The Chinese emerged as the top non-Singaporean buyers of private homes here amid a 35 percent drop in private home acquisitions by foreigners last year.

Among the top four nationalities, the biggest drop came from the Indians while the smallest came from the Chinese.

Based on caveats analysis by DTZ, private home acquisitions by the Indians dropped 52.5 percent to 460 homes in 2013 from 968 in 2012, while acquisitions by the Chinese fell just 16.9 percent to 1,479 houses from 1,780 in 2012.

Furthermore, as acquisitions by the Malaysians dropped 36 percent to 1,303 houses in 2013 from 2,037 in 2012 and the Indonesians by 41.7 percent to 880 units from 1,510 units in 2012, the Chinese are irrefutably at the top of the group of non-Singaporean private home buyers.

The resilient demand from the Chinese could be attributed to the buying restrictions back home and the fact that Singapore remains their favourite investment destination, noted Lee Lay Keng, head of Singapore research at DTZ.

"They are attracted by the similarity in the culture with our majority Chinese population, and Singapore continues to offer a stable and secure environment for their investments. Some of them are investing in Singapore as they have business links here or are planning to send their children here for education."

Aside from being stable, Singapore is also "liveable, close to China and a great place to learn English," said Ong Choon Fah, chief operating officer of DTZ South-east Asia.

"Often, they use Singapore as a first stop before moving on to the West. So Singapore tends to be ‘a hotel’ rather than a home for them."

Christopher Chitty, Senior Content Producer edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email

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