Out today, Knight Frank’s Wealth Report analyses the ‘who, what, why and where’ of the globally rich, and their impact on the prime property markets around the world. One of the rising trends it has picked up on for 2014 is the increase in investment in space research – from asteroid mining to sub-orbital space travel. Indeed the agent has already identified over 70 high net worth individuals with a combined wealth of over US$200bn who are targeting this growth sector.
But this new angle for investors also promises to make waves in the property market back on earth, as the report explains. ‘By traveling outside the Earth’s atmosphere gravitational forces will allow spacecraft to travel at over 4,000 miles per hour, so breakfast in Mayfair could easily be followed by lunch overlooking Sydney Opera House,’ it anticipates. London to Sydney on this model would take 2.2 hours, San Francisco to Singapore 1.8 hours and Moscow to New York would be just an hour.
Of course if this new technology – currently spearheaded by companies including Virgin Galactic – remains only within the reach of a handful of billionaires property markets will remain as they are, but if the price drops to allow all HNWIs in on the act, the most in-demand cities could change completely. For instance, London currently beats New York as a global wealth hub because it’s a convenient point on the globe for African, Middle Eastern, Russian and European businesspeople. But, says Knight Frank, with travel times slashed this could all change and a new global hub could emerge
At the same time second homes markets could see themselves transformed. Liam Bailey from Knight Frank commented: ‘Right now, demand [for second homes in Europe] is mainly restricted to investors who like to limit their travel time to less than two hours. In future, that same time limit could allow Chinese or Indian investors to pop over for the weekend to visit their Tuscan farmhouse.’
Which also presumably means the same could apply to European property hunters: winter sun destinations would be within easy reach, so second homes in Thailand or South Africa could look a good deal more appealing, particuarly considering the weather in Europe in recent months.
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