4 More Scenarios for Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)

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Following up with the previous guide on ABSD and SSD, Dorothy Tay the principle solicitor for Legalworks has shared with us four more new scenarios which she has posed to IRAS. These are IRAS official answers.


We have a client SC who has sold his HDB property. Option was issued and accepted but 1st appointment has not taken place and HDB’s approval for sale not obtained yet.

If he now buys another property before the 1st appointment and apart from the HDB, he does not own any other residential property, is ABSD payable? Is the issue of whether ABSD is payable dependent on the 1st appointment or a person is deemed to have sold his HDB once the option issued has been accepted.


For the purpose of stamp duty, your client is considered to have sold the HDB flat, when the Buyer exercised his option to purchase. Upon the sale of the flat, your client is therefore not liable for ABSD on the purchase of the next residential property, as he is considered to be acquiring his first residential property.


For a married couple both of whom are SPR, can they apply for a remission if this is there first property.


ABSD may be remitted on the first residential property purchased by a married couple,
involving at least one Singapore Citizen spouse
. There is no provision for remission when they are both Singapore Permanent Residents.


If a person is a US citizen and also a SPR. Must he pay ABSD if he buys his first property. Can he choose to use his US citizenship so that he need not pay ABSD.


A Singapore Permanent Resident, who is also a National of USA may apply for a remission of ABSD under the FTA agreement.


If a husband owns a HDB flat and the wife is only listed as an essential occupier but she is not an owner; when the wife buy a property and it is her first property, is ABSD payable? Assuming both are Singapore Citizens.


If wife is a Singapore Citizen, an occupier of a HDB flat, and does not own any residential property; she is not liable for ABSD on the first residential property that she purchases.

Dorothy and her legal team can be reached at +65 63251722 for any conveyancing advisory.


Additional Buyer Stamp (ABSD) & Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) Explained

Since the introduction of Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) on 22 February 2010 and Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) on 7 December 2011, there have been a number of revisions in the rates as the cooling measures intensify throughout the years.

This is the latest rate. (you can find out about the latest ABSD and LTV adjustment here since 5th July 2018)

Seller’s Stamp Duty
• Holding period of 1 year : 16% of price or market value, whichever is higher
• Holding period of 2 years : 12% of price or market value, whichever is higher
• Holding period of 3 years : 8% of price or market value, whichever is higher
• Holding period of 4 years : 4% of price or market value, whichever is higher

Properties acquired before 20 Feb 2010 will not be subject to SSD.

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty

a) FR and *entities- 15% on the purchase or acquisition of any residential property.

b) SPR – 5% on the purchase or acquisition of their first residential property

SPR who already own# 1 or more residential properties 10% on the purchase or acquisition of another residential property.

c) SC – who already own# one residential property 7% on the purchase or acquisition of the second residential property.

– SC who already own# 2 or more residential properties 10% on the purchase or acquisition of another residential property.

# Whether owned wholly, partially or jointly with others.
* Entity means a person who is not an individual, and includes an unincorporated association, a trustee for a collective investment scheme when acting in that capacity, a trustee-manager for a business trust when acting in that capacity and, in a case where the property conveyed, transferred or assigned is to be held as partnership property, the partners of the partnership whether or not any of them is an individual.

I have invited Ms. Dorothy Tay of LegalWorks Law Corporation to answer some of my questions to clear up some confusing facts of how both of it works. Legalworks is a boutique law firm that specializes solely in conveyancing and has lawyers of more than 20 years experience in the field. Ms. Dorothy Tay is the principle solicitor behind Legal Works.

LegalWorks Law Corp

Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)

Q: Many people are very confused for a fact for this mix of spouse. When you have a Singapore Citizen (SC) and a Foreign (FR) Spouse. How much Additional Buyer Stamp Duty you are supposed to pay for your first matrimonial house? Continue reading “Additional Buyer Stamp (ABSD) & Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) Explained”

Connexion at Farrer Park Spices Up Little India

Little India is transforming. With Connexion at Farrer Park live in action, the area has generally became a specialised care area for the privileged. I was having a meal at Sushi Jin (A part of the Les Amis Group) yesterday and had time to slowly walk around to appreciate the brand new white site building (URA MP2013), which is right next Farrer Park MRT Station exit.


Location of Connexion

connexion location

Modern and posh, this place has the mark of a well planned development and built for long term growth. Spaces were well carved for all the facilities and amenities of a medical hub, including both a medical centre & a hospital. The car park spaces are huge and the easements are wide for any emergencies for the hospitals. Continue reading “Connexion at Farrer Park Spices Up Little India”

CPF Minimum Sum Adjustment from 1st July 2013

Buying a residential property, or even a second one soon? Take note that CPF minimum sum will be revised upwards to $148,000 for period between 1st July 2013 and 30th June 2014. This is a yearly revision which CPF adjusts for inflation. The Minimum Sum was set at $80,000 in 2003 and will be raised gradually until it reaches $120,000 (in 2003 dollars) in 2015.

These amounts will be adjusted yearly for inflation.

CPF Minimum Sum Observation

More details at CPF website.

So what do you need to take note for property purchase should you use CPF?

If this is the first time you are buying a property, you may choose to use the full sum of your Ordinary Account (OA) as part of your sales proceed towards your first residential property. But should you be buying a second and/or third property onward and should you still decide to use your CPF to pay for your property sales proceed, you are to observe the minimum sum requirements. As of this upcoming adjustment, you are to have at least $74,000 in your Special and/or Ordinary Account before you can use the remaining funds to down pay your next residential property.

Would it be okay if I have 50% of the Minimum Sum (ie. $74,000) in Special Account and I would like to utilize the rest of my Ordinary Account for the next property?

Yes, having the funds in Special Account suffices.

Can I use my CPF funds to downpay investment properties such as Commercial or Industrial ones?

No. As of July 2006, CPF Non-Residential Property Scheme has already been phased out. You can only utilize your CPF account for the sole purpose of purchasing Residential properties only.

Hope this helps in your home purchase planning!

Conveyancing Rules to Start from 1st August 2011

This law is finally been enacted.

As mentioned in August 2009, the Government was considering making it compulsory for conveyancing lawyers to have their stakeholder’s funds held by conveyancing accounts in banks.

Under the new measures, lawyers will no longer be allowed to receive and hold conveyancing money in their clients’ accounts. Instead, the money must be held in a conveyancing account in banks appointed by the Ministry of Law. Withdrawal or pay-out of such money will require two-party authorisation.

Violation of the rule will result in a fine of up to S$50,000, imprisonment of up to three months, or both.

Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has also set up a new electronic Payment Instruction (ePI) service to provide a better and more secure environment for lawyers to initiate pay-out instructions and counter-sign digitally, as well as for the appointed banks and SLA to securely process and retrieve instructions.

Such will prevent cases like these from happening. This would boost confidence to our locals as well as our foreign investors of our conveyancing process of procuring a property in Singapore.

The Problems with Investing in Mickey Mouse Units

Mickey Mouse Apartments? Think Again. Image Credit: Cake by Nesrin, Flickr
Mickey Mouse Apartments? Think Again. Image Credit: Cake by Nesrin, Flickr

Definition of Mickey Mouse/ Shoebox Units

This term could be unique to Singapore for micro sized apartment that has really a small built-in area that could be just enough to function. You could have sizes like a studio unit with only 258 sqft (Suites at Guillemard) and have penthouses of up to 1,000sqft. At current, URA only approves units which are more than 300sqft according to a Business Times article cited in October 2009.

The trend could have started from February last year with the successful sale of Alexis at Alexandra.


Affordable Overall Price

Developers are smart these days when it comes to planning for sizes and the affordability of the units. With more units that could be built in a single development because of the small sizes, developers (eg. projects such as Siglap V) will price them in accordance to the affordability level of most mass market income group, starting prices could be even slightly lower than $500,000.

With such type of affordability price, banks are more willing to lend to you as the risk of defaulting a mortgage is much lower as compared to apartment quantum that goes over the $1,000,000 mark.

Continue reading “The Problems with Investing in Mickey Mouse Units”

Buyer’s Guide to Singapore Property Auction

Fancy getting a good deal from Auction? Photo credit: The-Lane-Team, Flickr
Fancy getting a good deal from Auction? Photo credit: The-Lane-Team, Flickr

A closer look at what happens in Singapore knock down sessions and what a buyer should look out for.

Okay so you looked at my site and there’s this magnet property that you’re keen in in one of the latest auction list.

Inspecting the property before auction day

There’s always details on the Auction List on the person-in-charge of the property. You could arrange with him/her to view the property prior the auction before deciding whether to bid for it. This is the best time to also do your full due diligence on the property such as the state, the size, the maintenance cost etc. Continue reading “Buyer’s Guide to Singapore Property Auction”

Frequently Ask Questions about Sentosa Cove Homes

Mention to friends about staying in Sentosa Cove and they will prick their ears and start asking what’s so exotic and why people are staying in an island away from the main buzzling city.

Unblock Seaview from one of the Coast Penthouse
Unblock Seaview from one of the Coast Penthouse

“Why do you want to buy Sentosa’s The Coast? Pricing can get you a much bigger unit in River Valley. Freehold some more!”

It’s a choice.

Sentosa offers a lifestyle which no where in Singapore’s main island could be comparable to. As Resorts World is in full steam ahead to get ready this year and Sentosa Cove is still an architect’s playground, having an address which is already very coveted could only mean even more prestige as time goes by.

Here’re some of the questions which potential investors or Sentosa future dwellers will ponder. We’ll decipher it here one by one.

How many residential units are there in Sentosa Cove?

There should be 2,500 units in Sentosa Cove when everything is fully developed.

Where exactly are these residential units?

Sentosa Cove generally is located in the East side of Sentosa and is mainly divided into two main areas, namely the North Cove and the South Cove. Both North and South Cove has a general mix of condominiums and landed plots with most homes configured to face the sea or artificial sheltered waterways.

When is the Resorts World, Sentosa’s Integrated Resort officially opening?

There’s no official dates cited, but according to Channel News Asia, it is on track with their schedule and is set to open in early January 2010.

How much does a condominium apartment in Sentosa Cove cost on average now?

It really depends on the condominium on the age of the project, the finishings and the orientation. As of below, these are the average prices (on per square foot basis) that the projects are calling for the month of October 2009 to January 2010.

The Azure – Frasers Centrepoint Homes ($1,676psf)
The Berth by the Cove – Ho Bee Group ($1,441psf)
The Coast – Ho Bee Group ($2,100psf)
The Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove – City Development Limited ($1,859psf)
Seven Palms – SCGlobal ($3,300psf)
Marina Collection – Lippo Group ($1,872psf)
Turquoise – Ho Bee Group ($2,658psf)

How much does a landed plot cost on average now?

As quoted by StreetSine on one the latest Ocean Drive house sold, Sentosa Cove landed homes are sold averagely at $1,605 per square foot (psf) for the month of November 2009.

Is that true that only a few architects can be used for construction and even additions & alteration (A&A) works for Sentosa’s landed housing?

No. But your choice of architect will have to follow the guidelines set by Sentosa Cove Pte Ltd. Your designs must first be approved by SCPL before it can be materialised. Guidelines can be downloaded here.

There’s also a list of recommended architects who are familiar with SCPL’s guidelines to facilitate your home design needs.

Can foreigners buy landed properties (restricted residential property) in Singapore? Does Sentosa Cove have some lifted restrictions in landed properties?

Foreigners who wishes to buy a restricted residential properties where a written approval from the Controller of Residential Property Land Dealings is required.

1) Any landed residential properties including detached houses, semi-detached houses and terrace house
2) Any vacant land zoned for residential use

Foreign buyer can apply for a written approval from the Controller of Residential Property Land Dealings. The duly filled applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the entire process should take about three months.

The Only Exception for Sentosa Cove Homes

Foreign individual who wish to buy/ acquire a Restricted residential property in Sentosa Cove can obtain fast track approval (within 48 hours) from Singapore Land Dealing Unit. You can download the form here.

Remember, you cannot rent out a restricted residential property and it is bought solely for your own occupancy.

I heard there is a long term visit pass for foreigners specially catered for Sentosa Cove buyers. Is that true?

Foreigners who have bought a restricted residential property (comprising of either land only or land with building) at Sentosa
Cove, Singapore for the purpose of owner-occupation will be allowed to apply for a long term social visit pass which could allow the owner (and his/her immediate family) to stay in Singapore for up to 3 years.

For more details, refer to this Q&A.

You have been talking about lifestyle. What kind of lifestyle does it offer?

An aesthetic view of Sentosa Cove

This isn’t the best photo, but you can’t recognise any of such scenes on Singapore main land for sure.

Is it prudent to invest in Sentosa? Why?

Land is scarce in Singapore and there’re many restrictions that hinders foreigners to buy a piece of land in Singapore.

Sentosa Cove offers a very different lifestyle compared with the main island and which only rich individuals can only afford, and with the alternative that the Singapore Government is offering to wealthy individuals to buy a restricted residential property in Sentosa Cove, the prices in Sentosa could only head north in the long run.

Top 10 Most Luxurious Condominium in Singapore

Or the most well-sought after, crème de la crème condominium projects in Singapore as listed by experts from Property Report

Singapore Cityscape. Credits to Pennypoon, Flickr
Singapore Cityscape. Credits to Pennypoon1104, Flickr
  1. St Regis Residences (District 10)
  2. The Sail (District 1)
  3. Orchard Residences (District 9)
  4. Hamilton Scotts (District 9)
  5. Nassim Park Residences (District 10)
  6. Beaufort on Nassim (District 10)
  7. The Ritz Carlton Residences (District 9)
  8. The Edge on Cairnhill (District 9)
  9. Grange Infinite (District 10)
  10. Sentosa Cove’s villas (District 4)

The Demand Has Always Been There

It’s good to know the luxury market is moving, and with the two brand new Integrated Resorts, Resorts World at Sentosa (Genting) and The Marina Bay Sands (Las Vegas Sands), both getting ready, the growth of Singapore’s economy will be tremendous over the next short few years. Foreigners could recognize Singapore’s real estate as potential and safe as government credentials here are sound.

With luxury end condominium, foreigners would not also have to worry about the volatility as the location of these projects are always in good demand, no matter good or bad times. No doubt there’s always a difference in tide and times of real estate economy, these projects are considered limited with the land scarce Singapore.

When to Pay Stamp Duty in Singapore

Inland Revenue of SingaporeAn email from a reader who asked when is it exactly do you have to pay stamp duty when buying a property in Singapore.

When do you pay stamp duty on real estate?  I have been thinking about this for a while and was hoping you might be able to shed some light on the subject.

A little advice would go a long way right now.  Thankyou.

This is the textbook answer from IRAS’s website,

A document can be presented for stamping at any time before executing (signing). However, once a document is executed (signed), stamp duty must be paid within:

  • 14 days from the date of execution if the document is signed in Singapore;
  • 30 days of its receipt in Singapore if the document is signed overseas.

Penalties will be imposed on documents that are stamped late or for which stamp duty is underpaid.

To Avoid Penalty

Usually, your conveyancing lawyer will advice you to draft two cheques, one for exercising the option of the property and the other cheque is to pay for your stamp duty to IRAS to avoid penalties.

The late penalty fee is as calculated as 5% per annum calculated on a daily basis on the stamp duty payable

Can I use my CPF Money For Stamp Duty?

Yes, you can! But you’ll have to come out with the amount in your own cash or cheque first before CPF reimburses it back to your bank account; So make sure you have the amount for stamp duty ready first.

How to Calculate Your Stamp Duty Fees

Read this entry which I’ve created for a very easy digest of calculating your stamp duty fees when you’re purchasing your property.

If you have questions with regards to buying or selling a home, feel free to contact me anytime. I won’t bite ;)