Singapore is most preferred home for mobile rich in Asia

Tags: Real Estate

Quality of life cited as the main attraction, HK drops in ranks

Singapore topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so-called mobile millionaires to reside, with quality of life cited as the main attraction, a RBC Wealth Management (RY) survey showed.

Almost a third of the millionaires in Asia who live, work or spend more than half their time outside their countries of origin prefer Singapore, while 24 per cent pick Hong Kong, the second most popular in the region, RBC and The Economist Intelligence Unit said in a joint research report on Monday.

Real estate led the list of preferred assets for the internationally mobile wealthy, according to the survey, which showed 23 per cent of those in Singapore reporting a “high propensity” for property investment, compared with 7 per cent in North America. The island’s home prices climbed to a record in the third quarter, prompting the government to restrict home loans and cap property development. Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, moved to Singapore in 2009, and Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, relocated there in 2007.

“Singapore always has this quality as a safe haven, not just for your money, but also for your family,” said Wai Ho Leong, a senior regional economist at Barclays in Singapore.

For mobile millionaires who moved to Singapore, 89 per cent ranked quality of life as important and 83 per cent cited the country’s political stability as important, the survey showed. Infrastructure and educational opportunity were also given as reasons to live there.

Singapore posted a 14 per cent increase in millionaire households to 188,000 last year, when the Asia-Pacific region encountered a decline in wealth in Western Europe and the US, according to a Boston Consulting Group report published May 31.

The proportion of millionaire homes in the city was 17 per cent, the highest in the world, followed by Qatar and Kuwait, according to Boston Consulting Group. Singapore has a population of 5.3 million, of which about 2 million are foreigners.

“High net worth individuals with global outlooks for their businesses and families are choosing Singapore to live and invest in,” Barend Janssens, the Singapore-based head of RBC’s wealth-management unit for emerging markets, said in a statement.

The city-state is grappling with the elevated inflation that comes with years of economic growth and population expansion on an island smaller than New York City, with rising demand fueling record property and car prices.

In the three months ended September 30, the island’s private residential property price index rose 0.6 per cent to a record 208.2 points, according to government data. In prime districts, apartment prices gained 0.2 per cent, compared with a 1 per cent increase in the suburbs.

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