16% of private home buyers in S’pore in Q1 are foreigners: DTZ

Foreign buyers accounted for 16 per cent of private home purchases in Singapore in the first quarter of this year, setting a new record high, according to real estate consultant DTZ Research.

The previous high of 15 per cent was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2007.

DTZ defines foreign buyers as non-Singaporeans and non-permanent residents.

Singaporeans’ share of private property purchases fell to 67 per cent in the first quarter, from 70 per cent in the previous three months.

The proportion of mainland Chinese among non-Singaporean buyers – comprising foreigners and PRs – hit a new record high of 24 per cent in the first quarter of 2011.

It is the first quarter that Chinese nationals are the top foreign purchasers of residential properties in Singapore.

“The residential market appears to have taken the January 2011 cooling measures in its stride,” said Ms Chua Chor Hoon, head of DTZ South East Asia Research.

“However, 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 added.

According to DTZ, small units continue to be popular among home buyers, especially the HDB upgraders.

The proportion of buyers with HDB addresses who bought units below 1,000 square feet increased 5 per cent in Q1 2011, compared with a 2 per cent increase among buyers with private addresses.

DTZ’s analysis also revealed that a higher proportion of foreigners bought into the high-end market during the quarter.

For transactions costing S$1.5 million and above, the proportion of purchases made by foreigners increased the most – from 17 per cent to 21 per cent.

For purchases below S$500,000, the proportion of transactions made by Singaporeans was 80 per cent, up from 72 per cent a quarter earlier.

This reflected the smaller budget among Singaporean buyers. “At the lower end of the price scale, locals are the main drivers of demand,” said DTZ.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 25 May 2011

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