Thu, May 26, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Chinese top Singapore home buyers


Chinese nationals were the top foreign buyers of private property in Singapore in the quarter ending in March, the first time they have topped the list, a report said yesterday.

Buyers from China accounted for a record 24 percent of private home purchases by non-Singaporeans in the three months to March 31, property research firm DTZ said in a report.

“It is the first quarter that they are the top foreign purchasers of residential properties in Singapore,” the report stated.

Malaysians, who led the rankings since the second quarter of 2008, came second with 21 percent of the foreign market share.

As a whole, foreign private property buyers made up 16 percent of the 6,368 purchases in the first quarter, constituting the highest proportion of non-Singaporean transactions since data were first made available in 1995.

The Singaporean share of private home transactions fell to 67 percent, the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2007, and mirroring a 25 percent decline in total private property sales from the previous quarter. The remaining properties are purchased by companies and foreign-born Singapore permanent residents.

“The government measures implemented on Jan. 14 to ensure a stable and sustainable residential market affected demand,” the report said.

Analysts said that the rise in foreign buying showed foreigners were less affected by the measures.

As well as the government measures, the number of local purchases of private homes was also affected by the Lunar New Year holidays in February, when transactions are traditionally halted for the festivities.

Singapore had in January imposed fresh measures to curb property speculation and cool its housing sector, including increasing stamp duties and reducing the amount companies and individuals owning more than one home could borrow from banks.

DTZ head of Southeast Asian research Chua Chor Hoon said mounting concerns over foreigners jacking up housing prices would impact the property market in the near term.

“Local concerns about high housing prices and the influx of foreigners that were magnified during the recent general election will be a catalyst for the review of immigration and housing policies, which could dampen demand in the residential market in the coming months,” she said.

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