FOREIGN property investors are venturing out of traditional prime areas to snap up homes in other parts of the island.
A new study has found overseas buyers have become keen on district 12, which includes the Balestier area and which is associated with karaoke bars and lighting shops.
A Savills Singapore study found that districts 9, 10 and 15 have remained the top spots for foreign buyers over the past three years.
District 9 includes the Orchard and River Valley areas; 15 covers Katong, Joo Chiat and Amber Road, and 10 includes the posh Ardmore area, and the Bukit Timah, Holland Road and Tanglin neighbourhoods.
Districts 11 and 22 have become more popular thanks to the higher number of launches there, Savills said.
In the past three years, there have been at least 30 major launches in district 11 – Novena and Thomson – alone, including Viva, Park Infinia at Wee Nam, and Miro at Lincoln Road.
District 22 – it is centred on Jurong – has hosted launches of The Centris, The Caspian and The Lakeshore.
Savills said district 12, which includes the Balestier, Serangoon and Toa Payoh areas, has emerged as one of the top new choices among foreigners this year.
Its new projects include The Arte, Trevista, Vista Residences, Nova 48, Nova 88 and Domus.
‘These city-fringe projects are near to the city and yet relatively more affordable compared to core central projects,’ said Savills’ senior manager of research and consultancy, Ms Christine Sun.
Consultants say that in district 12, average prices have been lower, at about $900 psf compared with the over $1,000 psf that Novena, only a few hundred metres away, can fetch. However, the gap is closing, partly due to district 12’s increased popularity as well as the small units offered which have a higher per unit asking price.
A closer look at the sales data from the three most popular districts of 9, 15 and 10 shows that most of the foreign buyers came from Malaysia, Indonesia, mainland China and India.
In fact, they accounted for 73.9 per cent of total foreign private property purchases in the first nine months, compared with 59.1 per cent for the whole of 2007 when the market was booming.
A lot of foreigners came to Singapore to buy back then.
Many of the high net-worth buyers from Europe, Russia and elsewhere have not quite returned, property experts said.
But Malaysian buyer numbers have risen by 10per cent this year compared with 2007, although Indonesian investor numbers have fallen by 4per cent.
Mainland Chinese buyers are also up 7.4 per cent, while Indian buyers rose 1.1 per cent.
A recent Savills study showed that foreigners, especially those from China were returning to the market.
Foreigners formed about 22.7 per cent of private home sales in the third quarter – above the 19.7 per cent average since the start of 2000.
‘Malaysians and Indonesians prefer prime districts 9 and 10, which tend to be higher-priced projects,’ said Ms Sun.
She added that mainland Chinese and Indian buyers bought more homes in the city fringe and outside of central regions, such as districts 15, 16, 18 and 22.
The properties in these regions tend to be relatively less pricey and more mass market.
Western buyers, including those from Australia, Britain and the United States, tend to congregate in certain districts, such as districts 9, 10 and 15.
The Japanese prefer district 9, while the Koreans are keen on districts 9 and 10, as well as 16, which includes Bedok and Upper East Coast.
District 9 has the highest concentration of foreign buyers, at 31 per cent.
The other top districts popular with foreigners had a proportion of between 19 and 25 per cent.
Source : Straits Times – 16 Nov 2009