The Billionaires Census report by Wealth-X, the global wealth intelligence entity, analyses the asset holdings of billionaires globally including real estate for the year ended 2017. According to the report, the proportion of billionaire wealth held in real estate and luxury assets like yachts, jewellery and art shrunk in 2017, to 2.3% from 3% in 2016, equivalent to about $80m in luxury holdings per individual as real estate prices continued to trend higher in most major cities across the globe.
Further, the report shows that there were about 173 billionaires, with $468 billion in total of net worth and an average of $2.7 billion dollars each, only second to those in the finance, banking and investment, and industry sectors.
Other sectors which were featured in the high net worth populated census include manufacturing and technology. The finance, banking and investment sector boasts the most billionaires with 413 billionaires and a total net worth of $1.416 trillion.
Real estate was the third-largest industry sector for churning out billionaires, a phenomenon that has followed the wealth creation opportunities generated by the global trend towards urbanization in many regions. More is to be expected from this sector due to the expected increase in urban populations in the coming decades.
While Brexit has had an effect on certain high-end residential markets, the report states that the general operating environment for real estate markets has remained unaffected, even exhibiting positivity from a wealth creation perspective. This has been attributed to the combination of three important factors; robust demand for housing, supply constraints and favourable financing terms.
Real estate however is not top in the minds of most billionaires, with most ultra-high net worth individuals having interest in business (58.9%), followed by philanthropy (50.7%), sports (43.7%) and aviation (27.8%). Real estate (17.4%) came a distant tenth in the list of top interest, passions and hobbies for billionaires.