More foreign properties being launched in Singapore

About 107 London projects alone have been brought to Singapore for sale by various agencies this year, says DTZ Singapore research head Lee Lay Keng. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
About 107 London projects alone have been brought to Singapore for sale by various agencies this year, says DTZ Singapore research head Lee Lay Keng. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Overseas property continues to lure local investors with developers seeming to jet in every other weekend offering new launches.

DTZ Singapore research head Lee Lay Keng said about 107 London projects alone, including student accommodation blocks, have been brought to Singapore for sale by various agencies this year.

Consultancy Colliers International data shows an increasing number of Singapore investors have been buying London property over the past 12 months, about 25 per cent more than a year earlier.

Mr Julian Sedgwick of Savills Singapore says: "It is hard to track the number of different launches in Singapore but we have certainly seen an increase in the number of launches this year compared with last year."

He says this could be due to cooling measures in Singapore and an increase in local agencies trying to sell international property.

"The key cities of interest are London, Sydney, Melbourne, Bangkok, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and growing interest in Manila," he adds.

Mrs Doris Tan of Jones Lang LaSalle has also seen strong growth in sales for these cities. "We sold close to 800 units of London properties to Singaporeans, which is about 80 per cent of the total property purchases made this year, and about 150 Tokyo properties to Singaporeans as well."

Singaporeans are also among the top foreign investors in the Bangkok condominium market, accounting for 18 per cent of CBRE sales to overseas buyers this year, says Ms Aliwassa Pathnadabutr, managing director at property consultancy CB Richard Ellis in Thailand.

"Singapore is ranked second after Hong Kong in terms of top foreign investors in Bangkok's downtown condominium market," she adds.

However, there are certain risks and restrictions in the various cities and countries when it comes to buying property overseas.

Australia has restrictions on overseas investors wanting to buy pre-existing properties, according to Savills' Australian office.

If you are looking to move there, Australia's Significant Investor Visa requires an investment of A$5 million (S$5.7 million) in complying investments for a minimum of four years before being eligible to apply for a permanent visa.

CBRE's Ms Pathnadabutr says buying condo units in Thailand is the simplest and safest for foreign investors while serviced apartments are not available for individual sale. Foreign investors cannot own land in Thailand.

She adds: "Most foreign investors, including Singaporeans, therefore choose to invest in freehold condominiums."

There are so many options on the table that there seems to be something for every investor in each city, depending on the bud-get.

Take a buyer with $500,000 to $600,000 to spend.

Savills' Mr Sedgwick says: "You are looking at a one-bed (flat) in a zone two location of London or a high-end condo in Thailand. In Melbourne, you could be looking at a one- or two-bed in the central business district and perhaps a one-bed or studio in Sydney."

rachaelb@sph.com.sg

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