Are we seeing extra Hong Kong residents shopping for or renting properties in Singapore?, Cash Information

Even earlier than Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Hong Kong was already in disaster with pro-democracy avenue protests, curfew rumours and disruptions to commuters because of the controversial extradition invoice of 2019.

On the time, Bloomberg reported a surge from anxious expatriates sizing up education choices past the previous British colony to ship their kids to. This included enquiries on placements in worldwide colleges just like the Singapore American Faculty and the Canadian Worldwide Faculty in Singapore.

Two years later, with Covid-19 restrictions just like the zero-Covid-19 coverage (and prolonged faculty shutdowns) irritating many native and overseas Hong Kong residents, the enquiries appear to have elevated. A follow-up Bloomberg report cited {that a} web 71,000 folks have left Hong Kong in February 2022 – the most important outflow because the pandemic started.

Singapore-based worldwide colleges like Tanglin Belief Faculty and EtonHouse Worldwide Faculty had been reported to have acquired a rise in inquiries from dad and mom in Hong Kong.

Serviced flats supplier, Ascott Ltd., which operates luxurious flats at Ascott Orchard, Citadines Mount Sophia and Lyf One-North, was reported to have been fielding extra enquiries, together with from Hong Kong, since January.

In March 2022, Monetary Instances reported that some worldwide colleges in Singapore acquired extra inquiries from Hong Kong residents than typical however had been unable to satisfy the unprecedented demand.

The report cited Singapore-based Tanglin Belief Faculty, a non-profit with 2,800 college students and annual charges of as much as S$46,965, receiving as many purposes in January and February 2022 in comparison with the entire of final 12 months.

Equally, the Canadian Worldwide Faculty, which has 3,200 college students throughout two campuses in Lakeside and Tanjong Katong (and expenses charges of as much as S$41,700 a 12 months) acquired seven instances extra inquiries in 2022 than within the earlier six months.

What kind of residences are they on the lookout for

“Primarily based on brokers’ suggestions, we acquired extra enquiries from shoppers in Hong Kong. They’re eager to hire or purchase properties as they plan to work in Singapore within the mid to long run. Some are Singaporeans shifting again to Singapore whereas others are expatriates who had been working in Hong Kong and are being relocated right here,” stated Christine Solar, Senior Vice President of Analysis and Analytics at OrangeTee & Tie.

A number of the shoppers Solar talked about are trying on the luxurious dwelling section or prime location. Others could also be city-fringe properties which might be close to the CBD.

“There’s a combination of shoppers – these transferring over with their households and others who’re single, enterprise executives. I believe most of them can be trying on the similar components as different overseas patrons corresponding to political stability, protected nation, enterprise friendliness, and their means to adapt to our tradition and language,” she added.

Whereas the enquiries and curiosity have elevated, it doesn’t essentially imply that the resident’s plan emigrate to Singapore would succeed or have materialised.

In response to Solar, there has not been a major enhance in patrons from Hong Kong over the previous few months. Nonetheless, she shared that some could have purchased properties and the caveats logged below ‘China’ or ‘overseas (unspecified)’.

New non-landed properties purchased by PRs and Non-PRs

Nationality by Nation 2020Q1 2020Q2 2020Q3 2020Q4 2021Q1 2021Q2 2021Q3 2021Q4 2022Q1
Hong Kong 3 1 1 3 2 5 4 1
China 92 53 95 95 175 156 128 130 41
Overseas (Un-specified) 126 135 238 151 187 144 112 155 205

Supply: URA, OrangeTee & Tie Analysis & Analytics

“Singapore is seldom the primary alternative for Hong Kongers looking for migration. Prior to now 12 months, nevertheless, there was a rise in Hong Kongers transferring right here for a brief interval to keep away from Covid restrictions of their nation. Most of them are likely to hire a spot for a short time,” stated Lee Sze Teck, Senior Director (Analysis) from Huttons Asia.

“Nonetheless, there was a soar within the variety of Hong Kongers shopping for properties prior to now 12 months. In 2020, there have been 27 properties purchased by Hong Kongers. This elevated by 40.7 per cent to 38 properties in 2021.

“The before everything consideration is getting a mortgage to purchase a house in Singapore. Most if not all, won’t be able to acquire a mortgage in Singapore. They’ll most likely must promote their dwelling in Hong Kong to finance their buy right here. The subsequent consideration is the dimensions of the house. They’ll need a dwelling a lot bigger than their Hong Kong dwelling,” Lee stated.

It’s fully attainable that some Hong Kongers’ rent-first-settle-down-later method might have contributed to our month-to-month enhance in our rental market.

“The non-public residential leases proceed to extend strongly in 1Q 2022. The general residential rental index elevated by 4.3 per cent QoQ final quarter. On a year-on-year foundation, the rental index rose 12.1 per cent. That is the primary time in eleven years that the annual development of the rental index attain a double-digit share,” stated Nicholas Mak, Head of Analysis and Consultancy from ERA Realty.

Moreover wholesome home demand and the spillover impact from the not too long ago elevated Extra Consumers Stamp Obligation (ABSD), Mak additionally attributed the rental will increase to the financial restoration and border reopening, which ‘led to extra employees returning to Singapore’.

After all, whereas most Hong Kong residents are renting, making inquiries, researching and deciding whether or not to spend money on property long-term right here to quiet down, there are two different main components which will delay or reverse their plans fully.

1. Mother and father danger shedding their kids’s faculty debentures if they can not promote them within the secondary market

In Hong Kong, dad and mom must pay debentures, a type of advance mortgage to safe precedence admission into worldwide colleges.

Ranging between US$10k (S$14,000) to US$10m (for prime worldwide colleges) per baby, a mum or dad who decides to relocate their baby out of the varsity to a different faculty (eg. Singapore) dangers shedding his or her debenture.

Some faculty debentures are refunded in full as soon as the kid completes his or her training whereas others could not or see them depreciate to zero over time.

This implies dad and mom caught in between having their baby drop out of faculty halfway must discover a prepared debenture purchaser within the secondary market (often via a brokerage company).

It’s a troublesome name, particularly in the event that they’ve pay as you go a excessive debenture. With the latest information that Hong Kong could permit in-person school rooms to renew in levels from mid-April, some dad and mom could change their minds and return to Hong Kong as an alternative.

2. Challenges in securing visas and employment move

A Bloomberg report in April shared one more reason why foreigners intending to maneuver from Hong Kong to Singapore needed to do a U-turn (or look elsewhere).

Whereas it appears that evidently Singapore needs to be the apparent alternative for Asia’s prime finance hub apart from Hong Kong, strict visa necessities and hiring restrictions have hampered the inflow of bankers intending to maneuver right here.

It shared one instance of a European financial institution with plans to designate its Marina Bay monetary district workplace because the backup centre for Hong Kong (so it might relocate workers to Singapore). Sadly, some bankers and hedge fund managers are already having second ideas.

As Singapore continues to push for its ‘rent native’ coverage, it would even be making it progressively stricter for overseas expertise relating to having their visas or employment passes accepted.


One such transfer was the rise of the minimal month-to-month wage threshold for Employment Move (EP) and S-Move candidates from September this 12 months. For instance, EP candidates’ minimal wage threshold will go up from S$4,500 to S$5,000 (S$5,500 for the monetary sector).

There’s additionally the Complementarity Evaluation Framework (COMPASS) factors system on account of begin in September 2023. That is the place EP candidates are rated primarily based on varied standards, starting from wage to expertise and {qualifications}, and the hiring agency’s variety and assist for native employment.

These restrictions have prompted a few of these corporations to look farther, corresponding to Dubai, London or Sydney, as attainable relocation locations past Singapore.

“If Hong Kongers transfer to Singapore, their essential concern is how and whether or not they have a job right here and whether or not they can get PR standing in Singapore. They should have a job right here to get an Employment Move, S-pass or work allow,” shared Mak.

Mak added that they’re more likely to wait till they get their Singapore PR standing earlier than shopping for a property in Singapore.

The cooling measures introduced in December 2021 require that foreigners pay 30 per cent Extra Consumers’ Stamp Obligation (ABSD) for any property buy (together with their first). Singaporeans and PRs pay 0 per cent and 5 per cent ABSD respectively for his or her first Singapore-based property.

So it’s extremely attainable that many Hong Kong residents – whereas inquiring about or renting in Singapore – are ready for the best time or circumstance, earlier than making these life-changing choices for his or her households and themselves.

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