In the latest issue of The Wealth Report, launched today, Hong Kong and Singapore took two of the top five spots in a global ranking of cities that considers wealth, investment and lifestyle. Hong Kong ranked third and Singapore fourth in Knight Frank's City Wealth Index 2019, a list that investors rely on to identify global urban powerhouses.
Other Asia-Pacific countries ranked in the top 10 include Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo. Despite Brexit concerns, London took the number one spot overall, reclaiming the spot from New York, which dominated last year's standings.
In the wealth category, Hong Kong and Beijing ranked third globally while Singapore took fifth place.
In terms of investment, Hong Kong remains the top destination for private capital in Asia-Pacific. On lifestyle, Singapore beat New York and Hong Kong to share first place with London. Wealth Growth in the region is noticeable with Asian cities holding five of the top ten spots in the wealth category.
Besides Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore, the ranking includes Seoul in seventh place and Shanghai in eighth.
Nicholas Holt, Head of Research, Knight Frank Asia Pacific, says, "The thriving cities of Seoul and Shanghai continue to benefit from buoyant economies, due to their statuses as financial centres with burgeoning technology scenes."
Asian countries will also see the fastest growth in UHNWIs, defined as those with net assets of US$30 million or more, in the period between 2018 and 2023. Of the 59 countries andterritories in Knight Frank's forecasts, 8 of the top ten countries by future growth are in Asia.
North American cities led the ranking for investment, occupying six of the top 10 spots in this category with New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Chicago. In Asia-Pacific, besides Hong Kong, countries that are in the top 10 of the Index's investment category include Sydney - which takes sixth place - and Singapore in ninth place.
"The rise of the Asian Pacific middle class will be a major driving force for growth and over the coming decade, ensuring that the region will offer an attractive proposition for investors," adds Holt.
The lifestyle category of the City Wealth Index is based on key decision influencers drawn from Knight Frank's annual Attitudes Survey. For instance, a significant factor for purchasing first and second homes internationally is education, represented by the number and quality of universities in a specific city.
Security is another key factor, as are luxury indicators including the number of five-star hotels and the quantity and quality of leading restaurants.
While London dominated this category with its significant number of five-star hotels and the quality of its universities, Singapore swoops in for a tie in the number one spot, while Hong Kong and Tokyo hold the fourth and fifth spots respectively.
Victoria Garret, Head of Residential, Knight Frank Asia Pacific says, "Asia's top gateway cities are fast becoming favoured destinations for UHNWIs who seek to preserve wealth. Long term growth prospects, and quality of life improvements are also key in their decision-making."
The City Wealth Index also highlighted cities of the future that are projected to attract investors in the coming years. These are Bengaluru, Hangzhou, Stockholm, Cambridge and Boston. Factors that drive the selection include innovation indicators, wealth forecasts, economic growth, and aspects that improve a city's growth prospects, such as infrastructure. Cities that demonstrate these characteristics are likely targets for future property investment.
The Knight Frank City Wealth Index Chart is shown in the gallery above.