Singapore’s real estate makes for an attractive addition to foreign investment portfolios. Since the Great Recession almost 10 years ago, it’s gradually climb up, with very impressive numbers being posted on a quarterly and yearly basis. The signs of economic growth and opportunity are as vibrant as the country’s tourist sites and landmarks. For expats, however, barriers exist that could restrict them from making sound investment decisions.


Brief Overview of the Market 

Unbeknownst to many expat investors, Singapore’s property market highly favours locals. If you don’t have citizenship, it will be more difficult to acquire the rights to purchase property. As early as the 1970s, the local government has been actively participating in its real estate market, during which a variety of laws and regulations for expats looking to purchase property were mandated.

While seemingly disadvantageous and disheartening to hear as an expat investor, most regulations encompass types of property in Singapore that are in finite supply. This is only understandable, given the small space that makes up the country. The regulations are designed to provide locals with higher stakes in their own country while also giving foreigners who are considered technically skilled and economically invested a fair chance to purchase land and housing.


Types of Property 

The type of property you purchase should align with your budget, future goals, and preferences. For example, service apartments in Singapore are well-suited for individuals or small families who want a fully-furnished unit when they move in. Others want single-family housing for more privacy and backyard space.

Most of the properties you’ll find in the country are HDB flats for sale. HDB flats comprise around 80 percent of housing in Singapore. For expats, there are certain eligibility requirements before you can even be put in the waiting list. To start off, you need to be a Singapore citizen or have a family member who is a Singapore citizen.

Working With Brokers 

Having a local real estate agent by your side lends professional advice and market expertise that you would otherwise have missed without the help of one. They can help you decide the type of property you should be looking into and actual listings you can schedule an appointment for. Work with a maximum of three brokers so it’s easier to manage your time and schedule appointments without losing track of which properties and open houses you are going to.

Vet the right broker. He/she should have the proper certification and license to work as a real estate agent within the area. Singapore’s licensing requirements for real estate brokers may vary from that of other countries. As a minimum criteria, however, make sure your agent is at least 21 years of age and is licensed by the Council For Estate Agencies.

The Bottomline 

Buying Singapore-based properties, whether as an investment or as temporary or permanent housing for your family, is much simpler once everything is deconstructed into smaller steps. Use the guide above to structure your search in a more methodical way.