Singapore’s rich optimistic on property prices

December 4, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Joyce Koh

Bloomberg

Singapore’s rich are among the most optimistic of global investors on real estate, expecting the value of their property holdings to rise in the next two years, according to a survey.

Fifty-three percent of Singapore investors forecast prices to increase, more than the 49 percent of respondents globally, the survey by Barclays Wealth and the Economist Intelligence Unit found. The survey of 2,000 people with investable assets of more than $800,000) was taken in August and September.

Home prices in Singapore rose 15.8 percent in the third quarter, the first increase in more than a year, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Transactions declined since peaking in July, and private home sales slowed for a third straight month in October, the authority said.

“While it can be tempting to seek refuge in property as a safe haven, investors must be careful to avoid overexposure to an asset class that has traditionally proven to be susceptible to economic cycles,” said Didier von Daeniken, chief executive of Barclays Wealth Asia Pacific, in a statement released today with the survey.

Singapore has said it will sell more land sites and ban interest-only mortgages for uncompleted homes as part of measures to prevent excessive price swings. Last month, its central bank said it may be “necessary” to implement more measures to counter real-estate market speculation.

Singapore investors said they plan to raise their property investments from the current average of 25 percent of their portfolio, the survey stated.

Investors from India and Canada were the most optimistic, according to the survey, with 56 percent and 55 percent, respectively, expecting price increases.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=abKwlazIXnj0