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That’s rich! Billionaires now renting rather than buying

Stamp Duty and rising interest rates mean the number of super-rich choosing to let has far exceeded those choosing to buy in London.

Robyn Hall

renting london

More multi-millionaires and billionaires are renting rather than buying super-prime homes in the capital with London now facing stiff competition from rival destinations such as Dubai, the French Riviera, Los Angeles and Miami, latest research from estate agency Beauchamp Estates reveals.

Its latest Ultra-Prime Barometer Wealth Report reveals how multi-millionaires and billionaires make their wealth, where they prefer to live in the world as well as their lifestyle choices.

renting

Stamp duty and rising interest rates mean the number of multi-millionaires and billionaires choosing to let has far exceeded those choosing to buy.

Hanover Terrace in Regent's Park overlooks the lake.

Regent’s Park: Hanover Terrace.

Ultra High Net Worth Individuals are typically spending on rent anything from £5,000 to £30,000 per week in favoured locations like Mayfair and Belgravia for apartments and St John’s Wood, Regent’s Park and Hampstead for houses.

In the first half of 2023, multi-millionaires and billionaires purchased £340 million worth of homes valued above £15 million in London – the equivelant of two billionaire homes sold each month.

But over the same period between 10 to 11 super-prime homes per month have been rented for values over £5,000 per week, with multi-millionaires and billionaires spending almost £15 million renting homes in London’s best addresses over the first six months of 2023.

A decorative room inside Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park, London.

Hanover Terrace, Regent’s Park: £17,500 per week.

As a result, the Ultra-Prime Barometer Wealth Report says the ultra-prime rental market in London is booming with rents in the capital’s prime postcodes having surged by 8.8% annually and Prime Central London rental values now standing at almost 30% above pre-pandemic (2017-2019) figures.

The average billionaire’s home in London now costs £18.8 million in Mayfair (averaging £3,520 per sqft) and £15.4 million in St John’s Wood (averaging £2,869 per sqft).

In 2023 billionaires typically spent £30 million on purchasing a London house that averages 11,200 sqft, compared to 2022 when they spent on average £21 million buying a home averaging 7,000 sqft.

CASH PURCHASES

Beauchamp Estates say that this uplift in value and size is because the majority of billionaire homes purchased in 2023 have been cash purchases for end use (59% compared to 47% in 2022) whereas in 2022 a significant number of purchases were for investment, either buy-to-refurb-resell or buy-to-rent transactions.

Grosvenor Crescent, Belgravia.

Overtaken: Grosvenor Crescent, Belgravia.

During 2023 Mayfair (main picture) followed by Hyde Park have been the most popular places for a billionaire to buy a home in London, overtaking Belgravia and Knightsbridge which were the top destinations in 2022.

Despite global competition the capital still remains one of the most popular destinations in the world for billionaires to own or rent a home with Prime Central London residential values expected to rise by 10.8% between 2023 to 2027.

But Beauchamp Estates warns that for billionaires the UK also has downsides, including Stamp Duty, excessive state scrutiny into finances and sources of wealth and worries that a change of government from Conservative to Labour in 2024 could see higher taxes and more regulation.

And it’s because of this that London is facing rising competition from rival billionaire destinations such as Dubai, the French Riviera, Los Angeles and Miami.

SAFE ASSET CLASS

Gary Hersham, Founding Director of Beauchamp Estates, says: “Luxury property in wealth hubs such as London, Manhattan and the French Riviera remains a safe asset class and as a result these ultra-prime markets have shown remarkable resilience.

Gary Hershham, Beauchamp Estates

Gary Hershham, Beauchamp Estates

“In the sales market the high share of cash purchases has helped to cushion the impact of higher interest rates, with American and Chinese/Hong Kong buyers being extremely active in the London market and Americans also significant along the French Riviera.

“In the super-prime renting market strong demand and soaring rents and a lack of supply have been the key features of the market this year.”

Jeremy Gee, Beauchamp Estates

Jeremy Gee, Beauchamp Estates

And Jeremy Gee, Managing Director of Beauchamp Estates, adds: “Due to the quality of lifestyle, education and stability, London is seen as a safe haven for global capital and remains one of the most desirable locations in the world for multi-millionaires and billionaires to buy or rent a home and spend their time.

“However London is competing with other rival wealth hubs such as Dubai, the French Riviera and Manhattan to attract multi-millionaires and billionaires, and this is where domestic issues including interest rates, taxation and state regulation play a significant role in the decision making process.

“London wins if it is allowed to compete as a lower-tax, lower-regulation free-market hub.”

November 30, 2023

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