Buying A House Overseas: Cost and Regulations You Must Know

3 min read

In an article a few weeks back, we talked about how the dream of moving overseas may not be just a dream but could be a possibility for some of us out there. Of course, there are other factors to take into consideration if we want to migrate. Apart from the availability of jobs and the salary, there’s also visas, tax payments, housing and lots more!

Today, we are will take a look at how much housing will cost in a few of the countries that Singaporeans wish to migrate to. We wanted to ensure we had a nice mix of Asian and Western countries to see if the prices really differ as well as SOME of the regulations that foreigners will have to take note of when buying a house!

New Zealand

The cost of a house in the North Island of New Zealand would cost between $500,000 to $600,000. If you’re not interested in owning land, their apartments cost approximately $400,000 for 4 bedrooms in Auckland!

Under the current legislation, anyone who owns a permanent resident visa and has been living in New Zealand for at least a year will be able to purchase a home. However, the new prime minister is about to set a new ban in place to ban foreign buyers from buying houses in the country. The reason for this is because New Zealand is experiencing a drastic increase in the real estate market due to the huge demand.

Therefore, consider getting your visa approval of being a resident before you think about buying a house. Also check with the Overseas Investment Office for approval before purchasing a property!


A 4 bedroom house in Adelaide’s newer suburbs will set you back approximately $500,000 while a 3 bedroom apartment in Adelaide would cost $400,000.

Just like it’s neighbour, New Zealand, Australia would require foreigns who intend to purchase real estate to the Foreign Investment Review Board. Temporary residents can only buy one real estate and are required to use it as their form of residence, otherwise, they will have to sell it off. Apart from this, temporary residents can also opt to buy vacant land to build their house as this is in line with the Australian government’s goal of building new housing.


A 4 bedroom house in Toronto would cost approximately $530,000 while an apartment in the same city with 4 bedrooms would cost $477,000

For those of us who intend to live in Canada for a short period of 6 months, you can own a home without having to apply for residency! However, if you will be living in the country longer than that, you will have to apply for a permanent residency in order to stay in that house.

As a foreigner, do note that on top of paying for the same property taxes a Canadian residents, you may face HIGHER taxes depending on the cities you’re in and the jurisdiction they are subject to.


A 4 bedroom condo in Bangkok, Thailand, would cost approximately $500,000. Unfortunately, foreigners are not allowed to own land in the country.

For those of you who have done research on buying a house in Thailand, you would know that there are two options available. A 30 year leasehold or as long as the building you will be staying in is occupied by at least 51% Thais.

A 30 year leasehold would mean that you, a foreigner, would be buying the lease from a Thai citizen who bought the land. This is a slightly more uncommon practice and is usually done between spouses where one is a Thai citizen.


Our closest neighbour as one of the “Go To” places for retirement! A four bedroom property would cost $250,000 while a condominium would cost $200,000.

The rules for foreigners buying property in Malaysia are not as tricky as the other countries. However, there is a minimum purchase price for foreigners when buying property. This price can vary depending on the state but the minimum amount you can expect would be RM 1,000,000 (SGD $ 333,333). Also take note that there is a requirement for Foreign Investment Committee Approval for units below RM$20,000,000 (SGD $ 6,700,000).


A 5 bedroom house in Tangerang, a city right beside Jakarta would cost approximately $230,000 while a 4 bedroom condo in the same city would cost $370,000.

Just like Malaysia, there is a minimum purchase price imposed on foreigners when buying their property. These property prices will vary depending on the city.

Foreigners are also only able to buy property directly from a developer and will have to sell the house within a year of departure (if you don’t intend to stay in Indonesia for long). If you intend on buying a house, under the Basic Agrarian Law, foreigners have 3 property rights. The right to build, cultivation right on land and right to use. The terms for these rights usually last 25 years but can be extended or renewed.

Just like Singapore, the cost of a house in different parts of the country will vary. Therefore, do check with your property developer or real estate agent before you agree to buying it. Also, confirm with them if you will need to seek approval for the investment committee for the respective countries as the rules may change and may apply to certain types of property.

Keep track of your expenses and join a community that will not only help integrate you into the country but also join a community that shares tips and experiences on personal finance!

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