The proportion of non-landed Singapore homes bought by foreigners or non-permanent residents reached 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2023, more than doubling from 3.1 percent in the year-earlier period, according to an analysis by OrangeTee & Tie.
The share of non-Singaporeans and non-PRs buying homes (excluding executive condos) was the highest since the 7.3 percent mark recorded in the first quarter of 2018, the local property agency said in a report on the impact of the higher additional buyer’s stamp duty rates that were imposed on 27 April.
Buyers’ perception of Singapore as one of the best places for property investment may remain unaffected by the government’s cooling measures, said Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee, citing the city-state’s solid economic fundamentals and the local property market’s status as a safe haven.
“Some high-net-worth individuals may continue to park their wealth here as luxury properties are pricey in many other cities,” Sun said. “Others may switch to buying non-residential properties.”
Targeting Luxury Condos
In absolute terms, foreigners bought 259 condos in the first three months of the year, up from 226 in the fourth quarter of 2022 and surpassing the five-year quarterly average of 249, the report said.
The number of non-landed luxury condos in the Core Central Region bought by foreigners amounted to 159 units in the January-to-March period, the most since 161 homes were traded in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The share of non-landed CCR homes bought by foreigners was 15.5 percent in the first quarter, up from 8.9 percent in the year-earlier period — right after the ABSD was hiked to 30 percent for non-PRs in December 2021.
Foreigners constituted the highest proportion of buyers, 43.9 percent, for condos transacted for at least S$10 million (now $7.5 million) from the first quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023, Sun said. For condos transacted from S$5 million to less than S$10 million, 33.2 percent were bought by foreigners during the same period.
Mainland Chinese Impact
OrangeTee said mainland Chinese buyers could be the group most affected by the new 60 percent ABSD rate for foreign homebuyers, as they constituted the highest number of foreign buyers and PRs in each of the previous four years.
In the first quarter of this year, buyers from mainland China purchased 316 non-landed homes, followed by buyers from Malaysia (159), India (115), the US (73) and Indonesia (45). In the CCR luxury segment, mainland Chinese buyers bought 111 units last quarter, or 10.8 percent of all luxury condo sales, up from 5.4 percent in the year-earlier period.
“Foreigners who take up citizenship or are eligible to be PRs may likely buy properties through these residential statuses as they pay lesser ABSD,” Sun said. “Most buyers, like Singaporeans and first-timers, who are less affected, may continue to buy private properties, especially if they have urgent housing needs or intend to own only one private property.”
Of the 198 apartments sold at the 29 April launch of EL Development’s 275-unit Blossoms By The Park, four were bought by mainland Chinese and four were purchased by US citizens, the Business Times reported. The Chinese will be subject to the new 60 percent ABSD rate, while the Americans will pay the same stamp duty as would Singaporeans under the terms of the two nations’ free trade agreement.