KUALA LUMPUR has shown an improvement in the luxury residential property market in the first quarter of the year, according to Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index.
In just over a year, the percentage changes were -1.9 per cent, -0.7 per cent and -0.3 per cent for the period between March 16 last year and March 17 (12-month percentage change), September 16 last year and March 17 (six-month percentage change) and December 16 last year and March 17 (three-month percentage change), respectively.
Kuala Lumpur was also ranked 31st among 41 cities globally.
The Prime Global Cities Index, which tracks the movement of luxury residential property prices across 41 cities, enables investors and developers to monitor and compare the performance of prime residential prices across key global cities.
This year, Istanbul and St Petersburg were added to the list.
Overall, the index climbed 4.3 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter of the year.
According to Knight Frank International residential research partner Kate Everett-Allen, despite the world’s current state of political and economic flux, there was still a degree of safe-haven investments flowing into luxury property markets.
She said it was all thanks to cities in China, which continued to dominate the top tier of the rankings, contributing to the index’s upturn this quarter.
Guangzhou witnessed a 36.2 per cent increase in luxury prices over the 12 months to March, while Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou recorded an average price growth of 26.3 per cent.
Prices in Guangzhou are rising from a lower base than in Shanghai and Beijing, while the availability of residential stock is becoming tighter.
Policymakers in the city are also slower to introduce cooling measures, which are now widely evident across most of China’s Tier One cities.
“An Asian revival may be overstating it, but we are certainly seeing the region’s key cities of Hong Kong (5.3 per cent) and Singapore (four per cent) rise up the rankings following years of lacklustre prime price growth,” said Everett-Allen in March.
Singapore recently reduced its sellers’ stamp duty from 16 per cent to 12 per cent, suggesting a softening in attitude, but such a move is unlikely to open the floodgates to speculators, given that the 15 per cent buyer’s stamp duty for foreign buyers remains in place.
Other centres of growth include Seoul (17.6 per cent), Stockholm (10.7 per cent), Berlin (8.7 per cent) and Melbourne (8.6 per cent), cities which share a common theme, with notable clusters of technology businesses.
Analysis shows that established financial centres are seeing slower price growth - on average 3.2 per cent per annum - compared with emerging tech hubs, which saw prices rise by 7.4 per cent on average over the 12-month period.
Meanwhile, cities in the world’s other major economies, such as the United States, are rising up the rankings.
However, the big story on the North American continent is the acceleration of prices in Toronto across all price bands.
At the luxury level, prices ended the year to March 22 per cent higher, outpacing Vancouver (7.9 per cent) by some margin.
Everett-Allen said such price inflation would not fail to escape the attention of policymakers, leading to the announcement of a raft of new measures in April, including a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax, putting the city on an equal footing with Vancouver.
In London, although prime prices fell 6.4 per cent in the year to March, quarterly growth has climbed to its highest rate since May last year, suggesting the city is entering a period of stabilisation.