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Asia Property Market

Posted on 18 September 2023

Rapidly rising Asian prosperity is reshaping the global investment landscape. Asia has never been a more important market and it was with this in mind that we opened our Singapore branch office in 2020. Culturally and operationally, our Singapore branch is an extension of our London office and the Singapore team brings together deep-rooted experience and understanding of the region and our Asian clients.  

UK-qualified real estate Managing Associate, Shamma Ahmed (who is based in Singapore), talks below about the real estate services that we offer in the region.  

Why is investing in the UK so attractive to Singaporean investors?

The UK real estate market has long been recognised as a secure and resilient asset class by foreign investors. Further, the UK has long attracted Singaporean investors due to its stable legal system, potential for long-term capital growth and lifestyle appeal. For many, it is a matter of prestige to own a slice of UK real estate and, according to a recent report, Singaporean investors alone currently own £5.8bn worth of property in London. Further, with the rise of family offices looking to diversify their investments, we are seeing increasing demand for property investment advice into the UK.

Where are clients looking to invest?

While prime and super prime properties remain a hot spot for Singaporean investors, many of our clients are recognising the high rental yields achievable in the regions. Outside of residential investments, PBSA, high end offices and warehouse are asset classes that remain high in demand. ESG remains an important consideration for our clients, an area in which our firm has deep expertise.

How are the properties sourced?

Our clients in Singapore often use local international agents to source their properties in the UK. We work closely with agents both on the ground in Singapore and those in the UK to connect our clients to the right people and opportunities. For those new to the market, knowing the right buying agents is an important consideration, particularly in prime London where we are seeing that more and more deals are being done off-market.  Giving our clients the option to cover more aspects of the transaction locally (from the sourcing of properties to tax/real estate advice) is a unique and attractive proposition.

What about structuring/tax?

Unsurprisingly, one of the first things on which our clients often ask for advice is how best to structure their investment and how to do so in the most tax efficient way. For our overseas clients who may not have experience with the UK tax regime, the tax issues they face can be complex and varied. Our Singapore private wealth team is experienced in advising on the taxation and structuring of real estate acquisitions in the UK as well as wealth preservation and succession planning. We have seen that interest in UK real estate has certainly risen since Singapore recently raised its additional buyers stamp duty for foreigners to 60%. 

What makes us different?

We already have one of the largest, most diverse and most complete property teams in London and we are now one of the few international firms in Singapore that can offer UK real estate advice to our clients on the ground and in their time zone. Having a physical presence both in Singapore and Hong Kong represents our commitment to the region. We understand the cultural sensitivities of working with clients here and understand that they place a high value on face-to-face relationships and service. We also have lawyers that advise in both Mandarin and Cantonese which is an increasingly important consideration for our clients, particularly with the rise of investment from mainland China.

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