Buying 2nd Property Without ABSD in 2023 - New Gen Home

Buying 2nd Property Without ABSD in 2023 [Updated for ABSD revision]

Updated for 2022 due to ABSD revision announced by the government on 15 Dec 2021. Many Singaporean homeowners are considering cost-effective ways to invest in a second property without ABSD (legally of course). Part-purchase or decoupling is one of the common method. Let's find out how I did it.
Table of Contents

Why without ABSD?

As of July 6, 2018, the ABSD for second homes has increased to 12%. For Singaporeans looking to purchase a second $1 million property, they can expect to pay up to $144,600 in stamp fees alone! That’s not even counting other buying costs!


Therefore, many homeowners are now considering other most cost-effective ways to invest in a second property by avoiding paying ABSD (This is not a ABSD loophole).

There are a few methods to reduce the cost of buying a second property without paying ABSD.

Today I will share with you one common prescribed ways to avoid ABSD called part-purchase or decoupling.

Avoid ABSD by decoupling?

In short, decoupling in the real estate industry is commonly understood as one owner (Owner A) buying the other owner’s (Owner B) existing interest in their co-owned property. This is also known as part-purchase.

Through this method, Owner B becomes free to purchase another property at NO or a reduced ABSD, depending on his citizenship and the number of properties he already owned.

This is not to be confused with remission with ABSD. This is a topic for another day. 

How to decouple HDB flat?

Not all property types are eligible for decoupling. An example is a married couple who own an HDB flat.

According to HDB, resale part-share is only allowed under specific circumstances. One example is for transfer between parents and children. In other instances, it is for purchasing an ex-spouse’s interest in their matrimonial property.

As you can see, this leaves many HDB owners with the option of selling the HDB before they free up both names to buy two properties under two different owner names.

Decoupling for private properties

The good news is that decoupling is allowed for private residential properties without any regulatory restrictions. 

Now that we have gotten the eligibility out of the way, let’s see how I assist my clients with their part purchase. 

Case Study

To better understand how part-purchase is done, let’s look at a real-life case study of a client whom I have the privilege to work with.

– Mr Tan and Mdm Yeo intend to buy a second private property for investment.
– Mr Tan and Mdm Yeo, both Singaporeans jointly owned equal shares (50/50) on their matrimonial property.

Financial Assessment

Property Valuation


Outstanding Loan


 Financial Assessment

Mr Tan 

Mdm Yeo 




Monthly Salary



CPF Principal + Accrued Interest Used



CPF OA Balance



Other loans 

$1,750 (Car)


Maximum Loan After Decoupling (75% LTV) 




In this case study, Mdm Yeo will be selling her property interest to Mr Tan. As Mdm Yeo has lesser monthly loans, she can maximise her TDSR limit and purchase a higher quantum property.

It is important to note that every buyer has a different investment objective. It does not necessarily mean the one with a higher loan to value will be the one decoupling. You should seek professional advice before making a decision.

Seller – Mdm Yeo 



Selling Price


50% of $1.5M property valuation

Outstanding Loan 


50% of $650K outstanding loan 

CPF Principal + Accrued Interest Used


Total CPF Used for property purchase

Legal fees


1 for representing seller, 1 for representing buyer 

Sales Proceeds 


Proceeds in cash


Mr Tan will now proceed to purchase his wife’s interest in their original matrimonial home. 

Buyer – Mr Tan



Buying Price


50% of $1.2M property valuation

Existing Housing Loan


50% of $650,000 outstanding loan 

  • Option Fee 


5% of property valuation

  • Down-payment


20% of property valuation

  • New Loan


75% of property valuation

  • Buyer’s Stamp Duty


See IRAS existing BSD rate

  • Legal Fee


1 for representing seller, 1 for representing buyer 

Refinance 50% of existing loan


50% of $650,000 outstanding loan 

Below are the total cost breakdown for Mr Tan. 

Total Cost Breakdown 



Total Housing Loan 


Refinance loan + New Loan

Total CPF Needed 


Existing CPF OA balance available for use 

Total Cash Needed

$30,000 + $38,100

5% Option Fee + Shortfall in CPF


It is important to note that the purchaser must have sufficient CPF funds combined with the new home loan he/she can secure. Any shortfall will mean that the purchaser will need to set aside more cash for the decoupling process. 

Being a Singaporean, Mdm Yeo is now free to purchase another property without paying ABSD since her total property count after decoupling is zero.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This is because two law firms must act for the buyer and seller respectively to represent both parties’ separate interests in this transaction.

You can do that as long as you have extra cash to repay your co-owner share of the outstanding mortgage and CPF used. 

This is why most will need to sell their share of the property at valuation so that they can have the extra funds from a mortgage loan to repay their co-owner outstanding mortgage and CPF used. 

Your stamp fees will still be payable at the current market valuation. 

Part sale or part purchase transaction will have to take place at fair market value for the property in question. So the answer is no, you can’t sell your share of the property at a below-market price. 

Yes, you are still required to pay a seller’s stamp duty (SSD) based on the prescribed rate provided by IRAS. Your seller’s stamp fees payable will be based on the percentage of you owned. 

As of 16 December 2021, the latest ABSD rate for Singapore citizens buying their 2nd property is 17% instead of 12%. You can refer to the link provided by IRAS for more infomation. 

ABSD is calculated based on the selling price or valuation price. If your 2nd property cost $1 million dollars, your expected ABSD rate will be based on 17% of $1 million.

This works out to be a total of $170,000. 

The example above is only applicable to Singapore citizens. 

Update for 2023 (Post 16 December 2021 cooling measures)

On 15 Dec 2021, the Government announced that ABSD rates will be raised with effect from 16 Dec 2021, as part of a package of measures to cool the private residential and HDB resale markets. 

On 16 December 2021, the Singapore government announced another round of changes to the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates.

ABSD Rates from 6 Jul 2018 to 15 Dec 2021

  • For citizens, the ABSD rate was 0% for the first property, and an additional 12% for the second property onwards.
  • For Permanent Residents, the ABSD rate was 5% for the first property and an additional 15% for the second property onwards.
  • For foreign buyers, the ABSD rate was 20% for all property purchases.

After 16 December 2021:

  • For citizens, the ABSD rate is still 0% for the first property and an additional 17% for the second property onwards.
  • For Permanent Residents, there is no change in the ABSD rate for the first property at 5% and an additional 25% for the second property onwards.
  • For foreign buyers, the ABSD rate increased to 30% for all property purchases.

These changes were implemented to regulate demand for property in Singapore, reduce speculation, and ensure a stable and sustainable property market.

The above decoupling method does not subject the buyer to any Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and still is applicable in the year 2023. 

As a realtor working in a continuously changing economic landscape, it is increasingly important to advise my clients beyond transactions. Every client’s financial situation is unique, there is no one size fits all solution for every case. As a realtor myself, my job goes beyond transactions, it is important to go beyond my duties and assist my clients to seek the best outcome possible beyond property-related matters.

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