x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Singapore the most desirable for mobile millionaires

Singapore has topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so-called mobile millionaires to reside.

Singapore's skyline: the city state is a popular residence for mobile millionaires. Munshi Ahmed / Bloomberg News
Singapore's skyline: the city state is a popular residence for mobile millionaires. Munshi Ahmed / Bloomberg News

It's enough to make the wealthy patrons of the Krug Room at the Mandarin Oriental choke on their champers.

Singapore has topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so-called mobile millionaires to reside.

An RBC Wealth Management survey released yesterday cited quality of life in Singapore as the main attraction.

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 research report.

Property led the list of preferred assets for the internationally mobile wealthy, according to the survey, which showed 23 per cent of those in Singapore citing 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, the survey showed. 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 United States, according to a Boston Consulting Group report.

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

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

* with Bloomberg News