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Singaporeans spend more time on property searches than on reading bedtime stories to their children: poll

SINGAPOREANS on average spend three times longer on property searches, than on reading bedtime stories to their children, or speaking to their parents, data from a latest HSBC report shows. 

According to HSBC’s 2019 Beyond the Bricks survey, Singaporeans spend an average of 3.29 hours each week on property-related window shopping, reading property magazines, and trawling through online listings, even when they are not in the market for a new home.

By contrast, respondents said they spend just over an hour (1.03 hours) reading bedtime stories to their children, and less than an hour (0.94 hour) speaking to their parents per week. 

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

While Singapore house hunters obsess over finding the perfect property, the decision to buy is often impulsive, with 36 per cent deciding on a property based purely on first impressions, though this figure is slightly lower than the global average of 39 per cent. 

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The survey also found that the majority of Singaporeans, or 75 per cent of them, would have viewed five houses or fewer in person before they bought their first home.

This impulsive tendency is even more pronounced among "extreme Singaporean property addicts", defined by HSBC as those who spend over seven hours a week reading about, or researching property.

Among this group, more than half, or 51 per cent, 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. Some 27 per cent of these extreme house hunters also often went over budget, compared to 10 per cent of average Singaporeans.

Ranojoy Dutta, head of retail products at HSBC Singapore said: "Buying a property is often the biggest and most significant purchase we make, but some homebuyers 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 adviser to discuss what you can afford, and what compromises you might have to make."

Separately, the research also revealed that neighbours are extremely important to Singapore homebuyers, with "creepy neighbours" being the biggest deal breaker when it comes to purchasing a property. This percentage is higher than the global average of 47 per cent, HSBC noted. 

When it comes to superstitions affecting their property choices, Singaporeans are similar to their Malaysian counterparts, with 33 per cent considering "bad feng shui", and 16 per cent citing unlucky door number or a street name as deal breakers. 

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