There were wide variations in performance. Hong Kong saw the sharpest annual drop (-24.5%), but prices for residential properties in Bangkok rose 22.5%. Additionally, some previously buoyant markets have turned quickly. Dubai, which recorded annual overall growth of almost 11%, saw prices fall by 19% in the last quarter alone.
According to PIRI, prime property in Monaco is the most expensive in the world costing an average of €55,000 per square metre for the best properties. London and Manhattan are placed second and third.
The first Knight Frank World Cities Survey illustrates that New York and London are likely to remain the world’s leading financial centres, but Asian cities are catching up. In the same survey, London takes poll position for global influence by securing top-five positions in four key ranking criteria – "economic activity", "political power", "knowledge & influence", and "quality of life".
Despite house price falls, the Knight Frank/Citi Private Bank Attitudes Survey shows that almost 55% of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) plan to increase their exposure to residential property over the next two years.
Global farmland prices started to slip last year on the back of falling commodity prices, but remain more resilient than residential or commercial property, according to preliminary findings from the Knight Frank Global Farmland Survey. Exchange rate fluctuations mean affordability in some countries has increased for US dollar and euro-backed buyers, despite strong price increases in local currencies.
Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, said: "The Wealth Report, produced in conjunction with Citi Private Bank, is released at an opportune time. Covering a period of global wealth destruction rather than creation, the report’s annual analysis of prime residential property markets and the behaviour and attitudes of the wealthy has become even more relevant.
"Even the world’s richest people have cut their discretionary spending and most desirable prime residential property markets have now been affected by the global downturn. Although almost half the locations in Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index managed to show a positive overall return in 2008, price growth had either stalled or started to decline in nearly 75% of them by the end of the final quarter.
"However, despite house price falls, the rich are committed to property as an asset class and the results of our Attitudes Survey, which represents the views of a cross section of Citi Private Bank’s wealthiest clients, reveal that 55% plan to increase their exposure to residential property over the next two years. In turbulent times the wealthy want their investments to be both tangible and transparent.
"This year’s Wealth Report also takes a timely look at the shift in economic power to the Asian financial centres. Despite this mounting challenge from the East, the new Knight Frank Global Cities Index concludes that London and New York are likely to retain their global dominance."
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