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The Super Rich Are Choosing Singapore as a Safe Haven

According to Bloomberg large numbers of the ultra-wealthy are pouring into Singapore. Family offices, luxury car sales and real estate prices are booming.

The the number of single family offices in the city-state has doubled since the end of 2019, demand for private golf club memberships is soaring, real estate prices have jumped the most since 2018, Michelin-star restaurants are packed, demand for private jet hangar space has rocketed and global banks like UBS are expanding in the city to manage the massive influx of assets.

The influx of foreigners is helping to fuel the property market, with the strongest growth in the luxury sector. It’s also made Singapore an outlier in the rental market, with rates rising even as they fall in New York, Hong Kong and London.

A shortage of prime property in the sales market is also showing up, particularly penthouses or units larger than 3,000 square feet. A shortage of new projects is drawing buyers to second hand stock and there were 15 deals to buy penthouses built between 1991 and 2016 during the first quarter. An S$18.0 million (£9.6 million) deal for a 7,266-sf penthouse in St Regis Residences topped the list.

It takes USD2.9 million to be in the top 1% in Singapore, which places it fourth globally and number one in Asia. Even so, the number of prime properties, which generally define as the top 5% of the market, is constrained relative to other global cities. In London, for example, prime housing stock amounts to just shy of 70,000 homes. In Singapore that stands at just over 10,000.

Singapore makes it relatively easy for the super rich to settle. Through its Global Investors Program, the country grants a fast-track to permanent residency to qualified business owners or families if they invest S$2.5 million in a local business, certain funds or a family office with at least S$200 million in assets.

Wallich Residence, Guoco Tower, occupies the 39th to the 64th floor. It is home to the most expensive penthouse in Singapore, which was recently purchased by British billionaire James Dyson for $54.2 million.