Can I buy a house under my child’s name ? – Yes and How

can i buy a house under my child's name

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Can I buy a house under my child’s name ?

Kudos to you for thinking about 101 ways to purchase your 2nd property without ABSD. Profits in real estate are rarely made out of conveniences. The constant understanding of regulation and out of the box thinking may just give you an edge.

This is a common question that we often encounter when providing consultation on decoupling property for our clients. 

The short answer is yes, you can definitely purchase property under your child’s name and depending on the age of your child, there are actually two ways to go about doing it.

As to whether this is the best way to achieve your goal of purchasing your second property without ABSD, we will address that along the way.

Quick intro – Decoupling Expertise

Quick introduction, before you decide to commit the next 5mins reading this article.

We are decoupling expertise, a team of specialist realtor that specialise in helping Singapore property owners derive the best strategy to purchase their second investment property without ABSD.

While decoupling property is often the go-to strategy that property owners adopt. We pride ourselves for helping our client explore and evaluate other alternatives that best suit individual circumstances and objectives. 

Drop us a text to explore the best strategy to minimise ABSD on your next property purchase.

Method #1 – If your child is below the age of 21 years old

If your child is below the age of 21 years old, your child is below the eligible age to lawfully own a property in Singapore.

To purchase a house under your child’s name you would need to establish a trust.

A trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds the asset as nominal owner on behalf of its beneficiary, stewarding the asset till the child reaches his or her legal age to take over ownership of property.

There are generally 3 parties in action when setting up a trust.

  • Settlor – the party that purchase the asset and setup the trust
  • Trustee – the party that stewards the asset on behalf of the beneficiary
  • Beneficiary – the party that is entitled to the asset, in this case your child 

At a high level there are several challenges that come with this method 

  • You will have to pay the property in full cash as your child is not eligible to take a mortgage. 
  • Your income and loan eligibility will not be taken into consideration
  • You will have to pay 65% ABSD upfront in cash and file for an ABSD refund after the transaction is complete. 
  • Any profits from the sale of the property or rental derived from it will have to be kept in the trust account. 

For more insights on the pros and cons of buying property under trust, refer to dedicated article link inline. 

Method #2 – If your child is 21 years old and above

For those of you with children 21 years old and above, you will be able to consider the option of placing the legal ownership of the property directly under your child, instead of holding it under a trust. 

The immediate benefit that comes with this method is that it requires significantly lesser cash flow to implement. Unlike, purchasing a property under trust, there will be no need to incur the initial 65% ABSD in cash. 

Similarly, the bank will be assessing your child’s income and credit profile for loan eligibility. In this case, your child might be earning some income and could qualify for a mortgage to further reduce the cash required to fund the property purchase. 

For more details on this method refer to our article on Buying property using child’s name above 21.

The challenges that comes with buying a house under your child’s name 

Having shared the two methods to buy a house under your child’s name, let’s explore if it is the best way to purchase a second property without ABSD. 

First, we shall take stock of the challenges that come with these two methods. 

Challenge #1 – High cash outlay 

As compared with the other methods to legally avoid ABSD in Singapore, both methods require a significant amount of cash outlay. 

In the case of purchasing a property under trust, the cash requirement would be almost inhibitive for most property owners. 

Consider the hypothetical case of purchasing a $1.2 mil property. 

Purchasing this property under trust would require the following amount of cash. 

  • 65% ABSD (to be refunded after completion of transaction) – $780,000
  • Price of property (funded with 100% cash) – $1,200,000
  • Buyer stamp duty – $32,600

Total cash requirement amounts to $2,012,600, over two million in cash requirement, losing all benefits of leverage when purchasing property using this method. 

Purchasing the same property using your child name would require the following amount of cash.

Assuming the same property valued at $1.2 mil, and assuming your child earns an income of $2,000 per month. 

Your child will be eligible for a mortgage of $230k. 

Cash requirement as follows. 

  • 25% cash (assuming none of your child’s cpf is used) – $300,000
  • Loan – $230,000
  • Cash top up to cover for amount no covered by loan – $670,000
  • Buyer stamp duty – $32,600

Total cash requirement amounts to $1,000,600. The cash requirement when purchasing a property directly under your child name would be much less inhibitive. 

Challenge #2 – Your child becoming a private property owner

This becomes more of an issue if your child is older, as he closes in on the age in which he wants to settle down and start his own family. 

Purchasing a property under your child, will result in him becoming a private property owner, which will result in him losing his privilege of assessing all options of subsidy provided by HDB. 

Your child will have to serve a wait out period, from the contractual date of sale of his private property, for him to be re-eligible for government subsidised housing. 

  • 30 months wait out for BTO and EC
  • 15 months wait out for resale HDB
  • 30 months wait out for HDB housing grant

Challenge #3 – Property Ownership 

In both cases, your child becomes the legitimate owner of the property. From our experience, most cases will move along without much conflict at the beginning as objectives between child and parents are aligned. 

Challenges will come when your child starts making his own life plans and conflicts arise in how the property should be used. 

  • Your spouse child might choose to move into the property and live in it
  • The property may become deemed as a marital asset, subjected to asset distribution in the event of divorce. 
  • Your child may choose to live in it himself, instead of renting it out. 

For more insights on how your 2nd investment property be treated in the event of an unfortunate divorce, refer to the following article “ What happens if divorce after decoupling property “. 

Should you buy a house under your child’s name ?

To decide if it is best for you to purchase a property under your child’s name consider the following factors 

  • What is your motivation for doing so ?
  • Are there any other better methods to purchase a 2nd property ?
  • Do you have the cash to do so ?

What is your motivation for buying a house under your child’s name ?

Are you doing it to purchase a 2nd property without ABSD or are you really looking to purchase a property for your child ? 

If your purpose of doing so is the former, It will be easy to eliminate the option of purchasing property under trust from the get-go. 

Jumping ahead to our next point, from both a cash requirement and ease of loan financing perspective, there are many other alternatives that beats both the option of purchasing a property under trust and purchasing a property under your child’s name.

However, if you true intent is to purchase a property for your child, then both method would make sense if you have the necessary cash to do so 

Are there any other better ways to purchase a second property ?

Considering the fact that we specialise in decoupling property, we have a lot to say when it comes to this aspect. 

If you have not already implemented or faced unique constraints when it comes to considering decoupling property or sell one buy two strategy, then you should definitely prioritise them first

Quick overview on alternative method to buying a house under your child’s name 

As a side note, we went at length to discuss why these are the two most effective methods on how to buy a second property in Singapore without ABSD ?  

Decoupling property 

By decoupling property, you free up either your name or your spouse name from the current property to purchase the second property. This is done by the part purchase and sale of share ownership from one spouse to the other. 

Assuming both you and your spouse earns a decent income, you will be able to take a higher quantum bank loan and significantly lower your cash outlay compared to buying a house under your child’s name. 

Sell one buy two

By selling your current property, you get to unlock your capital gain and redeploy it back into purchasing two higher growth property 

Similarly, assuming both you and your spouse earns a higher income than your child. You will be able to take up a higher loan quantum and avoid the complication of having property ownership under your child’s name. 

Situation when it make sense to consider buying a house under your child’s name 

Having said that there are indeed situations that we came across that makes sense to consider purchasing a property under your child’s name.

If the following considerations apply for you then it could really be wise to consider purchasing property under your child name.

  • Your child is above 21 years old
  • You are already owning 2 property under you and your spouse name and is looking to get the 3rd one
  • Both you and your spouse are unable to secure a decent length loan tenure due to your age
  • Your spouse is no longer earning an income or earns a lower income then your child 
  • If you simply do not want to go through the hassle of decoupling or sell one buy two

Then buying a property under your child’s name could make sense for you. And the following section on tips on how to overcome some of the challenges with regards to buying a house under your child’s name would be useful for you.

Need help with a second opinion on whether buying property under your child’s name makes sense for you ? Drop us a text for 2nd opinion.

Strategies to overcome the challenges associated with buying a house under your child’s name who is 21 years and above.

Pledging or showing of funds to increase your child’s loan quantum

One way to increase your child’s ability to loan is to pledge or show funds. 

Essentially this requires you to place a sum of money into your child’s account or a fixed deposit in your child’s name. This will help enlarge his eligible loan size reducing the overall cash outflow. 

Ensuring your child maintain his eligibility to own a HDB subsidised housing

The way to overcome this is to time the holding period for your property purchase.

Purchase a property that gives you a higher chance of capital gain and exit, within a shorter holding period. One example of this is to prioritise new launch development over resale development. This will allow you a shorter time frame exit, as compared to purchasing a freehold property that requires a prolonged holding period to realise capital appreciation. 

More reads, more gains ?

Kudos on making it this far. The fact that you have invested the last 5 mins reading this article. We believe you are a like minded real estate investor looking to beat the rat race by getting more out of your real estate investment. 

If so, do check out the following articles. 

Author

  • Jue Wen

    Jue Wen is the content marketing lead. This means he spend his waking hours researching and writing all things real estate. He believes life is a hustle and there is no joy in grinding away daily in our little rat races. He believes making wise moves in real estate investment can be a game changer. Aside from writing all things real estate, you can find him in your nearest bouldering gym.

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Jue Wen

Author

Jue Wen is the property analyst and content marketing lead at decoupling expertise.
He specialises in helping clients overcome the complexities involved in owning their second private property in Singapore.
He had over 10 years of experience in real estate investing and have written over 40 detail guides on decoupling and minimising ABSD. He is a licensed real estate consultant and holds a Bachelor degree in Business Management from the Nanyang Technological University.

Kenji

Co-Author

Kenji is the Group Division Director of ERA Realty Network.
He have got over 20 years of experience in real estate and have successfully helped over 50 couples purchased their second property. He specialises in helping client achieve the best approach towards acquiring their ideal investment properties while minimising ABSD.