Living the high life may be cheaper in Singapore than Hong Kong judging by luxury property prices in the Asian financial hubs.
Average prime luxury home prices are 26 percent cheaper in Singapore than Hong Kong in U.S. dollar terms, according to Nomura, far wider than the 14 percent discount seen in 2000.
In Singapore, luxury residential properties averaged $1,807 per square foot in the second quarter, compared with $2,442 per square foot in Hong Kong, Nomura's calculations show.
A prime luxury home is defined as a property with a living space of over 1,800 square feet in Singapore and 1,400 square feet in Hong Kong that is situated in a prime residential district.
One reason for the discount is that Singapore is less attractive for foreign investors than Hong Kong, says Min Chow Sai, analyst at Nomura. The latter offers buyers lower transaction costs and a shorter holding period, for example.
In Hong Kong, sellers are subject to a stamp duty of 15 percent of the property price if the home is sold within one year of purchase. In Singapore, the rate is 16 percent for the same holding period. This rate drops to 10 percent in Hong Kong if the property is sold within two years, compared with 12 percent in Singapore.
Some of these factors, however, may be less relevant for buyers who want a home for the long haul.
Beyond property: Chanel bags, cars & club memberships
Singapore offers cheaper luxury property, but maintaining a high-roller lifestyle in the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state may require deeper pockets than in Hong Kong.
The cost of discretionary purchases - from a Rolex watch to a Chanel Bag - is generally higher in Singapore, according to the Julius Baer Lifestyle Index published in June 2013.
Purchasing a luxury car is particularly exorbitant in Singapore due to the city's high ownership tax.
Last year, buying a standard Mercedes SL 550 would have set you back approximately $432,000 compared with $266,000 in Hong Kong, according to the index.
However, if you're an avid golfer, Singapore may be more attractive.
A one-year membership at a top club costs $277,000 in Singapore and $387,000 in Hong Kong, according to the index.
Golf club memberships in Hong Kong are among the most expensive in the region due to limited supply. The average cost of a membership in Asia is $102,000.