Singapore is the world's 3rd most innovative city

Victor Kang21 May 2019

Singapore Merlion shutterstock crop

Singapore property investment and office market will remain vibrant in the short- to medium-term, barring external shocks.

With innovation now playing a major role in real estate investment strategies, Singapore has emerged as the world’s third most innovative city – behind San Francisco and Tokyo, reported The Business Times citing a JLL report.

This comes as the city-state is supported by substantial levels of foreign domestic investments as well as a rapidly growing start-up scene.

Aside from being a regional hub for research and development (R&D) and services, Singapore is also the world’s top destination for foreign direct investment in high-tech industries, noted JLL’s Innovation Geographies report.

“Targeting innovative cities has now become an explicit part of investment strategies. This is partly because innovation-centric cities appear to be more resilient to economic shocks,” said JLL Singapore’s head of research and consultancy Tay Huey Ying. “For example, tech-savvy cities such as Seoul, Berlin and Chicago, saw average real estate capital values fall less and bounce back more quickly.”

According to her, the study reinforces JLL’s belief that Singapore property investment and office market will remain vibrant in the short- to medium-term, barring external shocks.

But with many cities making rapid progress in developing future-looking business ecosystems, Singapore should not “rest on its laurels, but instead strive to stay ahead of the competition by continuing to nurture an innovative culture, for example through allocating a higher budget for research and development”, added Tay.

JLL further explained that innovation ecosystems in cities plays an important role in driving productivity, which leads to economic growth and, by implication, real estate demand.

JLL head of Asia-Pacific research Megan Walters shared that innovation helps cities attract companies and investors.

“Investors tend to focus on locations that are capable of sustaining long-term occupier demand, while corporates are drawn to those that have sophisticated innovation ecosystems and deep talent pools to ensure they are well-placed to succeed in the global marketplace.”

The report analysed 109 global cities, of which the seven leading Asia-Pacific cities accounted for over 50 percent of the region’s total annual real estate investment volumes in the last decade.

They are Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Sydney.

Read our AreaInsider series if need a comprehensive insight to the best area to live or invest in Singapore.

Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email


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