Singapore’s property market is showing far greater resilience than others around the world despite concerns about slowing economic growth both regionally and globally.

One reason for this is an influx of Chinese nationals, who account for the largest number of non-resident homebuyers in Singapore.

The island nation is deemed politically stable, and free from natural disasters and its real estate is perceived as a sound investment by many worldwide. The comparative stability of Singapore versus its regional peers, along with its attractive income tax rates, seemingly makes the hefty tax on foreigners owning property worth paying.

According to Singapore-based real estate agency platform OrangeTee & Tie, mainland Chinese bought 391 condominiums in the city-state in the second quarter of 2022, up from 281 in the first quarter.

The figures are lower than those recorded last year – 467 in Q2 and more than 400 in Q3 and Q4. The fall in sales to Chinese citizens in the first quarter of 2022 was attributed to the rise of the Omicron variant and its impact on regional travel.

Why are China’s wealthy investing in Singapore’s property market?

Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie’s senior vice-president of research and analytics told the South China Morning Post that Chinese citizens buying in Singapore were predominantly focused on the luxury property market. More high-net-worth Chinese are shopping for property, often newer luxury flats, Sun told the paper.

According to the Financial Times, Chinese tycoons are leaving in their droves after enduring political crackdowns, severe Covid lockdowns, and unease about Beijing’s global reputation. With little end to Covid-19 lockdowns in sight – as of September 6, about 12 percent of China’s total GDP was affected by Covid controls on a weighted basis – many wealthy individuals are searching for new places to live and do business.

Why Singapore?

Anecdotal reports suggest that China’s wealthy have been arriving in droves at Singapore’s hotels and seaside estates. The city-state is reportedly becoming the premier destination for Asia’s rich, overtaking Hong Kong after Beijing asserted its authority on the former British colony.

Singapore, which was a British colony for 144 years until 1959, emerged as a low-tax business center in the late 20th century. It had become a destination for many Chinese tycoons to shield their money there in offshore funds, but as China boomed, few had sought to emigrate to the island state.

Furthermore, Singapore has long been a preeminent destination for setting up a regional headquarter to pursue business opportunities across ASEAN and Asia. This has been attributed to the country’s favorable tax and legal regimes, enabling the city-state to develop into a prominent global financial hub and attracting more than 37,000 international companies and 7,000 multinational companies.

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ASEAN Briefing features business news, regulatory updates and extensive data on ASEAN free trade, double tax agreements and foreign direct investment laws in the region. Covering all ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)

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