2 May 2019

S’poreans spend more time on property than their children

  • Singaporeans spend more than 3x focused on property searches than reading their children bedtime stories and speaking to their parents
  • 51% of extreme property addicts1 admit to making snap judgments of  a property on first sight
  • ‘Difficult neighbours’ are the biggest deal-breakers for Singaporeans when buying a home

Property has long been considered a ‘national sport’ for Singaporeans but a new HSBC report lifts the lid on just how pervasive a topic it is. Property obsession, impulse buys and bad neighbours are some of the key themes raised in the report.

HSBC’s Beyond the Bricks 2019 is a global survey that took the views of more than 11,000 people across 10 countries and territories, including 1,000 respondents in Singapore, on their attitudes towards home ownership and financing a home.

According to the report, Singaporeans spend an average 3.29 (hours) every week on property-related window shopping, reading property magazines and trawling through online listings, even when they aren’t in the market for a new home. In comparison, respondents said they spend just over an hour (1.03 hours) reading bedtime stories to their children and even less (0.94 hours) speaking to their parents.

While Singapore house hunters obsess over finding the perfect property, the decision to buy is often impulsive with 36% (vs 39%-global) deciding on a property based purely on their first impressions. Majority (75%) of Singaporeans would have viewed five houses or less in person before they bought their first home.

However, this impulsive tendency becomes even more pronounced among extreme Singaporean property addicts who spend over 7 hours a week reading about or researching property. Almost half (51%) admit to buying a property on first sight while 63% of them did not have any criteria to adhere to when shopping for a property. 27% of these extreme Singaporean house hunters often went over budget, compared to 10% average Singaporeans.

The research also reveals the quirks and irrationalities that play a prominent role in Singaporeans’ property buys. Neighbours are extremely important to Singapore home buyers when it comes to purchasing a property. ‘Creepy neighbours’ (55%) are the biggest deal breakers when buying a home. This percentage is also higher than the global average (47%). Interestingly, Singaporeans are similar to their Malaysian counterparts when it comes to superstitions affecting their property choices. Only 33% considered bad feng shui and 16% cited unlucky door number or street name as a deal-breaker.

Ranojoy Dutta, Head of Retail Products, HSBC Bank (Singapore), said: “Buying a property is often the biggest and most significant purchase we make but some home buyers may be taking their passion for the perfect home too far. An industry of property magazines, TV programmes and websites is making it harder than ever before to have realistic expectations about what you can afford.”

“It is essential to begin this buying process by having an open discussion with your partner, your family or financial advisor to discuss what you can afford and what compromises you might have to make. Buying a property should be a positive experience, and with some careful planning, it can be an exciting one too.”

1Extreme house hunters are defined as people who spend over 7 hours per week viewing property.