Despite recession concerns and market turbulence, wealth is growing in some parts of the world — and at times, significantly so, according to a new report by investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners.
Hangzhou in China comes out on top of the list assessing the fastest-growing millionaire hotspots. The report found that between 2012 and 2022, the amount of individuals living there that have over $1 million worth of investable assets has soared by 105%.
As of the end of last year, 30,400 people living there fell into this category. Of those, 98 were so-called centi-millionaires, who held assets worth over $100 million, and 12 were billionaires.
Two further Chinese cities, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are also in the top 10, coming in third and seventh place respectively. The amount of ultra-rich people in Shenzhen jumped by 98% between 2012 and 2022, while Guangzhou noted an 86% increase.
Alongside China, the U.S. dominates the top 10 with three cities.
In the case of the U.S., however, all three cities are also in the top five. Austin, the state capital of Texas, took second place as its millionaire population grew by 102% between 2012 and 2022, while Florida’s West Palm Beach came fourth with a 90% increase, followed by Arizona’s Scottsdale with an 88% rise.
Andrew Amoils, head of research at wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth, which worked on the report with Henley & Partners, links the jumps to various factors.
Austin has benefited from the tech sector as many major companies have moved operations there in recent years, Amoils pointed out in a note published alongside the report. Meanwhile, Scottsdale is said to be attractive to tech entrepreneurs and retirees due to its “growing number of exclusive golf and lifestyle estates,” and West Palm Beach is a popular work-from-home destination.
Notably, no European cities are in the top 10.
“The US’s dominance over the global tech sector has probably played a role in European cities struggling. Also, Asia’s rise has probably damaged Europe more than the US,” Amoils told CNBC Make It.
Where wealth is declining
On the flip side, the amount of wealthy individuals in some cities has fallen significantly over the last decade. Moscow, Russia, has seen the biggest decline at 44%, and St. Petersburg noted the third largest dip at 38%.
That might be somewhat unsurprising due to the fallout from Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.
Other cities that have seen their ultra-rich populations fall include Johannesburg in South Africa, which had 40% fewer millionaires in 2022 than in 2012, Hong Kong, which saw a 27% drop, and London, where the ultra-wealthy population fell by 15%. All three of those cities are among the 10 locations with the biggest declines.
The world’s wealthiest cities
Hong Kong still made it back into a separate ranking of the top 10 wealthiest cities in the world, however. With a total of 129,500 individuals with over $1 million of investable assets, including 290 centi-millionaires and 32 billionaires, the city is the seventh most wealthy globally.
Hong Kong is one of just two new entrants on this list compared to Henley & Partners’ most recent report on the wealthiest cities in the world, which was published in September.
The top six have remained the same since, with New York taking the lead followed by Tokyo in Japan, the Bay Area which includes San Francisco and Silicon Valley, London in the U.K., Singapore and Los Angeles.
340,000 New Yorkers were found to have investable assets worth at least $1 million, with 724 of them being centi-millionaires and 58 of them being billionaires.
Chicago, Illinois, and Houston, Texas, which were seventh and eighth respectively last year, are no longer in the top 10. The decline of ultra-wealthy individuals in Chicago has become a pattern in recent years, Amoils says, adding that several big businesses have also left the city.
“Houston HNWIs dropped mainly due to oil price drop. When we did [the] last set of stats in June 2022, [the] oil price was at over $120, whilst it’s now around $80. The 10-year HNWI growth rate in Houston is still very healthy though at +65%,” Amoils said.
In place of Houston, China’s capital Beijing is now eighth, followed by Shanghai. They were previously ninth and 10th respectively, but a new entrant to the top 10 also rounds it out: Australia’s Sydney.
The top 10
These are the 10 cities that saw the largest increases of ultra-wealthy individuals between 2012 and 2022 — and how big the jumps are, according to Henley & Partners’ report.
- Hangzhou, China (105%)
- Austin, U.S. (102%)
- Shenzhen, China (98%)
- West Palm Beach, U.S. (90%)
- Scottsdale, U.S. (88%)
- Bengaluru, India (88%)
- Guangzhou, China (86%)
- Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (84%)
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (82%)
- Hyderabad, India (78%)