Phuket Property: Singaporeans looking abroad

PHUKET: THE number of Singaporeans buying overseas property is likely to increase because of significant property cooling measures introduced by the government of Singapore, according to PropertyGuru, a leading Asian property website.

The measures, which came into effect on January 12, include an immediate increase in stamp duties payable across the board between three and eight per cent. The government said it was introducing these “road barriers” now to slow the property market and avoid a crash in the future.

These measures are primarily designed to quell speculative demand and Singaporeans buying homes for their own use are largely unaffected.

Following the introduction of previous cooling measures, there was an immediate increase in inquiries from Singapore buyers at Malaysian developments. Over the following weeks that interest spread regionally and further afield.

Last year saw a record number of overseas property developers exhibiting in the city state. Singaporeans were an increasingly important demographic in many overseas markets, especially in Malaysia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Australia. Even less traditional property investment destinations such as Brazil, Canada and the Philippines saw substantial numbers of Singaporean property buyers.

Steve Melhuish, co-founder and chief executive officer of PropertyGuru, said: “Property remains an attractive and secure investment class, and we expect that overseas property purchases by buyers from Singapore will increase over the coming days, weeks and months.”

With Singapore property prices at an all-time high, overseas property investments seem like a good value – even in places like Australia and London.

Melhuish added: “The declining growth in property price rises in Singapore, combined with the large supply coming into the market and what is close to recessionary GDP growth, means there is a definite downside risk for Singapore property investments versus overseas. These latest measures could well be a tipping point for a property
market correction in Singapore.”

Last year, PropertyGuru held 15 property exhibitions throughout Southeast Asia and in Hong Kong. These country-specific events featured up to 10 developers and included informative speaker sessions.

In Singapore, PropertyGuru’s Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and International Property Showcase events saw strong interest and equally strong sales.

“In Singapore we saw strong demand from locals and foreigners at our events, and we suspect that interest in overseas properties from Singaporean buyers is likely to increase, especially when you look at the predicted strong GDP growth and property price outlook for nearby overseas markets such as Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines,” he added.

“There remains a strong desire from buyers throughout Southeast Asia, not only in Singapore, to invest in property. Overseas property purchases just became even more attractive, and we expect the number of overseas developers targeting Singaporeans and Southeast Asian property buyers and investors to increase during 2013.”


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