Chapter 11: Capital city? London’s housing markets and the ‘super-rich’
In recent years there has been significant popular interest in the spectacle, impact and increasingly conspicuous presence of the ‘super-rich’ within London’s population and the glittering symbolic landscape that has accompanied them. Despite more than half a decade of austerity and recession – following the global financial crisis of 2008 – life at the very top has, it seems, been very good for the very wealthy and the professions that service their needs and whims (Hay and Muller, 2012). A recent report (Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, 2015), for example, estimates that there were some 14.6 million high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – each with US$1 million or more of investable assets – distributed around the globe in 2014. Yet in 2008 there had been just 8.6 million, suggesting that this population has grown by almost 70 per cent in just six years. Of this group, more than half a million (550 000) now reside in the UK, with the great bulk of them, perhaps unsurprisingly, living in London. The annual ‘rich lists’ produced by The Sunday Times are also helpful in identifying the individuals and families who possess huge amounts of wealth.
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