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Holiday houses: Where to buy your first second home

Holiday houses: Where to buy your first second home

By Aditi Gaitonde Fernandes

Holiday homes, weekend escapes or savvy investment properties – second homes are certainly about lifestyle upgrades. From a Singapore POV, here’s a quick look at holiday destinations to go second home shopping.


Sydney, Australia

Why: The Emerald City has made it a habit to rank among the world’s most liveable cities. Culture, climate, commerce and waterfront views – it’s got it all. There are plenty of neighbourhoods to choose from (especially when money is no object). Be tempted by Boulevard’s showcase of Sydney’s best suburbs…

What does S$5m get you: New Zealand’s former prime minister Sir John Key recently bought this luxurious, 1,388 sqft designer apartment in a new harbourside development for S$5.25m. It’s a gorgeous build but the highlight has to be its stellar location with iconic views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park from the living areas and the master bedroom.

overseas property second home sydney harbour home
Photograph via Domain

Love it? Sir John listed it the very next day and it’s up for grabs from S$5.98m.

Go further with this Sydney harbour apartment.

overseas homes Davey Road, Sydney mansion
Photography: Sotheby’s Realty

Prefer a landed home? Just 30 minutes from the CBD, this 7 bedroom ranch-style mansion in Sydney’s far north is going for S$5.4m. It sits on 1.45 hectares site and boasts everything from a tennis court and ballroom to a saltwater pool and vast lawns.

Go further with this Dural, Sydney property.

overseas homes Sunny Corner, Sydney creekside cottage
Photography: Sotheby’s Realty

Just to paint a pretty picture – even a cool S$1.77m can get you an idyllic two-storey cottage by the creek. It’s just an hour away from Sydney’s CBD and is straight out of a postcard complete with a fireplace and jetty!

Go further with this Sunny Corner, Sydney cottage.

How much do foreigners pay: Foreigners can own freehold properties in Australia. But every property purchase is subject to approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (F.I.R.B). There are conditions, of course. A non-resident can buy an existing build if they intend to live there. If it’s for investment purposes, it has to be a new or pre-construction property.

As for the stamp duty, it differs a little from state to state but for Sydney in NSW, a foreigner pays 8% stamp duty surcharge and a 2% land tax surcharge.


Tokyo, Japan

Why: Simply n.e.e.d an excuse to hop on a flight to Tokyo? Owning a second home in Tokyo is a tempting option. After all, Japan is the third-largest economy in the world – and transparent, stable and culture-rich.

What does S$5m get you:

overseas second home tokyo
Photography: Sotheby’s Realty

This 2,938 sqft freehold home in Meguro-ku, one of Tokyo’s hippest residential enclaves. Spread across three floors and a basement, this family home has 4 bedrooms and plenty of natural light.

Go further with Meguro-ku home.

overseas second home tokyo shibuya
Photography: Sotheby’s Realty

There’s also this swanky pad in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo’s commercial and business centre. This 2,002 sqft apartment in the heart of the city has 2 bedrooms and is listed for S$4.33m.

Go further with Shibuya-ku apartment.

How much do foreigners pay: Interestingly, there are no legal restrictions for foreigners to buy property in Japan. Foreigners can buy freehold, leasehold or land with ease. As for tax, foreigners pay a flat 5% consumption tax, acquisition tax of 4% for land and 2% registration tax.


Hong Kong

Why: Hong Kong’s property market is among the most expensive and resilient in the world, even in the face of uncertainty. Its rep of being a key APAC business centre combined with the limited land supply was responsible for the skyrocketing prices. It’s also what makes HK so alluring.

What does S$5m get you: How about a 1,180 sqft penthouse in the affluent neighbourhood of Mid-levels East located between Victoria Peak and Central? Priced at $4.94m, it has 3 bedrooms, good sized living areas and even comes with a rooftop boasting 360-degree views of the cityscape.

Go further with this Tung Shan Villa penthouse.

How much do foreigners pay: Cost of the property + an extra 15% buyers’ stamp duty for foreigners. There’s also a special stamp duty (SSD) for second homes and for property resold within 36 months.


Let’s get out of the city

So you’ve had your fill of urban condos and want to slow the pace with a ski resort or beachside holiday home. We hear you.

Ski resort home: Switzerland

Why: Designer homes in a quaint, exclusive and carbon-neutral village at 3,000 ft in the Swiss Alps… The Andermatt Swiss Alps is a ski resort development complete with golf course, 6 luxury hotels, 500 apartments, 28 chalets and over 120kms of slope. Best part? It’s an all-season holiday home.

overseas second homes Andermatt Swiss Alps ski
Photography: Andermatt Swiss Alps

What does S$5m get you: On offer are apartments, hotel-residences, penthouses and chalets – several of them under S$5m. Expect nothing but great views, designer spaces and out-of-this-world facilities.

Go further with Andermatt Swiss Alps.

How much do foreigners pay: Switzerland has its own share of rules and regulations when it comes to the what and where you can buy. Foreigners are allowed to buy residential properties in tourist areas and ski resorts. Purchase tax, land registry fees and notary’s fees can be anywhere from 3% to 5% depending on the section or Cantons.


Beach villa: Thailand

Why: ‘Cos Koh Samui for the weekend is always a good idea! Bask in the sun right by the beach and in the comforts of your own island retreat. We’ve been down this road before with these luxury villas in Koh Samui.

Photography: Real Samui Properties

What does S$5m get you: Well for S$4.95m, you could own this incredible villa with 6 deluxe bedroom suites, private infinity pool and panoramic views of the ocean. Spread across over 24,000 sqft on the secluded side of Laem Sor, this holiday home is nothing short of epic.

Go further with this Laem Sor luxury villa.

How much do foreigners pay: Thailand allows foreigners to own homes and apartments, but not land. While there are a few rules and restrictions, there’s no property tax levied on foreigners.

Photography: Real Samui Properties

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