Singapore joint-third with Paris in X-factor: Savills

20140408-bt-singapore-ranks-joint-third-paris-x-factor-pic SINGAPORE has been ranked joint third with Paris in a new report on leading international cities, which classifies them by their "X-factor".

The paper, by real estate adviser Savills, ranked 12 cities based on a combination of global competitiveness, together with measures such as connectivity, international visitors and Web search data, the company said.

New York and London were ranked joint first in the "12 Cities" research paper released today. Other Asian cities in the study, such as Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai, were ranked fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

Said director of Savills World Research Yolande Barnes: "Our definition of a world city is not just based on size or economic prosperity, but other less tangible factors."

Some of these factors include fame, prominence - according to the number of Google hits - as well as the number of international visitors.

These factors are not revealed by population and GDP figures alone, added Ms Barnes. ". . . it is often a cosmopolitan nature and an international outlook that makes cities globally investable and prosperous."

Savills said that the X-factor ranking does not necessarily reflect traditional measures of economic and real-estate costs and values. Instead, it looks to the longer-term stability and attractiveness of a world-city destination.

The 12 Cities report also compared gross rental incomes for both residential and commercial real estate in each city, against 10-year government bonds in each country. The "net of gilt" yield gives "a true measure of the performance of real estate compared to the local risk environment", said Savills.

By that measure, Tokyo provided the highest returns relative to bonds in both the residential and commercial property market, and has started to be favoured by more adventurous investors, the company added.

The top four cities in terms of X-factor were also among the top five in net of gilt yields for investors in the residential market.

Singapore ranked fifth in both commercial and residential categories for the net of gilt measure.

Other cities in the 12 Cities report include Sydney, Mumbai and Moscow. Dubai and Rio de Janeiro were also added to the original list of 10 cities this year, to reflect growing interest by real estate investors in Latin America and the Middle East.

Savills also measured city GDP per capita against average house price values, and identified residential properties in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Mumbai as looking most vulnerable to correction.

Prime residential property in both London and Dubai look on the higher side of average as well, Savills said, though the company noted that it was "still some way off the hottest cities".

"Non-prime mainstream housing stock is now an attractive buy for investors," said Ms Barnes. "On a world stage, London's mainstream values look cool, while Dubai and Hong Kong look more fully valued. We now expect that secondary and even tertiary markets in our world cities could offer superior growth compared to prime over the next five years."

Source: Business Times, 8 Apr 2014