SINGAPORE (Dec 17): Singapore’s luxury apartments are proving a magnet for Chinese buyers with purchases of properties north of $5 million almost doubling in the third quarter.

The number of private homes sold to Chinese buyers rose to 40 in the three months ended Sept. 30, up from 21 the same period of 2018, data compiled by Cushman & Wakefield Plc show.

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But cooling measures that were levied in July 2018 and which made units more expensive for foreigners have resulted in a slide in purchases of apartments under the $5 million mark. Sales of units priced between $3 million and $5 million -- considered mid-tier in Singapore, which frequently ranks as one of the world’s most expensive places to live -- dropped 63%.

“This could be due to the fact that there were other cheaper alternatives that also appeal to the Chinese, such as Malaysia, where the threshold for foreign buyers has been lowered to 600,000 ringgit ($196,000) or Thailand, which is also a popular holiday destination for mainlanders,” Christine Li, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Cushman & Wakefield, said.

Rising demand for luxury apartments comes as property prices -- and sales -- rebound. Developers sold 1,147 units last month versus 931 dwellings in October, Urban Redevelopment Authority data released Monday showed. The jump came despite fewer apartment launches; home builders unveiled 740 apartments for sale compared with 892 in October.

Buoyant sales, if they continue, may go some way to clearing Singapore’s property glut. There are almost 32,000 apartments -- some finished, others under construction and still more in the planning phase -- in the pipeline.


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