Singapore vs. Melbourne: Which City Offers Lower Costs for Property Investors?


Singapore vs. Melbourne: Which City Offers Lower Costs for Property Investors?

If you’re a global or Singaporean investor looking to diversify your portfolio with a property investment, you should consider the actual costs and taxes associated with buying a second property in Singapore.

If not, you could be taking advantage of the opportunity to maximize your returns in the Melbourne property market.

I've previously written articles highlighting the advantages of investing in Melbourne properties over Singapore, such as "Melbourne vs Singapore: Which City Offers Better Property Investment Opportunities?and Melbourne vs Singapore: Which is the Best Study Destination for International Students?

In this article, we'll dive deep into the real costs of property taxes in Singapore and explore why investing in Melbourne properties can offer you an 8-10% return on your investment. 

We'll also provide information and guidance to help you assess your readiness and budget for a property purchase, ensuring you make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.

The Real Costs of Property Taxes in Singapore

When it comes to buying a second property in Singapore, it's crucial to understand the true costs involved. Beyond the purchase price and mortgage payments, there are several costs and taxes that can significantly impact your bottom line. These include:|

Stamp Duty

This is a tax levied on the purchase of a property, and it can range from 1% to 6% of the property's value, depending on the purchase price.

Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)

If you're a Singaporean citizen buying a second property, you'll be subject to an ABSD of 20% of the property's value. For foreigners, the ABSD is even higher, at 60%.

Property Tax

This is an annual tax levied on the property's annual value, which is determined by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). The property tax rate ranges from 4% to 16%, depending on the property's annual value.

These costs can quickly add up, making it challenging for investors to achieve their desired returns. This is where investing in Melbourne properties can offer a more attractive alternative.

Why Consider Investing in Melbourne Properties?

The key advantages of investing in Melbourne properties over Singapore are the lower property taxes and a more favorable tax regime for foreign investors.

Case Study: Owning an $800,000 Property in Melbourne vs. Singapore

Here is a sample comparison of the costs when purchasing a second property in Melbourne vs Singapore, based on the given details:

Down Payment (25% of purchase price)$800,000$800,000
Loan Amount (75% LTV)$600,000$600,000
Loan Term30 years30 years
Interest Rate3%3%
Estimated Monthly Repayment$2,530$2,530
Option FeeNot Applicable$8,000 (1% of the property value)
Exercise FeeNot Applicable$32,000 (4% of the property value)
Stamp Duty$43,070$18,600
Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)                        Not Applicable                          $160,000 (20% of purchase price)
Foreign Purchaser Additional Duty (FPAD)$64,000(8% of purchase price)Not Applicable
Property Tax$1,200 - $3,000 per year$2,400 - $6,000 per year
Valuation Fee$200$163 to $700 for private properties
Legal Fees and Conveyancing Fees$800 - $2,500$2,000 - $3,500
Mortgage Registration Fee$119$100

Maintenance Fee (including fire insurance and           

building pest inspection)

$2,000 to $4,000 per annum$330 to $1,150 annually

Total Upfront Costs (excl. down payment)
$111,389 - $116,889
$223,593 - $230,050


Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD): This significant tax applies to second properties in Singapore but does not exist in Melbourne, making it more costly for Singaporean citizens and foreigners to invest in additional properties in Singapore.

Property Tax:
While both locations levy property taxes, Melbourne's rates generally differ from Singapore's, which can range from 4% to 16% depending on the property's annual value.

Investors considering property investment can benefit from understanding these tax differences. Melbourne presents a more favorable tax environment compared to Singapore, particularly for foreign investors, with potentially lower acquisition costs and fewer taxes on property transactions. 

This comparison underscores why Melbourne may offer a more attractive investment opportunity for those seeking to diversify their portfolios and maximize returns.

Important Note:

These figures can vary depending on several factors, including changes in local tax regulations, specific property locations, and the individual circumstances of the investors. It is advisable to consult with a tax advisor or property investment specialist to get the most accurate and up-to-date information tailored to your specific situation.

Understanding Loan-to-Value (LTV) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) Restrictions

When investing in a property, it's crucial to understand the loan-to-value (LTV) and total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) restrictions that may impact your borrowing capacity.

In Singapore, the LTV ratio for a second property loan is capped at 45%, meaning you'll need to have a minimum downpayment of 55% of the property's value. This can be challenging for some investors, particularly if they're already servicing an existing mortgage.

The TDSR, on the other hand, is a measure of your total monthly debt obligations as a percentage of your gross monthly income. In Singapore, the TDSR is capped at 55%, which means that your total monthly debt payments, including your mortgage, cannot exceed 55% of your gross monthly income.

By investing in Melbourne properties, you can potentially avoid these restrictions and access more favorable loan terms, allowing you to maximize your returns and achieve your investment goals.

Assessing Your Readiness and Budget for a Property Purchase

Before investing in a property, it's essential to assess your readiness and budget. This involves:

  • Evaluating your financial situation: Take a close look at your income, expenses, and existing debts to determine how much you can afford to invest in a property.

  • Seeking professional advice: Consider consulting with a financial advisor or property investment specialist to get expert guidance on your investment strategy and ensure that it aligns with your goals and risk tolerance.

By taking these steps, you can make an informed decision about your property investment and ensure that you're well-prepared for the financial responsibilities that come with owning a property.

Seize the Opportunity to Invest in Melbourne Properties

In conclusion, investing in Melbourne properties can offer global and Singaporean investors a compelling alternative to the Singapore property market. By understanding the hidden costs and taxes associated with buying a second property in Singapore, and by taking advantage of the favorable conditions in the Melbourne market, you can potentially achieve an 8-10% return on your investment.

The Melbourne property market has shown steady growth over the years, with an average annual increase of around 7-8% in property values. Rental yields in Melbourne apartments ranged between 4.8% and 5% in the March 2024 quarter, indicating strong rental demand driven by population growth.

Furthermore, Melbourne offers a more favorable tax regime compared to Singapore, with lower property taxes and no additional buyer's stamp duty for foreign investors. The combination of lower costs, higher potential returns, and a stable and growing property market makes Melbourne an attractive investment destination.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to diversify your portfolio and secure your financial future. 

Contact us today to learn more about investing in Melbourne properties and how we can help you achieve your investment goals.