Wed, Jun 05, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Super-rich bullish, despite concerns

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Knight Frank Taiwan researcher Andy Huang presents the findings of the company’s Wealth Report 2019 in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Hsu Yi-ping, Taipei Times

Super-rich Taiwanese expect to grow their wealth from their investments this year, even though the domestic political and economic conditions are increasingly unfavorable for wealth creation or accumulation, global real-estate consultancy Knight Frank said in a report yesterday.

Seventy-five percent of super-rich Taiwanese voiced confidence that they would gain returns from their investments, up from 50 percent last year, Knight Frank Taiwan researcher Andy Huang (黃舒衛) said.

“Low valuations for most investment tools foster profit expectations,” Huang told a media briefing.

The consultancy defines “super rich” as people who have a net worth of at least US$30 million. There are 1,519 Taiwanese who meet the threshold, an increase of 4 percent from last year, Huang said.

While positive about wealth creation, 83 percent of the respondents portrayed the domestic political and economic conditions as difficult for wealth creation or accumulation, Huang said.

An escalating US-China trade dispute has cast a shadow over the global economic scene, while next year’s presidential election is adding uncertainty about policy direction, he said.

As a result, bonds were the favored investment tool, accounting for 30 percent of portfolios, followed by cash at 22 percent and real estate at 20 percent, the consultancy said.

Super-rich Taiwanese on average own 5.4 properties, the second-highest in the world, behind only Saudi Arabians with 6.4 units, the report said.

Only 16 percent plan to buy real estate for self-occupancy in Taiwan, the lowest level in Asia and down from 22 percent from last year, Huang said.

That suggests 250 luxury home transactions this year, higher than an average of 220 units over the past few years, he said.

The finding might lend support to luxury home prices that have fallen 23.8 percent from their peak in 2013, he added.

The report said that only 15 percent expressed an interest in raising their real-estate holdings in overseas markets, down from 38 percent last year.

The US tops the list of real-estate investment destinations among super-rich Taiwanese at 36 percent, while Australia and China tied for second place at 27 percent, it said.

Eighty-two percent of the children of super-rich Taiwanese receive their college education abroad, far higher than the global average of 48 percent, Huang said.

A quarter of super-rich Taiwanese have dual citizenship and additional 27 percent intend to apply for it, the report said.

Another 20 percent are looking for permanent residency in foreign nations, it said.

The US ranks the most favored destination at 45 percent, while Singapore and Australia are neck-and-neck in second place, it said.

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