The difference between freehold, 999 years and 99 years leasehold tenure
There are basically 2 main categories of tenure in Singapore.
Freehold and 999 years leasehold are usually grouped together. Freehold properties are termed as “Estate in Fee Simple” or “Estate in Perpetuity”. They are almost the same meaning. 999 years leasehold means the tenure start from a specific year. Since 999 years are a long time, the market value is approximately the same as any freehold property. Such properties are found across Singapore and mainly in more established towns. This is the best category.
99 years leasehold properties are available in many parts of Singapore. They are usually available in newer towns or near MRT stations. These land parcels are traditionally sold by the URA or HDB and thus their tenure is usually 99 years. Most of the properties fall into this category. The value of such properties is less, especially if they are old with fewer years remaining on the lease. If the lease gets shorter than 60 years, the value can be affected as mortgages can be more difficult to obtain. However, such properties have the option of being redeveloped by private developers and get the lease top up, subject to government approval. Rental yield for such properties tends to be higher compared to a freehold or 999 years properties.
There is no restriction for foreigners to purchase properties with either tenure.