How to buy second property in Singapore without ABSD ? 

How to buy second property in Singapore without ABSD ?

Table of Contents

The problem you will faced – informational gap

Getting straight to the point, you are here because you because you are looking to purchase a second investment property and you do not want to pay ABSD.

The problem is most of the search result out there promise you 9,10,11 methods to avoid ABSD in Singapore.

Ourselves included, we are guilty of publishing 11 ways on how to avoid ABSD in Singapore.

There are only 2 practical way for you to avoid ABSD

The actual fact is that there are really only two practical ways which you can adopt to avoid ABSD when buying your second property.

And they are the following

  • Decoupling property
  • Sell one buy two

The remaining methods are either impractical or irrelevant to your cause.

Here are some reasons why

Purchasing property under trust

You will need to pay 65% ABSD upfront and then claim for a refund later. On top of that the property needs to be purchased in full cash.

I bet not many of us have got this kind of war chest. Aside from that, even if you stash up a good warchest, it is unwise to deploy it like that.

This method would should only be considered if you are onto your third property and have got progression planning in mind.

Purchasing property using your child’s name

This is another strategy that you should only consider if you are making plans to purchase your third property.

The first downside to this strategy is the inability to leverage. Your maximum loan eligibility for your property will be restricted by your child’s monthly income.

And there would be complications down the road as you implicate your child’s real estate investment cycle. With a private property under his name, he will not be able to qualify for any BTOs or ECs.

The remaining methods such as the following are irrelevant to your objective of buying a second property without ABSD.

  • Buying a dual key
  • Buying a commercial real estate
  • Buying a overseas property
  • Marrying a Singapore citizen as a foreigner
  • Buying an EC
  • Selling property first before buying

If you are interested to find out more check out 11 ways on how to avoid ABSD article, link above.

Meanwhile let’s stay on course and go for what’s practical.

Quick primer on who’s writing this article

We are a team of specialist realtors, specialising in decoupling property.

We pride ourselves for helping our clients find the best strategies to avoid paying ABSD, when purchasing your second property.

If reading is not your thing, simply text us for a non obligatory chat.

Method #1 – Decoupling Property

What is decoupling property ?

Decoupling property is a go-to method for savvy property owners to free up one name from a jointly owned property to buy a second property without ABSD.

How does it allow you to purchase your second property without ABSD ?

It works by an internal buy and sell transaction between owners of a property. A “buying party” will buy over the share of a “selling party”.

This is implemented via a sale and purchase document, conveyed by a decoupling lawyer

The pros of decoupling property

Less complexity in execution

As compared to a Sell One Buy Two strategy that we will be introducing later, decoupling has less moving parts and is easier to implement.

Instead of selling your current property to buy two new property. Decoupling will allow you to stay status quo with your current property and you simply need to focus on getting it right for the second property.

Less lifestyle impact

If you have your current ecosystem around your current property. Decoupling allows you to keep it, you will be able to continue to enjoy the current proximity to your parent’s home, child’s kindergarten and etc.

All while purchasing a second investment property

Potentially less leverage and lower interest expense

Consider the case whereby there is a small outstanding loan remaining in your current property. By decoupling, you will not significantly increase the total mortgage your family have to undertake.

In comparison to selling your current property and purchasing a higher value property, the overall leverage would be lower.

Hence it is most suited in high interest rate environment where you want to be prudent with managing your family overall loan size and interest expense.

The cons of decoupling property

Consider if it is worthwhile keeping your current property.

The crux to decoupling is two part “retaining your current property” and “buying a second property”

To make sure this is a worthwhile initiative you need to make sure your existing property is worth keeping.

Ask yourself the following questions

  • Do I see my property appreciating in the next 4 to 5 years or has its price been tanking ?
  • Are there any foreseeable positive price catalysts down the road ? New MRT station to be built, new upcoming development launch in the area, new district transformation plans ?
  • Are there any foreseeable negative price catalysts down the road ? eg. major construction happening, disrupting quality of life.
  • Does your family really need to live in the current property ?

Have doubts over this ?
Drop us a text and we can help you figure it out.

There is a cost to decoupling

In line with the first point, consider if you really need to keep the existing property, as there is a cost to decoupling.

Assuming you have held the property for more than 3 years and seller stamp duty is not applicable. You would be looking at incurring buyer stamp duty on the value of shares of your co-owner’s share to be bought over and a $5,000 to $6,000 decoupling legal fee.

The buyer stamp duty to be incurred on decoupling a $1.5 mil property held in a 50-50 share split will amount to $17,100.

As a side note, feel free to calculate your cost of decoupling using our decoupling calculator

Seller stamp duty gets renewed after decoupling

Another downside is that your seller stamp duty wait out period of 3 years, gets renewed after you complete the decoupling transaction. This meant that if you were to sell your property within 3 years of decoupling you would incur a seller stamp duty.

Seller stamp rates as follow

  • Sale of property held less than 1 year – 12%
  • Sale of property held between 1 to 2 year – 8%
  • Sale of property held between 2 to 3 year – 4%
  • Sale of property held more than 3 years – No SSD payable

Who is suitable for this method ?

  • Property owners looking to retain their current property while purchasing the second one.
  • Property owner looking to minimise capital outlay, keeping the current property while focusing on purchasing a second investment property.
  • Property owner who is looking to minimise total loan amount, fully paying up current property and purchase another property for rental income.

Who is this method not suitable for ?

  • HDB property owner – as decoupling HDB is not permitted since 2016
  • People that are looking to unlock capital gain from current property. eg. selling a large 5 bedroom condo to purchase a 3 bedroom and another 2 bedroom condo or BTO owners unlocking profit to purchase 2 private condo

As a side note, if you are a BTO owner whose property have achieve its MOP status, this article on 7 Options to consider when BTO MOP would be relevant.

Method #2 – Sell one buy two

What is sells one buy two ?

The sell one buy two strategy requires you to sell off your current property and redeploy the initial capital you put inplus capital gain unlocked, into two private property.

Each property is to be held solely under the name of each spouse.

How it does it allows you to buy your second property without ABSD ?

The sale of the current property frees up both names. Allowing each party to purchase a separate property under one name.

This is on the pretext that both you and your spouse have sufficient income to be eligible for two seperate mortgages.

The pros of Sell One Buy Two

It allows you to unlock profit in your current property.

This strategy is particularly useful for the following group of property owners

  • BTO owners that property have recently MOP
  • EC owners that property have recently MOP
  • Landed property owner looking to downgrade into two private condo

Essentially the strategy is applicable for property owners seating on a property that have appreciated significantly.

It allows you to unlock the profit in the current property and redeploy it into two higher growth property.

A common path take by our clients that are EC owners are as follow.

  • Purchase large 3 to 4 bedroom EC
  • When EC achieve minimum occupation status after 5 years
  • Unlock profit by selling unit
  • Purchase a smaller 3 bedroom unit private condo for homestay
  • Purchase a 2 to 3 bedroom new launch for investment

It allows you to upgrade your homestay property while purchasing an investment property.

For those looking at achieving a dual purpose of a lifestyle upgrade plus investment.

The following strategy could be useful.

Referring to the same example above. You would be able to purchase a new homestay property that fits your future lifestyle needs, eg proximity to your child primary school. While simultaneously purchasing a investment unit.

It allows you to maximise your leverage.

Assuming both you and your spouse are high earners at the prime of your career.

By owning two property, it gives you a chance to stretch both your loan eligibility for optimal leverage, making your money work harder for you.

The cons of Sell One Buy Two

High interest expense

A high interest rate environment brings out the downside of this strategy.

With more leverage comes a higher interest expense. The overall interest expense incurred would be higher than that of decoupling, assuming overall loan size is smaller for decoupling.

One way to manage interest expense is to avoid purchasing a resale condo and opt to purchase a new launch condo and leverage of its progressive payment to reduce near term interest expense.

More complex execution

All in all the sell one buy two strategy has more moving parts that need a to be managed properly.

Compared to decoupling, you are working to do three things instead of one.

  • Selling your current property at good price
  • Selecting and buying your new home stay property
  • Selecting and buying your new investment property

One way to manage this is to phased it out.

In the most ideal scenario, you can consider selling your property first and putting up with your parents. Then purchasing your next homestay property, followed by your investment property. This gives you ample time to research and purchase at the right entry price.

Your turn – How to buy second property in Singapore without ABSD ? 

Now that you ingested all this knowledge its time to take the next step.

If you need a second opinion to review your plans drop us a text. We will help you figure out how to buy your second property without ABSD.

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.

Looking to purchase your second property?

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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.