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How much do you need to own a landed property in Singapore?

One of the most commonly asked questions, when it comes to landed property, is simply “how much?” While most buyers know that landed homes are the cream of the crop, and expect a high quantum, there also tends to be a bit of exaggeration. It’s not true that every landed home is only for the ultra-rich, for instance, and some may be more attainable than many imagine.

Here’s a realistic cost breakdown:

The price range of landed homes is bigger than most Singaporeans think

Prices range from Fuyong Estate’s 75-year-old semi-detached houses (some have transacted for below $1 million!) to Good Class Bungalows, where you’ll start to see prices like $36 million. There are even HDB properties that are landed homes, and these can be well under $2 million.

Landed homes are the scarcest type of property in Singapore; but that aside, they are still as diverse in price and design as condos or flats.

While it makes sense to use the most typical quantum in our examples here, I do want to remind readers that you may have more options than you expect.

The typical cost of landed homes

As of September 2023, the average cost of a landed home, island-wide, is about $1,858 psf. The typical semi-detached house is around 2,160 sq. ft., making for a “typical” quantum of about $4,013,280.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll round this up to $4 million, which is a quantum that buyers will contend with in the 2023 landed market (but bear in mind that, as mentioned above, the real price range of Singapore’s landed segment can vary significantly).

Upfront costs for a $4 million landed home

We will begin with the down payment and the bank loan. Using a bank loan, the costs are as follows:

· The first five per cent of the property must be paid in cash

· The next 20 per cent of the property can be paid in any combination of cash or CPF

· Bank loans can cover a maximum of 75 per cent of the property price or value, whichever is lower.

In the case of a $4 million landed home, assuming the maximum possible loan, you will need $200,000 in cash (first five per cent), and $800,000 in cash or CPF (next 20 per cent). The bank loan will be able to cover the rest.

Besides this initial down payment of $280,000, you will need to pay the Buyers Stamp Duty (BSD), and Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) if it applies.

The BSD is calculated according to this tiered formula, on the IRAS site. In the case of a $4 million home, this is a BSD of $144,600.

A note on the ABSD

The ABSD rate for Singapore citizens is currently 17 per cent of the price or valuation of the second property, whichever is higher.

If you intend to own only one property (e.g., you will sell your previous home after buying a landed home), then here’s how ABSD works:

  • If you buy your landed home before selling your previous home, you must pay the ABSD within 14 days of completing the transaction. This amounts to $680,000, for a $4 million home.

So long as you or your spouse is a Singapore Citizen, and you are married, you can apply for ABSD remission later, after you’ve sold your previous home. However, you have a time limit of six months to do this, after which there’s no remission.

  • If you sell your previous home before buying your landed property, you don’t need to pay ABSD, provided you own no other residential properties. This is usually the better option for your cashflow; but it could mean you need temporary accommodation (e.g., rent for a few months) just after selling your old home.

Deciding whether to buy your landed home first, or sell your previous home first, can arise in many complications. Do contact Max Properties so we can advise you, as the same sequence may not be right for everyone.

Miscellaneous fees to include

Some other fees will be:

  • Conveyancing fees – usually between $2,500 to $3,000 depending on the law firm

  • Any administrative or processing fees – these amounts vary between banks

  • Paperwork requirements such as valuation costs, insurance, etc.

  • Some older landed homes have extra installation costs for fibre-broadband, as they’re not hooked up to the existing network

Regarding service fees for property agents, buyers of landed properties don’t usually need to pay their agent. In most cases, the seller pays a commission to the seller’s agent, who then splits this amount with the buyer’s agent.

There are some exceptional cases, if different fee arrangements have been negotiated; but by and large, it’s the seller of the landed home that pays the commissions.

Overall, we would estimate around $5,000 in various miscellaneous fees.

Renovation and furnishing costs

There’s no way for us to give you a definitive number for this, as everyone’s renovation works are different.

Elaborate renovations, or those involving additions and alterations, have reached million-dollar costs in some ultra-lux properties, such as you might find on Sentosa or in GCBs. Conversely, there are landed home owners who can keep costs as low as $80,000 to $100,000, even with furnishings.

A typical cost for a semi-detached home, however, would be around $100,000 before furnishings, and roughly $170,000 after furnishings.

Again though, these numbers are not definitive: you’ll need a contractor or interior designer to study the floor plan and intended themes, for a more accurate budget.

Rough costs so far:

  • First five per cent in cash: $200,000

  • Next 20 per cent from cash and / or CPF: $800,000

  • BSD: $144,600 (we will assume you don’t need to pay ABSD)

  • Miscellaneous fees: $5,000

  • Renovation and furnishing: $170,000

This comes to about $1,319,600, assuming you take the maximum loan quantum of $3 million.

Recurring costs:

A loan of $3 million, at a typical interest rate of three per cent per annum for 25 years, would come to a monthly loan repayment of around $14,226.

For property taxes, the amount is determined by the Annual Value (AV) of your property, as determined by IRAS – you will need to visit the IRAS website with your specific address to know your AV. Most landed properties in 2022 have an AV of about $30,000, and an annual property tax of around $3,000; although this is expected to rise to about $3,300 by the year 2023, and $3,600 by the year 2024.

Besides this, landed home owners should be prepared to spend between $300 to $600 a month on home maintenance. This amount is quite variable, and depends on what you include in your home (e.g., adding a large koi pond will add a lot more to your monthly maintenance than just having an empty yard).

Looking at the figures, you will see that many who upgrade from condos can find typical landed homes within reach

Consider a typical resale condo price of about $1,570 psf, as of August 2023. The sale of a family-sized, 1,100 sq. ft. condo will bring sale proceeds of about $1.727 million.

Assuming you don’t use too much of your CPF, and the remaining loan amount is low, this may be enough to cover the initial outlay of $1,319,600 given here. Or at the very least, it can make the amount manageable with savings.

This is a key element of property wealth progression, and many Singaporeans have gone all the way from HDB flats to condos, and eventually on to landed homes.

But what about rebuilding, reconstruction, and A&A?

Part of the attraction behind landed homes is that you can customise it further. There are three levels that go beyond renovations:

· Rebuilding: This is when you tear down the existing property, and build a whole new landed property from scratch. This is sometimes mandatory for old or uninhabitable houses.

· Reconstruction: This is when the existing building will still remain, but you are making substantial changes that increase the Gross Floor Area (GFA) by 50 per cent or more, adding another floor, or shifting structural elements like columns, beams, and slabs.

· Additions & Alterations: Typically smaller changes, which don’t add more than 50 per cent to the GFA, or just a few added features.

This is a significant topic in and of itself, which I will cover in an upcoming article – so do look out for it if you want to both own a landed home, and customise it to match your dream house.

Follow me on Max Properties for the update, and feel free to reach out to me on any help or questions.


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