The number of people in the UAE who have a fortune of more than Dh110 million (US$30m) is set to increase by 53 per cent over the next 10 years, according to a report published yesterday.
The property consultant Knight Frank predicts that over the next decade the number of so-called high net worth individuals living in the UAE will grow from 828 to 1,270.
The report predicts that the number of super-rich individuals across the Middle East will grow by 58 per cent between 2012 and 2022 from 4,675 to 7,378, while the number of dollar billionaires is also set to grow by 45 per cent from 140 to 203.
In the Middle East, the UAE came second to Iraq in terms of percentage growth in the number of wealthy individuals. The Middle East’s biggest rise will be in Iraq, with a 125 per cent increase from 162 to 365. Saudi Arabia came third with an increase of 49 per cent from 1,289 to 1,917.
Around the world Knight Frank said that the number of high net worth individuals rose by 8,700, or 5 per cent, last year and is expected to climb another 95,000, or 50 per cent, to 285,665, over the next 10 years, according to the survey.
However, other regions are on course for a far higher increase, with Africa reporting the biggest percentage jump in numbers of high net worth individuals, with 117 per cent.
Knight Frank predicts that over the coming decade, Asia will overtake North America and Europe to become the continent with the highest number of dollar billionaires. Currently it estimates that 543 billionaires live in Asia, compared with 708 in Europe and 586 in North America. However, it estimates that in 2022 the number will grow to 1,191 in Asia while there will be 1,115 in Europe and 1,146 in North America.
The report surveyed high net worth individuals to discover which world cities they preferred to base themselves in. It found that Dubai was ranked the seventh-best city in the world by the super-rich last year. although it is predicted to fall to ninth best in 2023 as cities in Asia become more prominent for the super wealthy. London topped the list in both 2012 and for 2023.
Knight Frank said that the number of online searches on its website from Middle Eastern locations increased by more than 30 per cent last year.
Inquiries from South America showed the biggest percentage increase, growing by more than 80 per cent, while inquiries from Africa grew by nearly 50 per cent and those from Europe increased by about 40 per cent.
Dubai had the third-highest house prices in the world last year, according to the report, with a 20 per cent increase in luxury home prices – behind Jakarta and Bali. It found that $1m buys 169 square metres of luxury housing space compared with 16 sq metres in Monaco, 23 sq metres in London, and 44 sq metres in New York.
“Dubai stands to benefit quickly from the economic recovery, in terms of both trade and tourism,” said Joseph Morris of Knight Frank’s UAE office.
“This has created a relatively transparent offshore centre with a significant head start over rivals in the region. We are also starting to see institutional investment into the local real estate markets with the emergence of investment vehicles such as the National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s real estate investment trust.”