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London super prime and the City Trifecta Index

The latest (15th) edition of Knight Frank’s annual The Wealth Report was published last month. I find these interesting because they give you a global view of how and where capital is flowing into real estate (specifically prime real estate). London, for example, did rather well last year despite the pandemic. Buyers from the around the world spent nearly $4 billion on what is commonly referred to as “super-prime properties.” This is real estate with a sale price of US$10 million or more. London saw 201 super-prime properties trade hands last year, with an average price of $18.6 million and with 31 of these transactions being at or above $25 million. This is an increase compared to the year prior (2019), which I suppose is something given that the UK’s housing market was more or less frozen between March and May of last year. These figures put London at the top, ahead of New York and Hong Kong, when it comes to super-prime real estate sales in 2020. (London figures via the Financial Times.)

Another interesting thing that you’ll find in the report is a city ranking that Knight Frank calls their City Trifecta. What this index does is take Knight Frank’s City Wealth Index (which considers where wealth is currently concentrated) and then adds in two other dimensions: innovation and wellbeing. The idea here is that innovation should drive future economic growth and wealth, and that wellbeing (quality of life) is pretty important when it comes to the future competitiveness of our global cities. When you look at the world’s top cities through this lens, the ranking starts to differ from what you may be used to seeing with cities like London, New York, and Hong Kong at the top (see above chart). Now you have Munich taking the number one spot; Boston and Toronto in 5th and 6th position, respectively; and cities like Zurich jumping up ahead of cities like Hong Kong. These kind of rankings always need to be looked at with a critical eye, but they can be interesting nonetheless.

Image: Knight Frank

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