Indonesians top foreign buyers in Singapore apartment market

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesians led the foreign purchasers of apartments in Singapore during the first semester of this year, beating other major foreign buyers such as Malaysians and Indians.

Data released by Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) shows that during the first half of this year, Indonesians bought around 1,300 properties, almost 22 percent of the total number of properties bought by foreign buyers.

"Indonesians continue to top other foreign purchasers, including Malaysians (18 percent), Indians (13 percent), Britons (8 percent), Chinese (6 percent) and Koreans (6 percent)," Kan Kum Wah, head of residential marketing for the Marina Bay Financial Centre, said here Tuesday.

Data from Colliers International Singapore Research indicate that Indonesians bought 3,000 of the 11,520 apartments sold in the neighboring country last year.

With the Singaporean government allowing foreigners to buy "non-landed" housing on the basis of 99-year freehold ownership, the number of foreign buyers has been increasing over the past few years.

Of the 7,400 apartments sold to foreign buyers during the 2003-2005 period, 1,930 were purchased by Indonesians. Indonesians bought 500 apartments in 2003, 600 in 2004 and 830 in 2005, Colliers said.

The data also showed that most Indonesians bought luxury properties at an average price of S$1,115 (US$768) per sq feet.

Kan said that foreign interest in Singaporean luxury properties had been strong.

He said that the proportion of foreign homebuyers purchasing properties valued at above S$1.5 million stood at 39 percent in the second quarter of the year.

"Marina Bay Residences, which we launched previously, had about 10 percent of Indonesian buyers. We also expect to have 10-15 percent Indonesian buyers for Marina Bay Suites," Kan explained.

He said that most Indonesians preferred to purchase bigger apartments, with at least three rooms, for their families.

"We are organizing interest gatherings in three cities to see whether buyers are interested in buying our apartments. Jakarta is our second stop after Shanghai and before Hong Kong," he said.

He said that the Marina Bay Suites, which would be launched in the middle of December, would be completed in 2011. The development, consisted of 223 three and four-bedroom apartments, whose prices ranged from S$1.8 million to S$48 million.

"Customers who wish to purchase apartments should register as soon as we launch the development," he said.

Marina Bay Financial Centre, located on a 3.55-hectare waterfront site in the heart of Singapore's new downtown, is being built by a joint venture company consisting of Cheung Kong (Holdings)/Hutchison Whampoa, Hong Kong Land and Keppel Land. (tif)
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