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Yesterday evening I was reading the Spring Summer Candy GPS Report put out by London-based property developer Candy & Candy. If you’ve never heard of Candy & Candy, then I guess you haven’t been in the market for a £60m apartment. Candy & Candy are the developers behind One Hyde Park in London, which is said to be the world’s most expensive residential development.

But what is interesting about a project like One Hyde Park is that it’s really only possible in a global city, like London, that attracts a massive amount of foreign investment. A project like One Hyde Park is a possibility of globalization, not a result of local employment numbers.

Which is why if you take a look at the Candy GPS report, you’ll see that their interest is in tracking the habits of ultra-high-net-worth-individuals (UHNWIs)—those with wealth exceeding US$30 million. Last year, the world was estimated to contain almost 200,000 of them, with a combined wealth of almost $28 trillion. This number is expected to rise to $40 trillion by 2020.

Now, you may not be in the market for the most expensive apartment in the world, but I thought it would be interesting to talk about where this money is coming from and which cities it’s going into—at least when it comes to real estate.

The top 3 countries for UHNWIs investing in real estate are Germany, Japan and the United States, respectively. The US has the most ultra rich people, but they have a lower propensity to invest in real estate compared to Germany. Nonetheless, these are the countries that dominate.

But who are the recipients of this money?

Well, first of all, it’s going into cities. But it’s flowing into a small number of them. Cities representing 5% of the world’s population are said to attract over 50% of the real estate investments made by the richest people on the plant. 

According to Candy GPS, the top cities are Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Singapore and New York, respectively. Hong Kong sits at the top, largely because of money flowing in from mainland China, but London is said to have the broadest investment reach.

So there you have it, a quick overview of where the ultra rich buy real estate.