More foreigners snap up private homes

February 26th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

The number of private homes acquired by foreigners climbed 20 percent in 2011 despite a significant decline in the total number of private homes sold last year, according to DTZ Research.

The report said foreigners acquired a total of 5,246 homes for the whole of 2011, beating the earlier record of 4,982 units seen in 2007.

Chinese buyers overtook Malaysians for the first time, making up 28 percent of the total number of foreign property buyers last year, rising from 20 percent in 2010. Indians and Indonesians also dominated the market, and the four nationalities accounted for 77 percent of total transactions among non-Singaporeans, up from 73 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, the number of private residential units acquired by Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) last year dropped by 24 percent and 16 percent respectively.

Chua Chor Hoon, Head of Asia Pacific Research at DTZ, said “with the implementation of the additional buyer’s stamp duty measures, the share of local buyers is expected to rise in 2012 as foreigners now have to pay a much higher stamp duty on any residential purchase.”

Prices of private homes rose every quarter last year despite the government raising the down payment for second mortgages and extending the period of homeownership to avoid sales taxes and stamp duties.

“The better performance in the primary market is due to the availability of smaller units costing less than S$1 million and buyers can buy and hold during the construction period to avoid paying the seller’s stamp duty in the first four years of purchase which was imposed in January 2011,” noted Chua.