China buyers lose property top spot

China buyers lose property top spot

Buyers from China have lost pole position among foreign purchasers of Singapore property in the wake of December's tough cooling measures.

Mainland buyers, and other foreigners, have fled the local market in droves, stung by a hefty 10 per cent additional stamp duty.

A report found that Chinese, including permanent residents, bought just 292 homes in the first quarter. This is 54 per cent down from the 640 homes bought in the fourth quarter last year and the lowest volume in more than two years.

The proportion of Chinese buyers among non-Singaporean buyers fell correspondingly to 23 per cent from 29 per cent in the three months before, the sharpest drop among all nationalities.

Malaysians reclaimed the top spot with 362 home purchases - a 28 per cent share among foreign buyers - possibly due to the larger number of Malaysian permanent residents here.

As a result of ABSD, demand from non-permanent resident foreigners has nosedived 75 per cent to just 336 units. Their proportion of the private market fell to a three- year low of just 6 per cent. Permanent residents took a 16 per cent share, while Singaporeans made up the remaining 78per cent.

The report also touched on the trend of HDB owners buying shoebox homes of less than 500 sq ft. These tiny units make up 16 per cent of homes bought by those with HDB addresses.

This strong demand for shoebox units, which tend to command higher unit prices, also led to units costing between $1,000 and $1,500 per sq ft (psf) making up the majority of all homes sold in the first quarter. Previously, most homes sold were typically under $1,000 psf.

About 65 per cent, or 461 shoebox units, sold in the first quarter were located in suburban towns, a marked increase from 29 per cent in the previous quarter. Almost half of the shoebox units sold in these suburban areas came from Parc Rosewood. In the city fringe area, the top selling project for these units was Guillemard Edge.

Source: The Straits Times – 25 May 2012