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Asia’s Real Estate Gold Mines and Sink Holes

Asia’s Real Estate Gold Mines and Sink Holes

Most people who play Monopoly play it wrong.

The problem is that the majority of people can’t assess risks and rewards properly, even in a fictional-game setting. They also simply never read the rule book.

Many monopoly players tend to either go all in and lose big, or they hold back and never get ahead. No wonder the game seems to last forever.

In the wild East, Western investors can be left baffled by Asian real estate opportunities. Below we’ve constructed a legal and risk vs. reward ‘cheat sheet’ for you.

This way you can play the game like a seasoned pro and invest intelligently.

Hong Kong

Arguably the top financial center in Asia. Although technically owned by China, the legal system is quite different. It’s also one of the most expensive markets to invest in.

It’s also easier to navigate than most other markets, especially for the region. However, grabbing a stake can be tough, as there tends to be a high deposit rate of up to 50 percent.


The mainland is quite a different playing field. If you’ve been working or studying there for a year, you’re able to purchase property.

But let’s say you sell the house in a couple years for a profit. Well, then you might be stuck. Capital mobility restrictions are a pain, so getting your money out may be far from simple. There’s no guarantee it can happen, especially with the lack of transparency in regulations.


You’re in luck! You can buy a part of a condo, maximum 49 percent. Hey, it’s better than nothing right? Also, be wary of the properties specifically targeted to foreigners, as they might be overpriced.


It’s HOT! Real Estate prices are on the rise and not on the bubble levels as seen in China. Bloomberg ranked their financial center, Ho Chi Minh City, number 4 for 2017’s cities to invest in the world.

However, if you’re a foreigner find a local to help you out: the ‘Foreigner Tax’ is pervasive here so you could be overpaying by at least 20 percent.


It’s less developed and thus riskier than the others. It’s cheaper on a dollar comparison, but it’s still a poor country with less certain prospects. However, it’s growing fast with no technical recession in over two decades! Foreigners can’t fully own property, but you can become a citizen for a “donation” of USD$50,000!


This might be the spot for you. You can actually own your own property. However, as a foreigner, you’ll be restricted to the upper market with a minimum purchase requirement. The government has decided to keep foreigners isolated in the luxury market in order to prevent escalating prices for the average citizen.


You’ll be in a market averaging almost 7 percent growth annually. There’s a lot of English speakers and the market is becoming more competitive.

Korea, Japan, and Singapore

Similar to western markets with foreign ownership available. The capital markets are also more stable with democratic and open policies. In exchange for the stability and trust comes less risk and thus less potential return.

Land and property ownership is possible. However, it could set you back a few bucks… you’ll need at least $10 million to purchase land in Singapore.