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What rich people plan to do with their money in 2023

Each year in March, Knight Frank publishes something called, The Wealth Report, which typically includes things like its Prime International Residential Index (PIRI) and a general overview of what ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) are up to with their money.

(An UHNWI is typically defined as someone with a net worth greater than $30 million. And as of last year, there were nearly 400,000 of them around the world, with Hong Kong being the city with the most.)

In anticipation of this year’s report, Knight Frank has just published the key findings of an “Attitudes Survey.” This is them talking with and surveying private bankers, wealth advisors and family offices about some of the key themes for 2023.

Here are a few of my takeaways:

  • Globally, about 1/3 of UHNWI wealth is allocated to primary and secondary homes. This is expected. Generally the richer you become, the more your net worth gets diversified away from your primary residence. It is also worth noting that of this 1/3 allocation, more than a quarter is being held outside of their country of residence. This outside-of-country-of-residence percentage is highest for UHNWIs in the Middle East (41%).
  • The average UHNWI owns 4.2 homes around the world, with UHNWIs in Asia owning the most: an average of five homes. This is the kind of stat that might provide motivation for a foreign buyer ban, but I continue to believe that there are other bigger drivers impacting housing affordability/supply across our global cities.
  • About 15% of UHNWIs said that they want to purchase a residential property this year (2023). This is down from 21% last year. Inline with bullet point number one, the greatest appetite/stated intent is coming from the Middle East. (Related article: The new Gulf sovereign wealth fund boom)
  • Real estate was identified as the top investment opportunity. About 1/3 of UHNWIs want to invest in real estate — either directly or indirectly — in 2023. And the top asset classes are: healthcare, logistics/industrial, office, multi-family rental apartments, and hotels. It is interesting to see office in the top three. A positive sign that it is maybe being viewed as an oversold opportunity.
  • Finally, environmental sustainability is being increasingly considered by UHNWIs when it comes to investment properties: 57% are considering energy source(s), 33% are considering opportunities for refurbishment, and 30% are considering the materials used/the embodied carbon footprint inherent to the asset.

For the full findings, click here.

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