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Singapore nationals the supporting cast to Hong Kong homebuyer activity

Chinese Asian FamilyResearch by London lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, has revealed that while the bonus of the BNO visa scheme has resulted in a high level of Hong Kong homebuyers making their way to the UK, it’s a supporting cast from Singapore that is also helping to drive market activity within the UK, with Singapore nationals sitting on a property portfolio to the tune of £5.8bn in London alone.

Benham and Reeves analysed the latest data on the number of homes owned by foreign homeowners, which shows that Hong Kong nationals are the most prevalent within the current market, with some 23,524 homes registered to Hong Kong nationals – equating to 9.5% of all internationally registered homes.

With 18,493 titles registered with HMRC, Jersey ranks second, but looking further afield than the Channel Islands, it’s Singapore nationals who are helping drive the market to the greatest extent.

The latest figures show that over 18,000 UK homes are registered to Singapore nationals, accounting for 7.4% of internationally owned properties across the nation.

As a result, the nation ranks ahead of the United States and Ireland in the global rankings and some way ahead of Malaysia, the third most prominent Asian nation, with Malaysian nationals accounting for 4.1% of internationally owned homes.

However, unlike Hong Kong buyers, Singapore nationals aren’t being drawn by the benefit of the BNO visa scheme, but by the investment opportunities available across what has been a largely lethargic London market, coupled with the recent weakening of the pound.

As it stands, the value of the property portfolio owned by Singapore homebuyers in London alone stands at £5.8bn in current market conditions. Hounslow is by far home to the largest proportion of Singapore nationals, with the nation sitting on £1.658bn of property in the borough.

However, they also have a strong footprint across prime central London, with £651.2m worth of property owned in Westminster and £543m in Kensington and Chelsea.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented:

“Despite the fact that the average London house price has increased by a reasonably impressive 8.3% on an annual basis, the capital continues to lag behind the wider UK market where house price growth has hit 13.6% over the last year.

This slow but steady trend has pretty much remained unchanged since the pandemic and many foreign buyers, in particular, have spotted an opportunity to purchase within the London market while the rate of house price appreciation has been more measured.

At the same time, a weakening pound has also presented many foreign nationals with the potential for an even greater discount, with both Hong Kong and Singapore nationals enjoying respective discounts of 16% and 11% on the average London home in 2022.

Unlike Hong Kong buyers who have also been tempted to the UK by the additional carrot of the BNO visa scheme, Singapore nationals have been purchasing very much based on current market metrics and the strength of the market from an investment standpoint.

So while it’s Hong Kong nationals who continue to drive foreign buyer activity to the greatest extent, buyers from Singapore have provided a strong supporting role and will continue to do so as the London market heads towards a return to full health.”

Table shows the number of HMLR titles owned by individuals with an overseas correspondence address – Asian nations only
Nation Current titles owned Proportion of total titles owned
Hong Kong 23,524 9.5%
Singapore 18,165 7.4%
Malaysia 10,177 4.1%
China 7,078 2.9%
Japan 1,518 0.6%
Thailand 1,368 0.6%
Taiwan 1,230 0.5%
Indonesia 258 0.1%
Philippines 218 0.1%
South Korea 96 0.0%
Table shows the number of HMLR titles owned by individuals with an overseas correspondence address – all nations
Nation Current titles owned Proportion of total titles owned
Hong Kong 23,524 9.5%
Jersey 18,493 7.5%
Singapore 18,165 7.4%
United States of America 13,076 5.3%
Ireland 12,056 4.9%
Guernsey 11,594 4.7%
United Arab Emirates 10,914 4.4%
Malaysia 10,177 4.1%
Isle Of Man 9,338 3.8%
Australia 8,619 3.5%
Table shows the current estimated number of HMLR titles owned by individuals with a Singapore address and the total value of this property portfolio based on current market values
Location Current titles owned Current average house price Estimated total market value
Hounslow 3,692 £449,039 £1,657,850,896
City of Westminster 679 £958,990 £651,154,537
Kensington and Chelsea 402 £1,350,969 £543,089,717
Tower Hamlets 964 £480,909 £463,596,660
Havering 838 £426,908 £357,749,309
Southwark 470 £559,123 £262,787,975
Camden 308 £834,185 £256,928,846
Hammersmith and Fulham 265 £805,503 £213,458,356
Islington 278 £714,120 £198,525,457
Wandsworth 309 £636,066 £196,544,519
Newham 308 £423,652 £130,484,730
Lambeth 222 £550,329 £122,173,017
Hackney 180 £639,674 £115,141,322
City of London 95 £807,769 £76,738,074
Greenwich 163 £442,423 £72,114,997
Barnet 117 £606,627 £70,975,417
Lewisham 140 £462,050 £64,687,001
Brent 105 £542,857 £57,000,019
Ealing 90 £545,873 £49,128,548
Richmond upon Thames 63 £754,361 £47,524,753
Croydon 101 £423,776 £42,801,359
Bromley 83 £509,742 £42,308,603
Hillingdon 60 £474,141 £28,448,477
Kingston upon Thames 32 £561,194 £17,958,220
Merton 30 £580,187 £17,405,596
Haringey 25 £606,699 £15,167,472
Redbridge 26 £478,765 £12,447,883
Harrow 21 £546,597 £11,478,534
Sutton 19 £438,489 £8,331,282
Waltham Forest 16 £513,085 £8,209,367
Barking and Dagenham 10 £345,647 £3,456,466
Enfield 7 £450,233 £3,151,630
Bexley 7 £399,410 £2,795,867
London 10,125 £5,821,614,906

Centre for Public Data – August 2021 (latest available) – Estimated proportion of market share based on titles owned by each nation as a percentage of the overall total of 247,016
Source for average house price: Gov – UK House Price Index (August 2022 – latest available)


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 14 international offices.