Despite uncertainty over Brexit, London has topped the global rankings in the first Alpha Cities Index. The index, which aims to determine the most desirable city in which to buy high end homes, has been compiled by Warburg Realty and Barnes International Realty in association with Wealth-X. The Global Property Handbook, a new report on global luxury real estate, ranks cities on a range of practical, emotional and financial factors, and awards each a mark out of 100. London, with a score of 77, beat off competition from New York (75), Tokyo (70) and Sydney (61) to take the top spot.
FT wealth editor, Hugo Greenhalgh, picks out the key stories behind the numbers.
London reigns supreme
London residential property still holds the most appeal for the world’s super-rich, despite being buffeted by the Brexit vote and a rise in stamp duty.
According to the Alpha Cities Index, compiled by Warburg & Barnes in association with Wealth-X, London reigns across three main differentiating factors: practical, emotional and financial. The fall in sterling in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s referendum decision to leave the EU will have played its part, but the lure of London’s property remained strong even before the June vote. Prices, however, have increased in tandem with the city’s appeal, rising to as much as $6,000 per sq ft.
Manchester, which strives for the title of the UK’s second city, is the next choice for the super-rich seeking British property, ranking joint 26th on the list with Copenhagen.
Super-rich follow American dream
The US is overwhelmingly the most popular country represented in the index, with the super-rich snapping up real estate across America. US cities account for 12 of the top 25, with New York ranked behind London overall, followed by Chicago and San Francisco in joint sixth. The US capital, Washington D.C., comes joint ninth, while Los Angeles, Boston and Miami ranked highly as real estate destinations for the wealthy.
Competition from emerging markets
Although generally lower down on the list, some emerging market nations are challenging more established centres of wealth. Mexico City, at 23, is the top-ranked city from a developing country, beating Zurich (30) and Geneva (30). Those cities also tied with Beijing which, despite being afflicted by smog and overcrowding, is awash with newly-minted billionaires.
South Africa rises
South Africa is the coming nation amongst the countries represented in the Alpha Cities Index. Two cities, Cape Town at number 37 and Johannesburg, ranked joint 46th, reveal just how far the country has come, post-apartheid, in terms of attracting – and retaining – the super-rich.