Foreign buyers of private homes mostly mainland Chinese: Study

Mainland Chinese investors top the list of foreign buyers of private property in Singapore from January to October this year, research published yesterday (Nov 4) revealed.

According to numbers compiled by OrangeTee Research, 34 per cent of foreign property-buyers (excluding permanent residents) in Singapore this year were from China.

Buyers from China view Singapore as a favourable property investment destination despite the latest rounds of property cooling measures, such as the raising of the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD).

Indonesians formed the second largest group of foreign condo-buyers at 32 per cent while Malaysians were third at 13 per cent. American buyers came in fourth at 7 per cent and Indian nationals were fifth on the list at 2 per cent.

Buyers from the United States do not have to pay the 15 per cent ABSD imposed on foreigners buying private property here due to clauses in the free trade deal that the country has with Singapore.

Under a new law introduced in December 2011, foreign buyers (excluding permanent residents) have to pay an ABSD of 10 per cent. The ABSD rate was raised to 15 per cent in January this year.

While cooling measures have slowed transaction activity, the proportion of foreign property buyers has crept up. In the first nine months of this year, foreigners (excluding PRs) make up 9 per cent of all condo buyers, compared to about 8 per cent last year.

But some foreign buyers, including those from China, have turned their attention to other property segments.

OrangeTee’s research head, Ms Christine Li, said: “Over the last one year or so, I think because of the high ABSD levied on the residential property market, we did see some China buyers shifting their attention to industrial as well as commercial properties in Singapore.

“Going forward we expect this trend to continue because 15 per cent ABSD is quite hefty on high-end homes.”

Analysts say the strength of the Chinese yuan relative to regional currencies could mean mainland Chinese investors will continue to make up the bulk of foreign property buyers in Singapore.

Source : Today – 5 Nov 2013

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