Where should Singaporeans buy property in 2015?

By Alexander Knight

Property is one of the safest investments anyone can make. Bricks and mortar. A roof over your head. Solid and tangible. In most markets, property is surging ahead for good reason - interest rates are low and new stock is plentiful.

Two notable cities that look like having a stellar year in 2015 are Manchester - England's second city - and Los Angeles in California. Here is my outlook of some markets around the world to help you start your search.

United Kingdom: Even with an election pending, property is on the up - gains are the biggest in the G7. London offers the best capital gains (over 22% in some areas in 2014) and Manchester, the UK's second city, is also recording double digit growth - with no end in sight. Outlook: POSITIVE

Philippines: A mass of new projects are currently under construction, including a mega casino project, although problems with oversupply may arise, Manila is still a solid buy and prices are increasing. Excellent rental yields too. Outlook: POSITIVE

USA: Uncle Sam is back on his feet, property-wise, and the market has started to accelerate. California is the hottest place for property investors looking at the USA in 2015 - who wouldn't want a piece of Hollywood or a sliver of Silicon Valley? Outlook: POSITIVE

Thailand: While the junta has put back any hope of elections until 2016, the property market is still growing at a good clip. Fears of oversupply appear to be unfounded, and Bangkok and Phuket are still tops. Outlook: POSITIVE

Australia: Low interest rates - forecast to be cut again soon - will keep property buoyant in 2015. Cheaper square foot prices make the Gold Coast and Brisbane attractive. Sydney and Melbourne are set to grow at lower levels than 2014. Outlook: POSITIVE

Indonesia: A new president, a new surge in property prices. While rental yields may not be quite as good as they used to, capital gains are looking promising, with gains of over 10% predicted for Jakarta in 2015. Bali is set to continue its 10% per year increase. Outlook: POSITIVE

Vietnam: Having been off-the-radar for foreign property buyers and investors, the Communist government recently approved legislation allowing some foreign ownership of property July 1, 2015. Time to sit up and pay attention to what could be a shot of adrenaline to the market. Outlook: POSITIVE

Malaysia: The Malaysian property market began to slow late last year and it looks like it may flatline in 2015. Penang and some smarts parts of KL will be exempt from this - although oversupply in KL may become a factor. Outlook: NEUTRAL

Singapore: The property market outlook for 2015 isn't good for the city state. Despite the celebrations having kicked off already for #SG50 (Singapore has rather cleverly branded its 50th birthday year with a hashtag) - it looks well like a year of severe contraction. Outlook: NEGATIVE

Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar all still have such bizarre laws (or lack thereof) governing property ownership and rights, that the outlook is still opaque unless you are willing to risk any money invested in these emerging countries. Outlook: NEGATIVE

China: The market was on a slide in 2014 and it looks like it may even decline faster in 2015. According to the FT, China's main property-buying demographic will peak this year and then start to decline - as a huge glut of new units hit the market. Outlook: NEGATIVE

Hong Kong: As with the Red Dragon, the former British colony is expected to fare badly this year. Expectations are of a correction, with a combination of a surge in supply, effects of cooling measures and an inevitable interest rate hike creating a "perfect storm". Outlook: NEGATIVE

Happy new year and good hunting!

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