Property agents woo wealthy Chinese buyers

The growing percentage of cash-rich Chinese home buyers is providing Singapore property agents a wealth of opportunities.

While other real estate agents are holding roadshows in China, some are taking a more aggressive approach, bringing potential buyers from China to Singapore for tours of recent property launches.

While most property agencies in Singapore recognise China as a key market, emerging markets such as Vietnam are also on their radar.

According to DTZ, property agencies’ growing interest in China is well-founded. Chinese buyers, including permanent residents (PR), accounted for 24 percent of property purchases in the first quarter of the year, surpassing Malaysia for the first time.

Patrick Liew, Chief Executive of HSR, said the company has brought in 100 potential buyers from China in the last 18 months.

The company conducts property investment seminars in cities like Wuhan, Chengdu and Beijing before gathering interest from wealthy Chinese, then bringing them to the country for tours of various property launches.

Liew said buyers are willing to take more risks and acquire homes across all segments, including in suburban areas or outside Singapore’s prime districts.

Between 10 and 20 Chinese buyers are brought in every month for such tours, which take place at least once every two months.

“It can’t be a massive exercise as these are high-net-worth individuals and we have to make sure they’re served on a personal level…they see opportunities in Singapore as they can see that the fundamentals here are still strong,” he said.

He noted that Vietnam is likely to be the next promising market. The company conducted tours for potential Vietnamese buyers for the first time this year and Liew said there has been a “trickle of interest”.

Real estate enterprise OrangeTee will also be bringing its first batch of 25 potential Chinese buyers on a property tour in Singapore next month, as part of its tie-up agreement with China’s largest real estate portal, Soufun.

Steven Tan, Executive Director of Residential at OrangeTee, said property tours are becoming popular in China, with real estate agents taking potential buyers to various provinces to look at homes.

He noted that the company is also planning to market some Singaporean and Malaysian residential developments in Shanghai at an international property exhibition organised by Soufun in October.

The company is also looking to set up a new office in Shanghai to access the China property market at a faster pace, as well as to heighten the company’s profile.

“Some local developers have already asked if we can take their projects to market in China. We expect to take at least three projects by the end of this year. These will be higher-end projects of more than S$2,000 psf,” he said.