Chinese property buyers and investors have eclipsed those from Singapore as the world's foremost buyers of prime new-build homes globally.
According to the latest Global Development Insight Q3 2013 report from Knight Frank, since the global financial crisis took hold five years ago, private investors have looked to bricks and mortar as a means of preserving and growing their wealth. Prime real estate prices in key locations such as Dubai and Hong Kong have reflected this, rising by 63 percent and 81 percent respectively since early 2009.
During Q3 2013, Chinese investors were the most influential buyer nationality in the world's prime new-build sector, with a preference for buying properties in Hong Kong, New York and London.
Investors from Singapore and Russia came in second and third place respectively.
The report noted that Singaporeans prefer to buy new-build property in London, Malaysia and Tokyo, and that the average prices of the purchases are in the range of US$2.37 million.
Chinese, Russian and US-based investors are all expected to retain and grow their market share in new-build property over the next 12 months.
China's growing importance reflects the rise of Asia as a wealth creation hub. Asia is second only to North America in terms of its billionaire population, and the number of high-net-worth individuals in China is forecast to rise by 137 percent over the coming decade, according to data contained in The Wealth Report.
A total of 39 percent of people surveyed named political and economic risk in a buyer's home market as a key driver for international demand.
New York, Paris and London were amongst the most sought after markets, while a total of 47 percent of respondents stated that 'the safe haven effect' was the biggest draw for their market. Education and lifestyle are increasingly important when investing overseas.
As governments across Asia-Pacific introduce a number of restrictions for non-resident foreign purchasers of residential property, they are trying to strike a balance between giving domestic citizens an affordable stake in their country while still attracting high value international investment.
As well as understanding buyer trends, the survey of Knight Frank's global residential development experts looked at the reasons which underpin the decision to buy new-build residential property around the world. Amid the global uncertainty caused by the financial crisis and the political instability that emerged after the Arab Spring, it is evident that the overall trend in global property investment over the past year has been driven by a search for safe havens.
Education and lifestyle are playing an increasingly important role when it comes to cross-border property investment. Cities which are home to world-class schools and universities, as well as offering a high quality of life and safe environment, stand to benefit in the long-run.