S'poreans search for property more than read to kids: Poll

The HSBC survey polled around 11,000 people across 10 countries and territories, including 1,000 in Singapore, on their attitudes towards home ownership and financing a home. It found that Singaporeans spend three times longer on property searches th
The HSBC survey polled around 11,000 people across 10 countries and territories, including 1,000 in Singapore, on their attitudes towards home ownership and financing a home. It found that Singaporeans spend three times longer on property searches than on reading bedtime stories to their children or speaking to their parents.ST FILE PHOTO

But while house hunters obsess over finding perfect property, decision to buy is often impulsive, it finds

Singaporeans spend three times longer on property searches than on reading bedtime stories to their children or speaking to their parents, according to a new survey.

It found that Singaporeans spend an average of 3.29 hours a week on property-related window shopping, reading real estate magazines or trawling through online listings, even when not in the market for a new home.

By contrast, the respondents said they spend just over an hour reading bedtime stories to their children and just under an hour speaking to their parents each week.

The HSBC survey polled around 11,000 people across 10 countries and territories, including 1,000 in Singapore, on their attitudes towards home ownership and financing a home. While house hunters here obsess over finding the perfect property, the decision to buy is often impulsive, with 36 per cent deciding based purely on first impressions, just under the global average of 39 per cent.

The survey also found that 75 per cent of Singaporeans would have viewed five houses or fewer in person before buying their first home.

This impulsive tendency is even more pronounced among "extreme Singaporean property addicts", defined by HSBC as those who spend over seven hours a week reading about or researching property.

Around 51 per cent of this group admitted to buying a property on first sight, while 63 per cent did not have any criteria to adhere to when house hunting and 27 per cent often went over budget, compared with 10 per cent of average Singaporeans.

Mr Ranojoy Dutta, head of retail products at HSBC Singapore, said: "Buying a property is often the biggest and most significant purchase we make, but some home buyers may be taking their passion for the perfect home too far.

"An industry of property magazines, television programmes and websites is making it harder than ever before to have realistic expectations about what you can afford.

"It is essential to begin this buying process by having an open discussion with your partner, your family or financial adviser to consider what you can afford and what compromises you might have to make."

The research also revealed that neighbours are extremely important to Singapore home buyers, with "creepy neighbours" being the biggest deal-breaker when it comes to buying a property.

When it comes to superstitions affecting their property choices, Singaporeans are similar to their Malaysian counterparts, with 33 per cent considering "bad fengshui" and 16 per cent citing an unlucky door number or street name as a turn-off.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2019, with the headline 'S'poreans search for property more than read to kids: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe