Fewer Singaporeans buying prime homes in London

SINGAPORE investors are buying fewer homes in prime districts in London in the wake of the property cooling measures here that have limited their ability to borrow.

The number of Singaporeans buying prime homes in the British capital fell 74 per cent in the period from last November to the end of May compared with the previous six months, according to broker Knight Frank LLP, Bloomberg has reported.

Buyers from the Republic now make up just 1.7 per cent of all buyers in the city's best districts, less than half the 3.8 per cent in the prior period, the broker said.

Home-buying from "Singapore is very low at the moment and falling off", Mr Rob Perrins, managing director of Berkeley Group Holdings, said in an interview with Bloomberg last Wednesday.

Singapore investors were the biggest overseas buyers of new homes constructed by Berkeley, London's largest homebuilder, in 2013, Mr Perrins said.

The Singapore Government capped borrowers' total debt repayments at 60 per cent of monthly income in June 2013 as it sought to cool a rapidly rising residential property market.

This made it more difficult for Singapore investors to purchase homes overseas as international borrowings are included in the cap. London has long been on the buying radar of Singapore property buyers, with many having links there after studying in Britain.

The British general election last month had caused some jitters in the top-end market as Labour had proposed a mansion tax on residential properties above £2 million (S$4.2 million).

However, the clear victory by the Conservatives led to reports that strong buying of these upscale properties had resumed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2015, with the headline 'Fewer Singaporeans buying prime homes in London'. Print Edition | Subscribe