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Rich Indians Eyeing Singapore Property Market
Tuesday, Nov 4, 2008

Fearing a crash in local real estate prices, many well-heeled Indians are buying properties in Singapore. While such purchases could be pure investments, the lure of permanent residentship offered to certain investors under the Singapore law may have also influenced the decision. Many are drawn by the sheer ease in buying a house in Singapore.

The Far East Organization, one of Asia's largest real estate groups, is among the real estate developers looking to pull in Indians to invest in the Southeast Asian country. The group will soon complete the development of Silversea, a premium residential seafront property, aimed at foreign buyers.

"People from across Asia are looking to buy properties in Singapore attracted by its urban infrastructure. The number from India has only been increasing," says Far East's chief operating officer, Mr Chia Boon Kuah. Along with a stunning sea view of the east coast, Silversea also promises a window to the country's rapidly rising financial district, which houses properties like the New Downtown, Marina Bay Financial Centre and Gardens by the Bay. The apartments are priced at about $1.5 million each. While Far East will have a Silversea exhibition in Kuala Lumpur soon, it is targeting other markets, such as Indonesia, India, China, and the Middle East. Mr Kuah expects to sell around a half of Silversea apartments to foreign buyers.

Singapore has attracted real estate investors for many years now. Thanks to a stable, business-friendly administration and a safe and multicultural environment, most buyers believe that prices would appreciate from hereon. However, Mr Kuah admits that the global financial market turmoil has caused a small price dip. Officials from Far East Organization said the Singaporean government will provide various facilities for prospective property buyers; for instance, exempting them from the sales profit tax and providing them with permanent resident permits.

The government is expected to grant permanent resident permits to 40,000-50,000 expatriate residents every year. Around 14% of non-local property buyers in Singapore are Indians, according to government data. The Singapore government has targeted a population of 6 million, from 4.6 million at present, in the next three years.



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