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Top ten prime global cities for property price growth q1 2021

Globally, prime residential prices are rising at their fastest rate since Q4 2017.

Prime prices, defined as the top 5% of the housing market in value terms, increased 4.6% on average in the year to March 2021. Eleven cities registered double-digit priced growth up from just one a year ago. Low mortgage rates – record lows in some markets – tight stock levels and a desire for space post-lockdown have led to an uptick in demand.

Three Chinese cities – Shenzhen (+19%), Shanghai (+16%) and Guangzhou (+16%) – lead the index this quarter with improving economic sentiment and government investment in the Greater Bay Area of China behind the acceleration. Buyer enthusiasm has persisted despite a new round of curbs being introduced in January.

Vancouver and Seoul (both +15%) complete the top five rankings, here successive cooling measures have been deployed to reduce speculative activity in recent years but local appetite for
homebuying remains undeterred. Residential sales in Greater Vancouver increased 22% in 2020 year-on-year.

Auckland, the index’s previous frontrunner, has seen prime prices moderate. The slowdown from 18% to 8% is in part due to the base effect prime prices in Q1 2020 were notably higher than in Q4 2019 but also the introduction of a new capital gains tax (CGT) for non-primary residences which are bought as an investment and held for less than 10 years.

NumberCityRegion12 Month % Change
(Q1 2020 – Q1 2021)
3 Month % Change
(Q4 2020 – Q1 2021)
4VancouverNorth America15.2%6.3%
6St. PetersburgRussia13.4%2.5%
7Los AngelesNorth America12.6%2.2%
10MiamiNorth America10.2%2.4%
Source: The Knight Frank Prime Residential Cities Index
Market Updates

Hong Kong remains as the world’s most expensive city to rent

When it comes to the price of renting luxury real estate, Hong Kong is still on top.

The city retains its title as the world’s most expensive city to rent a luxury apartment, according to a report from Knight Frank. The report examines the cost of a three-bedroom apartment in a central location across eight different cities.

Prime rents in Hong Kong stood at $6.70 per square foot at the end of 2020, and a monthly budget of $10,000 would get a renter less than 1,500 square feet of space. In New York City, which ranked No. 2, the same budget would get a renter 2,249 square feet of space.

Singapore, London, and Sydney respectively follow behind Hong Kong and New York City when it comes to the cost of renting a luxury apartment.

One of the key reasons people choose to rent in expensive locations is due to raised purchase, ownership and sales costs in recent years.

As an example, foreign buyers looking to purchase in markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore would have to pay between 15% and 20% in additional stamp duties on top of existing rates for domestic buyers, making renting a more attractive option.

Prime renters also seek flexibility and an the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’.

Market Updates

Qatar’s residential sales market upbeat in Q1

Qatar’s real estate sector continued to show buoyancy in the first quarter of 2021, according to data from Property Finder Qatar.

The demand in the sales market has skyrocketed, with a 74 percent rise in recorded enquiries in Q1 compared with the previous quarter, stated the property portal.

In addition, properties for sale on the website has also seen a significant rise, with a 33 percent increase recorded for apartments and and 60 percent increase for villa listings.

Property Finder said there was a direct correlation and impact of the country’s new property ownership laws which were introduced late last year, as well as lowered prices in high demand areas such as Al Erkyah City and West Bay, which recorded a decrease in advertised sales prices of three and four percent respectively for apartments for sale when comparing Q4 of 2020 and Q1 2021.

“Buyers who had the means to invest during 2020, were eager to take advantage of declines in sales prices, along with first time buyers also jumping on the property ladder,” remarked Afaf Hashim, the Country Manager at Property Finder Qatar.

“Demand for the sale market in Qatar, which previously has been more of a renter’s market, is continuously increasing, especially with the enhanced government investment initiatives that have been announced,”

“The demand for bigger spaces has also been growing exponentially over the past year and we are still seeing interest grow, with a 15 percent increase in villa sale searches on our website between Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021,” he added.

The most popular areas for apartment sale searches in Qatar remain steady – with The Pearl, West Bay and the many different areas of Lusail commanding the top three spots in the first quarter of this year, said the top official.

In terms of villa sale searches, The Pearl, West Bay and Al Duhail, are the top searched areas for villas for sale in Q1 of 2021.

Market Updates

Monaco is still the world’s most expensive real estate market

Despite the upheavals of 2020 that rocked markets worldwide, Monaco still remains a highly desirable location.

The Monégasque market remains the most expensive location to purchase residential property worldwide, with an average price per square metre of over €47,000, though that figure is down 1.1% from 2019 levels. Hong Kong, the second most expensive location across the globe, saw average prices per square metre fall 3.9% to €39,600 in 2020.

There was a slightly steeper decline in transaction numbers in 2020, down 11% compared to 2019, though this does vary by property size. Large properties including four bedroom-plus apartments and villas saw the steepest falls in transactions, down 38% and 53% respectively. Travel restrictions worldwide have made property purchases by foreigners more difficult, turning Monaco into a primarily domestic market in 2020 and keeping most foreign buyers from making the big-ticket purchases in Monaco that they’re so known for.

This trend can also be seen when examining transactions by price point. Properties priced below €5 million was the most active price point in the Principality, with transactions down only 6%, compared to falls of 39% for properties priced over €10 million. Transactions for properties less than €5 million account for 71% of the total sales in the Principality, so softer declines at this price point result in less steep declines for Monaco overall.

Price changes in the Principality were more consistent across the property sizes. The falls in transactions at higher price points didn’t translate to equally lower prices, showing that buyers who did purchase were still willing to pay pre-pandemic prices. The slight decline in prices in 2020 of 1.1% is not enough to derail the upward trajectory of prices in Monaco, which have grown over 50% in the last decade.

Prime capital values and prime monthly rents per sqm (ranked by capital values)

LocationPrime Capital Values € per sqmPrime monthly rents € per sqm
Monaco€ 47,600€ 89.00
Hong Kong€ 39,600€ 60.00
New York€ 22,200€ 66.00
Tokyo€ 20,400€ 50.00
Geneva€ 19,100n/a
Shanghai€ 17,400€ 50.00
London€ 17,000€ 34.00
Sydney€ 15,900€ 20.00
Paris€ 15,600€ 37.00
Seoul€ 15,600€ 32.00
Shenzhen€ 14,500€ 19.00
Beijing€ 13,900€ 18.00
San Francisco€ 13,700€ 27.00
Singapore€ 13,600€ 25.00
Source: Savills

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Market Updates

Hong Kong apartment breaks Asia price record

Developer CK Asset Holdings set a new benchmark on their 21 Borrett Road scheme

A luxury apartment in Hong Kong has just broken Asia’s price per square foot record.

The 3,378 square foot unit at CK Asset Holdings’ 21 Borrett Road was reportedly picked up for HK$459.4m (US$59.3m), setting the new benchmark of HK$136,000 psf.

Sprawling across the 23rd floor, the five-bed is the biggest of the 181 flats at the super-prime development in Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels; it came with three parking spaces, a 2,131 square foot roof terrace, and a swimming pool.

The previous record (HK$132,100 psf) was set in 2017 by a pair of units at the Mount Nicholson project that sold for a combined US$149m, which still stands as the most expensive apartment ever sold in Asia.

In Hong Kong, several standalone mansions have sold at much higher prices than the Borrett Road penthouse. In the exclusive enclave of the Peak, where billionaires and business moguls live in secluded mansions, homes can sell for hundreds of millions.

In 2016, real-estate developer Chen Hongtian paid $270 million for a 9,212-square-foot mansion at 15 Gough Hill Road. In January 2017, iPhone screen manufacturing billionaire Yeung Kin-man paid $361 million for a 51,000-square-foot mansion on Pollock’s Path.

21 Borrett Road, Hong Kong