Shanghai's prime housing prices soar highest globally

SHANGHAI topped major cities around the world in 2009 by posting the biggest annual price increase for houses located in prime areas as China's quick recovery from the global recession helped boost capital gains, according to a joint wealth report by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank.

According to the annual report which tracks 56 locations worldwide, prices of prime residential properties in Shanghai soared 52 percent last year, followed by Beijing with a 47 percent jump and Hong Kong with a 40 percent gain, from 12 months earlier.

"Prime residential properties around the world registered a mixed performance last year with prices falling in nearly 75 percent of the 56 locations monitored by Knight Frank," said Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, a global property consultancy. "Boosted by China's fast economic recovery, the prices of prime properties in cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong rose at a phenomenal rate last year."

House prices in Dubai and Dublin fell 45 percent and 25 percent respectively in 2009 from a year ago.

By region, prime residential property prices grew 17 percent in Asia Pacific and 7.8 percent in South America on average from a year earlier. But they fell 12 percent in Europe and 7.7 percent in North America year on year, according to the report.

While the world's wealthiest investors remained cautious about prospects for their investments this year, property continues to be a key long-term part of their portfolios.

"The attraction of tangible assets remains strong, with property taking up 30 percent of the average investment portfolio, the single largest allocation," said Aamir Rahim, CEO of Citi Private Bank's Asia Pacific operation. "Residential property is the most popular asset in the sector followed by commercial property."

Shanghai Daily