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  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Updated: 8:06am
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Singapore ideal home in Asia for mobile rich

The island is seen as a safe haven 'for your money and your family', says an economist

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2012, 3:54am
 

Singapore topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so-called mobile millionaires to reside, with quality of life cited as the main attraction, a RBC Wealth Management survey showed.

Almost a third of the millionaires in Asia who live, work or spend more than half their time outside their countries of origin prefer Singapore, while 24 per cent pick Hong Kong, the second most popular in the region, RBC and The Economist Intelligence Unit said in a joint report.

Real estate led the list of preferred assets for the internationally mobile wealthy, according to the survey, which showed 23 per cent of those in Singapore reporting a "high propensity" for property investment, compared with 7 per cent in North America. The island's home prices climbed to a record in the third quarter, prompting the government to restrict home loans and cap property development.

"Singapore always has this quality as a safe haven, not just for your money, but also for your family," said Wai Ho Leong, a senior regional economist at Barclays in Singapore.

For mobile millionaires who moved to Singapore, 89 per cent ranked quality of life as important and 83 per cent cited the country's political stability as important. Infrastructure and educational opportunity were also given as reasons to live there.

Singapore posted a 14 per cent increase in millionaire households to 188,000 last year, when the Asia-Pacific region countered a decline in wealth in Western Europe and the US, according to a Boston Consulting Group report published on May 31.

The proportion of millionaire homes in the city was 17 per cent, the highest in the world, followed by Qatar and Kuwait.

Singapore has a population of 5.3 million, of which two million are foreigners.

"High-net-worth individuals with global outlooks for their businesses and families are choosing Singapore to live and invest in," Barend Janssens, the Singapore-based head of RBC's wealth-management unit for emerging markets, said.

"Only if you're very young and highly qualified would you want to rough it out in Hong Kong for a few years," Leong said.

"But once you have kids, the pollution and the lack of greenery gets to you, the crowdedness gets to you," he said.

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