Australian Expat Mortgages in Singapore

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Australian Mortgage in Singapore

Singapore

Australian expats living in Singapore may apply for the same home loan options as those residing in Australia. What will you need to consider for your mortgage as an Australian expat living overseas?

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Australian Home Loans for Expats in Singapore

Here is everything you need to know about expats in Singapore finding Australian home loans for non-tax-residents.

Variable, Fixed, or Interest-Only

Expats in Singapore can apply for a variable-rate, fixed-rate, or interest-only loan in Australia. As expats in Singapore are still Australian citizens, they are eligible for the same home loan options as Aussies living in Australia.

Singaporeans might also apply for most home loan products, although there might be some limits. Additionally, foreign nationals might face higher interest rates.

Loan Size and Term

Australian citizens and permanent visa holders residing in Singapore may borrow up to 90% loan to value ratio. Although, this depends on credit score and income. If you cannot provide sufficient evidence of your Singaporean income, lenders may limit you to 80% LVR.

Home Loan Package: Offsets and Redraw

Aussie expats in Singapore and Singaporeans may apply for offset features and redraw facilities on their home loans.

Generally speaking, lenders only offer loan features to stronger borrowers. If your Singaporean income evidence is not sufficient, the lender will reduce your borrowing power. Accordingly, you might struggle to negotiate additional property loan features. Speak to a specialist Australian mortgage broker to find out your options as an expat or Singaporean.

How Do Lenders View Singapore Dollars?

Singapore dollars (SGD) are a pretty safe bet for Australian lenders. While some might not consider 100% of your income (especially if you cannot provide sufficient evidence), a fair few lenders will consider your entire income for a property loan in Australia.

Additionally, many Aussie expats working in Singapore might earn Great British Pounds (GBP), Euros or United States dollars (USD). These are both widely accepted currencies.

Pros and Cons

Take a look at the pros and cons of home loans for Australian Expats in Singapore

Pros Cons
Some Australian lenders will use Singaporean tax rates on your income, as opposed to applying Aussie rates. This should help strengthen your borrowing power on your home loan.
A few lenders may not offer competitive interest rates to Aussies residing in Singapore, particularly if you struggle to evidence your net income.
Singapore dollars are relatively well-known in Australia, therefore, some lenders will consider 100% of your income.
Self-employed borrowers living in Singapore might face restrictions on the loan amount, features, and interest rates. You might need to provide a few years’ worth of tax returns to prove your income.
Unless you cannot provide evidence of your income, Australians living in Singapore won’t pay higher interest rates.
Expats might come across difficult lenders who cannot process foreign addresses or foreign phone numbers, causing severe delays. Speak to an Australia-specialized mortgage broker in Singapore to find an appropriate lender.

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Mortgage Features

Here are the main mortgage features Singaporeans can expect

Feature Details
Deposit Size
Most Aussie expats can get away with a deposit size as low as 5%. However, to avoid paying LMI, it’s best to save a deposit of around 20%. You’ll also need to save enough for additional bank fees and charges, such as a loan application fee.
Borrowing Power
As Singapore dollars are a fairly reliable currency, many lenders will accept 100% of your net income. However, you may find some lenders only consider 80% of your income. Also, remember that Singapore has a private school system. Lenders will consider school fees as one of your expenses affecting your borrowing power.
Repayment Options
Australian expats and Singapore residents can opt to repay their home loans monthly, weekly, or every fortnight. Additionally, expats can repay their home loans early without penalty.
Interest Rates
Australian expats should expect the same mortgage interest rates overseas as offered to Australian citizens. Singapore residents might face higher interest rates if applying for a home loan with a specialist lender. Both expats and Singapore residents might have to pay extra fees for translations and other international costs.

Key Facts

More than 20,000 Australians live in Singapore.

If you’re a dual citizen or married to a Singaporean, some lenders might treat you as a foreign borrower.

Singapore-based Australian banks no longer lend home loans.

Feature Details
Deposit Size
ANZ prefers a home loan deposit of 20% or more when applying for a home loan.
Offset Account
A transaction account linked to home or investment loans. This account can be used to offset the amount you owe on the loan, and ANZ will only charge the interest in the difference.
Repayment Options
Depending on your loan type, repayments can be made weekly, fortnightly or monthly via ANZ’ Internet Banking services.
Package Benefits
With ANZ packages, borrowers can access lower interest rates, free offset account, credit card and benefit from waived fees.
Interest Rates
With the Breakfree package, borrowers can access a discount up to 2.10%
Expat Information
ANZ can assist loan applications in a variety of foreign currencies.

How Do I Apply?

When applying for an Australian mortgage as a Singaporean or expat in Singapore, you’ll need to meet the lender’s eligibility criteria.

Eligibility

Make sure you apply with a lender who specialises in Singapore home loans. 

  • A good credit score or history of making repayments on time.
  • Australian citizenship (if you’re an expat). 
  • 20 – 30% deposit if you’re a Singapore national.
  • Over 18 years of age.
  • Some lenders might require a Power of Attorney.

Documents required

  • Two forms of income verification, such as recent payslips, an employment letter, or tax returns.
  • Form of identification, such as a passport, driver’s licence, or birth certificate.
  • Details of your expenses, such as other credit liabilities and living costs.
  • Details of your prospective property purchase (if you’ve located a property)

Other Considerations

Double Taxation Agreement

Singapore and Australia have a Double Taxation Agreement. This means that if you’re a tax resident in both countries, you are eligible for a tax rebate to prevent paying two lots of tax on the same income.

FIRB Approval

Aussie expats in Singapore don’t need to apply for FIRB approval. Singaporean investors might do, though. Typically, foreign investors can only purchase new homes or vacant land.

Stamp Duty Surcharge

Australian citizens will only have to pay the normal stamp duty rate of between 4-5%. However, if you’re jointly purchasing with a Singaporean spouse, you will have to pay the stamp duty surcharge. You may also have to pay the foreign ownership land tax surcharge.

Power of Attorney

Some lenders require Australian expats to have a Power of Attorney in Australia to carry out legal actions on your behalf.

Frequently Asked Questions

Australian expats in Singapore can buy property with an Australian home loan. Expats can get the same interest rates, loan features, and loan terms for mortgages overseas as those living within Australia.

Singapore and Australia have a tax treaty so if you earn income in more than one country, you only have to pay one lot of taxes. However, you may need to lodge a tax return with your property investment income in both countries.

Fewer and fewer lenders offer home loans to Australians living overseas. You may need to speak to a specialist mortgage broker about your Australian lending options if you are an expat in Singapore.