The number of ultra rich is growing – up 3% according to a new survey - and a good deal of their money is being ploughed into property, London in particular. Joanna Partridge looks at the report and its impact.
REPORTER: Welcome to the world of the super rich. This 6-bedroom town house in central London is on the market for almost £10 million. While out of reach for most of us, the number of wealthy around the world who could afford this kind of property is rising. The annual International Wealth Report from Knight Frank says the number of very rich grew by 3% last year - despite continued global economic uncertainty. They're known as Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, so all have assets worth over $30 million. There are now just under 170,000 of these supermillionaires and billionaires around the world - a number that's risen by almost 60% in the past decade. Liam Bailey from Knight Frank says the very wealthy are spread across the globe, but concentrated in some regions.
LIAM BAILEY, GLOBAL HEAD OF RESEARCH, KNIGHT FRANK: "Europe, North America and also Asia are the dominant locations where these individuals are located. But in terms of future growth, there is no doubt that Latin America, Africa and also the Middle East will become increasingly more important over time. And actually whilst Asia at the moment is number two to Europe in terms of concentrations of wealthy people, in ten years' time it probably will take the top position."
REPORTER: Global financial centres attract the super rich - London boasts the highest number per square mile. But New York is predicted to overtake it by 2024. There's no clear rich-magnet in Asia, with several cities jockeying for position. London has long been attractive to the world's wealthy - who've put their cash into the city's property market, seeing it as a safe haven. Continued instability in several regions of the world means some London houses will always be bought with foreign money. Some expect to see more Ukrainian hryvnias and Russian roubles flowing into London in the coming months. Naomi Heaton is CEO of London Central Portfolio, who specialise in residential investment.
NAOMI HEADON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LONDON CENTRAL PORTFOLIO: "We're talking about the Ukrainian crisis or the Russian situation, but we obviously have had the Arab Spring, we had a lot of tax panic in France and we had the euro zone, and so what we see over time is that different countries have economic or political issues which causes them to want to put some of their money outside their own jurisdiction."
REPORTER: But many are already here.
LIAM BAILEY, GLOBAL HEAD OF RESEARCH, KNIGHT FRANK: "The Russian population in London, they've been here for nearly 20 years now, it's quite mature, and actually I think it's less reliant on sort of instant trends."
REPORTER: Some fear London property is becoming a bubble. But with limited supply and growing demand, the city doesn't look like it will lose its shine any time soon.