Property buyers continue to worry about housing affordability and prices

iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Report reveals high hopes and expectations for Singapore’s real estate industry in 2012

Singapore, 20 February 2012 – iProperty Group announces key findings from its Asia Property Market Sentiment Report 2012, revealing motivations, intentions and preferences of property buyers across the region. In Singapore, the debate surrounding government housing policies, affordability and pricing factors , as well as alluring overseas investment opportunities, persist – signalling heightened expectations for the new year.
As the first regional online property survey of its kind, the Report comprises of iProperty.com’s group of website visitors in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The Report revealed a common thread amongst property buyers throughout the region, despite varying economic conditions and outlooks for each country – participants deem price and location to be the two most important factors impacting their purchase decision.

“Despite worldwide economic uncertainty, 2012 has since seen encouraging news on the home buying front here in Singapore. Both private and public property buyers have reason to rejoice at recent efforts made by the government as well as developers to help curb rising prices and make homes more affordable. However, as this report suggests, consumers are expecting game-changing initiatives that will improve the current state of affairs,” says Shaun Di Gregorio, iProperty Group CEO.

In Singapore, more than 1,600 respondents participated in the Report via iProperty.com.sg, between 30 November and 31 December 2011. Key findings revealed that:

Singapore buyers value accessibility and convenience

  •  Affordability is a key concern – 85.6% of respondents deemed affordability and rising housing prices as the two top issues surrounding the Singapore property market. Both location and price were considered the most significant factors among respondents who are ready to purchase a property, with the least important factors being recommendations as well as political and economic climate.
  •  Many buy property as an investment – 39.7% of those surveyed cited rental income investment as their main motivation for purchasing property. Possessing one’s own property was a close second (34.2%).
  •  Singapore buyers are willing to spend for affordability and convenience – Over half (51.7%) had a budget between SGD500,000 and SGD1million, while 29.3% had a budget of less than SGD500,000.
  •  Singaporeans are confident about the Singapore property market – Two-thirds (66.4%) felt that the property market was holding up well despite the threat of a global recession.

Government housing remains a big draw

  •  Singaporeans taking the survey were very concerned with HDB policies – 74.5% considered HDB pricing policy to be very important. Other important policy issues included housing affordability for lower income groups; home financing policies and interest rates; Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) and pricing of resale flats; and transparency in property valuation methodology
  •  Singaporean survey participants were also divided in their opinions concerning HDB flats – Half (50.5%) thought that the government was doing enough to meet demand for new HDB flats, while 34.9% thought otherwise.
  •  Cash premiums are still too high – 58.3% agreed that the government should step in to control COV on HDB flats. In contrast, a small fraction (27.3%) do not agree.
  •  Buyers feel the heat – A large majority (61.4%) of those surveyed felt that the raised income ceiling for ownership of HDB flats and executive condominiums would result in more competition for public housing, while a small percentage (22%) disagreed.

Priced out of Singapore?

  • Buyers are venturing overseas – 42.2% of Singaporean visitors in the survey showed interest in overseas property. These visitors considered Malaysia (40.5%) and Australia (19.4%) to be their most preferred overseas locations.
  •  Buyers see value-for-money opportunities outside of Singapore – 39.4% of those surveyed cited retirement or migration as being the main motivation for buying overseas property, while the remaining cited favourable exchange rates and relatively lower prices.

Findings from the report also showed unique characteristics of the property market in the region. These include statistics that showed landed property as the most popular type of property in Malaysia and Hong Kong, while in Indonesia, houses reigned. For more information, the Asia Property Market Sentiment Report 2012 is available for download at http://insights.iproperty.com.sg/Asia-Property-Market-Sentiment-Report-2012-Singapore.pdf.