Wealth of 250 richest people with UK property assets soars 40pc to £300bn

news2The combined wealth of the world’s richest people has jumped from £218.3bn last year.

The net worth of the world’s 250 richest people with property investments in the UK has jumped by 40pc to more than £300bn, the largest annual increase on record.

The list, published by property publication Estates Gazette, features 60 billionaires, compared with just 10 in 2009.

Amancio Ortega, the Spanish billionaire behind the Zara fashion chain, took the top spot with a fortune of £45.7bn.

He owns several prominent West End buildings including Devonshire House on Piccadilly, the former home of the Dukes of Devonshire and now an office block home to hedge fund investors. Mr Ortega bought the property for more than £400m in late 2013.

Earlier this year, Mr Ortega bought a £400m development on Oxford Street which houses Primark’s flagship store. In total, his property empire is worth £5.32bn, with the remainder of his fortune coming from his retail ventures.

“Property in the UK, and London in particular, continues to be viewed worldwide as a safe haven for investment from the financial storm clouds that continue to threaten internationally – particularly in the Asian markets. The Chinese stock market crash in June has everybody worried,” said Noella Pio Kivlehan, markets editor at Estates Gazette.

In second place on the Estates Gazette Rich List 2015 is China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, owner of real estate and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group, with a fortune of £22.7bn.

In the UK, he owns several real estate developments, including One Nine Elms, part of London’s Vauxhall South Bank regeneration programme.

“To unabashedly go out and make money, then fairly and equitably distribute that wealth – this is what rich people should do,” Mr Wang said earlier this week.

Ernesto Bertarelli, pharmaceuticals heir and backer of Crosstree Real Estate, took third place with a fortune of £10.2bn.

The Duke of Westminster, the UK’s richest man who had previously topped every Estates Gazette rich list in the ten years to 2013, came in at number seven with a fortune of £8.8bn.

The property magnate duke owns swathes of central London through his company, Grosvenor Estates, with assets including its historic estate in Mayfair and Belgravia.

Earlier this year, he submitted a planning application with Westminster council for a 190-room hotel. The Peninsula London, expected to be completed in 2021, will include shops, a spa, a ballroom and 28 residential apartments.

Other prominent UK billionaires on the list include Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley, who turned is focus from tracksuits to prime property in April, with a deal to build homes worth more than £900m in Chelsea.

Lord Sugar, whose £1.04bn fortune has been accumulated from shrewd property investments, has a substantial commercial property portfolio across London and Essex through his company, Amsprop. Earlier this year, the firm sold Burberry’s old flagship store on London’s Haymarket for £65m to a Qatari investor, more than double the £31.5m it paid in 2013.

Sir Charles Dunstone, founder of Carphone Warehouse, is worth a total of £1.7bn. His property investments are focused on luxury student accommodation. He also recently bought a converted Victorian warehouse in Notting Hill for £25.3m.

In recent years, London has ranked top for offering the best real estate investment opportunities for foreign investors.

However, Swiss Bank UBS warned yesterday that soaring house prices in London have fuelled a “bubble-risk” that has left the capital most in danger of a correction out of all major cities in the world.

Ref: Telegraph

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