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Malaysians Dump Australia & Flock To Singapore

Malaysians are the second most-active foreign buyers of non-landed private homes in Singapore

Real estate agents expect a surge in Singapore private residence transactions in 2020 as Malaysian cross-border buyers turn their back on Australia and flock to Singapore. This is a change from 2019, when Australia ranked first, and Singapore was only third.

Official data from Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (“URA”) and agents OrangeTee & Tie also reveals that Malaysians are the second most-active foreign buyers of non-landed private homes in Singapore. Non-landed private home purchases by Malaysians climbed quickly in the second half of 2020. Malaysians bought 175 non-landed private homes in Q3 2020. This number rose 11 per cent to 194 units in Q4.

Juwai IQI Group Co-Founder and CEO Kashif Ansari said, “While Malaysian buyers pushed Singapore from third to first place in 2020, they also changed the ranking of other destinations among the 10 most popular destinations. Australia dropped from first to second place with Malaysian buyers. The United States dropped from second rank to third. Hong Kong and the Philippines dropped entirely out of the top-10. Japan moved from ninth to eighth place. The United Kingdom moved from eighth to seventh. Indonesia moved from tenth to ninth. New Zealand moved into the top ten at sixth place and the UAE joined the top-10 ranking in tenth place.

“COVID-19 shook up property buyers and changed their preferences. The border closures and travel restrictions made Singapore a more-popular destination because of its proximity and stability. Singapore imposes foreign ownership restrictions on landed residential properties. Foreigners may only purchase property in the non-landed segment, such as condominiums and apartments.

“Cross-border property buying is evolving rapidly as Malaysians gain in wealth, motivation and international experience. Malaysians like Singapore as a vacation and retirement destination, for work and for education. They are also looking for safe investments and asset diversification.

“Singapore offers several advantages compared to other destinations in Asia. Singapore has strong political leadership, sound economic fundamentals and a global status as a commercial hub. In addition, it is extremely accessible. These are the reasons it has become Southeast Asia’s primary hub for second-home ownership. It offers education, financial services, investments, stability and lifestyle.


2United States Australia 
3Singapore United States 
4Thailand Thailand 
5Canada Canada 
6Hong Kong, SARNew Zealand 
7PhilippinesUnited Kingdom 
8United KingdomJapan 
9Japan Indonesia
10IndonesiaUnited Arab Emirates

“Australia has always been a popular destination for overseas property buyers. Even though Australia dropped one place in the rankings, Australian property still appeals to investors due to familiarity, sentiment, and most importantly, the market’s resilience and strong capital growth. Australia is also a popular education destination for many Malaysians. Thailand and the US are also attractive destinations for Malaysian overseas buyers.

“The ranking is based on page view data for Malaysian users of Juwai IQI’s Asian property portals, Juwai.com and Juwai.asia. This is the first comprehensive ranking of destinations for outbound Malaysian real estate buyers. Customers and partners who would like access to further, exclusive insights from the data should contact me.”

Malaysians Are Second Biggest Buyers of Singapore Homes

Christine Sun, Senior Vice President of Research & Analytics at leading Singapore real estate agency network OrangeTee & Tie, said:

“Buying interest from Malaysian buyers has been picking up in tandem with the market recovery. In fact, the number of units bought in Q3 2020 and Q4 2020 are higher than the pre-pandemic periods in 2019.

“Many Malaysians buy properties for their own use. Hence, they tend to buy mid to large-sized units. Some are investors who intend to park their money here for the long term and purchase units with one, two or three bedrooms. Some have bought luxury homes in the prime locations.


RankBuyer Nationality2020 Purchases

“Travel to Singapore may resume when a substantial number of people have been vaccinated in both countries. The borders are likely to be reopened in phases, starting in the middle or end of this year. Selected sectors of people may be permitted to travel more regularly across the borders.

“In 2021 and 2022, the number of Malaysian buyers in Singapore is likely to rise further as border restrictions continue to be eased and more workers come back to Singapore. We can expect demand to continue to rise.

“There are also some Malaysians who have decided to buy homes here as they know that it will still take some time for normal travel to be resumed. So, they have decided to settle here for the long term.

“Prices and demand for homes are likely to continue to rise as the global economy is expected to rebound this year. Foreign buying activities are likely to pick up this year, which bodes well for new luxury projects that are slated to be launched this year and will in part target overseas buyers.”

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