Hong Kong’s luxury real estate may be the most expensive in the world, but uber rich international buyers will continue to buy luxury properties in the near future as the SAR is considered a safe haven, a top US-based property expert says.

Stephanie Pfeffer Anton is the executive vice-president for Chicago-based Luxury Portfolio International. The company releases luxury property reports several times a year to provide in-depth insight about affluent consumers, their buying habits and their points of view on the high-end property market.

Anton told the South China Morning Post in an email interview that with significant demand for highly coveted properties in the heart of Hong Kong, it’s no wonder that the SAR’s luxury real estate is among the most expensive in the world (as much or more than New York and London). She added that the demand from international buyers continues to rise.

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Hong Kong is known as the most expensive place in the world to buy properties, especially luxury real estate situated on The Peak, the Mid-Levels and the south side of Hong Kong Island, also known as the Billionaire’s Place.

Anton said the effect of rising prices in the Hong Kong real estate market is insignificant because buyers are still searching for a safe haven for their money or a new residence.

“Although home prices have been increasing rapidly, they could very well come to a peak in the near future, with many more units coming on the market in the coming years,” she said.

She pointed out that demand for properties in Hong Kong – a financial hub and a city known for its iconic architecture – will remain high.

She adds that Hong Kong is a bright spot in the global luxury real estate landscape and one of several cities in the Asia-Pacific region that continues to see high demand as an investment opportunity, along with Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne.

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That said, transaction volumes are at a historic low due to high transaction costs, strict mortgage policies and low yield returns.

“High-end buyers we know are mostly seeking primary residences in traditionally affluent neighbourhoods or ultra-luxury investment properties,” Anton said.

The most active buyers in the luxury Hong Kong market are Hong Kong residents. However, buyers are also coming from China.

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Anton feels that Chinese buyers are increasingly impacting the global residential and commercial real estate markets. Mainland Chinese buyers specifically continue to be a significant force in the global real estate market. There’s continuous Chinese investment in overseas markets like Australia, the UK and North America, particularly Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver.

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A recent Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (2016) confirmed that there are 1.6 million households with more than US$10 million in net worth globally. This represents an 11 per cent increase since 2015 – and a whopping 91 per cent increase since 2010.

The wealthy population has grown massively in the Asia-Pacific region – more than 20 per cent year on year.