If you have net investable assets of at least $30 million, you also have an acronym: UHNWI, or ultra-high net worth individual. And if given a choice of where to live, you are most likely to choose London, even though you’ll find more UHNWIs in New York.
That’s the conclusion of the 11th edition of The Wealth Report released recently by global real estate consultants Knight Frank.
According to the report, there are 6,570 UHNWIs in New York, compared with 4,750 in London. What separates the two cities is — wait for it — location, location, location. Put more gracefully, Knight Frank says:
The world’s wealthy are a footloose group, and the place they call home is only a starting point when trying to unravel the locations that most resonate with them.
To determine which world cities really matter to the super-rich, Knight Frank measures responses on four measures:
- Current wealth: the population of UHNWIs
- Investment: the total amount of private investment in property during 2016
- Connectivity: the number of inbound and outbound first-class and business flights in 2016
- Future wealth: a forecast of the city’s population of UHNWIs in 2026
New York leads in both current and future wealth, while London tops the rankings for investment and connectivity. The weighted Knight Frank methodology gives the edge to London, the only European city to make the top 10, although Geneva and Zurich make the top 20.
In addition to New York, Los Angeles (5th), San Francisco (7th) and Chicago (10th) are included in the top 10, with Houston edging into the top 20 with a ranking of 19.
The other five cities in the top 10 are all located in Asia: Hong Kong (3rd), Shanghai (4th), Singapore (6th), Beijing (8th) and Tokyo (9th). Dubai (16th) was the only Middle Eastern city to make the top 20, while two Australian cities — Sydney (11th) and Melbourne (20th) — made the list.
Knight Frank observes:
Future wealth concentrations and investment firepower look set to be dominated by a tussle for supremacy between Asian and North American cities. The third and fourth largest concentrations of wealth today, Hong Kong and San Francisco, are likely to be eclipsed by the rising fortunes of Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing, which are all expected to see their wealthy populations grow rapidly over the next decade.