Commercial and residential property group Knight Frank has published its Wealth Report for 2022, showing the number of high-net-worth individuals that currently live in South Africa.
The report shows South Africa has seen a steady increase in high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) over the last five years – with this trend expected to continue over the coming decade. By comparison, the number of ultra-wealthy people in the country has continued to drop.
High-net-worth individuals are defined as having a net worth of at least $1 million (R15.3 million), including their primary residence.
The report shows that the number of HNWIs in South Africa now stands at 31,852 people in 2021 – an increase of 14% compared to 2020 (28,043). The figure has continued to grow since 2016 (26,649) and is expected to reach 34,064 by 2026.
While many people in South Africa – and around the world – took a significant financial knock due to the impact of the global Covid pandemic, the report shows that global elite grew their wealth substantially.
Asset price rises, from property markets to stock markets to luxury collectables, have all helped to boost the fortunes of those wealthy enough to hold investment portfolios, it said.
“Few imagined at the start of the Covid-19 crisis that we would experience the V- or “Nike Swoosh”-shaped recovery that saw many economies back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021. This may explain why our respondents are so bullish – 83% expect their clients’ wealth to increase in 2022.”
It added that the ease with which investments can now be made and the speed of innovation will help to create new fortunes globally.
“But away from the ranks of the asset-rich, the disparity is even starker with global inequality levels, exacerbated by rising energy and food costs, increasing – even in the developed world.
“Some mutter ominously about revolution, and a group of US millionaires is even calling to be taxed more (see page 24) to help correct the imbalance. Against this backdrop, it would be cognisant to recognise that wealth creation cannot continue in a vacuum,” the group said.