The cities that matter most to the super-rich

The Wealth Report reveals the results of the latest Knight Frank City Wealth Index - an annual assessment of the cities that really matter to our readers in terms of business, investment and lifestyle.

Words: Flora Harley, Senior Analyst, Knight Frank Research

At a glance

The decision where to invest is a complex one driven by a range of factors, not least familiarity with the market in question and a good understanding of its dynamics.

This year, we have refined and built on the Knight Frank City Wealth Index, crunching numbers for many of the world’s leading cities in order to generate more of the detailed insights that investors rely on and identify the global urban powerhouses that matter most to the world’s movers and shakers. We also have an eye to the future, with an assessment of five global cities that we believe are set to grow in prominence and prosperity.

The results show that London has shrugged off concerns regarding Brexit to retake the top spot from New York, with the Big Apple slipping to second place overall. Investment was the only category in which New York managed to outperform the UK capital.

Asia’s growing prominence is confirmed, with Hong Kong and Singapore taking third and fourth positions respectively. Overall, the number of slots in our top 20 occupied by cities in the Asia-Pacific region rises to seven. Europe remains stable with six, but the number of North American cities making an appearance drops to seven.

The Knight Frank City Wealth Index is built around three categories: wealth, investment and lifestyle. Here, we provide some of this year’s key findings:


In terms of UHNWIs, London has the largest population with 4,944, an increase of 582 over the last five years, the most of any city. For HNWIs, Tokyo reigns supreme with 488,582, although New York has seen the highest growth with an additional 55,434 HNWIs.

New York has the highest concentration of billionaires, with 94. Growth in Asia is noticeable, with Asian cities holding six of the top ten spots in the wealth category. Taipei comes in ninth, following 17% growth in its UHNWI population over the past five years.


North American cities reign supreme for private investment, occupying six of the top ten spots in this category, with New York in top place. But London remains dominant for diversity of investors.


This category is a tale of two cities: London and Tokyo. London leads, due to the high number of five-star hotels – 76 – and the number and quality of its universities. Tokyo ranks highest for luxury dining and is the safest city according to The Economist Safe Cities Index.

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