Thursday, August 27, 2009

Foreign buyers warm to mid-tier city-fringe homes

Q2 resurgence sees Indonesians pick up 5 times the number they bought in Q1

(SINGAPORE) Foreign buying of private homes rose in Q2 but is not back in full force in terms of its share of higher-priced transactions, according to a caveats analysis by DTZ. The quarter also saw a resurgence of purchases by Indonesians, who were the top buyers in the upper-tier segments.

Foreigners, excluding Singapore permanent residents (PRs), made up only 15 per cent of those who bought private homes costing over $1,110 per square foot (psf) in Q2 2009, much lower than their 29 per cent share in 2006 when the property market began to heat up.

In terms of absolute price quantums, too, non-PR foreigners made up 14 per cent of total transactions done at above $1.5 million in Q2 2009 - considerably below the 20 per cent figure in 2006.

'The profile of foreigners has changed gradually over time. They are increasingly moving to mid-tier homes located at the city fringes,' DTZ said.

Knight Frank executive director (residential) Peter Ow said the trend is also due to several city-fringe projects being launched recently in locations such as Novena and Holland Road at prices that foreign buyers have found attractive.

'Their prices are about 30-40 per cent lower than prime Orchard Road properties with similar-quality finishes. And most of these projects are near MRT stations and often 10 minutes' drive to Orchard Road,' he added.

DTZ's analysis showed that homes in the prime districts of 9, 10 and 11, as well as district 15, accounted for 47 per cent of total private homes bought by non-PR foreigners in Q2 - much lower than a 62 per cent share in 2006.

The total number of private homes bought by both PRs and non-PR foreigners more than trebled from 497 units in Q1 to 1,678 units in Q2.

The most popular projects among non-PR foreigners in Q2 were Rivergate (33 purchases), The Arte (31 units), Martin Place Residences (26 units) and The Lakeshore (23 units).

Among PRs, their top picks were The Arte, Martin Place Residences, The Lakeshore, Mi Casa and Melville Park.

The second quarter saw a big resurgence in Indonesian buying. They picked up 349 units in Q2, almost five times the 70 units they bought in Q1. As a result, Indonesians accounted for 21 per cent of private homes bought by foreigners and PRs, up significantly from a 14 per cent share in Q1.

However, they still trailed Malaysians, who made up the lion's share or 29 per cent of purchases by foreigners and PRs. Mainland Chinese accounted for 15 per cent and Indian citizens, 12 per cent.

Although Indonesians made up about one-fifth of total private residential purchases by PRs and non-PR foreigners, they bought one-third of homes costing above $1,110 psf that were picked up by foreigners and PRs in Q2.

In terms of absolute price quantums, Indonesians also had a one-third share of total purchases by PRs and non-PR foreigners done at above $1.5 million in Q2.

Source: Business Times, 27 Aug 2009

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