China's 'millennials' are the hope of the online property market, it seems, as they prefer to buy properties here more than the real world. According to Straits Times, this generation had Uoolu.com driving towards a 60 percent surge in transactions, onwards to hitting the 5 billion yuan ($1.01 billion SGD) mark.
Uoolu is the biggest of the property sites where Chinese millennials spend their time, browsing through available properties and buying them. These properties are spread in key destinations all over Southeast Asia, where prices are cheaper when compared to places like Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Shanghai.
Liu Yuan, property broker Centaline Group's head of research, said that the demand is strongest among the middle class that has money to spare. It's also easier for them to buy from online platforms, where 'purchases have become simpler.'
It also helps that, compared with previous generations, millennials are also more tech-savvy. Buying properties online can bring them listings located in other places like Seattle, where Uoolu faces stiff competition with the likes of Shiju, Shenzhen World Union Properties Consultancy's foreign arm, and Beimeigoufang.
The preference should also help Singapore, which is currently predicted to face a troubling 'standstill' in its market. According to Business Times, this comes at a time when it was thought that the local market in the region was coming off a four-year slowdown. Again, policies are to be blamed for being more against the market than for it.
Home prices predicted to climb by as much as 10 percent could instead turn out flat. It could even go the opposite way, declining by as much as 3 percent. These estimates come from property brokers, who see the return of the sagging levels of 2017. They even see a possibility that 2019's levels could be much worse.
That aside, Southeast-Asian property prices are still among the lowest in the world. This means that millennials are able to afford the down payments. Even Chinese buyers will be able to navigate this, even with the US$50,000 foreign-exchange in place.
Popular countries are Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Unlike Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, these places simply have yet to enact barriers to forbid foreign purchases. Most of all, they don't have strong policies against Chinese owning foreign properties. Of the three, Thailand was the most popular destination for Chinese buyers.