Foreigners eye city

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2011, 12:00am


As the most liveable city in Asia, Singapore's real estate - well known for its scarcity - is popular among global investors.

The 2010 Quality of Living Survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting rated Singapore number one in terms of infrastructure in the world, and also the 28th most liveable city globally, making it the highest-ranking Asian city.

With the world's highest concentration of millionaires, Singapore was ranked fourth globally in a Savills report released in autumn, with prices going up 16 per cent per year for executive units, having risen 123 per cent since 2005.

The latest government figures revealed property purchases by foreign individuals rose to 18.6 per cent of total transactions in the third quarter of this year, far higher than the quarterly average of 11.7 per cent last year.

'This year the Singapore property sector has weathered substantial downside risks to close the quarter stronger than expected,' says the latest Knowledge Report by Colliers International.

Chia Siew Chuin, director of research and advisory at Colliers in Singapore, says housing market activity was robust, despite factors that included the government's cooling measures and jittery global sentiment.

Colliers' finding that buyers 'were out in force' during the quarter is supported by Urban Redevelopment Authority figures that show developers' sales rebounded strongly in May and June, resulting in more units being released.

'A key reason why demand has remained strong is that property investment, when viewed with a medium-to-long-term perspective, is a good asset class in Singapore's context,' says Kwek Leng Joo, managing director of City Developments (CDL), one of Singapore's biggest private developers.

CDL is continuing its tradition of offering prestige homes in prime urban areas with the launch of new properties, including One Shenton at hip Marina Bay, Clivedon at Grange in the vibrant Orchard Road vicinity, The Residences at W Singapore Sentosa Cove, and St Regis Hotel and Residences in Orchard Road.

'In land-scarce Singapore, residential property remains a good hedge against inflation. With the financial instability in the West, Asia is becoming immensely attractive as this region's economy is rebounding steadily. Given its sound fundamentals, Singapore offers an ideal environment for property investors,' Kwek says.