Strong demand from mainland Chinese buyers helped Singapore private home prices edge higher in the first quarter of 2011, despite government efforts to cool the market, property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said on Wednesday.
The average value of non-prime private apartments in Singapore reached a record high of S$1,043 per square foot in the first quarter, exceeding the previous high of S$1,020 psf in the last three months of 2010, JLL estimates.

Singapore, like Hong Kong, has found it difficult to keep a lid on property prices due to the surge in global liquidity that has pushed mortgage rates to near record lows as well as strong demand from cash-rich China nationals.

The increasing cost of owning a home has become a political issue ahead of general elections that may take place as early as next month.

Chinese nationals made up the largest group of foreign buyers of Singapore property, accounting for about one quarter of all purchases by foreigners in the city-state, JLL added.

“The surge in Chinese buyers in Singapore coincided with the policy tightening in China,” said Chua Yang Liang, JLL’s head of research for Southeast Asia.

The strong demand from China will continue so long as Beijing’s fiscal and monetary policies remain conducive to overseas investment by wealthier Chinese nationals, he added.

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