How will Singapore’s & Hong Kong’s property markets develop in 2023, & what other factors will determine the two cities’ appeal as financial hubs?

Singapore and Hong Kong’s property market will do well in 2023 for similar as well as different reasons.  

For Hong Kong, a place where my family is originally from and where I spent over 20 years of my career, I feel like the market is coming from a low base of price, sentiment, and liquidity as a result of many reasons that we all know about. 

I think a small uptick in sentiment will get local buyers to become active again, and the political overhang during COVID seems to have been lifted with the new pro-active administration.  

At the end of the day, Hong Kong’s competitive strengths is from its long history of promoting free trade and open markets. Capital markets will pick up, foreign companies and executives will move back, providing support for the overall property sector. 

Singapore’s reputation has benefitted greatly from having a systematic approach to dealing with COVID. 

Its pragmatic and meritocratic approach to running the country is its core strength, and the world is taking notice. 

It’s no secret how well Singapore has created an environment for top overseas talent and families to be attracted to safety, ease of travel, good schools, true multi-cultural society, attractive living options, and great food! 

With recent programs to attract top foreign talent and family offices, the top end of the real estate market has been very hot, with new record prices being mentioned almost every day. This will continue to support the real estate market, and now with the countries all opening up, prices will continue to remain strong as affluent families look for options to move here – company setups, employment, education, and at the very high-end, setting up family offices.   

Prices for high-end residential homes in Singapore are around $3,000 psf which is really what Hong Kong was in the late-90s, so there is a considerable amount of upside for Singapore real estate if that is how you want to look at the 2 markets. 

My personal opinion is the competition portrayed often by media between Hong Kong, and Singapore is unwarranted. Once all countries in Asia open up in earnest, Hong Kong and Singapore will be connected more so than ever and will part of one ecosystem with China, in my opinion. 

The custodial and wealth management business will continue to move to Singapore, and families will move here and take advantage of the strong school systems and safe environment to raise a family. 

Meanwhile, Hong Kong will still be the centre for capital markets. The biggest market cap companies in Asia ex-Japan are Chinese companies, and naturally, they will be listed in Hong Kong given that the HKD is a freely traded currency as China’s capital account is still closed, all things equal. However, Singapore is at the cutting edge of many industries like healthcare and medical research, blockchain, education, and much more. 

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