Express hot tips: Realty hotspots abroad

Real estate abroad

LONDON

London has different rules for different boroughs. The prime central residential property prices average around £1.2 million. Though the demand properties is soaring, the supply is not keeping pace. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, the average price of a property in London is now £392,000. The UK is clearly an attractive location for international buyers from a business, education and property investment point of view.

However, you need to be very careful and do extra research, as the demand is on all time high and houses are scarce, so you might end up paying more for something that does not match your expectations. However, the good news is that there is a pipeline of upmarket housing projects in planning, or already under construction with 15,500 units slated for delivery by 2021. Stamp duty, transfer duty and registration charges are the important indirect costs.

To cash in on this situation, the State Bank of India is entering Britain's residential mortgage market, and will start to sell home loans through its 11-strong branch network and then through mortgage brokers from next year.

SINGAPORE

Singapore is a popular destination for professionals, especially those from the IT sector. However, property prices here have now slowed for eight consecutive quarters, as government measures to cool down the market have been effective.

Since 1973, the Singapore government has imposed restrictions on foreign ownership of all private residential property, governed by the Residential Property Act. This act was amended in 2005 allowing foreigners to purchase apartments in non-condominium developments of less than six levels without the need to obtain prior approval. A foreign national needs prior approval of the Minister of Law before purchasing restricted residential property. Its best to engage the services of a realtor.

In Singapore, properties are sold on either a freehold or leasehold tenure. You either can buy from the Housing Development Board (HDB), condominiums or landed property. A foreigner or Singapore Permanent Resident buying the first residential property including HDB flat would have to pay additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) at 5 per cent. If he owns an HDB flat and wants to upgrade to a private condominium unit, he will have to pay ABSD of 10 per cent as it will be his second property. Financing options too are available for foreigners.

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