As most everyday businesses have relied on state support, furlough schemes or government loans, Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2021 has revealed how the world’s super rich have coped during the pandemic. How are the richest 1% spending their money and will they be making future investments?

As 2020 wreaked economic havoc across the globe, the world’s wealthy have escaped relatively unscathed. In fact, the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI) increased by 2.4% last year, most notably in North America and Europe, bringing the total to 520,000 people. However, as the rich grow richer, a demand for policies aimed at curbing this wealth imbalance is expected to arise in the future.

Despite the ongoing disruption to international travel, the report suggests that a quarter of UHNWI are planning to apply for a second passport or citizenship. Knight Frank, the London-based consultancy agency conducting the report, explained how many wealthy people hope to benefit from “citizenship-by-investment schemes.” In terms of future investment, it is predicted there will be a greater focus on environmentally friendly projects as well as growth in the tech market and sciences sector.

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Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s Global Head of Research

Property prices suprisingly positive

Whether at home or away, the report found that 26% of UHNWI are planning to buy a new property in 2021. Contrary to expectations, house prices have “accelerated over the past 12 months” and the super rich have the funds to afford them. After lockdowns and restrictions, the report indicated that “access to space [is] a highly desired feature” with more people wanting “rural and coastal properties.”

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