UK property has been flexing its muscles as one of the most favourable and trendy asset classes in all the world in the last year as the richest investors in our shores have seen their wealth rocket in the past 12 months.
According to a new report from property publication Estates Gazette, the combined wealth of the richest 250 worldwide investors who own investment properties in the UK has climbed to more than £300 billion.
At this time last year the combined wealth of this group was a (comparatively) tiny £218.3 billion, meaning that they have seen a staggering leap of 40 per cent in their combined riches in the space of just 12 months, and no doubt property has had a part to play in this success.
Estates Gazette said the list of 250 investors now has 60 billionaires on it, a huge increase when compared to the ten who appeared on the list in 2009, which indicates just how favourable British property has become for the super rich in the course of a few short years.
Amancio Ortega, the Spanish billionaire behind the Zara fashion chain, sits atop the list of property tycoons with a wealth of £45.7 billion. He owns several prominent West End buildings including Devonshire House on Piccadilly, which used to belong to the Dukes of Devonshire and is now an office block for hedge fund investors and was sold to him in 2013 for a massive £400 million.
In total, the Spanish investor now owns an empire that is worth some £5.2 billion in total.
“Property in the UK, and London in particular, continues to be viewed worldwide as a safe haven for investment from the financial storm clouds that continue to threaten internationally – particularly in the Asian markets. The Chinese stock market crash in June has everybody worried,” said Noella Pio Kivlehan, markets editor at Estates Gazette.
In second place on the Estates Gazette list is China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, who has invested in property such as One Nine Elms, part of London’s Vauxhall South Bank regeneration programme, while third place was snapped up by Ernesto Bertarelli, pharmaceuticals heir.
Interestingly, Sir Charles Dunstone – the millionaire founder of the Carphone Warehouse chain who is ranked at no.36 – recently agreed to sell a prime student accommodation portfolio for £335m.