Singaporeans spend triple the time searching for property than reading their children bedtime stories or speaking to their parents: HSBC study

The Straits Times

Are Singaporeans obsessed with owning their dream home? Findings from a new study suggests this might be the case.

Calling property a “national sport for Singaporeans”, HSBC said on Thursday (May 2) that its Beyond the Bricks 2019 survey found that Singaporeans spend 3.29 hours every week on property-related window shopping. That includes searching for property online and reading property magazines even when they are not looking to buy a new home.

In comparison, the respondents spent just slightly more than an hour (1.03 hour) reading their children bedtime stories, and less than an hour (0.94 hour) talking to their parents every week.

The global survey of 11,000 people across 10 countries and territories, including 1,000 respondents in Singapore, polled respondents on their attitudes towards home ownership and financing a home.

Not only are Singaporeans highly active property shoppers, a large 75 per cent of first-time home buyers view five or less homes before deciding on one.

Slightly more than one-third (36 per cent) are impulsive and buy properties based purely on first impressions. This is lower than the global 39 per cent.

Impulse purchases are even more pronounced among extreme Singaporean property addicts who spend over 7 hours a week reading about or researching property, HSBC said. Around 51 per cent of these “addicts” admit to buying a property on first sight while 63 per cent of them did not have any criteria to adhere to when shopping for a property.

HSBC also found that 27 per cent of these extreme Singaporean house hunters often went over budget, compared to the overall average of 10 per cent among Singaporeans.

Choosing neighbours

When it comes to deciding if one should buy a property, 55 per cent of Singaporeans said that “creepy neighbours” are the biggest deal-breakers, higher than the global average of 47 per cent.

As for superstition, only around 33 per cent considered bad feng shui and 16 per cent cited unlucky door numbers or street names as deal-breakers.

In a statement, Ranojoy Dutta, head of retail products at HSBC Bank (Singapore), said that home buyers property TV shows, magazines and websites “are 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,” he said.