Freehold vs Leasehold Property Which Is Better In Singapore?

Imagine you’re living the dream – you’ve finally saved up enough money to purchase a property in Singapore, one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic cities. You have your eyes set on your dream home in a prime location that checks all the boxes for your ideal living space. However, you are now faced with a critical choice: should you go for a leasehold or freehold property?

In the quest for the perfect home, this decision can be challenging and overwhelming for many prospective homeowners. Fret not, for in this blog post, we will explore the fundamental differences, pros, and cons between leasehold and freehold properties in Singapore, empowering you with the knowledge you need to make the best decision for your future. So get comfortable, grab a cup of kopi, and let’s dive into the world of leased contra freehold real estate in the Lion City!


1. Understanding the difference between freehold and leasehold property

Understanding the difference between freehold and leasehold property is an important consideration when purchasing a property in Singapore. Freehold properties, as the name suggests, are held indefinitely by the owner. Contrary to this, a 99-year leasehold property will revert back to the state upon the expiry of its lease. A third tenure option is a 999-year leasehold, which is essentially no different from a freehold property.

However, it is crucial to understand that owning a freehold property does not ensure that it will never be taken back by the government. There are provisions that allow the government to reclaim land for infrastructural or security purposes. In such cases, owners will be compensated based on existing market transactions for similar properties in the same location.

When discussing the price differences between a freehold and a leasehold, it is essential to consider multiple factors affecting value. For instance, a unit with 70 years left on its lease but located in the Central Business District will likely be more valuable than a freehold unit on the outskirts. Likewise, the advantage of a freehold property can be more theoretical than practical, as price differences tend to occur at the 21- and 40-year mark.

Ultimately, the choice between a freehold or leasehold property depends on an individual’s preferences and needs. Buyers should weigh both the benefits and drawbacks of each tenure option, keeping in mind factors such as accessibility, location, and potential future developments before making their final decision.

2. Government’s power to reclaim freehold property for infrastructure or security purposes

Although freehold property ownership is often seen as holding significant advantages over leasehold properties, it is essential for potential buyers to be aware that the government in Singapore still has the power to reclaim any freehold property under specific circumstances. This could include acquiring land for vital infrastructure or security purposes. Hence, owning a freehold property in Singapore does not mean you have absolute possession over it indefinitely.

For example, if your freehold property happens to be situated on a land where the government plans to build essential infrastructure such as highways or underground MRT networks, you may have no choice but to give up your property. In such cases, the government will compensate the owners based on the existing market transactions for similar properties in the same location. This means that even though a freehold property may seem like a better investment, there are still risks involved that you should be aware of before making a purchase decision.

Additionally, en-bloc redevelopment is another factor that could cause freehold property owners to lose their homes. If a developer attempts to purchase your property for redevelopment and the majority of residents in the estate agree to the terms, you may be compelled to sell your home and search for a new place to live.

In conclusion, while freehold properties may initially appear as the more attractive and valuable choice in comparison to leasehold properties, it is crucial for buyers to recognise the limitations and potential risks involved in owning such properties. Understanding the various factors that play into the decision-making process will enable you to make a more informed and strategic investment in the long run.

3. En-bloc redevelopment and compensation for freehold and leasehold property owners

En-bloc redevelopment is a phenomenon in Singapore’s real estate market where a majority of property owners within a development agree to sell their properties collectively to a developer. This can happen for both freehold and leasehold properties. The primary motive behind en-bloc sales is to reap the potential benefits of high compensation from developers. In general, property owners tend to benefit more from en-bloc sales of freehold properties, as they generally command higher prices due to their perpetual ownership rights.

However, it is crucial to note that the Singapore Land Acquisition Act of 1966 empowers the government to acquire any land, including freehold properties, for public or specified purposes, with the owners receiving compensation for their acquired property. Additionally, freehold property owners may have to give up their land for infrastructure development projects, such as roads or bridges. This emphasises the fact that despite the seemingly advantageous nature of owning a freehold property, they are not exempt from compulsory land acquisition.

In the case of leasehold properties, owners are provided a fixed tenure, usually 99 years or 999 years. As the expiry of the lease approaches, the property’s market value naturally declines. This is where en-bloc sales can be particularly beneficial for leasehold property owners, as they can cash in on their property’s value before the lease expires and the land is returned to the state. Despite the lower valuation compared to freehold properties, leasehold owners can still gain significant compensation through en-bloc sales.

In conclusion, en-bloc redevelopment serves as an opportunity for both freehold and leasehold property owners to capitalize on their property’s value in Singapore’s competitive real estate market. While freehold properties inherently command higher prices, leasehold properties can also reap substantial benefits from en-bloc sales, especially as their lease period approaches its end.

4. Pricing differences between freehold and leasehold property at different stages

One of the major factors to consider when choosing between freehold and leasehold property in Singapore is the difference in pricing. As a general rule of thumb, a new freehold property will be around 10% more expensive than its leasehold counterpart. However, the price gap between the two types of properties tends to fluctuate at different stages of their lifespan.

At the initial stage, freehold properties may demand a premium, but as both freehold and leasehold properties age, the price difference may diminish or even reverse. A significant change in the price difference occurs when a leasehold property reaches the 21-year mark, and again at the 40-year mark. Leasehold properties tend to show more significant depreciation at these stages, making them less attractive to potential buyers.

In some cases, a leasehold property that is well-located and has excellent amenities may fetch a higher price than a poorly-located freehold property. For instance, a leasehold unit with 70 years left on its lease in the Central Business District (CBD) may have a higher value than a freehold unit in the outskirts of Tengah.

For property investors looking to rent their units, the lease tenure may not be a major concern for potential tenants. Renters are typically more interested in the property’s location, accessibilityIn Singapore, the pricing differences between freehold and leasehold properties can be significant and tend to evolve at various stages of the property’s life cycle. A common rule of thumb is that new freehold properties are typically priced around 10% higher than their leasehold counterparts. This is due to the perceived value of holding the property indefinitely, as opposed to a finite lease term.

As leasehold properties age, their value depreciates faster than freehold properties. This depreciation is particularly noticeable when the lease reaches the 21-year and 40-year marks. At these points, the diminishing lease lifespan has a more significant impact on the property’s value than the initial pricing premium that came with the freehold status.

However, it is essential to recognise that a property’s value depends on more factors than just its lease tenure. Location, local amenities, and accessibility are all key elements that can influence a property’s valuation. For instance, a leasehold property in the Central Business District (CBD) with good transportation links might still command a higher price than a freehold property situated in a less desirable area with limited amenities.

In conclusion, while there are noticeable pricing differences between freehold and leasehold properties, particularly as the lease ages, it is crucial for property investors and buyers to consider other factors beyond lease tenure that can affect a property’s value. Ultimately, making the right choice between leasehold and freehold properties will depend on one’s individual preferences, financial situation, and the specific property in question. 

5. Impact of property tenure on rental yields

The impact of property tenure on rental yields is an important factor to consider when investing in real estate in Singapore. Both freehold and leasehold properties have their pros and cons that affect rental income, and understanding this can help you make informed decisions.

One key factor affecting rental yields is the perceived value of the property. Freehold properties tend to have higher market values because they can be held indefinitely by the owner, and this perception attracts tenants willing to pay higher rent. However, this does not mean that freehold properties always guarantee higher rental yields than leasehold properties.

Location plays a significant role in determining rental yields. A leasehold property situated in a prime location, such as the Central Business District (CBD) or near top-tier schools and amenities, can command higher rental rates than a freehold property in a less desirable area. In such cases, the leasehold property may offer better rental yields despite its limited ownership tenure.

As leasehold properties age, their value declines, and rental yields may be negatively affected. This is because tenants may prefer newer properties with longer lease tenures, and banks may be less willing to finance potential rental buyers. On the other hand, freehold properties are less affected by age and may continue to attract tenants without significant drops in rental yields.

In conclusion, property tenure does impact rental yields, but the extent of its influence depends on factors such as location, age, and market conditions. As an investor, it’s crucial to weigh these factors alongside the tenure to make the most profitable choice for your investment property.

6. Perceived value of freehold vs leasehold property based on location and amenities

One of the main factors influencing the perceived value of a property in Singapore is its land tenure, either being freehold or leasehold. Both types of property ownership have their advantages and disadvantages, primarily affecting the investment potential and long-term value of the property. However, other crucial aspects such as location and amenities also play a vital role in determining the overall value and desirability of a property.

Location is often considered the most crucial factor in determining the perceived value of a property. Properties situated in prime areas or near prominent landmarks typically have a higher value compared to those located further away from the city center or amenities such as public transportation, schools, and shopping malls. For instance, a freehold property in a prime location might be highly desirable, even though its price could be significantly higher than a leasehold property in a less sought-after location. On the other hand, a leasehold property with an excellent location might still attract considerable interest and offer good rental returns and capital appreciation potential.

Amenities also greatly affect the perceived value of a property. Properties with a comprehensive range of amenities and facilities, such as swimming pools, gyms, and playgrounds, are often more valuable and attractive to potential buyers and tenants. In this regard, both freehold and leasehold properties can benefit from comprehensive amenities, potentially boosting their appreciation and rental potential.

In conclusion, the perceived value of freehold vs leasehold property in Singapore depends heavily on factors such as location and amenities. While freehold properties generally offer longer-term stability and potential appreciation, leasehold properties can still be an attractive investment option if they boast excellent locations and comprehensive amenities. Ultimately, the decision between freehold and leasehold depends on individual preferences, priorities, and financial capabilities.


7. Overview of property tenure in Singapore and the Land Acquisition Act (1966)

In Singapore, property tenure plays a significant role in the real estate market, with two main types of land ownership: freehold and leasehold. Freehold properties provide indefinite ownership, while leasehold properties are typically held for a specified period, the most common of which is 99 years. Most of the land in Singapore is either 99-year leasehold or freehold, but there are also a small number of 999-year leasehold properties which are often considered to be on par with freehold properties due to their long tenure.

The Land Acquisition Act (1966) is an essential piece of legislation in Singapore as it grants the government the authority to acquire private property for public purposes. Under this act, even freehold properties can be recalled by the state in exceptional circumstances, such as the need for land for critical infrastructure or development projects. In such cases, property owners receive compensation at market value for their acquired property.

As for leasehold properties, once the lease period expires, the ownership will be reverted to the original owner, who is usually the government in the case of 99-year leasehold properties. The government has the prerogative to extend the lease, redevelop the land, or put it up for sale, according to its preferences.

In terms of property transactions, freehold properties typically fetch a premium due to their perpetual ownership, the potential for higher capital appreciation, and greater autonomy on land use. However, leasehold properties may be more affordable and offer a lower debt burden, making them a popular choice among homebuyers who prioritise location, accessibility, and amenities over tenure. Ultimately, the decision to purchase freehold or leasehold property depends on individual preferences and investment strategies.

8. The potential en bloc potential of freehold properties vs leasehold properties

The potential for en bloc redevelopment is an important factor to consider when comparing freehold and leasehold properties in Singapore. En bloc sales occur when a property developer buys out the entire building from existing owners to redevelop the site. While it may not be the ultimate criterion for choosing between the two property types, understanding the likelihood of en bloc potential is undoubtedly valuable for informed decision-making.

Freehold properties tend to have a higher en bloc potential compared to leasehold properties. This is because a freehold property has no expiry date on land ownership, which essentially means that the land can be perpetually developed and redeveloped. This characteristic of freehold properties can be particularly attractive for property developers and investors, as it allows them to avoid the need to renew the lease periodically and potentially maximizes profits, especially when the land value appreciates over time.

On the other hand, leasehold properties, especially those with a 99-year lease, may face challenges in terms of en bloc potential. As the years pass, the remaining lease on the property decreases, adversely affecting the property’s appeal to potential buyers. However, leasehold properties with longer leases, such as 999-year leases, often have en bloc potential that is comparable to freehold properties. It is important to keep in mind that the specific location of the property can also affect its en bloc potential.

In summary, both freehold and leasehold properties in Singapore have their own unique en bloc potential. While freehold properties generally boast a higher chance due to their perpetual nature, the specific circumstances and location of each property can greatly influence its en bloc attractiveness. As such, it’s essential for property buyers to carefully assess the potential of each property type before making their investment decisions.

9. Locational trends of freehold and leasehold properties in Singapore

Freehold and leasehold properties in Singapore each have different locational trends, and it’s crucial to consider these factors when deciding on buying a property. In general, freehold properties are more expensive due to limited supply, as the government has stopped selling freehold land. These properties are mainly concentrated in prime areas such as Districts 9, 10, and 11, making them highly sought-after investments.

On the other hand, leasehold properties have tenures that usually last for 99 or 999 years. These properties can be found in various districts, often in accessible and convenient locations close to amenities such as MRT stations, shopping malls, and reputable schools. Leasehold properties in such prime locations can sometimes have higher market values than freehold properties in remote areas.

It’s essential to keep in mind that a property’s worth is not only determined by its freehold or leasehold status but also by its location, accessibility, and surrounding amenities. For example, a leasehold property with an MRT station within walking distance would hold more value than a freehold property in an isolated area with limited connectivity.

As for appreciation trends, the data suggests that both freehold and leasehold properties see an upward trend in value over time. However, leasehold properties tend to have a higher appreciation rate than freehold properties on average, as seen in comparative data from 2010 to 2021. In conclusion, when choosing between a freehold and leasehold property in Singapore, it’s crucial to consider location, convenience, and potential growth in value rather than just focusing on the property type.


10. Pros and cons of 99-year leasehold property

One of the main advantages of a 99-year leasehold property is that it is relatively more affordable than freehold properties. This can be attributed to the fact that the initial sale price of a freehold unit tends to be 10-15% higher compared to a leasehold unit in the same area. As a result, homebuyers who are looking for a budget-friendly option might find 99-year leasehold properties to be more attractive. Additionally, leasehold properties have been known to generate higher rental yields due to their lower entry price, making them a potentially more lucrative investment for property owners.

Another benefit of 99-year leasehold properties is their abundance in the market, particularly in Singapore where most of the newly launched projects are issued with a 99-year lease by the government. This offers homebuyers a wider variety of properties to choose from, unlike freehold properties which are limited in availability and are mainly concentrated in central Singapore.

However, there are some disadvantages to purchasing a 99-year leasehold property. One of the main concerns is that the value of such properties tends to depreciate over time, especially after the 21- and 40-year marks. This could potentially result in lower resale value, compared to freehold properties that do not have the same issue of lease decay. Moreover, at the end of the 99-year lease, ownership of the property reverts back to the state, meaning that the property owner would have to either sell or move out before the lease expires.

In conclusion, 99-year leasehold properties offer certain advantages such as affordability and higher rental yield potential, but they also come with drawbacks like depreciation and an expiration date. Buyers must weigh these pros and cons carefully when deciding between a 99-year leasehold and a freehold property.

Are you confused about freehold and leasehold properties? Do you want to find the perfect property that meets your needs? Look no further! Give us a call or drop us a text to know more about our freehold and leasehold properties. Our experts are always ready to assist you and there’s absolutely no obligation. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today and let’s find your dream property together!

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