Wealth of UK’s property tycoons breaks £100bn barrier



The wealth of the property industry’s richest 250 investors and developers has broken through the £100bn mark for the first time, according to the latest Estates Gazette Rich List.

The 10th anniversary edition of the list is published with this Saturday’s Estates Gazette (10 November 2012). It reveals that the combined wealth of the richest men and women in UK property this year totals GBP100.8bn.

In the last year, the collective wealth of the 250 property players rose by GBP13.8bn – an inflation busting 16 per cent. Their fortunes range in size from GBP7.5bn (Grosvenor’s Duke of Westminster) to GBP50m (Jerry & Janet Knight of Lexadon).

There is also a strong streak of new wealth in the list, which is compiled for Estates Gazette by Philip Beresford and Dominic Prince, authors of the Sunday Times rich list. The majority of the entrants are self-made millionaires (187), as opposed to inherited money (63).

There were 32 new entrants this year including, at number four, Joseph Lau of Chinese Estates Holdings who is worth GBP4.14bn. Other new entrants include Dragon Den’s Peter Jones with GBP402m and Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler with GBP65m. Meanwhile the granddaughters of the late king of Soho Paul Raymond – Fawn and India Rose James, the youngest on the list – managed to increase the value of their estate by GBP15m last year taking them to a total of GBP317m.

Two of the biggest risers were David & Simon Rueben, up GBP903m on 2011 figures to GBP7.1bn, and Ian and Richard Livingstone up GBP812m on 2011 to GBP2.1bn. The Duke of Westminster remains top of the list – a position he has held since it was first published in 2003. But he is facing stiff competition from Swiss-Italian billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli who is just GBP100m behind him in second place.

The combined GBP100bn wealth of the top 250 puts their assets ahead of the GDPs of nine countries within the European Union (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia). Collectively the top 250 are also richer than each of New Zealand, Kuwait and Iraq.

And there was good news for those born in the 1930s and 1940s as, according to EG’s analysis, they made up the largest part of the Rich List. By star sign, Geminis are most likely to make a property fortune, with Scorpions the least likely.

Estates Gazette Rich List editor Noella Pio Kivlehan says: “The phenomenal wealth of our top 250, coming in at over GBP100bn, signals that the property market is back on track having suffered in the turbulent times of the last few years. That said, ownership is heavily concentrated around London and the south east. But with London now perhaps the world city – thanks to its vibrancy and safe haven status – there is every sign that savvy property investors’ wealth will grow.

“It’s significant too that there are more people on the list who made their fortune outside property and now see value in the sector. And despite the economic woes, there is proof that property can still deliver spectacular returns for entrepreneurs with flair: there are more self-made investors and developers on our list than those with ‘old money’.”