$1 trillion and counting: Australia’s richest wealthier than ever before

Investing

New research from Capgemini reveals high-net-worth wealth in Australia grew 7.9% in 2023, well above the global average of 4.7%. It is now valued at US$1.05 trillion.
Wealth in Sydney ascended to 8th in the world, rising two places from last year. The emerald city is projected to crack the Top 5 wealthiest cities across the globe by 2040. Image: Getty Images

The global wealth of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) has grown to a record US$86.8 trillion. There are now 22.8 million HNWI across the world according to Capgemini’s 2024 World Wealth Report, a 5.1% bump from last year.

India had the highest growth globally, recording a 12.4% spike in wealth. Italy is number 2, and Australia comes in 3rd, expanding 7.9% and pushing the collective wealth of HNWI Aussies past the US$1 trillion dollar milestone.

The tally in 2022 was USD$975 billion. This is not the first time Australia’s wealth has risen above the US$1 trillion mark – it also crossed that threshold in 2021, before declining in 2022. It is now the highest it has ever been – a record US$1.05 trillion.

The number of HNWI in Australia has also grown. There are now 333,000 people that fit the bill, up 7.8% on 2023 number. Capgemini defines HNWI as having ‘investable assets of USD1 million or more, excluding their primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables.’

Australia’s resilient economy and robust equity markets led to the growth in wealth, according to the financial services firm. The S&P/ASX 200 rose at the same rate as the number of wealthy individuals (7.8%).

Wealthiest cities around the globe

Henley and Partners recently released its list of the wealthiest locations globally. Melbourne and Sydney are in the Top 15.

According to the research, Victoria’s capital came in 15th and is now home to 10 USD billionaires and just under 100,000 millionaires. Melbourne’s wealth has grown 40% in 10 years.

Melbourne’s skyline as seen from bayside suburb Brighton. Image: Getty Images

500km north lies the wealthiest city in Australia. Sydney climbed to 8th place on Henley and Partner’s 2024 list, rising up from 10th place last year.

“The city has experienced especially strong wealth growth over the past 20 years and is quickly becoming one of the wealthiest cities in the Asia Pacific region,” says Andrew Amoils, the head of research at New World Wealth, which partnered with Henley and Partners to create the list.

“We expect this growth to continue, with Sydney projected to break into the global Top 5 wealthiest cities by 2040,” says Amoils.

Top on Henley and Partners’ list was New York City. Sixty billionaires call the Big Apple home, making up a big chunk of the US$3 trillion in wealth held by its residents, according to the research. Almost 350,000 millionaires (liquid investable wealth of US$1 million or more) live in NYC – an increase of 48% from 2013.

As impressive as that growth is, the region that experienced the biggest jump in wealth over the last decade was the Bay area.

The Bay Area – spanning from San Francisco to Silicon Valley – has seen 82% growth in the number of millionaires over the past decade. Image: Getty Images

Millionaire growth in San Francisco and Silicon Valley has risen a staggering 82% over 10 years. 68 billionaires and 675 centi-millionaires (having investible assets of more than US$100 million) now live in the Bay. The exorbitant growth in wealth has been fueled by the rapid acceleration and consequent IPOs of tech companies over the last two decades.

Cities with the fastest-growing wealth

The world’s fastest-growing city is Shenzhen, China. It is home to 22 billionaires and more than 50,000 millionaires. Shenzhen’s wealth has grown 140% from 2013 – 2023. It is number 23 on the global list of wealthy cities, beaten by fellow Chinese city Beijing which comes in at number 10. Shanghai is the 11th wealthiest city in the world.

Amoils points to five lesser-known cities that have grown significantly over the last decade.

“Hangzhou has experienced a massive 125% increase in its HNW residents, and Guangzhou’s millionaires have grown 110% over the past decade,” says Amoils.

“When it comes to wealth growth potential over the next decade, cities to watch include Bengaluru (India), Scottsdale (USA), and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). All three have enjoyed exceptional growth rates of over 100% in their resident millionaire populations over the past ten years.”

The Top 8 wealthiest cities in the world according to research. There are 4 Australian cities in the Top 50. Image: Henley and Partners and New World Wealth
How to spend it: the most expensive cities

Monaco takes the crown as the world’s most expensive city, according to the Henley and Partners’ research. 40% of Monacans are millionaires, making it the city with the highest wealth per capita globally. New York, London, Hong Kong, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and our very own Sydney round out the Top 6 most expensive cities in the world.

The methodology used by Henley and Company to compile the list of most expensive cities is the average cost of a 200 – 400 square meter apartment. Sydney is the only Australian city to make the dubious honour of making the Top 20 globally.

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