Foreign buyers restricted buying properties

Foreign buyers restricted buying properties

Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, gave a reminder that foreigners are not allowed to own HDB or EC units in Singapore.

Additionally, they cannot acquire private landed properties, as only Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) are allowed to do so.

The minister said this in reply to a query by Lina Chiam, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), who asked about the benefits that foreigners may enjoy in buying residential properties, in accordance with the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which Singapore had signed.

Lim said that there are only two FTAs where National Treatment is rendered for the ABSD (Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty).

National Treatment is when foreigners enjoy the kind of treatment Singapore citizens are entitled to.

“Under the 'national treatment' obligation of the US-Singapore FTA (USSFTA) and the Singapore-European Free Trade Association FTA (ESFTA), Singapore is obliged to accord investors from the US, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland similar treatment as Singaporeans when purchasing residential properties, except where our legislation indicated otherwise at the time the relevant FTAs were signed,” noted Lim in a statement.

But this does not invalidate the restrictions enforced for foreign ownership of local residential property, as stated under the Residential Property Act (Cap. 274), Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act (Cap. 99A) and Housing and Development Act (Cap. 129).

Lim added that National Treatment helps to promote and facilitate investment flows across countries. In the same manner, local investors in a host country receive equal rights and privileges given to foreigners in Singapore.

Source : PropertyGuru – 11 Apr 2012