Aug 19, 2015

    Malaysia, China buyers snap up more homes here

    POLITICAL and economic uncertainty at home are likely behind the increase in the number of Malaysians and mainland Chinese who bought property here in the second quarter.

    Malaysians snapped up 248 private units, 53 per cent more than in the first three months of the year, while 234 homes were purchased by buyers from China, up 37 per cent, according to real estate services firm DTZ.

    "This increased activity coincided with heightened economic uncertainty in China and political concerns in Malaysia," DTZ noted, adding that these buyers were aiming to preserve their wealth.

    Buyers from Malaysia and China accounted for almost half of the 1,017 purchases made by non-Singaporeans in the second quarter.

    This total was 60 per cent more than in the first quarter, but below the 1,298 units sold to foreigners in the same quarter last year.

    Lee Nai Jia, regional head of research at DTZ, told The Straits Times that the firm had expected to see a drop in the number of Malaysian buyers, given the fall of the ringgit.

    "I think all the political issues in Malaysia have hindered some of the structural reforms that were supposed to take place. That has become a concern among Malaysian buyers, moving them towards Singapore," he said.

    "They want to make sure that their money and their wealth is intact and doesn't depreciate further."

    Mr Lee added that Chinese buyers were probably motivated more by China's stock market plunge, which has raised doubts about the country's financial stability and security while, in turn, making Singapore appear as a safe haven.

    DTZ expects that the yuan's devaluation last week will drive more of China's high-net-worth individuals to buy Singapore property as a way of protecting their wealth, but those who have been hit by the stock market rout are likely to stay away.

    DTZ's report showed that Singaporeans accounted for about 77 per cent of private home purchases in the second quarter, unchanged from the same quarter in 2013, before tougher mortgage curbs were implemented.

    There were 3,867 units sold in the second quarter, compared with 2,141 in the first.

    Of these, 2,855 were bought by Singaporeans, compared with 1,564 in the previous three months.