21 June 2011


When Paul and I landed in Singapore, the sky was dark. We looked out the airplane window as we approached Changi Airport and saw lights all over. There were lights coming from fishing boats docked in the water and lights from the city’s skyscrapers and street lamps. By the time we deplaned, retrieved our bags and passed through the necessary checkpoints, the sun had risen. We piled into a taxi and observed our new home as we headed to our temporary residence downtown. We originally compared Singapore to Florida since the weather is hot, sunny and humid with a chance of rain every day. There are trees everywhere and exotic flowers and grasses along every street.

Manhattan often comes to mind as a comparable city due to the Central Business District, the public transportation systems, the financial center, the landmarks and, of course, the shopping. Singapore is apparently known for extravagant shopping, especially in the Orchard Road area. In addition, Singapore is known for its epicurean plates and is home to numerous high-end eateries. Singapore is host to fashion shows, gourmet food exhibitions, festivals and art shows of all kinds. Sound familiar?

We also compared Singapore to one of New York’s other famous spots – The Hamptons. In researching Singapore and all that it had to offer, Paul and I read that Singapore is one of Asia’s vacation hot spots. Millionaires and billionaires from other Asian countries often come to Singapore for weekend adventures and holidays. Singapore’s West Coast boasts yacht shows like no other.

I suppose we could compare Singapore to a number of familiar places, but it seems that Singapore often makes a name for itself. Businessweek recently published a story on Singapore and its position as the choice of residence for the world’s richest. According to the article, one in six households has more than $1 million in assets. Singapore’s expanding economy and impressive GDP growth has done a lot to increase business growth, population growth and economic growth over the last several years. The city-state has been at the top of the residence list for quite some time but last year’s increase of millionaire households jumped nearly 40 percent.

Housing is in high demand in Singapore. As Paul and I constantly witness, the entire island appears to be under construction and residential buildings are popping up all over the place. Real estate prices have increased to an all-time high in the first quarter of 2011, including a 2.5 percent increase from the previous quarter in our neighborhood. The rental prices are another thing that reminds us of Manhattan, though, as it turns out, Singapore has a higher cost of living. One of our realtors expects rental prices to depreciate in two years when many of the under-construction properties are open and available. Until then, we wait.

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