Singapore and Hong Kong now have identical 15 per cent levies to slow the foreign money that has added fuel to their overheated property markets – measures that will help first-time buyers but throw the spotlight on investors’ next targets.

The curbs on residential real estate purchases could shift demand to retail and industrial spaces, diverting billions of dollars to those sectors as well as to housing markets in the United States, Canada, Australia and Malaysia.

Even if the pace of buying slows, analysts said, the appetite for homes in Hong Kong and Singapore is so strong that prices are expected to stay firm or ease only marginally.

“Singapore is like the London of Asia. Many people are not here to flip their properties or sell out in two to three years,” said Knight Frank’s head of consultancy and research Png Poh Soon. “There are lots of non-monetary reasons for buying Singapore and also Hong Kong property.”