Singapore buyers driving foreign purchases



Singaporean buyers are having a big impact on housing market activity in the UK, as they sit on a property portfolio worth £5.8 billion in London alone.

Over 18,000 UK homes are registered to Singapore nationals, accounting for 7.4% of internationally owned properties across the nation.

It’s well known that Hong Kong buyers have had a big impact on the UK markets – especially London – since the government unveiled the BNO visa scheme in January 2021, as 9.5% of all internally registered homes are with Hong Kong buyers.

However, it’s flown under the radar that Singapore buyers are also making a splash, as they account for 7.4% of internationally owned properties being registered.

London agent Benham and Reeves, which conducted the research, dubbed Singaporean buyers the “supporting cast” in the UK.

Unlike Hong Kong buyers, Singapore nationals aren’t being drawn by the benefit of the BNO visa scheme, but by the investment opportunities available across what has been a largely lethargic London market, coupled with the recent weakening of the pound.

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said: “Despite the fact that the average London house price has increased by a reasonably impressive 8.3% on an annual basis, the capital continues to lag behind the wider UK market where house price growth has hit 13.6% over the last year.

“This slow but steady trend has pretty much remained unchanged since the pandemic and many foreign buyers, in particular, have spotted an opportunity to purchase within the London market while the rate of house price appreciation has been more measured.

“At the same time, a weakening pound has also presented many foreign nationals with the potential for an even greater discount, with both Hong Kong and Singapore nationals enjoying respective discounts of 16% and 11% on the average London home in 2022.

Singapore

“Unlike Hong Kong buyers who have also been tempted to the UK by the additional carrot of the BNO visa scheme, Singapore nationals have been purchasing very much based on current market metrics and the strength of the market from an investment standpoint.

“So while it may be Hong Kong nationals who continue to drive foreign buyer activity to the greatest extent, buyers from Singapore have provided a strong supporting role and will continue to do so as the London market heads towards a return to full health.”

London’s Hounslow is by far home to the largest proportion of Singapore nationals, with the nation sitting on £1.658bn of property in the borough.

However, they also have a strong footprint across prime central London, with £651.2m worth of property owned in Westminster and £543m in Kensington and Chelsea.

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