London has now taken the top spot for the global city with the most dollar millionaires, outpacing its long-standing rival, New York City.
A recent survey reveals that a staggering 875,000 individuals in London can be categorized as dollar millionaires, meaning they own assets exceeding the value of $10,15,812 (approximately £720,000). This insight comes from an annual study analyzing the financial stature of the world’s affluent population conducted by property consultancy firm Knight Frank.
To put this in perspective, one in every ten Londoners can now claim the title of a ‘dollar millionaire.’ Such statistics underscore the expanding wealth disparity in the city, a divide that the COVID-19 pandemic’s socioeconomic effects have further exacerbated. As a stark contrast, government records indicate that over 2.5 million Londoners are “living in poverty.”
The report reveals 874,354 individuals in London have amassed assets, predominantly property, that make them eligible for the “high net worth individual” (HNWI) designation.
Comparatively, New York City trails with a count of 820,000 dollar millionaires. Frank’s global head of research, Liam Bailey, discussed this trend with The Guardian, “The crux is that our benchmark for HNWI stands at $1m or £720,000. Given that the average housing cost in London is around £514,000, many households inadvertently find themselves in the HNWI bracket. Paradoxically, London’s soaring housing prices contribute largely to the high count of its wealthy households.”
Adding another feather to its cap, the study also ascertained that London boasts the most significant quantity of luxury or “prime” residences globally. A whopping 68,000 such high-end homes in the city carry a price tag of over £2m each.
The COVID-19 pandemic, while debilitating for many sectors, observed a surge in luxury property transactions in London. Many foreign investors, keen on capitalizing on the depreciated value of the British pound coupled with the tax incentives post-Brexit, jumped into the market.
In addition to its monetary distinctions, London continues to hold allure for the affluent based on its lifestyle offerings. The survey crowned London as the preferred city for the well-heeled, extolling its myriad cultural and leisure attractions ranging from prestigious opera houses, theaters, and top-tier universities to vibrant sports arenas, upscale shopping districts, and an array of Michelin-starred dining establishments.
While London’s rising number of millionaires might be a testament to its enduring appeal and economic dynamism, it also spotlights the growing chasm of inequality within the city’s confines.