Singapore's private home prices have surpassed Hong Kong as the most expensive in Asia Pacific in 2023, while rents in the city-state were also the region's highest, the Urban Land Institute said on Tuesday.

The institute's 2023 APAC Home Attainability Index showed the median price for a Singapore home was $1.2 million compared with $1.16 million in Hong Kong, where prices dropped 15% last year. Sydney houses ranked third at $980,000.

Singapore's property market has been unusually resilient, with prices rising 8.6% last year and 10.6% in 2021, prompting authorities to introduce tough new cooling measures.

Monthly rents in Singapore also held the top spot in Asia-Pacific at a median of $2,598, trailed by Sydney houses at $1,958 and Sydney apartments at $1,732. Hong Kong ranked fourth at $1,686.

A heavy influx of immigrants and a trend among young professionals to move out of multi-generational family homes were key drivers behind Singapore's sharp rise in rents and home prices, the institute said.

When including public housing options, however, Singapore offered the most affordable home ownership with its government-built Housing and Development Board flats, which sold for a median price just 4.7 times the median household income.

The report compared housing prices against median incomes in 45 cities across the Asia-Pacific region.

Home ownership posed severe challenges in major cities in China, the Philippines and Vietnam, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, where median home prices were 20 to 35 times the median household income.

Rents were generally deemed more affordable, with monthly rents in most cities below 30% of median household income. Cities in Japan and South Korea had the lowest ratio of monthly rent to income. (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Edmund Klamann)