Foreigners buy most luxury homes in Singapore in almost decade amid surge

The number of luxury condominium units bought by foreigners rose to the highest in almost a decade before Singapore doubled taxes on purchases by the demographic.

Foreigners bought 159 non-landed, luxury homes in Singapore’s core central region in the first quarter, a report by OrangeTee & Tie Pte (橙易產業) showed.

That is up from 71 units a year earlier.


Photo: Bloomberg

The number of luxury condominium units bought by mainland Chinese buyers increased to 111 units, up 158 percent year-on-year, the real-estate company said.

Singapore authorities last month doubled property levies for foreigners to 60 percent, the highest among major global cities, as part of efforts to cool the housing market.

The government has said that the policy is a pre-emptive move as investment demand for residential property is likely to continue to grow otherwise.

“The cooling measures may not affect buyers’ perception of Singapore as one of the best places for property investment,” OrangeTee senior vice president Christine Sun (孫燕清) said, citing economic fundamentals. “Some high-net-worth individuals may continue to park their wealth here as luxury properties are pricey in many other cities.”

Singapore’s home sales surged 80 percent last month from a month earlier to a seven-month high as more projects were launched, government figures released yesterday showed.

Purchases of new private apartments rose to 887 units, Urban Redevelopment Authority data showed.

Foreigners bought 70 units last month, the most since May last year, Huttons Asia Pte Ltd (合登亞洲) senior director of research Lee Sze Teck (李思德) said.

Most purchases were in the S$2 million (US$1.5 million) to S$5 million category, he said.

Geopolitical tensions might have led more foreigners to buy Singapore properties as a safe-haven asset, he added.

While there could be a knee-jerk reaction to government curbs, the measures should have little effect on purchases between S$1.8 million and S$4 million, said Tan Tee Khoon (陳智群), Singapore country manager at PropertyGuru.

“Demand remains from the upgraders as households have a stronger liquidity position due to intergenerational wealth transfers,” Tan said.

The risk of further curbs down the road might prompt some property seekers to bring forward their purchases, he added.

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