Singapore ranks top for property investments

Published December 7, 2010
The Business Times

Survey respondents cite strong growth, brisk financial sector

(HONG KONG) Singapore and Shanghai rank top among Asian cities as the best real estate investment destinations, while Osaka and Manila are seen as the least ideal, an industry survey showed yesterday.

Singapore topped the rankings on the country’s strong economic growth and brisk activity in the financial and high-tech industries, according to the survey which was jointly published by the global non-profit Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Shanghai, Mumbai and Hong Kong were the next favourites, according to the study, which is based on the responses of more than 280 property professionals, including investors, developers, property company executives and brokers.

Shanghai dropped to second, from first in the previous annual survey, as the city saw sharp increases in property prices, damping some investor interest.

Even though the survey was carried out before Hong Kong announced its harshest tightening measures to cool its red-hot residential market a few weeks ago, it would not have affected the final standings, executives who were involved in the survey said.

‘It’s a concern, and certainly affects residential developers, but I don’t think it will change the rankings,’ Stephen Blank, senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute, told Reuters after a news conference. ‘Residential doesn’t drive the market.’ he added.

Mr Blank said that it was possible that Asian governments would unveil more policies to cool their markets, but the strength of the economies would be the fundamental driver for investment decisions, especially in the commercial real estate sector.

‘There is a great feeling of uncertainty because it is very hard to know what the potential changes in regulations are going to be,’ he said. ‘Regulations come and go. In Asia, governments turn things on and turn things off very quickly.’

Based on the survey that looked at 20 Asian cities, investors are least keen on investing in Bangkok, Auckland, Osaka and Manila due to factors such as office space oversupply and stagnant commercial rents.

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