SINGAPORE - Fifty wealthy people in Singapore have been catapulted into the ranks of the ultra rich after property prices kept rising last year.
A new report by Wealth-X and UBS shows that there were 1,355 "ultra-high net worth individuals" in Singapore in July this year, up from 1,305 in July last year.
Ultra-high net worth individuals, as defined by Wealth-X, have total assets of at least US$30 million (S$38 million). This includes their home, savings and the value of stakes in any businesses they might own.
On average, they each had US$180 million in assets. Together, the group of ultra wealthy here had a combined wealth of US$160 billion this year, up 3.2 per cent from US$155 billion last year.
The increase in their wealth came primarily from rising real estate values over the period, said Wealth-X chief executive Mykolas Rambus.
He noted, however, that the growth of wealth in Singapore lags behind the 5.4 per cent rise seen across Asia and the 12.8 per cent surge in Hong Kong. Part of the reason for Singapore's laggard performance is the fact that stock markets became more volatile this year, said Mr Rambus.
"Most of the ultra wealthy are owners of privately held businesses. The value of that asset is compared to public company stocks in the geography in which they are focused," he said.
The values of privately held businesses are often inferred from the values of similar firms on the stock market. So if the values of publicly listed companies in a certain sector suffer a drop in the stock market, the implied value of privately held businesses in that same industry would fall too.
Another likely reason for the relatively smaller rise in the combined US dollar-denominated wealth of Singapore's super rich was the strengthening Singapore dollar.