Chapter 6: The homes of the super-rich: multiple residences, hyper-mobility and decoupling of prime residential housing in global cities
The year 2010 was good for billionaires. In March 2011 the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires reported a new record number, over 1200, and combined net worth of US$4.5 trillion, providing ample opportunities to shop globally for additions to their portfolios of homes. Mexican Carlos Slim stayed on top of the pile, with a reported fortune of US$74 billion; the number of billionaires in China had doubled since the 2010 list; and Moscow was home to more billionaires than any other city. This chapter develops ideas and arguments sketched out in Beaverstock et al. (2004) and Iain Hay’s introduction to this book, through a focus on the residences of the super-rich and their impacts on housing markets in London, the second homes capital of the world. Two issues are explored in detail: (1) the ability of hyper-mobile super-rich individuals and families to purchase numerous homes in many locations with complex spatial interrelations between countries of residence and ownership; and (2) the impact of super-rich overseas buyers of luxury homes in prime locations, contributing to a de-coupling of parts of London’s housing market from the general dynamics of the UK housing system.
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