If you had the money to live in a multi-million dollar property anywhere on the planet, where would you go? And how, pray tell, would you choose?
The ultra-wealthy (those worth $30 million or more) have the money to own luxury property almost anywhere they want. A report by Wealth X, a global market research firm that collects data on millionaires, reveals that these people—coined ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals—are mostly concentrated in the world’s financial hubs, with New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo taking the top spots.
Using a comparative analysis that assessed the “basic” needs of the ultra-wealthy on practical, emotional, and financial levels, the report created a ranking of the 50 most desirable places to purchase luxury real estate in the world. The sample cities were selected based on the number of UHNW individuals in the population, as well as the share of GDP that each city’s region contributes to the global economy.
The report considers a trifecta of demands, such as emotional factors: Cultural “richness”, a high UHNW population, and access to luxury shopping; financial factors: Ease of doing business, property value-for-money, competitiveness of property, tax laws, status as a financial safe haven; and practical matters: The city’s access to air travel and leading universities, its level of safety, and its green footprint.
Of the list of 50, five cities were ranked as the ultimate global destinations for UHNWs looking to buy real estate, with London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, and Paris nabbing the top spots. According to the report, London is the #1 most desirable city for luxury living, ranking high on everything from air travel to access to leading universities. However, it came in second-to-last in property value, with New York following close behind.
Outside of the factors used to rank the cities, one surprising data note is that wealthy folks like these cities because they love to give their money away.
Along with, art, education, and sports, philanthropy is noted as the top hobby enjoyed by the UHNWs living in these cities (except for Paris, which opted for fashion and family—how French!).
The attraction to charity isn’t surprising—these people do, after all, have money to give away— but it’s also expected if you consider another report by Wealth X titled “UHNW interests, passions and hobbies study.” Philanthropy clocked in as the second favored hobby for rich people, at nearly 40%, with business coming in at number one with nearly 57%.
While no one city seems to have the secret sauce for real estate “desirability,” some trends do emerge. First: Price doesn’t matter—in other words, these cities are expensive. Instead, the data points to emotional factors as particularly critical, with a third of the cities ranking high for cultural richness and UHNW populations.
According to the report, “cultural richness” considers factors like the number of top museums, access to art, theaters, 5-star hotels, high-end restaurants, and opera houses. UHNW population also ranked high: These cities (save for Sydney) are packed with other millionaires with whom you can commiserate with over caviar and champagne—and, of course, a museum opening or two.