NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Residential Investments from the Super-Rich Raise Home Prices

June 2, 2015

A handful of elite cities around the world have increasingly become magnets for residential investments from super-rich foreigners looking for safe places to park their fortunes. They invested approximately $25 billion in cross-border residential real estate in 2014.

Living in the world's most desirable cities has long been associated with exorbitant housing prices for a multitude of reasons, ranging from high infrastructure costs to demand that far outstrips the supply. Yet this vast injection of wealth is increasingly contributing to soaring home prices in places as far as London, Vancouver, Miami, New York, Panama City, Istanbul and Sydney.

It has also distorted home prices in some city centers beyond the reach of all but the world's wealthiest individuals at a time when 330 million urban households worldwide live in substandard housing. For millions of middle-class — and even upper-middle-class families —urban life in these cities is out of the question.

  • In the past year, residential property prices in prime locations favored by foreign investors rose sharply - 19 percent in New York, 15 percent in Bali and Istanbul, 13 percent in Dublin and 11 percent in Sydney.
  • From 2008 to 2012, average house prices in Hong Kong rose more than 117 percent.
  • The average property in London costs $750,000, a one-year jump of 19 percent.

Chinese investors pumped nearly $6 billion into the residential housing market in Australia in 2013. In an attempt to stem the flow of Chinese money pouring into hot spots such as Sydney and Melbourne, Australia recently announced restrictions on non-resident foreign nationals who want to purchase homes in the country.

As capital and people increasingly traverse the globe, residential property markets are caught up in the maelstrom.

Source: Kim Hjelmgaard, "Where the world's super-rich send residential prices soaring," USA Today, June 1, 2015.


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