The growth of Singapore's expatriate population combined with a rise in foreign investment is fuelling a residential buying boom in the Lion City. According to a Knight Frank study, the number of foreign homebuyers in Singapore rocketed to an all-time high of 27 per cent in the first quarter of this year, topping the previous record level of 25.6 per cent recorded in the last quarter of 2006. The study claimed that the rise was partly caused by the government and private sectors' efforts to promote Singapore as a global city. The flip side of the coin was a record low of a 64.5 per cent share for domestic homebuyers, which was due to not only the rise in foreign buyers but also to the move by more companies to purchase properties for investment. 'The type of residential properties that are popular with foreign purchasers include non-landed properties in the high-end, luxury and super-luxury tiers in the traditional prime districts of 9, 10 and 11 as well as the emerging prime districts of Marina Bay and Sentosa Cove ,' said Tay Huey Ying, director of research and consultancy at Colliers International. 'District 15 is also another location popular with foreign buyers.' She said that between January last year and August this year, 33.2 per cent of all foreign purchases were for properties in districts 9 and 10. Some 12.2 per cent of foreign purchases were for properties in District 15. 'In terms of pricing, 4.8 per cent of the foreign purchases were for properties priced at S$5million [HK$25.8million] and above and 31.1 per cent of the foreign purchases were for properties priced between S$1.5million and S$5million during the same time period,' Ms Tay said. Knight Frank broke these purchases down for the first quarter of this year, and noted the number of foreign homebuyers' properties ranging from S$1.5million to S$5million soared from 27 per cent in the fourth quarter last year to 32 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Conversely, the percentage of foreign homebuyers purchasing properties for less than S$500,000 and in the S$500,000 to S$1million range sank by 2 to 3 per cent.