The Expat’s Guide To Home Ownership in Singapore

Mark Cheng



If you are new to the island state and looking to buy a house, there are a few key things you need to take note of. One of the important unique features for mortgages in Singapore is the role of the mandatory saving scheme, Central Provident Fund (CPF).

Many home purchases in Singapore are financed through the use of the Central Provident Fund (CPF). The Colonial British Government introduced the national funded pension scheme, CPF, on 1stJuly 1955.

The relaxation of the CPF regulation has allowed for residential property purchases using the funds in the mid-70s for public housing and early-80s for private property. The total amount of withdrawals for housing has increased by about 14 times at its peak in 1999 as compared to 1981.

According to the Singapore Census 2000, the scheme has become very successful in promoting home ownership whereby 92% of the Singaporeans own a home.


Home Ownership In Singapore

Singapore’s home ownership is segmented into two types: private home ownership and public home ownership. Between the two, the public home ownership sector is the dominating sector accommodating 81.3% of total households ranging from low income to upper middle-income groups.

The public housing system is controlled by the Housing Development Board (HDB), which covers duties such as housing production, housing management, housing finance and formulation of housing policies.


The public home ownership sector is divided into three sub-sectors as follows:

  •          The public new housing sector.
  •          The HDB resale market.
  •          The HDB executive condominium market.

In the new housing market, the dwellings are newly built and are sold at subsidized prices.

The private owner-occupier housing market accommodates less than 10% of the total number of households. There is an indication of rising private housing stock, which increased from 14% in 1989 to 18.1% in 1999. The private sector receives comparatively less subsidies from the Government and thus is less regulated.


All statistics and information obtained from Economy Watch

Keep updated with all the news!


Mark Cheng

I rant and rave a lot, but when I'm not busy doing that, I'm managing the content for MoneySmart. I love Singapore, but I also believe in helping it to improve bit by bit, and that's where MoneySmart comes in. Have some thoughts? Drop me an email at [email protected]