The iProperty Asia Property Market Sentiment Report H1 2014 (APMSR), Asia’s largest consumer sentiment survey, reveals Singaporeans’ broad support for cooling measures and expectations of falling prices, while expressing unshaken confidence in property as an investment, both nationally and internationally. It also suggests growing pent-up demand, with private condominiums top of the purchase wish list.
iProperty.com Singapore General Manager, Mr. Sean Tan stated “The cooling measures have begun to lower prices, which respondents recognise and support. Property, in both Singapore and overseas remains a very attractive investment, and confidence in its long-term value is strong. The question now is when will buyers feel comfortable with adjusted prices and jump back in? With 51 per cent intending to buy a property within the next 24 months, there is a lot of pent-up demand.”
Survey respondents agree the implementation of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) have helped cool property prices, but many remain unsatisfied with current price levels. More than half (52 per cent) believe further cooling measures are required.
53 per cent say HDB resale prices are beyond the reach of the average Singaporean family. That is down from 61 per cent in the previous survey. 37 per cent feel HDB resale prices will continue to fall and 49 per cent say prices will not rise for the next three years. This may indicate pricing levels are becoming more comfortable for buyers. If half expect price stability, how long will they wait?
There is a huge jump in respondents who see property as a long-term investment – 53 per cent, up from 23 per cent. 23 per cent also intend to buy a property within the next 12 months, and an additional 28 per cent within the next one to two years. Over two-thirds (67 per cent) have a preference for new developments and more – 71 per cent up from 69 per cent – are interested in purchasing a private condominium.
“Although respondents are concerned with financing options, more than half (51 per cent) have a budget above S$800,000,” noted Mr. Tan, “Some developers are already pricing their projects or lowering prices of previously launched projects to within this range.”
Sentiments towards foreign property buyers remain volatile, with 72 per cent saying foreigners are driving up property prices. 43 per cent of respondents request more ownership restrictions on foreigners. This is despite falling transactions by foreign buyers; only seven per cent of property transactions were made by foreigners in 2013.
Overseas Investment – Malaysia Falls, Australia Rises
Singaporeans continue to view international properties as attractive; 42 per cent see overseas property as a good investment and private condominiums/serviced apartments are preferred by 67 per cent of respondents. 43 per cent of respondents intend to buy an overseas property within the next two years, 26 per cent within the next 12 months.
Interest in overseas property has shifted, with increased interest in Australia (22 per cent up from 19 per cent). Malaysia, which remains the top choice, declined from 39 per cent to 35 per cent. The UK and Thailand were next, each with nine per cent.
Malaysia remains the first choice for international investment, despite the country’s own cooling measures, including restrictions on properties below RM1 million and higher Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT). Interest in Iskandar Malaysia has declined to 51 per cent (down from 59 per cent), but the area remains appealing, as most high-end properties are above the RM1 million level. Even with those restrictions, 64 per cent of respondents cite ‘affordable property prices’ as the main reason for purchasing in Iskandar Malaysia. Additionally, Medini Iskandar is exempt from the RM1 million minimum price for foreign purchase.
Respondents continue to view the Iskandar Regional Development Authority positively, with 79 per cent (up 9 per cent) agreeing that Iskandar has been promoted well. Peace of mind and security, followed by lack of caveats and data, remain areas of concern.
“The survey shows consumers retain great confidence in the property sector. Prices are declining, and while buyers are currently hesitating, the appetite for property remains very strong, at both the national and international level. The property market will certainly see a revival in demand; the big question is when. Timing the market is always tough,” said Mr. Getty Goh, Director at real estate research and investment firm Ascendant Assets.
The APMSR is Asia’s largest consumer sentiment survey, with 18,500 respondents from four countries, including some 3,000 in Singapore. The survey was conducted by iProperty Group from December 2013 to January 2014.
About the iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Report
This is the fifth iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Report conducted by the iProperty Group. It aims to provide the general public, property investors, buyers, sellers and owners, including local and expatriates, with insights into the property market, from a consumer perspective. The survey includes responses from 18,472 respondents in four countries: