Cashed-up mainland investors are making a beeline to the door of Singapore's luxury residential property developers. As David Neubronner, head of residential project sales at Jones Lang LaSalle Singapore, says, their interest has risen dramatically over the past few years.
'In 2004, only 5 per cent of foreign buyers were mainland Chinese,' Neubronner says. 'In 2009, the figure went up to 15 per cent, and in the first nine months of 2011, we're looking at 28 per cent. With foreigners making up around 30 per cent of property buyers this year, we are looking at one mainland Chinese buyer out of every 10 properties sold in Singapore. It is not surprising that developers and property agencies are queuing up to sell Singapore residential properties in China.'
Hong Kong investors are also buying, although in smaller numbers.
Chua Chor Hoon, head of Southeast Asian research at DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA), says most of these residential purchases are in the high-end market segment. 'The mainland Chinese and Indonesians are the more active purchasers in the luxury market,' she says. 'If you look at the purchases among non-Singaporeans in the prime districts, the mainland Chinese buyers make up the bulk with 266 purchases, followed by the Indonesians with 237 units.'
But why so much interest? 'The key reasons are the comparatively higher prices in Hong Kong, and the tightened property market policy in China,' says Dr Chua Yang Liang, head of research, Southeast Asia, at Jones Lang LaSalle. 'Singapore has also come a long way in its remaking to join the global city league - foreign buyers in general are keen to have a piece of the pie.'
DTZ's Chua agrees. 'Property cooling measures and rising mortgage rates in mainland cities and Hong Kong are some of the reasons driving mainland Chinese to buy properties in Singapore,' she says.
'The predominantly Chinese population, good infrastructure and safe, clean environment make Singapore property an attractive investment option for investors to park their money here. Some of the mainland Chinese investors also buy properties in Singapore as they send their children to Singapore for studies.'
Properties well suited to this target market include the Marina Collection @ Sentosa Cove, Singapore's prized waterfront address. Residents can sail right up to their units ranging from three to six bedrooms, with a marina at their front door, and Sentosa Golf Course behind. Prices start at S$4.938 million (HK$30.356 million) for a three-bedroom unit.
Jones Lang LaSalle is also selling stylish condos at Twin Peaks in Leonie Hill Road, just minutes from the buzz of Orchard Road - three-bedroom apartments priced from S$3.94 million. DTZ is marketing luxury apartments at Seascape, Sentosa Cove, offering three or four bedrooms and top-end penthouses with private pools from S$5.9m upwards.