Singapore has been ranked 10th in a list of dynamic cities, with Jones Lang LaSalle identifying San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and Wuhan as the leading five cities demonstrating the combination of strong short term socio-economic, commercial real estate momentum and the  longer-term foundations for success.  

Commenting on the City Momentum Index (CMI), Jeremy Kelly, Director of Global Research for Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “City momentum is about far more than just raw GDP growth.  The true foundation of highly dynamic cities emerges from such factors as speed of innovation and creation of cutting-edge businesses along with new building construction, property price movement and investment in real estate from cross-border investors and corporations.  

“The new CMI offers a fresh and uniquely comprehensive perspective that identifies the signals of change and characteristics of city momentum. By focusing on the features of a city that are likely to underpin future performance, the CMI stands apart from the standard historic performance upon which most indices are based. It is such measures of dynamism in infrastructure, connectivity and innovation that we believe will be steering many investment and location decisions in the future, though investors and corporates should note that high momentum can pose both risk and opportunity.”         

The cities that top the CMI are characterised by these dynamics:

Elite cities that wield clear economic might on the global stage, accounting for one-quarter of the world’s direct commercial real estate investment activity from 2012-2013.
San Francisco (1), London (2), Dubai (3), New York (6), Hong Kong (8), Singapore (10), Los Angeles (15) and Tokyo (19)

Technology-rich cities that took early advantage of technology trends and provide fertile environments for innovation
San Francisco (1), Austin (7), San Jose (9), Boston (17) and Seattle (18)

Smaller, innovation-friendly cities that gained rapid momentum to achieve global position.
Austin (7)

Rapidly urbanising cities in China that continue to grow with massive city-building programs despite a slowing economy
Shanghai (4), Wuhan (5), Shenzhen (11), Beijing (13), Chengdu (14) and Tianjin (16)

Growth hotspots beyond the BRICs driven by urban consumerism
Jakarta (12) and Lima (20)

Resurgent cities gearing up for events in 2020 with renewed vitality.
Tokyo (19) – 2020 Summer Olympics and Dubai (3) – Expo 2020

While Continental European cities are under-represented at the very top of the list and show lower momentum in comparison with emerging cities, several powerful and successful European cities possess the attributes for longer term success as validated by the ongoing high levels of real estate capital inflows.

Demonstrating success factors relating to education, innovation, sustainability and transparency, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam, for example, are distinguished by their strengths in talent and new technologies, while Copenhagen has among the world’s strongest ‘green’ credentials.

The City Momentum Index assesses 111 cities world-wide with a weighted overall score based on 34 short-term and longer term variables.

Short-term socio-economic momentum variables (40 percent of the model) include recent and projected changes in GDP and population, air passenger traffic, corporate headquarter presence and recent levels of foreign direct investment as a proportion of a city’s economy.

Short-term commercial real estate momentum variables (30 percent of the model) include recent and projected percentage changes in office net absorption, office construction, office rents, shopping mall construction and retail rents, direct commercial real estate investment volumes and real estate transparency.

Longer term variables (30 percent of the model) that are likely to determine future economic strength and real estate momentum include high-value incubator indicators such as university presence and educational infrastructure, innovation capability and presence of technology and venture capital firms.

Kelly added: “While most indices provide only a static picture of city competitiveness, by taking a unique look at the combination of short-term variables and sustainable long-term characteristics the CMI provides a look into underlying city dynamics, adaptability and real estate market characteristics.”

Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru Group,
wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email

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