London and New York to hold ‘top city’ positions for another ten years

In Europe, despite the past year’s continental recession, the main luxury market hotspots have remained relatively hot – eight out of 10 top locations in the Knight Frank Prime International Residential Index (PIRI) price rankings are in the UK, France or Switzerland.

Prime property is a key part of portfolios – 2011 saw a global increase in allocation to real estate of 19%; the largest climbers in 2011 popularity for investment were bonds (+65%) and cash (+60%).

According to the report’s unique Attitudes Survey*, lifestyle and investment remain the key drivers for luxury second-home purchases, with 16% of all HNWIs surveyed already owning a ski chalet, and 40% a beachfront property. The US and UK are the top second-home destinations for the rich.

Andrew Shirley, editor of The Wealth Report, comments:

“This year’s Wealth Report contains even more evidence that the world’s wealthy are weathering the economic slowdown better than the wider population, and nowhere is this better reflected than in prime property markets. Those markets considered “safe-haven” locations continue to attract private investors looking for both prime residential and commercial property. Political and economic uncertainty across the world is only helping to exacerbate the trend.

“But it is not just property where HNWIs from fast-growing economies are making their mark. The Wealth Report’s Attitudes Survey reveals that they are playing an increasingly important role in the worlds of sport, fine art, wine, and philanthropy.”

Luigi Pigorini, CEO Citi Private Bank Europe, Middle East & Africa comments:

“Wealthy individuals and families, especially those originating from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, have become extraordinarily global in nature. Many seek the rule of law and stability that make the UK a top choice for investment. With English a popular second language and a relatively weak pound, the global wealthy have confidently focused their interest on London and the wealth preservation it can afford.

“Investors seeking a more conservative strategy have gravitated toward high-quality properties in central business districts in cities such as Beijing, London, Munich, New York, Paris and Sydney. Conversely, for those willing to accept more risk, high growth markets, such as Asia and Latin America, may be able to generate more attractive returns relative to the US and Europe. Investors must remain cautious as global economic growth will continue to influence all property markets, and investors should measure their yield and return expectations taking growth into account.”

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