The Increase in Singapore Real Estate Investments 

Singapore’s real estate sales volume in the first half of 2021 topped that of one of the world’s most expensive markets—New York City.

August 2021 , by Alexandra Santiago

Singapore’s real estate market is undergoing a significant boom. Bloomberg reports that in the first half of 2021, the country saw nearly 24 billion USD in real estate sales—twice the recorded amount for Manhattan, one of the world’s hottest real estate markets. 

Both residential and office real estate sales skyrocketed in early 2021, with landmark high-profile deals for both local buyers and overseas investors. Not only will this have a positive effect on the overall economy, but this sudden influx of buyers will have impacts in different sectors for years to come. 

An Overall Sectoral Increase 
According to The Straits Times, the increase of investments in Singapore real estate is in line with projections as the overall Asian economy recovers from the slowdown in 2020. What is notable is that more than half of the total capital influx came from overseas or cross-border investors, who are taking advantage both of Singapore’s stringent COVID-19 protocols and the country’s enticing Global Investor Programme, which affords permanent residential status for eligible businesses and investors. 

These have also translated to big gains for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) in Singapore. In an article from The Business Times, financial experts estimate benefits for REITS with office spaces, as the country aims to ease lockdown measures soon to stimulate local spending. With the possibility of employees returning to semi-regular in-office work, more companies—both local and foreign-based—are rethinking their domestic real estate strategies to make smarter investment decisions in office space.  

Potential Opportunities for Digital Players 
This real estate spike is not expected to wane anytime soon—and this presents great opportunities for businesses in different industries, most notably players within digital solutions and machine learning. 

Stringent COVID-19 measures in Singapore have created a digital shift even within real estate, as more traditional measures like on-ground open houses are limited or no longer possible. Recently, a local start-up made the news for its ingenious AI chatbot, Rena, which is custom-designed with colloquial language terms and answers to frequently asked real estate questions. Yahoo! Finance reports that Rena aims to maximize productivity within the sector by reducing paperwork and administrative tasks. 

Local land developers like GuocoLand, reports The Straits Times, are also planning to deploy AI-equipped drones to survey its residential developments for any exterior defects as well as air and water leakages, helping streamline the inspection process. Government agencies like the Housing Board are also using drone-captured images for its own preventive maintenance measures. 

The service robotics industry is now poised to be an invaluable partner to real estate. The importance of robotics in the pandemic was previously discussed in the YCP Solidiance white paper How is COVID-19 Shaping China’s Robotics Industry?, which illustrates the use of drones and service robots to aid operations in hospitality and manufacturing amidst security and safety measures against COVID-19.  

The usage of this technology within real estate is a logical next step, and as the Singapore real estate market grows—so does the demand for providers within this space. 

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