Hong Kong is the most expensive location to buy a home, once all the associated costs have been factored in. Non-residents can expect to pay 25 percent on top of the purchase price when buying a new-build US$3 million home. The bulk of this consists of stamp duty costs and a property tax levied on foreign non-permanent residents.
In Singapore, buyers pay purchase costs of 19.3 percent. The city-state’s 18 percent rate of stamp duty for non-residents is the highest of all the world cities analysed in the Cost of Buying report, in which analysis compared the purchase costs for non-resident buyers purchasing a new-build property valued at US$3 million. This includes stamp duty, legal costs, transfer fees and agency fees (where these apply for the purchaser).
London and Sydney sit in third and fourth places respectively with buying costs making 7.9 percent and 7.2 percent of the total purchase price in each city respectively. Moscow, where buying costs for non-residents for a US$3 million property amount to just US$100, is the cheapest of the 15 locations surveyed.
Despite being one of the more expensive locations to buy a new-build home, London property remains popular with international investors who are attracted by the U.K.’s political stability, good communications and the city’s top schools.
The research showed that 73 percent of prime central London’s new-build homes in 2012 were bought by overseas buyers, with Singaporeans making up the largest proportion of international purchasers.
In New York there is no stamp duty, but the purchase of a US$3 million new-build condominium will incur a 1 percent mansion tax.
Buying a US$3 million home in Paris is relatively low-cost. There are registration and notary fees to be paid, but it is cheaper to buy a luxury home in the city compared to other traditional locations.
What about in Iskandar Malaysia? If you are buying direct from Developers, whereby developers typically absorb legal fees for SPA and even loan agreements, the costs work out to only MOT stamp duties of about 3% at completion stage plus a nominal foreigner consent fee of RM11,000. For resale or subsale transactions in the secondary market, the costs however adds up and can amount to almost 5% of the purchase prices, factoring legal, stamp duties and agency fees.