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Singaporeans more wary when buying property: Survey

Index that shows likelihood of respondents buying property falls to all-time low

Singaporeans are increasingly adopting a "wait-and-see" approach when it comes to buying properties, according to findings from a PropertyGuru survey released yesterday.

This cautious mentality was seen in its property purchase intent index, which measures the likelihood of respondents buying a Singapore property in the next six months.

The index fell to an all-time low of 38 in the first half of this year, from 41 in the second half of last year.

The real estate portal surveyed 794 people in Singapore for its half-yearly consumer sentiment survey.

Slightly more than half, or 51 per cent, of respondents felt the Singapore economy was not doing well, from 37 per cent in the previous poll.

The latest survey's overall sentiment index also fell five points to 40 in the first half of the year - indicating concerns over affordability and overall real estate climate, among other things.

When it comes to property prices, eight in 10 of those polled say private homes in Singapore are still too expensive, despite last July's cooling measures.

More than half, or 58 per cent, also want the Government to step in and regulate prices of newly launched properties by developers, up from 49 per cent in the second half of last year.

When it comes to rents, the majority of those polled see rents falling across the board for Housing Board, condominium and landed property markets.

For the biggest condo rental market, more than one-third, or 36 per cent, of respondents expect rents to drop.

Mr Tan Tee Khoon, PropertyGuru Singapore's country manager, said competition among landlords is already beginning to be felt, with more than 25 condo projects attaining temporary occupation permits this year.

The bulk of them are located in the outlying areas of Singapore or outside the central region.

The survey also found a mismatch in landlord and renter expectations regarding the size of homes for lease.

Fifty-three per cent of investors and 59 per cent of landlords think units are shrinking, compared with 70 per cent of renters.

Mr Tan said: "This finding is a sobering discovery for property investors, who would do well to focus on liveability and meeting the spatial comfort of prospective tenants rather than just looking at the quantum of their purchase when making a property investment."

For example, renters may in the end prefer a 500 sq ft one-bedroom over a 400 sq ft unit. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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