Wed. May 29th, 2024

One of the main worries for real estate investors has always been Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), and many frequently search for strategies to minimize ABSD in Singapore.

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The government boosted the ABSD rates with effect from April 27, 2023, after announcing new property cooling measures. The most notable rise was in the ASBD rate for foreigners, which went from 30% to 60%.

It is now significantly more costly to invest in and own several properties in Singapore since you have to pay ABSD in addition to Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD). It follows that the majority of prospective homeowners in Singapore are curious about how to “avoid” ABSD at all costs.

Buying a house abroad is an option for some investors to avoid having to pay ABSD. “Is there any way I can avoid paying ABSD legally?” is a question that may be on the minds of those who still wish to buy an extra home in Singapore. Okay, let’s investigate!

But First, What Does Singapore’s ABSD (2024) Mean?

On top of the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD), a tax known as the ABSD is applied to all acquisitions of residential real estate. ABSD is levied based on either the property’s selling price or value, whichever is higher. It also depends on whether the buyer is a foreigner, Singaporean, or a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR).

In order to deter Singaporeans, foreigners, and entities from buying numerous homes and selling them for a profit and to maintain property prices reasonable, it was implemented in December 2011 as a property cooling mechanism. Since then, the ABSD rates have been changed three times, in 2013, 2018, 2021, and 2023, in accordance with the state of the market.

How Can One in Singapore “Avoid” ABSD? Who Is Not Covered by ABSD?

Given Singapore’s exorbitant ABSD charges, it seems sense that individuals would wish to avoid having to pay for it. Thus, how and where can one “avoid” having to pay ABSD in Singapore? Prior to then, though, there are several circumstances in which you might not be required to pay ABSD.

1. When a Condo Upgrades to an Executive (EC)

You must pay ABSD upfront in cash or CPF (within 14 days of signing the Sales and Purchase Agreement) if you upgrade from a HDB apartment to a private property or if you buy another private house. If you sell your first home within six months, you can apply for an ABSD remission.

However, ABSD is not required up front when purchasing a new EC. Even while you do have to move out of your house within six months of receiving your EC’s keys or after your EC gets a temporary occupancy permit, at least you won’t have to pay the hefty ABSD charge up front (you could still have to pay the HDB resale levy).

2. When You Sign the Option to Purchase the New Property but Sell Your Current Property First

Selling your house before purchasing a new one will allow you to “avoid” paying ABSD. That would, however, imply that you would have to live in temporary housing or rent a property.

3. In the Event That You Are a Citizen or PR of These Free Trade Agreement Nations

As we previously stated, foreigners purchasing real estate in Singapore will be subject to a steep 60% ABSD. Nonetheless, citizens or permanent residents of the following nations benefit from the same ABSD rates as Singaporeans under the corresponding Free Trade Agreements (FTAs):

Iceland

Liechtenstein

Norway

Switzerland

America the United States

Stated differently, they are not required to pay ABSD for PR on the first property, but they will have to pay it on the second and any further properties.

4. Purchasing Under a Single Owner’s Name

You can purchase under one spouse if you’re buying as a pair and you’re both first-time home owners.

When you both have enough saved, this gives the other spouse the option and flexibility to buy a second house later on without having to pay ABSD.

As a result, the spouse would have to shoulder the whole burden of the mortgage on their own and would need to have sufficient cash and CPF savings for both the down payment and the mortgage.

5. Purchasing Real Estate

When you purchase commercial real estate, ABSD Singapore rates won’t have an impact on you as they would on residential ones. In addition, rental returns for commercial properties are often greater (5% vs 2%–3% for residential).

Yet be aware that there are hazards associated with commercial real estate. They are more expensive than residential homes, for example. Additionally, they demand a larger monetary investment, and the down payment is only accepted in cash. There is also a GST fee that has to be paid in cash.

6. Purchasing a Two-Key Device

You may almost purchase a house with two units next to each other for the price of one when you purchase dual-key flats. You do not have to pay ABSD on your second property because it is regarded as a single property.

Both the main apartment and the sub-unit have separate living areas but share a shared lobby. Each unit may have its own living area in addition to shared amenities like kitchens and toilets, depending on how it is constructed.

since of this, dual-key apartments are popular with both investors and homebuyers since you can rent out the sub-unit while maintaining your privacy. However, because to its exclusivity, dual-key apartments can cost up to 25% more per square foot and are frequently more expensive.

7. Disentangling

You have the option to decouple your home if you bought it together as a couple. Decoupling essentially results in the transfer of your portion of the property to your spouse, allowing you to buy a new home without having to pay ABSD because it will be considered your first property.

You would both have to be tenants-in-common or joint tenants for this to work. This implies that you two may hold equal or dissimilar ownership interests in the property (for example, 70-30, 60-40). Additionally, be aware that transferring your shares will cost you BSD because your spouse will need to purchase them from you.