• June 20, 2024

How Can Decoupling Assist You in Purchasing a Second Home?

While many people consider owning a second home to be a dream come true, purchasing one in Singapore entails paying a substantial Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD).

Read More: decoupling HDB

For Singaporeans purchasing a second home, the ABSD is now 20% of the purchase price (up from 17% before) or the property’s current market value, whichever is higher. For Singapore Permanent Residents, it is 30%; for foreigners, it is 60%. For a breakdown of the new ABSD rates, see this link.

Like other property cooling measures like the Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), the government established the property tax to calm an overheated market.

Through a procedure known as “decoupling,” many married couples in Singapore have discovered a means to purchase a second property without having to pay the ABSD.

What does decoupling mean?

When one co-owner gives their part to the other, giving up their ownership entirely, they can “decouple” as joint homeowners. This owner will now be regarded as a novice, as though they had never purchased or owned a property before. This implies that he or she won’t have to pay any ABSD when purchasing a second home.

Consider this: (if you’re a Singapore Citizen buying a second home) If you choose to purchase a $1 million second property for investment purposes without decoupling, you will be required to pay an ABSD of at least $300,000. However, you may save the money by disconnecting and use it for other house-related expenditures, like furniture or home remodeling.

Bad news for HDB owners considering a decoupling

Since 2016, owners of HDB apartments are not permitted to give their ownership to a relative.

Decoupling will often only be an option for private homes.

How can individual property owners separate their holdings?

Private homeowners can perform decoupling in two ways: via transfer as a gift or by sale (part purchase).

Transfer through partial purchase through selling

In this procedure, one party lawfully purchases from the other all of the remaining property shares from the other party. A lawyer or conveyancer is often hired to prepare the sale and purchase (S&P) agreement, which must contain all the conditions of the deal.

In order to finalize the deal, the buyer would have to pay the seller the BSD to the Singaporean Inland Revenue Authority and the seller for their rights to the property, as specified in the S&P agreement.

Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD), effective as of February 15, 2023 (wef).

As stated in Budget 2023, there will be an increase in the BSD rates for both residential and non-residential buildings, which will take effect on February 15, 2023. For properties purchased on or after February 15, 2023, there is a transitional BSD remission that will allow the previous BSD rates to apply, provided the remission requirements are satisfied.

Only properties with a percentage of their worth over $1.5 million and up to $3 million are affected by the changes in BSD rates; these homes will now be subject to a 5% tax. That is a 1% increase over the going rate. Property valued at more than $3 million will be subject to 6% taxation.

Can you really afford to separate?

Check all the fees and hazards connected with detaching your property from your marriage and consult a licensed real estate professional before making any decisions. While some couples might believe that paying the ABSD and moving on is preferable (and faster), others might be more hesitant. It is, after all, a very significant financial obligation. Regardless of your position on this spectrum, it is wise to seek expert guidance.

Common inquiries concerning decoupling

1) What happens if I don’t have enough CPF to cover the legal charge, stamp duty, or down payment?

If you have not saved enough CPF, you will have to pay all applicable expenses and fees in cash.

2) I want to buy a second house; can I acquire a mortgage loan?

It is important to keep in mind that the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) establishes a maximum monthly repayment threshold of 60% of the borrower’s monthly income for property loans.

Depending on factors like income, work, credit status, etc., each partner’s qualifying loan amount may differ. Ask the mortgage officer at your bank about your eligibility.

3) After decoupling, as the seller, am I allowed to keep the cash profits from the sale?

The CPF Board must first get back all money from the CPF Ordinary Account, including any interest that was earned, before it may be utilized to pay for the property. The owner would receive cash back in exchange for the remaining surplus.