Here is a list of hidden costs you’ll need to know before you sign on the dotted line

worry-free Singapore property buy/sell consultation

Looking to budget for a new home or a property for investment? Let us help you answer the 2 biggest questions you might have: 

  • How much cash outlay is required? 
  • How long is my loan tenure and monthly payments? 


#1 - Stamp Duties increase your cash required by tens of thousands!

Stamp duties apply to ALL property transferred in Singapore. They function like a tax on the transfer of the property and is calculated based on the market value of the property you are purchasing. The first $180,000 is taxed at 1%, the next $180,000 is taxed at 2%, and the remaining value is taxed at 3%.


Based on a property valued at $1 million, buyer stamp duties will increase your cash component by $24,600!

#2 - ABSD applies even for Singapore Citizens; up to 10% of your purchase price, even more for foreigners!

Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty, or ABSD in short, is applied in addition to the normal Stamp Duties paid. 

It is charged on all second and subsequent property purchases and the rates applicable are dependent on your profile (Citizen, PR or Foreigner). 

Profile of Buyers

Singapore Citizens

Singapore PRs


Residential Property



3rd +


2nd +


ABSD Rates**







** from 12 Jan 2013


For a Singapore citizen, buying a second property valued at $1 million, ABSD will increase your cash component by 7%, or $70,000!

#3 - When buying subsidized flats, depending on the date-of-sale of your first flat, interest could be added to your Resale Levy! 

Singaporeans have the opportunity to purchase 2 subsidised properties from HDB- once as first timers and once as second timers. However, the second purchase is subjected to a Resale Levy, which is paid through your sales proceeds or cash from the first flat. 

This Resale Levy is determined by the size of your first flat, and an interest of 5% per annum is charged to the levy based on the number of years between your first timer and second timer purchase, if your first flat was sold before March 2006. 


Take a couple who are both Singaporean citizens. They have previously purchased and sold a subsidised 4-room flat as first timers in Jan 2006 for $200,000 

When buying a subsidized flat in 2017 as second timers, they will need to pay a resale levy of 22.5% of $200,000 calculated as $45,000. In addition, 5% interest per year is added between 2006 and 2017.

#4 - CPF funds can be used for your second property only if you have set aside the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) of $83,000*!  

As Singaporean citizens, we are allowed to use our CPF savings to pay for our property purchases. However, in consideration of our retirement, the government has mandated that when using CPF to pay for subsequent properties beyond the first, we have to set aside an amount in our CPF that is equivalent to the amount required for basic retirement, also known as the Basic Retirement Sum. 

The Basic Retirement Sum increases every year, and the current BRS (as of 2017) is $83,000. This means that you will have fewer funds in your CPF to use for your subsequent property purchase, thereby increasing the cash outlay required. 

* as of 2017. 


A Singaporean couple who currently owns a matrimonial home will have to ensure that each party has set aside the current BRS ($83,000) in their CPF accounts before they purchase a second property. 

Only after the BRS has been set aside, can the remaining funds inside their CPFs be used for a second property purchase. 

#5 – Serving 2 housing loans at the same time? 50% or more of your second property purchase has to be paid in cash!

For your first property, your Loan-To-Value, or LTV in short, ranges from 80% - 90% of your property’s value depending on whether you took a HDB or bank loan. 

However, your LTV for your second property will drop to 50% for loan tenures up to 30 years. If this tenure extends beyond 30 years, or your 65th birthday, the LTV drops further to 30%. 


A Singaporean couple currently servicing a loan for their matrimonial home will only be able to loan 50% of the value of their second property purchase.

So, What Next?

A free consultation with us will help you answer more questions such as: 

  • I heard about a possibility of refund of ABSD for the joint purchase of a matrimonial property by a married couple. How can I get a refund?
  • Is there a possibility that I can waive the 5% yearly interest added to my resale levy? If yes, what is the best way to get the waiver?
  • Free Trade Agreements with certain countries allow some foreigners to be accorded the same stamp duty treatment as Singapore Citizens. Which countries are applicable and is this benefit applicable to me? 
  • It seems like I will need to pay the resale levy only if I purchase certain properties. How can I maximize my investment appreciation, and minimize my exposure to the levy

At SAVËRN, we believe in providing you with the right information to safeguard your interest when purchasing property. We are speedy yet thorough, and dedicate ourselves to turning your property purchase into a controlled, safe, and reliable experience. 

Other Stuff We Know

  • The impact of Floating, Fixed Deposit Home Rate (FDHR), and Fixed Interest packages, as well as their lock in periods.
  • Restrictions and Regulations - Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR)
  • Usage of interest offset mortgage accounts to facilitate concurrent buying and selling of your property. 
  • Property Budgeting – what costs are involved, how they differ from your previous property, as well as all the "added" and "running" costs you need to consider. 
  • Property marketing and sourcing for a home to meet your needs. 


With more than 10 years of combined experience in real estate, all our partner agents are registered with the Council of Estates Agencies (CEA). 

To date, we’ve helped hundreds of clients to buy and sell residential properties across the island worth over $100 million in transactions, and we operate using the latest digital technology that keeps our edge in an ever changing world.

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