as a foreigner, there a few limitations to it.

Can Employment Pass holders in Singapore buy a property

Employment Pass (EP) holders can buy property in Singapore but only limited to certain type of housing properties.

Type of Housing Property in Singapore

There are few different property classes in Singapore: 

  1. public housing or HDB flats – majority of the populace live in and is not available for foreigners to purchase.
  2. private residential property – costlier, but is available for foreigners to purchase under certain criteria
  3. executive condominiums – a public-private hybrid, foreigners can only purchase 10 years after completion of construction.

As an Employment Pass holder, if you are looking to purchase a property, your only primary option is the private properties which include non-landed private properties such as condominium projects and apartment buildings. These two are the common choices of expatriates and foreigners.

Although it is possible for an Employment Pass holder to buy a private condominium or apartment, it will be costlier to do so, compared to a local citizen or PR as the difference kicks in at the stamp duty where the rate is higher.

If you are an Employment Pass holder, you will not be eligible for public housing / HB. Only citizens and Singapore Permanent Resident can buy the HDB Flats.

All property types, including the public housing/HB flats are available for rental to expatriates and foreigners. But for public housing, only Singaporean citizens can rent out their flats and will need to fulfil a minimum of 5-year occupancy period before they can lease out to foreigners. So, if you are seeking for public housing flat to rent, make sure the owner meets this criterion because you might be evicted if the government finds out that the flat has been illegally rented out.

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Before Buying a Property in Singapore

If you plan to make Singapore your long-term home, then buying a property can be highly considered and it can be a smooth process if you have done your research beforehand. Once you choose a preferred property you may want to live in, take note of all the steps involved before you take possession of the property.

Hence, before you buy a property, consult an accredited local property agent but also make sure you understand and communicate your requirements. An agent will help you in viewing potential places that are suited to your preference.  This is where you need to thoroughly study and make some list of areas that can somewhat cater to your daily living needs and the travelling time to and from work.

However, do note that it is not easy to deal with the Singaporean banks if an Employment Pass holder decides to buy property using a bank’s loan. Although Employment Pass holders are higher-paid and having loans and credit cards are theoretically possible, not many succeed at this. Thus, it is only sensible if you carefully consider your financial situation and if it is a worthwhile decision. In the long-run, ownership is definitely worthy than renting, but if your financial situation does not support this decision, then renting would be a smarter option.

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