Foreigners, mostly expats, are buying more properties in Singapore and fewer apartments and condos, according to new research.
Katong, Telok Kurau and East Coast Road overtook District 4, where transactions are predominantly at Sentosa Cove, as the most popular district among foreign buyers of landed property, an analysis by consultants Knight Frank shows.
While foreigners picked up more landed homes in the second quarter of the year than the first three months, they bought fewer private apartments and condos. The number slipped 7.4%, according to Knight Frank.
Knight Frank chairman Tan Tiong Cheng said foreigners’ strong interest in landed homes reflects their growing recognition of such assets as a prized commodity in land scarce Singapore.
‘The increased interest is not surprising as landed housing offers many foreigners a lifestyle closer to what they are used to in their home country,’ he said. ‘The added attraction is that Singapore is a very safe place, so landed housing is as secure as, say, a gated community,’ he added.
William Wong, managing director of RealStar Premier Property which specialises in selling landed homes in east and central Singapore, said permanent residents, after living in Singapore for a few years, tend to realise it is worthwhile investing in landed property.
‘Bungalow prices on per square foot of land basis are still lower than apartment and condo prices in the same location. On top of that, the supply of landed homes is more limited than that of condos and apartments. Landed homes also tend to maintain their value better, as the main component of, say, a bungalow’s value would be the land it sits on, whereas apartment and condo values may depreciate faster as the property ages,’ he explained.
Foreign residents who choose landed property can easily get access to the facilities they would enjoy in a condo such as a big swimming pool and gym by joining a club, he added.
Wong said landed property transactions started to pick up in June and July after a slow period in March and May. Prices are also rising with demand. In District 15, bungalows in the Mountbatten and Meyer road areas can easily sell for about $1,000 to $1,100 per square foot of land compared with around $900 per square foot towards the end of 2009.
And in District 10, for example in Coronation Road or Namly Avenue, a bungalow is selling for about $1,200 to $1,300 per square foot now, from $1,000 to $1,100 per square foot at the end of 2009.
The Knight Frank research also shows that foreign buyers have increased their total share of landed home purchases, up to 7% in the second quarter compared with 6.3% for the first three months of the year.
Few non-resident foreigners buy in Singapore for being a permanent resident is one of the major criteria a foreigner has to fulfil before being allowed to buy a landed home. Sentosa Cove is the only place in Singapore where non-resident foreigners are allowed to buy landed homes, but this is still subject to approval by the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit, among other conditions.