Published September 11, 2008

More PRs snapping up private homes

Their share in pool of foreign buyers is rising after turmoil in global markets


THE proportion of permanent residents (PRs) in the pool of foreign buyers of private homes here has been rising since the third quarter of 2007, when the US sub-prime crisis struck, according to DTZ's analysis of caveats data from Urban Redevelopment Authority's Realis system.

Major attraction: Projects that received more foreign interest in Q2 include The Lakeshore in Jurong

Correspondingly, non-PR foreigners have seen their share of this pool decline from 54 per cent in Q3 2007 to 46 per cent in Q2 this year.

One explanation could be that PRs are more likely to buy Singapore homes for their own occupation whereas non-PR foreigners may be more inclined to buy for investment and would hence tend to become increasingly cautious amidst the volatile global financial markets.

DTZ senior director (research) Chua Chor Hoon expects the trend to continue in the coming months given the global economic uncertainty.

The property consultancy's analysis showed that PRs made up 54 per cent of the total number of 913 private-home purchases by foreigners in Q2 this year captured by Realis as at early August. This was up from a 51 per cent share in Q1, which in turn was higher than 47 per cent and 46 per cent shares in the fourth and third quarters of last year respectively.

Foreigners (including PRs) bought a total 913 private homes here in Q2 2008, up 3 per cent from the preceding quarter. Malaysians overtook Indonesians as the top foreign buyers of private homes in Singapore in the second quarter.

Malaysians accounted for 19 per cent (172 transactions) of the overall purchases by foreigners (including PRs), followed by a 17 per cent share for Indonesians. China and India citizens each accounted for 11 per cent of foreign buyers while UK buyers had a 9 per cent share.

Projects which received more foreign interest in Q2 include The Lakeshore in Jurong, Vutton at Akyab Road and Nassim Park Residences. Foreigners (including PRs) made up 44 per cent of the 55 units sold at The Lakeshore, and about two-thirds of the 11 units sold at Scotts Square and nine units sold at Martin Place Residences.

'The Indonesians favour prime districts 9 and 10. District 15 is popular with all the five major nationalities because it offers sea views, easy access to the airport and city, and is a popular residential area even with the locals with its attractive amenities.

'The Chinese, Malaysians and Brits also buy into the west. This could be due to the proximity to the Science Park, industrial estates and National University of Singapore,' Ms Chua said.