FOREIGN buying of private homes has risen in the third quarter of this year, show latest figures from Urban Redevelopment Authority. The blitz by developers and property consultants to market projects to mainland Chinese buyers may have played a part in this, say market watchers.
Foreigners (who were not permanent residents) picked up 843 uncompleted private homes from developers in Q3, up nearly 20 per cent from 703 homes in the previous quarter. Their share of the total number of uncompleted private homes sold by developers rose from 16.3 per cent in Q2 to 20.1 per cent in Q3.
Included in the foreigners' purchases of private homes in Q3 were 46 terrace houses. These are believed to be strata landed homes in projects with condominium status such as Thomson Grand, euHabitat and Woodhaven.
Foreigners do not require permission from Land Dealings (Approval) Unit to buy such landed homes, which are within a development with condominium status. Hence, such landed units are popular with foreigners and some developers have taken to making them a strong selling point in their condo projects.
The above foreign buying data was released by Urban Redevelopment Authority as part of the Q3 real estate statistics yesterday. The information on ownership profile of uncompleted units sold by developers is based on developers' monthly sales declarations to URA, which are compiled into the quarterly numbers.
Separately, DTZ analysed URA Realis' caveats database which showed that foreigners' share of total private home purchases in both primary and secondary markets rose to 18.7 per cent in Q3 2011 from 15.9 per cent in Q2 2011 and 15.8 per cent in Q1 this year. The figure for the whole of last year was 11.7 per cent.
PRs' share of this buying pool has crept up less markedly, from 13.1 per cent for the whole of 2010 to 13.8 per cent in each of Q1 and Q2 this year and 13.9 per cent in Q3.
Said DTZ's Southeast Asia research head Chua Chor Hoon: 'The higher percentage of foreign buyers in Q3 2011 is due mainly to the mainland Chinese who accounted for 36.1 per cent among foreign buyers, up from 30.6 per cent in Q2 2011. This could be due to more of them looking to purchase overseas as they face policy controls in buying homes in China.
'In Hong Kong, sales volume and residential prices have fallen in Q3 2011 due to the stock market decline, effect of government policies and the tightening of interest rates by banks. This could also have spurred more mainland Chinese to buy beyond Hong Kong. The marketing efforts by developers and agents could also have made more of them aware of the buying opportunities in Singapore.'
In contrast, among PRs, Malaysians form the most dominant buying group largely because many of them study here and stay on to work and set up families, said Ms Chua. 'Hence many of their purchases are for owner-occupation.'