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Hong Kong to Singapore, quietly

Here is an interesting article from the Financial Times talking about the quiet move of people and companies from Hong Kong to Singapore. I say quiet, because apparently Hong Kong-based companies are reluctant to overtly signal that they are setting up offices and moving some of their executives out of the city, in case that starts to upset people over in Beijing.

But the real estate market in Singapore seems to be benefitting from some of these macro trends, as well from the city-state’s handling of the coronavirus. This is despite there being a 25% stamp duty tax on foreign property purchases (US nationals and a few others are exempt) and despite the fact that the economy shrank in the second quarter of this year by the largest percentage (13.2%) since independence in 1965.

According to FT, there were 2,362 residential property transactions in the core central region of Singapore in the first 9 month of this year. This compares to 1,962 transactions for the same period last year. Of these total sales, 260 residential homes were sold to foreign nationals this year (~11%), compared to 316 last year (~16%). While this is obviously a decline, including a decline in the percentage sold to foreign nationals, it still feels pretty significant given that the borders were presumably closed, or largely closed, earlier this year.

Apparently 75% of the above 260 homes were sold to buyers from either mainland China or Hong Kong. I don’t know how this percentage compares to last year. But the narrative out there right now is that it is up (along with office leasing by foreign companies) and that Singapore is a pretty safe place to put your money right now.

Photo by Kirill Petropavlov on Unsplash

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