Will Wuhan coronavirus spook homebuyers at the top-end of the market?

By
/ EdgeProp Singapore
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February 2, 2020 2:39 PM SGT
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak could potentially have a greater impact on the high-end condo segment than suburban residences, at least in the short-term. This is because mainland Chinese formed the biggest group of foreign buyers of prime condos in Singapore in recent years. In 2019, new projects such as Boulevard 88, Nouvel 18 and South Beach Residences were particularly popular among Chinese nationals.
Transactions of prime condos are likely to slow this year, especially with the clampdown on flights and the travel ban, says PropNex's Ismail Gafoor (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
In the resale market, anecdotal evidence is that some owners of luxury condos in the prime districts of Orchard Road to Sentosa Cove, are equally concerned about the origins of the potential viewer of their property. Over the past week, property agents have been receiving messages from home sellers along these lines: “Where is the client from? ...but I don’t want someone who just arrived from China coming through the apartment.”
In Singapore, new travel restrictions will include visitors of any nationality who have travelled to mainland China recently. With the exception of Singapore permanent residents (PRs) and long-term pass holders, those with Chinese passports will also not be allowed to enter Singapore. This comes into effect from Feb 1, 2020.
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Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that this was done in an effort to minimise the risk of community spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. The number of infections in Singapore has climbed to 18 as of Feb 1.
Measures taken to minimise the risk of community spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (Photo: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Transactions of prime condos are likely to slow this year, especially with the clampdown on flights and the travel ban, notes Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty.
“I think a mainland Chinese who has been living in Singapore will not be discriminated, but someone who came from China one or two weeks ago – whether a Chinese national, a Singaporean or any other nationality – should not be allowed to enter the showflat, purely out of concern for the community,” says PropNex’s Gafoor.
Demand from foreigners who are already residing in Singapore, should not be affected, notes PropNex’s Gafoor. “Transactions by those who have already moved their funds to Singapore or have relocated their family offices here will continue.”
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The buyers in the luxury segment, especially those looking at the resale market, are largely end-users, those who have sold their home and are looking for a new one, says Bruce Lye of SRI (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI, does not expect transactions at the top-end of the residential market to dry up completely. “The buyers in the luxury segment, especially those looking at the resale market, are largely end-users, those who have sold their home and are looking for a new one,” he says. “That’s been the trend in recent years, since the series of property cooling measures were put in place.”
Singaporeans who want to buy in the prime districts and saw how prices recovered after SARS outbreak in 2003, may be encouraged to pick up units in new developments, reckons Lye.
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For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out these projects' research page: Parc Canberra, Boulevard 88, Nouvel 18, South Beach Residences
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