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It’s official! London has the world highest concentration of millionaires according to a report conducted by Knight Frank — a property consultancy entity. No less than 870,000 Londoners are considered dollar millionaires with assets worth more than £720,000 which makes them ‘high net worth individuals.” In comparison to New York, which used to clinch the top place for the aggregation of millionaires, now one in ten people in London are dollar millionaires.
To expound further, the swell could be attributed to the rise in property prices, and with average housing costing £514,000, a lot of people who owned property in London are tipped into the HNWI category. “The main point is that our HNWI threshold is US$1m, so £720,000, and with average house prices in London at £514,000, a lot of households fall into the HNWI category,” says Liam Bailey, the global head of research at Knight Frank. “Ironically the high cost of housing in London is the main driver for categorising so many households as being wealthy.”
This £22.5 million, seven-bedroom home in Belgravia is one of the most expensive in London; Image Credit: Harrods Estates
London is also a prime location for many rich Hong Kongers, as the island was a former British colony, the British government has launched a new scheme allowing holders of the British national overseas (BNO) passport and their dependents easier pathway to becoming full-fledged British citizens. Many in Hong Kong are worried about China encroaching on the political freedom of the citizens living in the island-city, therefore, choosing to leave for “better pastures” overseas. For these millionaires, investment equivalent to at least £2 million in the UK would secure them the golden visa, as a result, a 68% increase in these visas were issued according to a separate research by the City law firm Bates Wells.
The Knight Frank report has further quantified London to possess the largest number of “prime” homes with an estimated value of £2 million as a baseline. Coupled with amenities such as Michelin-starred restaurants, opera houses and theatres, world-class universities, and shopping malls, the city is a rich man’s playground. It’s no wonder that many oversize buyers flocked over to size up the properties in the wake of the drop in pound value and tax advantages as a result of the aftermath that is Brexit. Thus, the transaction sales recorded a 24.1% jump compared to last January according to new figures released by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
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Luxury shopping street housing a myraid of high-end brands. Image Credit: Getty Images
Also revealed in the report is that those who are already very rich were made even richer despite the pandemic adversely affecting multiple industries. More than 6,000 joined the ranks of the “ultra wealthy” group with assets with a value of more than £21.3 million (US$30 million), this is a 2.4% increase from last year. It is expected that the numbers will continue to grow, driven by the continuous growth seen across Asia such as China, India and Indonesia. According to Forbes’ list of billionaires, the top 3 places belongs to Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and followed by Bernard Arnault.