Where do the ultra-wealthy people own property? Here are the cities with ultra-wealthy homeowners

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ultra-wealthy
sky pool in Kuala Lumpur Photo by Marc Wieland

According to The World Ultra Wealth Report published by Altrata and powered by Wealth-X data, “The ultra-wealthy account for just 1.2% of the global HNW (high net worth) population, yet hold over 31% of this group’s total wealth.” In the first half of 2022, the global UHNW population declined by 6% to 392,410 people.

Key definitions about this report, ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals, those with a net worth of $30m+ (also referred to as the “ultra-wealthy”); very high net worth (VHNW) individuals, those with a net worth of $5m-$30m.

North America is the largest ultra wealth region holding approximately 34% global share. US cities are dominant in the list and New York is the world’s most popular place for the ultra-wealthy to own a property.

According to the report, Hong Kong and New York are the world’s ‘premier’ UHNW cities. Hong Kong, Asia’s greatest financial center, was marginally less exposed to the devastating equity-market fall than the very rich class in the United States. Hong Kong and New York have UHNW populations around twice the size of third-ranked Los Angeles, highlighting their importance.

Hong Kong

Repulse Bay

Hong Kong is a Chinese special administrative territory. Hong Kong is also one of the world’s most important financial and commercial ports. It is the world’s 35th-largest economy, according to the IMF’s ‘World Economic Outlook Database,’ with a nominal GDP of around US$373 billion. As of December 2018, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was the seventh-largest in the world, with a market capitalization of HK$30.4 trillion (US$3.87 trillion).

In Hong Kong, a 21,173 sq ft residential land site in the exclusive Repulse Bay neighborhood was reportedly sold for the record-breaking price of HK$1.9 billion (US$242 million) in February 2022.

New York

ultra-wealthy
432 Park Avenue © Rafael Viñoly Architects

The most populated city in the United States is New York. According to the ‘Residential Real Estate 2023’ report, New York is the leading worldwide metropolis for the wealthy. With a gross metropolitan product of more than $2.4 trillion as of 2021, the New York metropolitan region is the world’s largest metropolitan economy.

The New York metropolitan area would have the world’s eighth-largest GDP if it were a sovereign state. According to sociologist Saskia Sassen, New York is a global city and a center for global banking and finance, health care and life sciences, medical technology and research, retailing, global trade, transportation, tourism, real estate, new media, traditional media, advertising, legal services, and other services.

Rafael Vinoly‘s designed residence is the most expensive penthouse in New York with 360-degree views over the city. The tower is located at 432 Park Avenue and the price was $90,559,215. The property has been completely reimagined by one of the most sought-after home designers and represents an unparalleled opportunity to own a globally significant property.

Los Angeles

ultra-wealthy
© Photo by Owen Lystrup

Los Angeles has a varied economy that includes a wide range of industries. It is home to the Americas’ busiest container port. In addition, Hollywood amalgamated with Los Angeles in 1910, with ten film firms already operating in the city at the time. By 1921, more than 80% of the world’s film business was concentrated in Los Angeles. The money generated by the industry shielded the city from much of the economic damage experienced by the rest of the country during the Great Depression. Los Angeles is the third wealthiest city in the world, but according to Jill Cowan of the New York Times, nearly 60% of the 82,955 persons who became newly homeless in 2019 indicated they were homeless due to economic difficulties.

Tokyo

ultra-wealthy
© Photo by Louie Martinez

Tokyo is the capital and most populous city of Japan and serves as Japan’s economic center. Tokyo is the second-largest urban economy worldwide by gross domestic product after New York City and is categorized as an Alpha+ city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Tokyo was rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the most expensive (highest cost-of-living) city in the world for 14 years in a row ending in 2006.

London

ultra-rich
Hui Ka Yan’s mega-mansion © Photo by Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

London is England’s and the United Kingdom’s capital and largest city. London, as one of the world’s main global cities, has a significant impact on the arts, entertainment, fashion, commerce and finance, education, health care, journalism, science and technology, tourism, and transportation and communications. It is the largest urban economy in Europe (€801.66 billion in 2017), and it is one of the world’s major financial centers. According to the Office for National Statistics and the European Office of Statistics, the city has the highest property values of any European city.

London is the fifth UHNW city via population but for owning homes it ranks in second place, according to the Residential Real Estate 2023 report. Despite the UK’s current economic travails, London remains a powerful magnet for the wealthy, exhibiting a total UHNW footprint of close to 16,000 people. In an economy strongly geared towards wealth preservation, London stands out among the leading cities as having one of the higher shares of UHNW second-homers.

According to Mansion Global, the most expensive home in London is a mega-mansion in the city’s exclusive Knightsbridge neighborhood that is quietly being shopped around for around £200 million (US$222.5 million) by its billionaire owner, Hui Ka Yan, the founder and chairman of embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande, according to sources with knowledge of the sale.

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