Asia's ultra-rich favour homes in UK, S'pore

Singapore has cemented its place as one of the top destinations for ultra-wealthy Asians looking to invest in a residential property.
Singapore has cemented its place as one of the top destinations for ultra-wealthy Asians looking to invest in a residential property.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore has cemented its place as one of the top destinations for ultra-wealthy Asians looking to invest in a residential property.

According to the Wealth Report compiled by property consultancy Knight Frank, Singapore is No. 2, after Britain, for ultra-high net worth Asians keen to buy property.

This is significant as these investors tend to allocate most of their wealth to real estate investments, compared with other asset classes such as equity investments and collectables like wine and cars.

The survey defined ultra-high net worth individuals as those with a net worth of US$30 million (S$42.3 million) or more, not counting their primary residence.

Knight Frank Singapore's head of consultancy and research, Ms Alice Tan, said that she expected the proportion of foreign home buyers in Singapore to increase from the current 24.7 per cent to between 25 per cent and 28 per cent this year.

"We see interest coming from Indian and Malaysian buyers. Even though the ringgit is weakened, they may look at capital preservation as the Singdollar is stable," she said.

Despite capital controls in China, Ms Tan added that she expected fairly consistent demand from Chinese buyers.

She attributed the continued interest to the slower rates of Singapore's property price growth compared with double-digit price growth in cities in China, Canada and Australia.

Personal security also emerged as the top concern for ultra-rich Asians, which would make Singapore's stable institutions and conducive business environment all the more attractive, she added.

Despite global uncertainty last year, the ranks of the ultra-rich bucked the declining trend from the year before.

While Asia saw a decline of 3 per cent in the number of ultra-rich in 2015, last year recorded an increase of 8 per cent.

Among Asian nations, China saw a 10 per cent growth while Vietnam posted the fastest growth rate of the ultra-rich globally at 18 per cent.

The report, in its 11th edition, said the dramatic growth of the ultra-wealthy in Asia could position the region to overtake North America as the hub of ultra-high net worth individuals.

There are currently 73,100 ultra-wealthy individuals in North America, while Asia has about 46,000. This gap is expected to close to between 7,000 and 8,000 by 2026, as the number of ultra-rich in Asia is expected to grow by 91 per cent, while that of North America rise by 31 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'Asia's ultra-rich favour homes in UK, S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe