Where the World’s Wealthiest Live Outside of the U.S.

Tokyo, London, Paris. These three metropolises always seem to dominate lists for the world’s affluent population – but there’s a lot more nuance to understanding and tracking these individuals, as Coldwell Banker Global Luxury’s The Report 2022 found.

Globally, the number of individuals with a net worth of $5 million+ rose 19.8% from 2020 to 2021. Their representative dollar volume also increased by 20.4% from 2020.

Shifting values and lifestyle priorities during the pandemic transformed how and where the world’s wealthiest live. Additionally, global wealth not only held steady from 2020 to 2021 but also rapidly increased in the second half of 2021 — speeding up migrations in many property markets worldwide.

To better understand how global wealth and the increasingly fluid relationship between the affluent, the real estate they own, the cities where they live and their evolving residential footprint around the globe will impact future property markets, the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program consulted with Wealth-X to provide data on 21 major global cities outside of the United States. Here’s a quick snapshot of what was discovered:

Top Cities With the Highest Affluent Population*

Global affluent populations have remained relatively stable since 2016. Among the top 10 cities with the greatest number of individuals with $5 million+ in net worth in 2021, Tokyo has claimed the top spot for the last five years. Hong Kong, Paris, Osaka and London followed in 2021 for the top five.

According to Wealth-X’s predictive analysis, Tokyo is expected to remain dominant for at least another five. London will move to No. 4, overtaking Osaka, Japan, and Toronto will move to No. 9, past Taipei. More notably, however, are the growth rates of London and Paris – two Western European metropolises that saw their wealthy populations drop in 2020 during the onset of the pandemic. Their population upswings in 2021 follow a similar pattern seen in major U.S. cities like New York as people have returned to live in urban settings again. In contrast, the affluent populations in East Asian cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Osaka, Nagoya, Singapore and Seoul stayed on a steady upward trajectory between 2020 and 2021. Drawing on their experience with previous SARS and MERS outbreaks, these cities were able to weather COVID-19 better with travel restrictions, mass testing, contact tracing and strict quarantine measures early on in the pandemic. Toronto also managed to maintain its upward growth trend. Unlike Paris and London, it is a city with a higher percentage of domestic citizens as opposed to foreign residents.

Top Cities by Affluent Real Estate Footprint

The Wealth-X data distinguishes between primary and secondary homeowners, as well as those who simply live in the city but may not own. Real estate footprint takes into account all of an affluent individual’s owned properties, including primary and secondary homes.

Analyzing the real estate footprint for the same 21 global cities, London comes out on top who own either a primary home or a second home in the U.K. capital. Paris, Toronto, Beijing, Sydney and Moscow followed. Meanwhile, Singapore, Geneva, Dubai and London have stronger rates of secondary homeownership compared to their overall real estate footprints. Meanwhile, Paris and Toronto have stronger primary homeownership rates when compared against their total real estate footprint. The exception again is Moscow, which has a more equitable percentage allocation.

Which cities have more affluent primary homeowners? Which cities are most desired among second homeowners? You’ll have to find out by reading the full Report 2022.

* An affluent individual is defined as someone having $5 million+ in net worth 

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