Legal Update January 2014


The Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) was introduced in Singapore on 7 December 2011 as one of the cooling measures for residential properties. It applies to residential properties and to buyers, according to their profile and the number of residential properties they each own. The table below illustrates the application of the ABSD. 

Profile of Buyer

Basic Stamp Duty rates

ABSD rates (new) from 12 Jan 2013

FR and entities

1% on first $180,000

2% on next $180,000

3% on the reminder



SPR buying first property


SPR buying second and subsequent property


SC buying first property


SC buying second property


SC buying third and subsequent property


 *FR refers to foreign person
   SPR refers to Singapore Permanent Resident
   SC refers to Singapore Citizen

The following manner of Property Acquisition/transfer will attract ABSD:

(a) Gift, Release, Settlement
(b) Declaration of Trust where the beneficial interest is the property is vested in the benefecial interest in the property is vested in the beneficiary
(c) Letter of Authority
(d) Exchange                                             

To minimise the payment of ABSD, buyers may do a “De-Coupling”. This essentially mean that where a property is jointly owned by Husband (H) & Wife (W), H withdraws his name from the ownership of the existing property so that he can be free to buy another  residential property in his name without having to pay the ABSD.

And if the next property is the first property to be purchased by H, then, he may also be able to obtain the maximum loan of up to 80% of the valuation of the property to be purchased (One of the other cooling measures introduced was to reduce the loan amount available for subsequent properties).

The only way to do a de-coupling is by way of Transfer of part-share, either through sale or gift. It is advisable to do so by sale to avoid the complications of Bankruptcy Act as all gift transactions done within 5 years before the day on which Bankruptcy application is made may be avoidable.

Contributed By:

JTJB is a boutique full service Singapore law firm with an established practice in conveyancing and real estate. For more information, about our Firm, please contact us at

This update is for general information only and is it not intended to constitute legal advice. JTJB has made all reasonable efforts to ensure the information provided is accurate.