Decoupling Property Singapore – Avoid ABSD on 2nd Property

Decoupling Property Singapore - The Complete Guide 2023

Table of Contents


You have got your first home stay property all settled, and you are now looking to explore opportunities in pursuing your aspiration of owning a second investment property.

Assuming you have done some research, you would realise that ABSD is the main blocker that stands between most Singaporeans and their second property.

To cut the long story short, there are really only two ways you can get around ABSD. You would either adopt the decoupling strategy or you can adopt the “sell one buy two” method.

Focus of this article

First, a little bit about ourselves. To give you some assurance that you are not wasting your time reading some rando articles written by outsourced writers or chat gpt.

We are a team of specialist realtors that specialises in helping clients decouple to purchase their second properties.

We started as salaried employees, like most Singaporeans and our own journey of decoupling and owning multiple properties, triggered us to make this our profession.

This article serves as the most comprehensive guide for decoupling, it will cover everything from the the basic mechanic of what is decoupling to how you can minimise the cost of decoupling.

Use this as a landing pad for your research, hop around the different sections for a deeper understanding into the different aspects of decoupling.

If reading is not your thing, just drop us a whatsapp message and we can clarify your doubt over text or call. We like to keep it strictly informational and non obligatory, so there will be no sales pitches.

What is decoupling in property ?

Decoupling is a method that is commonly used by property investors to avoid paying ABSD on their second property.

Properties in Singapore are usually purchased under two names.The Issue arises when you are looking to purchase your second property. As both names are tied to the existing property, ABSD will be levied on the second property purchase.

Decoupling seeks to address this issue by “freeing up” or “removing” one party’s name from the joint ownership via an internal transfer of share from one party to the other.

This allows one party to purchase the second property as though they are a first time purchaser, without any ABSD incurred.

A simple example of decoupling in property would be as follow

Assuming you and your spouse own a private condo valued at $1.8 mil, under a 50-50 share ownership. Undergoing the decoupling in property process, would require you to buy over 50% of your spouse’s share valued at $900k. 

Why do many Singaporeans choose to decouple their property ?

Before we move on to touch on the different methods of decoupling, let’s first establish the key reasons why decoupling is often the go-to option for real estate investors.

Avoid ABSD

This point does not warrant much elaboration, avoiding ABSD is the primary motivator for decoupling.

With the April 2023, revised ABSD rates, Singapore citizens will be levied a 20% ABSD on their second property. While Singapore PR will be levied a 30% ABSD on their second property.

Assuming a purchase price of $1.0 million for a second property, this easily amounts to a cost saving of $200k for Singapore citizens and $300k cost saving for Singapore PR.

To specifically know how much you can save by avoiding ABSD, head over to the 2nd property stamp duty calculator to work out your cost.

Improved Financing

The second key reason that drives many property owners to decouple their property is the benefit of overcoming financing limitations that come with funding a second property purchase.

Under normal circumstances, if you were to purchase a second property without decoupling, you will not be eligible to take a full 75% private bank loan on the second property.

Constrained by MAS Loan to valuation (LTV) limits, you will only be eligible for a 45% loan financing on the second property. And you will be mandated to fund at least 25% of the purchase value with cash.

Decoupling resolves this issue. As part of the decoupling process, the existing house loan will be restructured and be taken over solely by you or your spouse.

This will allow the other party to purchase the second property with a full 75% loan and a minimum cash requirement of 5%.

Straight forward with little impact on current lifestyle

From our experience, many of our clients choose decoupling as a method to purchase their second property because they wanted to retain their current property.

Assuming you have your ecosystem built around your current home, with your child attending preschool or primary school in the area or your parents or parents in law living nearby.

Decoupling allows you to maintain your current ecosystem while purchasing a second investment property.

Some of our customers doubled down on this and leveraged on the second property not only as an investment, but as a future home to move into in the near or mid term to facilitate their child primary school application.

Decoupling and its application on different property type

While decoupling has been widely adopted, it is not applicable to all property types. In this section we will discuss the application of decoupling on different property types.

Decoupling HDB

Unfortunately, decoupling is no longer permissible for HDB flats. Since 2016, HDB has tightened its regulation to only allow transfer of HDB flat ownership under 6 special circumstances.

Most of these special circumstances are related to financial complications and family hardship such as death or divorce. Unfortunately, property investing and making money do not fall under these circumstances.

But do not be disheartened, we have written an article dedicated to helping HDB owners find alternatives to HDB decoupling.

Decoupling EC

For owners of executive condominiums, decoupling is only permitted after you fulfil your 5 year minimum occupation period (MOP).

The general process of decoupling EC remains broadly similar to private property.

If you are owners of an EC, check out the following article on everything you need to know about decoupling an EC.

Decoupling Private Property

There are no restrictions when it comes to decoupling private property.

The only thing to take note of is to avoid decoupling when you have not cleared the 3 year seller stamp duty wait out period.

Incurring seller stamp duty can significantly increase the cost of decoupling, we will dive deeper into this topic when we touch on the cost of decoupling.

Methods of decoupling private property

As discussed in the earlier section, decoupling entails an internal transfer of share of ownership from one party to another. In a typical couple or family setup, you will be looking to transfer your share of ownership over to your spouse or vice versa.

There are generally two methods to transfer shares.

  • Transfer as a gift
  • Transfer by way of sale, also known as part purchase

Transfer as a gift

Getting this method out of the way first. This is the method that is least used when it comes to share transfer while decoupling.

Transferring share as a gift, essentially refers to the transfer of share of ownership from one party to the other party without any payment.

There are several drawbacks when it comes to this method.

Firstly, the property needs to be unencumbered, meaning there should not be any outstanding mortgage and no CPF money is to be tied to the property. This means that you must have a property that is fully paid up entirely with cash first, before even considering this method.

Next, the property would be bound by the provision of bankruptcy law, which allows the court to claw back the gift / property within the next first years, if the party who has given the property as a gift is to go bankrupt.

This will render the property to be of little value to future buyers, as they would risk having their newly purchased product clawed back by the court, if you or your spouse were to go bankrupt.

Lastly, stamp duties are still applicable when transferring share of ownership as a gift.

Transfer by way of sale (aka Part Purchase)

This will be the predominant method that is being used for the transfer of ownership share when decoupling private property.

It involves an internal buy and sell process between the joint owners of a property. The process mimics an actual purchase and sale transaction between joint owners.

The following point, highlights the essential criteria that must take place

  • It will involve two different law firms representing each party, operating at arm’s length.
  • There must be an actual documented flow of funds between you and your spouse, as though both of you are unrelated buyer and seller.
  • A formal sale and purchase agreement will be used to legally bind the share transfer.

More details on decoupling property by way of sale

In the sections that follow, we will dive deeper into the details of decoupling private property by way of sale.

Cost of decoupling property

An important factor to note when decoupling property in Singapore, is that decoupling a private property is not free, it brings about its own set of costs to be incurred.

The following is an exhaustive list for cost that will be incurred in the decoupling a private property.

  • Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD)
  • Seller Stamp Duty (SSD)
  • Early Loan Redemption Penalty
  • Legal Fee
  • Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)

Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD)

Buyer stamp duty is normally incurred when you purchase a property. In the case of decoupling, you are deemed to be purchasing your spouse’s share or vice versa.

Hence a buyer stamp duty will be levied on the market value or purchase value of the “leaving” party’s share.

The latest revised buyer stamp duty rate as follow.

Using a $1.2 million private condo, held under a 50/50 joint ownership structure as an example.

Buyer stamp duty will be levied on 50% share of the property, valued at $600k, amounting to $12,600.

Seller Stamp Duty (SSD)

Seller stamp duty is levied when a property is sold within 3 years from its date of purchase. Referring to the seller stamp duty rate table below, you would realise that seller stamp duty could become a significant cost component if not managed appropriately.

Early Loan Redemption Penalty

Loan restructuring is an essential step in the decoupling process. The current outstanding home loan will have to be fully redeemed and restructured to a bigger loan that will cover both the current existing loan, in addition with a new loan amount that will cover the buying over of the “leaving” party’s share.

In the process, if your current existing home loan is still within its locked-in period, you will have to incur a 1.5% early redemption penalty on the current outstanding loan amount.

Using the same example used in the earlier section.

Assuming Jason and Rachel, is looking to decouple a $1.2 million private condo, held under a 50/50 joint ownership. And assuming there is an outstanding loan of $600k.

Given Rachel is looking to buy over Jason’s share, which is valued at $600k.

Rachel will be looking to fund the purchase of Jason’s share with 75% loan, amounting to $450k.

Taking into consideration Rachel’s 50% share of the current existing house loan of $600k, which amounts to $300k.

The final enlarged loan that Rachel will have to undertake would be $450k + $300k, amounting to $750k.

In order to restructure the current mortgage from a $600k loan to a larger $750k loan, undertaken solely by Rachel, we would first need to fully redeem the current $600k loan.

During this redemption process, if your loan is still within its lock-in period and if your loan package does not offer a waiver of penalty for redemption, then you would have to incur a 1.5% redemption penalty on the outstanding $600k loan.

This would amount to $9,000.

If you are due for refinancing on your mortgage and would like to make advance preparation for future decoupling plans. Drop us a message, we will share the key feature to look for in your new mortgage package that would be critical for decoupling.

Legal Fee

The legal fee incurred during the decoupling process is usually higher than that of a normal buy and sell transaction.

Decoupling a private property requires the engagement of two independent law firms, representing you and your spouse at arm’s length.

The average cost of legal fee for decoupling ranges from $3,500 to $7,000 while the average cost of legal fee for normal buy and sell transaction ranges from $1,500 to $2,000.

Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD)

Ironically, ABSD could still be incurred in some cases even though decoupling was undertaken to avoid ABSD in the first place.

ABSD would still come into play when one or both of the joint owners of the property is a Singapore PR.

Referring back to the ABSD rate table, a Singapore PR is levied a 5% ABSD on their first property purchase.

In the case of decoupling, if a Singapore PR was to purchase his or her spouse share of ownership in their current property, the same 5% ABSD will be applicable on the market value or purchase value of that 50% share, whichever is higher.

Methods to minimise the cost of decoupling property

Method to minimise buyer stamp duty

As a primer, to prevent any disappointment. The method that we will be discussing is only applicable for those of you who have yet to purchase a property or for those of you looking to sell your current property and repurchase another property, with a view to decouple in the future.

As it involves a change in ownership structure and property share allocation, this method will not be applicable to those of us adopting a 50-50 ownership structure for our current property.

Adopting a decoupling 99-1 strategy

With that out of the way, enter the decoupling 99-1 strategy to minimize the cost of buyer stamp duty. To understand how it works, we must first understand what is the difference between the commonly adopted 50-50 joint tenancy structure versus the tenancy in common structure.

What is the commonly used 50-50 joint tenancy structure ?

For most martial homes purchased by Singaporean couples, the default manner of holding will be the joint tenancy structure. This would mean both you and your spouse, equally own the whole of the property. Putting the benefits of this manner of holding aside, this leads to the issue of having BSD levied on your spouse share which is 50% of the property value during the buy over process.

Exercising some quick thinking, what if we are able to make some tweaks to this share allocation from 50-50 to a 99-1% such that BSD is only levied on the 1% share value ?

Enter the 99-1% Tenancy in common ownership structure

This is what exactly the 99-1% tenancy in common structure seeks to achieve. Tenancy in common is the other manner of holding available as an option for property owners to choose from when they purchase their properties. It is a structure that is commonly used by investors, as it allows different percentage allocation of shares.

In the case of decoupling, adopting a 99-1% share split, would greatly reduce the cost of BSD. As tax is only levied on the 1% share.

To illustrate, let’s use the example involving Daniel and Rachel, decoupling a property valued at $2.0 million. But this time round, they adopted a 99-1% share structure instead of a 50-50% split.

Daniel will be looking to buy over 1% of Rachel’s share, which is only valued at $20,000, instead of the previous 50% valued at $1.0 million

The buyer stamp duty that Daniel will incur, will be as follows.

  • 1% of the first $180,000
  • $20,000 x 1% = $1,800

Total BSD payable for buying over Rachel’s $20,000 share would be $1,800

To end of this section, the difference in BSD incurred between a 50-50 structure and a 99-1 structure comes up to $22,300. So it helps to plan ahead when it comes to matters like decoupling, for those of you that do not mind waiting, can consider adopting the 99-1 structure for your next property and then only decouple after that to optimise the cost of decoupling.

Method to minimize cost of seller stamp duty

It is clear that the more straightforward way of avoiding SSD is to time your decoupling, to execute after 3 years from the purchase of your property.

The other method of reducing seller stamp duty would be similar to the 99-1 method that was introduced to reduce buyer stamp duty above. If you and your spouse were able to structure your property ownership with a 99-1% split, the SSD levied on the 1% share value will be substantially reduced.

Method to minimize the cost of early redemption penalty

The best way to reduce early redemption penalties is at the onset of the mortgage selection process. You would want to work with your mortgage banker to select a loan package from a bank that offers a 50% or full waiver of the penalty.

If you are already locked in with a loan package that imposes a penalty, one way to minimise this is to ask for a reduction in penalty from the bank, under the condition that you would refinance with a larger quantum loan with them.

What will happen to your current loan after decoupling property ?

Having had many questions from readers regarding the intricacy of loan restructuring during the decoupling process, especially under unique situations when the loan is beared by 1 name instead of 2. We wrote a seperate article specifically answering all questions pertaining loan repricing, restructuring during the decoupling process.

Method to minimize the cost of legal fee

As you can see the legal fee for decoupling falls within a broad range, hence it makes sense to shop around for the optimal legal services that provide the best value.

While minimising cost could be a priority, it is not advisable to simply select a conveyancing lawyer based on cost. As decoupling is a complex process that requires frequent interactions and quality advice from your conveyancing lawyer, selecting your legal service based on its experience in decoupling and its responsiveness to your questions will be equally important.

To help you jumpstart your first consultation with an experienced lawyer, we have curated a list of top decoupling lawyers in Singapore for your reference.

Illustration of flow of funds and cost of decoupling

Now that we have got a thorough understanding of the different cost elements involved in decoupling a private property, let’s put everything together using an example.

Context for the example

There is a couple, Jason and Rachel, who own a private condo valued at 1.2 million dollars.
The condo is held under a 50-50 joint tenancy ownership structure.

There is an existing mortgage of $600,000.
Under the 50-50 joint tenancy structure.
Jason’s portion of the mortgage will be $300,000 (50% of $600,000).
Rachel’s portion of the mortgage will be $300,000 as well (50% of $600,000).

Jason has a monthly income of 9,000 dollars.
Rachel has a monthly income of 6,000 dollars.
The objective is for Rachel to buy over John’s share, freeing up Jason’s name.
Jason has a higher income and hence provides more flexibility in budget and financing option when purchasing the second investment property

Illustrating Flow of Funds and Cost of Decoupling

Calculating the cost of decoupling

Having an accurate and good understanding of the cost of decoupling is an important first step in your plan to decouple a private property.

Assuming you are the “buying party”, the party taking over share from the “leaving party”.You will need to derive an accurate number for the amount of cash and cpf you would need to take over your spouse’s share of ownership in the current property.

And for your spouse, “the leaving party”, you will need to know how much cash proceeds and CPF refund he or she is going to receive from the decoupling process.

Building onto this, you can then derive a budget for your second property purchase.

Feel free to use the decoupling calculator that we have created to calculate the cost yourself or outsource the work to our consultants.

We will provide a personalised calculation for your cost decoupling and determine the budget for your second property and also advise on the amount of cash you need to stash away as a rainy day fund.

Timeline for the decoupling process

The amount of time it takes to decouple is another important consideration that you will need to be mindful of.

Given that the main purpose behind decoupling is to purchase a second property, it is important to plan ahead and decouple in advance while searching for the second property.

Especially when it relates to the use of CPF to fund your second property. You would need to make sure that the CPF refund from the internal sale of the “leaving” party’s share is refunded to you or your spouse CPF account in time for use to purchase the second property.

It typically takes 10 to 12 weeks for the entire decoupling process to be completed. At the end of this 10 to 12 weeks, as the “leaving” party, the party that is selling share to the other party, you would expect to receive the full cash proceeds derive from the internal sale of share of ownership.

However, it will take another additional 2 weeks for CPF to be refunded into your CPF account.

If you are executing a back to back purchase of the second property it is important to ensure this additional 2 weeks is built into your completion timeline.

For a detailed overview of the specific events and timeline of each event to take place during the decoupling process refer to the following article on decoupling timeline inline.

When can you purchase your second property without ABSD ?

You purchase your second property without ABSD, once you complete the signing of sale and purchase agreement at the law firm.

There will be no requirement for you to wait out the entire 10-12 weeks for the decoupling process to be completed before making your second property purchase.

The signing of the sale and purchase document marks the entry into a contractual agreement to sell your share in your current property to your spouse, and you will be deem to have no property under ownership.

Factors to consider before decoupling your private property

Before moving forward to take action, let’s take a step back and consider if you are ready for decoupling.

The following are key factors that we walk our client through prior to decoupling.

  • Is the cost saving from avoiding ABSD significantly higher than the cost of decoupling ?
  • Are you financially ready and eligible to own two properties ?
  • Understand that your seller stamp duty duration gets renewed after you decoupled
  • Is it worth retaining your current property ?

#1 – Is the cost saving from avoiding ABSD significantly higher than the cost of decoupling ?

With the upward revision in ABSD rates, it is getting easier to cross this hurdle.

Assuming you are a Singapore citizen and are looking to purchase a $1.0 million private condo as your second property. You will be looking to save 20% on ABSD, which amounts to $200k.

In order for decoupling to make sense, the cost of decoupling must not be more than $200k.

Referring to the earlier example of decoupling at $1.2 million private property, held in a 50/50 joint ownership. The all-in cost of decoupling, inclusive of buyer stamp duty and legal fee, amounts to $19,100.

Assuming an additional 1.5%, $9,000 early loan redemption penalty is to be incurred on a $600k outstanding loan.

The total cost of decoupling is still kept within $28,100, significantly lower than the $200k cost saving to be enjoyed from avoiding ABSD.

The scenario when the cost of decoupling is abnormally high

However, there are indeed instances whereby the cost of decoupling can be significantly higher.

These situations are normally caused by the following 2 factors.

  • Incurring significant seller stamp duty – decoupling within 3 years of property ownership.
  • Incurring significant buyer stamp duty – decoupling a property that is of high market value. Eg. landed property valued at $5.0 million and purchased a second property that is of much lower value, resulting in lower cost saving from ABSD.

With regards to the first instance, we would often advise clients to consider decoupling only after 3 years from the date of property ownership to avoid paying any seller stamp duty.

Addressing the second instance, it revolves around rationalising the target purchase value of the second property to be purchased.

Given that you were to decouple a $5.0 million landed property, the choice of the second property should be of a much higher value, with a more significant cost saving in ABSD to justify the buyer stamp duties incurred.

#2 – Are you and your spouse financially ready to purchase two properties ?

Given the cost savings from decoupling make sense, the next factor to consider would be the new financial obligation that both you and your spouse have to shoulder when owning two properties.

At current state, before decoupling both you and your spouse are financing a single mortgage with both parties CPF and income.

Upon decoupling and acquiring the new investment property. You and your spouse will each shoulder a home loan, hence it is important to consider this at 2 levels.

Loan eligibility and TDSR requirement

Are both you and your spouse and each eligible for the new loan on the existing property and the new loan on the investment property ?

As part of the loan eligibility consideration, both you and your spouse would have to satisfy the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) requirement. This meant that each of your monthly debt obligations should not exceed 55% of your monthly income.

To ascertain both you and your spouse’s financial eligibility that it would be advisable to first secure a In-principle approval (IPA) for the estimated loan quantum for each property.

Many of the factors to be considered while decoupling overlaps with the considerations to be made when purchasing a second property.

To take a deeper dive into the considerations and risks involved in purchasing a second property, refer to our comprehensive guide to buying a second property in Singapore.

#3 – Knowing that your seller stamp duty duration get renewed after you decouple

Another consideration to note before decoupling, is that your seller stamp duty period gets renewed after you decouple. What this meant for the party buying over share from the leaving party, is that you will have to wait for another 3 years before you can sell your existing property without being levied a seller stamp duty.

#4 – Is it worth retaining your current property ?

The crux of decoupling in property is to retain your current property, while purchasing a second investment property. 

It will only make sense to decouple if it is worth retaining your current property. 

Here are some common reasons that property owners choose to retain their existing property

  • To minimise mortgage – current property have been paid up or have little outstanding loan
  • Due to lifestyle, family needs – the current property offer the optimal space and location for daily living
  • Growth potential – there is still room for capital appreciation with positive price catalyst coming up 

Here are some common reasons why property owner should not retain their existing property

  • Lease decay – if currently property is closing in on 25 years of lease, lease decay may affect it future selling price
  • Negative price catalyst – if you foresee future construction coming up leading to noise, block view or lowering of value in the property
  • Accumulated significant capital gain – selling the existing property could unlock the capital gain for purchase of two higher growth potential property

Joint tenancy vs Tenancy in common – its implication on decoupling property

Joint tenancy and Tenancy in common are terms that you would mostly likely encounter when researching the topic of decoupling.

We should use this section to provide a concise understanding of what is joint tenancy and tenancy in common and its impact on decoupling.

Both joint tenancy and tenancy in common refers to the method in which you structure your property ownership between you and your spouse. This is also commonly known as the manner of holding.

Joint tenancy refers to a manner of holding in which each owner owns equal and undivided share in the property. It is the default manner of holding that is being adopted when we purchase a property with our spouse.

On the other hand, tenancy in common allows you to divide shareholding in the property into any proportion that you deem fit. This is a share ownership structure that property investors would often adopt.

Implication on decoupling

Regardless of whether you are adopting a joint tenancy or tenancy in common as an ownership structure, there are no restrictions on decoupling.

You can still decouple a 50/50 joint tenancy ownership structure.

The key advantage comes when owners adopt a 99-1 tenancy in common ownership structure to reduce the cost of buyer stamp duty incurred when decoupling.

When decoupling a 99-1 ownership, the “buying” party will purchase over the 1% shareholding from the “leaving” party.

Under this step up, buyer stamp duty is only levied on the 1% share, significantly lowering the cost of buyer stamp duty incurred as compared to the usual situation whereby buyer stamp duty is levied on the 50% shareholding to be transferred.

For a deeper understanding on how you can use 99-1 tenancy in common to reduce cost of decoupling, refer to the article inline.

Can you switch the manner of holding ?

As a primer, you would typically select your manner of holding when you first purchase your property, as part of the conveyancing process. It would be challenging and may not be worthwhile switching between manner of holding mid way.

Is decoupling property legal ?

Would I get into trouble with IRAS for decoupling ? If that is a primary concern running through your mind, refer to this article on the 99-1 ABSD loophole for an in depth discussion on the legality of decoupling.

At the time of writing, there are no existing regulations prohibiting the part purchase or part sale of share of ownership between co-owners of private property, i.e decoupling in property. 

However, do note that any artificial scheme contrived with the sole objective of tax evasion is deemed illegal. 

If this is an area of concern, it would be advisable to seek qualified legal advice from experienced decoupling lawyers to clarify your doubts. 

For latest updates on IRAS 99 1 investigation in tax avoidance and how it differs from decoupling, refer to article link inline.

Legal Services to consider when decoupling

As decoupling involves more legal advisory work when compared with the normal buy and sell transaction. It would be important to select an experienced lawyer that offers professional services while working within your budget.

Feel free to use our decoupling lawyer directory to select the legal that offers the best value and service.

Common pitfalls to avoid when decoupling property in Singapore

Given that we have assisted over 107 clients decouple and successfully purchase their second property, we have compiled an article documenting 9 common mistakes that homeowners normally commit when decoupling.

Feel free to take reference from this and make advance preparation to avoid some of this common mistakes.

Who should be the party buying over shares when decoupling private property ?

As you proceed further in making plans towards decoupling your property, one common consideration is to decide, between husband and wife, who should be the party buying over shares and who should be the party heading out to purchase the 2nd investment property.

We discuss at at length, 5 different scenarios and 8 different factors to consider when deciding who should be the party buying over shares when decoupling. Check out article link inline.

Decoupling property for Permanent Residence or Foreigners

If you are a permanent resident or foreigner looking to decouple your property, the general process remains the same as what is being discussed above. But there are some nuances that differ, such as
the cost of decoupling and the cost saving from ABSD.

Refer to the following articles for challenges and solution to specific to foreigners and PRs in Singapore

Property type to consider as your second property after decoupling

The ultimate aim of decoupling is to purchase the second investment property, the effort put into selecting the right property should not be compromised.

To get the ball rolling, we have created an article on 5 best property type to consider as second property after decoupling.

Case studies – Decoupling property Singapore

For those of you that have doubts over whether a average working Singaporean can really realise their aspiration of owning more than one private condo. We created a section that document multiple case studies of all our clients from different walk of life who have successfully decoupled and now own two private condominium.

Final Words – Decoupling Service

Congrats, you have laid the groundwork towards the goal of purchasing your second property. It is now time to take the next steps, set up a non obligatory consultation with our decoupling specialist.

In the preliminary consultation, we will seek to achieve the following.

More relevant reads relevant to decoupling property Singapore 

Related to decoupling cost and procedure

Related to decoupling lawyers and legal concerns

Decoupling property FAQ

Alternative to Decoupling property


Both me and my husband are Singapore citizens, we are currently living in a private condo and are looking to purchase a HDB flat while still holding on to our current property. Do we have to pay ABSD ?

ABSD remission will be given to HDB flat purchasers. As long as the current private property is disposed of within 6 months from the completion date of HDB flat, there will be no ABSD payable

My wife is a foreigner and I am a Singapore citizen, we are looking to purchase our first private condo, jointly under both our names. Do we have to pay ABSD ?

No, in this case when a couple consist of at least one Singapore citizen and given that both couple do not own any property. ABSD will be remitted, no ABSD will be payable. Check out article on ABSD remission for married couples

My fiance inherited a private condo from her parents, and we are looking to get married and purchase a new launch condo for our matrimonial home. Are we eligible for a ABSD refund ?

Yes, you will be eligible for a refund, as long as your finance sells the inherited property within 6 months of issuance of TOP or CSC for the new condo. In addition to that, the new launch condo will have to be purchased under both your names.

I currently owned a HDB and paid ABSD for a second private property. Both property jointly owned under both names with my spouse. Can I decouple the second private property to my third property under 1 name ?

No, you will have to pay ABSD on the third property, as you name is currently listed as co-owner in the HDB flat, even after you decoupled from your second private condo.

What happen if a unfortunate divorce was to place, after we decouple our property ?

The effect of decoupling property will not have a impact on asset division in the case of divorce. The family court will determine assets to be distributed based on the legal definition of what is a matrimonial home and split asset in accordance to the principal of what is fair and equitable, under the women’s charter.

Can I decouple a new launch condo before TOP ?

Yes, you can decouple a new launch condo before it TOP. There is currently no restriction being placed on when you can or cannot decouple a private property. Unlike New EC bought directly from the developer, you will not need to serve a 5 year minimum occupancy period.

However, do note that the following additional cost could be incurred.

Seller Stamp Duty, if you have not held property for more than 3 years, starting from the date of you signing the sale and purchase agreement for the new launch condo.

A seller stamp duty base on the following duration could be applicable
Held property for less than 1 year – 12%.
Held property for more than 1 year but less than 2 year – 8%
More than 2 years but less than 3 year – 4%

Early Loan Redemption Penalty

You could be charge a early loan redemption penalty of 0.4% on your outstanding loan if your loan is within its lock in period. However, you can write in to check with your bank if they can waive this additional cost if you were to take up a new loan with them, after decoupling.

Seller Stamp Duty Wait Out Duration is Reset

Note that your 3 year holding period to qualify for a waival for seller stamp duty will be reset to the date you decouple. You will have to wait for another additional 3 years after decoupling to sell your currend property without seller stamp duty.


  • 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.

Looking to purchase your second property?

Just fulfilled your MOP status for your executive or BTO or Looking to decouple from your current condomium? Or simple looking to purchase your 2nd investment property? Having assisted over 50 clients on their journey towards purchasing their second property, we have got the expertise to help you avoid unnecessary ABSD, optimise legal cost and clarify your doubts.

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Jue Wen


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 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.