Business Times - 03 Jun 2009
Rise in home buyers from China and India
Indonesians' share of Q1 buys slips; Malaysians are biggest buyers
By KALPANA RASHIWALA
(SINGAPORE) Mainland Chinese were the second largest group of overseas buyers of private homes in Singapore in the first three months of this year.
They accounted for 18 per cent of the 490 caveats lodged for private home purchases in Q1 by foreigners and Singapore permanent residents, compared with an 11 per cent share in the preceding quarter.
On the other hand, the proportion of Indonesian buyers dwindled from 24 per cent in Q4 2008 to 14 per cent, their lowest share in over a decade, according to property consulting group DTZ's analysis of caveats captured by URA's Realis system as at May 29.
'This is due in part to the poorer sentiments in the upper mid-tier and luxury segments which had traditionally generated interest from the Indonesians,' suggests DTZ's senior director and head, SEA Research, Chua Chor Hoon.
Malaysians had the lion's share or 26 per cent of total private homes acquired by foreigners and PRs in Q1 2009, replacing Indonesians who had enjoyed the pole position in Q4 last year.
Indians' contribution also rose from 9 per cent in Q4 2008 to 14 per cent in Q1 2009.
DTZ reckons the rising affluence of mainland Chinese and Indians will see them playing a more significant role on the Singapore property front.
More than 80 per cent of Indians and Malaysians and 60 per cent of the mainland Chinese who invested in private homes on the island in Q1 this year were Singapore permanent residents. In contrast, only 40 per cent of Indonesians who bought in Q1 were Singapore PRs.
The Indonesians, however, seem to have bigger budgets. Forty per cent of Indonesians purchased homes above $1 million in Q1, compared with less than 30 per cent for Malaysians, mainland Chinese and Indians.
Jones Lang LaSalle head of residential Jacqueline Wong said: 'Some private bankers are asking us for help to source for prime residential properties in Singapore for clients from India, Hong Kong and Indonesia. They generally want to buy prime properties, though not necessarily luxury. Some are looking for firesale prices, but fortunately or unfortunately, there are not many in the prime districts.'
Knight Frank executive director (residential) Peter Ow said foreign buyers from the region will return to the Singapore property market in stronger fashion once they see clearer signs of economic recovery in their home markets.
'They want to park their money in Singapore for the usual reasons like stability and transparency; they're waiting for clearer signs that prices are picking up before they enter the market,' he added.