Top Print Edition Stories
Published September 4, 2006

S'pore properties draw new group of foreign buyers
Mid-East, Europe, Japan, Scandinavia among new markets


(SINGAPORE) The share of the top five nationalities (Malaysia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, India and China) as a percentage of the total number of foreigners buying private homes here has declined over the past few years, according to a caveats analysis by DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

This has happened because the island's real estate market has been attracting foreigners from other places - the Middle East, Sweden, Belgium, Greece and Japan - reflecting Singapore's growing appeal as a global city.

Market watchers also note that the introduction of new products over the past few years - like waterfront condos and bungalows at Sentosa Cove and high-rise city condos facing Marina Bay (The Sail @ Marina Bay) - has raised the appeal of investing in Singapore property among foreign buyers once unacquainted with the local residential market.

Another factor that has put Singapore on the radar screens of international property investors is the government's decision to have two integrated resorts with casinos here.

The top five nationalities' share had been consistently above 70 per cent since 2000, and even hovered at 80 per cent or more for every quarter in 2001 and 2002.

It slipped to 68 per cent in Q2 this year, from 70 per cent in both Q1 this year and Q2 last year.

'This is due partly to the laggard performance of the Singapore private residential market compared to other cities in the region and the growing attraction of Singapore as a global city,' DTZ said.

'With developers' concerted efforts to introduce various quality projects to newer markets such as the Middle East, the profile of foreign buyers is also likely to become increasingly international,' the report said.

One developer which has been tapping strong foreign interest in its projects is City Developments Ltd (CDL). Its group general manager Chia Ngiang Hong says: 'Beyond the traditional countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong, there's growing interest from buyers in newer markets like the Middle East, Japan, UK and the US keen on investing in Singapore property because of its potential.'

'Some of these new buyers are only just starting to be exposed to investment opportunities in the region, and others are seizing the potential as Singapore transforms itself into a global city.'

Two recent high-end launches by CDL - St Regis Residences in the Tomlinson/Cuscaden roads area, and The Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove - also drew buyers from European countries like UK, France, Belgium, Finland, Greece and Denmark.

Savvy foreign buyers familiar with the concept of branded residences were drawn to St Regis Residences, Mr Chia noted.

DTZ's analysis showed that within the five major nationalities, Malaysians and Indonesians continued to be the biggest foreign home buyers here in Q2, each accounting for 20 per cent of overall purchases by foreigners. The number of private homes bought by Malaysians in Q2 totalled 236, while Indonesians purchased 233 homes. UK nationals bought 121 homes, placing them in third position, followed by Indians (116 deals) and mainland Chinese (75 deals or 7 per cent share of the total foreign buying pie in Q2).