Top Print Edition Stories
Published September 4, 2006

Foreign buying of S'pore homes at 10-year high


(SINGAPORE) The number of private homes in Singapore bought by foreigners (including permanent residents) in the second quarter of this year surged 35 per cent from the first quarter to reach 1,152. This is the highest number of foreign purchases within a quarter in a decade, according to DTZ Debenham Tie Leung's latest analysis of caveats captured by the URA Realis system.

The total number of private homes bought by foreigners jumped from 852 in Q1 this year to 1,152 in Q2. The latter surpassed the last peak of 1,129 in Q2 1999 during the last property market recovery after the Asian crisis.

However, the latest Q2 number is still 25 per cent shy of the 1,535 purchases by foreigners in Q4 1995. Back then, there was a surge in foreign buying culminating in the introduction of the anti-speculation measures in May 1996.

DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah reckons the increase in foreign buying in the April-June quarter this year was largely driven by releases of new projects which appealed to foreigners. URA Realis database does not reveal what projects foreigners have been buying, but it does show the districts they bought into. Based on this, DTZ infers that St Regis Residences at Cuscaden/Tomlinson Road, One Amber in Katong, Newton One and Residences @ Evelyn were among the projects that could have received strong foreign interest in Q2.

Market watchers say other projects that sold well to foreigners in Q2 include One Tree Hill Residences, and Ritz Residences at Devonshire Road. Both are said to have been marketed in Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Foreigners are also said to have been active buyers in the resale market in Q2. Among the developments they bought into were The Botanic on Lloyd and Imperial, according to industry sources. Buyers are said to include UK, Australian and Indian nationals.

DTZ's analysis showed that the most popular location among foreigners who bought apartments directly from developers in the primary market in Q2 was District 9, followed by Districts 15, 10 and 11. More than a quarter (29 per cent) of these foreign purchases in District 9 were made by Indonesians.

Looking ahead, DTZ's Mrs Ong expects the strong foreign buying trend to continue in the coming quarters as developers release lifestyle-driven projects which should appeal to foreigners. These include the apartments at the Business & Financial Centre, Keppel Bay (Phase 2), Ho Bee's projects (a condo and luxury villas) at Sentosa Cove and Wheelock Properties (Singapore)'s Ardmore II.

DTZ's analysis showed that the number of apartments and condos foreigners (including PRs) bought rose from 811 in Q1 this year to 1,077 in Q2. The number of landed homes purchased by foreigners increased from 41 to 75 over the same period.

Mrs Ong says that Singapore will remain attractive because of new tourism attractions such as the two integrated resorts and developments on Orchard Road.