Singapore has emerged as the second most expensive place in the world to buy a house, after Hong Kong which took the top spot.
In the 2019 edition of the Global Living report by real estate firm CBRE, the top 10 for highest house prices remains relatively unchanged.
The top 4 most expensive cities maintain the same position as last year in the order of Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Vancouver.
CBRE cited positive attributes of Singapore as factors contributing to the high prices in the residential housing market. They include high quality education, safety, innovation, quality of life, health, transport and international trading.
The Singapore government had introduced cooling measures to create a downward trend in the prices over the years preceding 2017. It had been an deliberate effort to retain more of a balance between house prices and underlying economic fundamentals.
However, house prices returned to growth in 2017 due to robust underlying demand.
Further measures were introduced to cool the market and keep house price growth in check. A 5% increase in stamp duty was imposed second home purchases, in addition to a 5% lowering of loan-to-value (LTV) limits. Foreign buyers without a permanent residency must now pay stamp duty of 20% instead of 15%. These new measures already appear to be having an effect. but economic fundamentals remain strong. GDP growth was 3.6% in 2017, with projected growth of 3.3% in 2018.
CBRE predicts that despite the cooling measures, price growth is expected to remain flat or slightly positive underpinned.