What Expats Need to Consider Before Buying A Home

If you want to live and work abroad, Singapore is definitely the place to be. The city-state boasts of incredible opportunities for business owners and employees. If you want to look for opportunities here, you should know that based on the study conducted by the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey in 2016, the average salary of expats here is $139,000, which is higher when compared to the global average salary of $97,000.

Aside from that, Singapore has a low tax rate. Its tax rate is simpler compared to other countries. For people earning less than $22,000 annually, there are no taxes to pay but for those who are earning more than $320,000 annually, they are required to pay 20%. Knowing these things, moving to Singapore will be beneficial for you and the family.

As soon as you have an opportunity, the first thing that you need to consider is whether to buy or rent a house. If you want to buy a home, you should consider the following things:

The property prices
Many expats are surprised because of the high rental and home prices. However, the property market here has low barriers to entry for expats. The real estate here is not cheap. With this, you need to determine if you really need to buy one. For example, in Bukit Timah where Mayfair Gardens Showflat is, the average home price for a studio or 1-bedroom property is SGD 1.2 million while the average home price for a 2-bedroom property is SGD 1.7 million. For a 3-bedroom property, the average home price is SGD 2.3 million and the average home price for a 4-bedroom property is SGD 4.4 million.

If you really need to buy, there are major banks that will grant you loan mortgages even if you are non-Singaporean. You just need to demonstrate or prove that you have the necessary income to fulfill the payments. If you consider loan mortgages, the banks will only give you up to 80% of the value of the property. This means that you have to pay the remaining 20% in cold cash.

The opportunity cost of owning a property
If you buy a property in Singapore, you won’t have the freedom to move at any time you want. If you have a mortgaged property, you are locking yourself into a home before you become familiar with the area. This will result to regret in the future. Another opportunity cost is putting a 20% down payment. You can use this money for other benefits like stocks or mutual funds.

The period you will stay in Singapore
You have to know that the government has this SSD (Sellers Stamp Duty) for anyone who is selling a home within the first four years of the purchase. If you think you will stay in Singapore for good, buying a house is practical. However, if you think that you will be there for a short time or less than four years, remember that there is a tax imposed for selling your property.

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