Reasons why crazy rich Asians like billionaire James Dyson are investing in luxury properties in Singapore

Luxury penthouses and duplexes in coveted districts of Singapore like District 9 or Sentosa Cove are attracting the ultra affluent from Asia to channel their funds from Canada, United States and New Zealand to Singapore. 

In our current market, there are more than six super-penthouses available, giving the affluent individuals like British James Dyson an array of options to consider. Attractive options included Concourse Skyline that prides in its outdoor pool that overlooks a stunning view across the city, or the Reflections at Keppel Bay that is a Daniel Libeskind-designed Sentosa waterfront masterpiece. Eventually, he decided on the largest and priciest – the ultra luxury super-penthouse in Wallich that boasts a five-bedroom with a floor area of 21,108 sq ft and unobstructed views of the central business district, Marina Bay and Sentosa Island. The transaction was reportedly sealed at a hefty price of S$73.8 million. 

With the conducive environment for businesses available in Singapore, many companies are moving their headquarters to Singapore like Dyson. Naturally, these investors want to invest in a property to live in Singapore while they manage the business at the headquarters. Like James Dyson, many of them are not affected by the 20 per cent additional stamp duty imposed on foreign buyers last July as well. And as quoted from Stephanie Anton, president of Luxury Portfolio International, a global network of luxury real estate brokerages, “Singapore is an incredibly exciting global luxury hub with cutting-edge architecture, a sophisticated and cultured arts scene and attractive local regulations that enable young Singaporeans to purchase and invest in real estate”. 

Anton also further added that “At the same time, the wealth movement is bringing related businesses such as wealth managers, and relocating businesses, which is great for the property market,” says Anton. Dyson’s purchase is “a perfect example of the exciting things happening on the property front in Singapore,”. 

A greater observation into Christine Sun, head of Research & Consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, will further affirm such a trend in Singapore. With reference to the latest URA REALIS data, there is a rise in non-landed homes sold in the Core Central Region (CCR) by 31.9% from 166 units in Q1 2019, to 219 in Q2 2019. In addition, foreign-based purchases also increased in terms of proportion from 29.5 percent to 35.6 percent over the same period. 

It was also noted that the recent luxury new launches also served to stir greater demand in the market as well. As added by Sun, “There was a significant increase in luxury home launches due to many sites being redeveloped at the same time from the latest wave of collective sales that took place between 2017 and 2018… Foreign investors have probably considered these luxury projects to be good investment assets as many are well-located, distinctively designed and developed by reputed developers. Some luxury projects have large site areas that can accommodate many facilities, which is rare in the market ”.

Since Singapore has zero capital gains tax incurred on property investments, it is also more conducive for expats to invest in Singapore properties. In fact, Singapore is also voted by expats as one of the most preferred working destinations, and also topped the annual ranking by Swiss business school IMD as the world’s most competitive economy. 

In addition, properties are a great way to preserve wealth and luxurious properties do just the perfect job. According to Han Huan Mei, director of Research, List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore, “(in addition to landed homes and luxurious apartments) … do not see wide price swings and are generally on the uptrend if properties are held for long term”. With such a positive upward trend and steady demand, it is no wonder that Singapore’s properties remain attractive and competitive in the eyes of foreign investors. 

With the upcoming new launches, there has been a trend of rising average prices of up to 30 percent during the period of 2018 to first half of 2019. With the recent political climate in Hong Kong and relatively similar business environment to Singapore, it is expected that there will be a continual demand coming from Hong Kong to Singapore’s properties. 

In addition, Han also added that “Singapore is also a member of Asean which, through its integration with partner countries like northeast Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand, may be able to alleviate the impact of trade tensions. Therefore, Singapore is still a relatively safe haven for foreigners to park their funds.”

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