Commercial & residential property group, Knight Frank has released a new report showing how wealth has changed in South Africa over the past decade.
The 2016 Wealth Report has tracked global wealth over the last 10 years, from 2005 to 2015, noting that there are now 187,500 UHNWIs with $30 million or more in net assets, excluding their principal residence, globally.
This figure is up 61% from 116,800 people in 2005.
However, while the population of rich individuals is expanding and will continue to do so, it will happen at a far slower pace, the group said.
The total number of ultra-wealthy individuals is forecast to rise 41% to 263,500 by 2025, but despite this long-term growth trend, data from 2015 shows the first annual dip in ultra-wealthy populations since the global financial crisis began in 2008.
Knight Frank defines wealth in the following ranges:
- Millionaires are individuals with a net worth over US$1 million
- Multi-millionaires have a net worth over US$10 million
- Ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) have a net worth over US$30 million
- Centi-millionaires have a net worth over US$100 million and
- Billionaires have a net worth over US$1 billion.
The United States by far has the most wealthy people, with 4.2 million millionaires. The country dominates across all wealth categories.
South Africa has the 36th most millionaires in the world, down 5% from 2014 – either due to difficult economic conditions or to emigration.
According to Knight Frank, South Africa was one of the economies hardest hit by slowing global economic growth in 2015, losing 23% of its stock value during the year.
However, between 2005 and 2015, South Africa’s millionaire population has grown 82% from 25,500 to 46,500 people.
Looking at South African cities, Joburg is by far the best city for super wealthy individuals, accounting for half of the super rich across most categories.
Joburg has 23,400 dollar millionaires, 1,030 multi-millionaires, and 320 UHNWIs – half of South Africa’s totals.
Cape Town has 8,900 dollar millionaires, 390 multi-millionaires and 121 UHNWIs, the report said.
South Africa also has 87 centi-millionaires and 6 billionaires.
While Cape Town has a smaller HNWI population than Joburg, that changes significantly over the December period, as thousands of super wealthy people flock to the city for holiday.
Knight Frank’s data shows that Cape Town sees a peak multi-millionaire population of 2,690 people over December, compared to its lowest month (June), where only 380 multi-millionaires are present.
A reason for this is because the Mother City is a popular destination for second homes due its relative affordability. The city was once again found to have the lowest prime property rate in all countries compared in 2015.
$1 million in Cape Town could buy 255 square metres of prime residential property at the end of 2015, compared to 203 square metres in Sao Paulo, 99 square metres in Mumbai or 96 square metres in Berlin.
Wealthy individuals can get ten times more space in Cape Town than New York for the same price, the report said.