ABSD or Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty is a tax imposed on Singapore property buyers to cool the real estate market. It can add up to thousands of dollars in additional costs for those who buy residential properties and this has caused many potential homeowners to think twice before taking the plunge. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid or minimize ABSD if you know where to look and how best to approach your purchase. In this article, we will discuss 7 ways that can help you save money when buying a property.
Decoupling is one of the ways of getting around ABSD. You can decouple your property by transferring one spouse’s share to the other to avoid paying Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) when purchasing a 2nd property.
For instance, if you transfer your property share to your spouse, officially you no longer own any property; and consequently when purchasing another real estate (i.e. a 2nd home), you will not be required to pay the ABSD.
Despite not paying for the ABSD, you will still need to pay for the associated taxes such as buyers and sellers stamp duties and legal fees when purchasing a new property. Therefore, it is important to decide whether paying the buyer and seller stamp duty or the Additional Seller’s Stamp Duty (ASBD) would be more cost effective in your case. Before taking any steps towards decoupling, ensure that the cost of doing so is lower than the ABSD costs you would have paid.
(Decoupling is only applicable to certain types of property. Speak to us to find out)
2. Upgrade To Executive Condominium
When you purchase an EC, there is not a need to pay the ABSD upfront. However, you need to dispose of your previous property within 6 months after key collection or when your new EC receives its Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP).
If you are upgrading from HDB flat to a private property (not EC), you will need to pay ABSD upfront in cash or CPF within 14 days of signing the Sales and Purchase Agreement. You can apply for an ABSD remission, though, if you sell your 1st property within six months. Homeowners who are transitioning to a private property can do the sale and purchase simultaneously, thus avoiding any ABSD while ensuring an effortless move from their current residence to the new one. However this is not applicable to everyone. Speak to us to understand more about how it can be done or if you qualify for the remission.
3. Sell 1, Buy 2
The idea of “Sell One, Buy Two” is to sell your existing property and then use the sales proceeds to buy one property under your name & a smaller one under your spouse’s name.
It’s only applicable if you and your spouse already own a HDB or EC, and have passed their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of 5 years. Selling off your current HDB or EC would mean freeing up cash and getting your CPF OA money back into the OA accounts, provided that you gain a profit from the sale of the HDB or EC.
With this, you can plan your finances thoroughly with profits from your current property and the CPF OA & accrued interest returned to your CPF OA accounts. For this to work, it is important that both of you qualify for the mortgages independently.
4. Consider Dual-Key Unit
Dual-key is a housing concept that was first originated in Caspian project by Frasers Centrepoint Homes in 2009. It refers to the idea of having 2 homes sharing a common foyer and living space, but you are just paying for one.
This dual-key concept is beneficial especially for multi-generational families, as it allows 2 generations to live under one roof while maintaining their privacy and independence. Homeowners will also get to save on Buyer Stamp Duties (BSD), Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) and other maintenance fee when comparing to owning 2 individual properties.
Since dual-key units are considered to be a single property, you will not have to pay an Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty on the 2nd unit. Despite the heftier price tag of these dual-key units, they are a great way to invest in two homes while only owning one title.
5. Sell Your Current Property Before Signing the OTP For The New Property
6. Listing One Person As The HDB Owner, The Other As Essential Occupier
Note that since the essential occupiers are not the owner of the HDB, they are unable use their CPF OA to finance it. As there is only one owner, only one will be eligible to apply for the loan.
The caveat is that the spouse would need to shoulder the entire mortgage payments on their own, and must have sufficient funds in cash and CPF accounts for both down payment as well as the monthly mortgage.
7. If You’re a National or PR of These Countries
For non-Singaporean individuals, a 60% ABSD is charged on the purchase price in addition to the BSD. Fortunately, this fee doesn’t apply if you are a resident of Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and USA due to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
There are a few strategies you can use to avoid or minimize the ABSD when purchasing two properties. From “Sell One, Buy Two” and buying dual-key units to listing one person as the owner of an HDB flat and another as essential occupier. There is something for everyone who wants to purchase more than one property in Singapore.
However, it’s important that you plan your finances thoroughly by considering all costs involved before taking on any additional mortgages. With careful planning and consideration, investing in multiple properties may be possible even with current regulations in place. Talk to us today to see if you can avoid the ABSD and get more with your money.
Get professional help from a team of real estate experts at Mattjasatwork so that you can make the most informed decision possible. If you have any questions regarding ABSD, decoupling or any other real estate enquiries, please don’t hesitate to drop us a message via WhatsApp or give us a call at +65 9093 2794 today!