Why Asia’s uber-wealthy, especially the Chinese, are looking at SG’s luxury properties

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Singapore—The country’s success in managing the Covid-19 pandemic has caught the eyes of Asia’s ultra-wealthy, who are buying luxury properties in the city-state, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The Hong Kong newspaper quotes reports that there will soon be more people ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the region, which will likely boost Singapore’s property market. Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are people with investable assets of at least US$30 million (about S$40 million), according to the Investopedia website.

One example of the tony properties recently purchased is a sea-facing bungalow at Sentosa Cove, priced at over S$39 million. Its buyer? A Chinese national from Fujian province.

And in March, the Tsai family from Taiwan purchased all the units of a brand new condominium in an exclusive neighbourhood. The Tsais, owners of a snack maker listed in Hong Kong, spent S$293 million for the 20 units in Eden, at 2 Draycott Park, reported the Business Times on Apr 7.

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These, as well as other recent purchases, show Singapore remains attractive to rich investors in Asia who are seeking a second home or somewhere to place their money for now.

SCMP added that data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority shows that the number of non-landed private homes that foreigners purchased this year is back to what it was before Covid-19 struck. Non-landed private homes include condominiums.

“The data indicates that foreign buyers seem to be returning to Singapore,” it quotes the senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, Ms Christine Sun, as saying, since sales of such properties in the first three months of the year have considerably risen from 2020’s monthly average of 62.

In January this year, there were 112 such transactions.

Ms Sun added, “More buyers are entering the market in recent months as they may be anticipating prices of properties to pick up further this year, especially since the global economic outlook is growing more favourable.”

Among the foreign buyers, Chinese nationals make up the biggest group, accounting for 20 to 35 per cent of the buyers every month.

Another real estate professional, ERA’s Clarence Foo, also noted a 30 per cent increase in inquiries from would-be buyers from China in comparison to pre-Covid days.

Even though Chinese nationals are not yet allowed to come to Singapore en masse, a number of travellers from China are still flying in to look at property they’re interested in buying, after perusing choices online.

Since Singapore opened its doors to Chinese travellers last November, at least 12,800 have arrived.

Singapore is particularly attractive to the wealthy Chinese due to the small Covid numbers and eased restrictions in the country.

“In their minds, they want places where they can move around fairly freely, where there is no lockdown and no medical supply shortage. Outside China, there aren’t many places that are doing well in this regard,” said Mr Foo, who also noted that several of his millionaire clients plan to have family offices in Singapore.

Another advantage of Singapore is its political stability, compared with Hong Kong and Seoul, as well as its low taxes and ease of doing business.

Additionally, Singapore was named the number one territory in Asia for those in the region who desire to purchase a new investment home. 

The country is likely to benefit from the projected uptick in the Asia-Pacific’s population of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, SCMP said.

The number of individuals in Asia whose net worth is greater than US$30 million (approximately S$40 million) is expected to increase by 33 per cent, in comparison to the worldwide average of 27 per cent.

SCMP quotes the Wealth Report as saying, “Over the same period, the number of billionaires and millionaires in Asia-Pacific is set to rise by 46 per cent and 37 per cent respectively. Asia-Pacific is already home to more billionaires than any other region, with China being key to this phenomenon.”


Read also: While Asian countries reel from Covid-19 economic fallout, Chinese investors buy luxury property from ‘Singapore to Sydney’

While Asian countries reel from Covid-19 economic fallout, Chinese investors buy luxury property from ‘Singapore to Sydney’

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