Property wealth up 40% to top £300bn

The combined wealth of real estate’s top 250 investors has topped £300bn for the first time in the 13-year history of the Estates Gazette Rich List.

The total wealth of the top 250 comes in at £306bn, a 40% rise on 2014 when the total was £218.3bn.

The list, compiled by Dr Philip Beresford, features 60 billionaires this year. Just six years ago there were only nine entrants with a wealth of more than £1bn.

Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega, owner of fashion business Inditex, tops the list with a fortune of £45.7bn, Chinese developer Wang Jianlin, takes second place with £22.6bn, with the Bertarelli family in third with just over £10bn,

Beresford, who also compiles the Sunday Times Rich List, said: “The amount of wealth on the list shows the extraordinary attraction of the London commercial and residential market to overseas billionaires.”

International money makes up a large proportion of the Rich List, with 109 entrants hailing from the UK, 16 from Ireland and the remainder from Spain, China, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

While the increase in personal wealth for property’s richest is eye-watering, the industry is also committed to giving back. Forty of the most philanthropic in the sector gave more than £400m to charity this year. The biggest donor by value was Ernesto Bertarelli, who gave away £67m of his fortune, and the biggest by proportion of wealth was Sir Martin Laing, who donated some 18% (£24m) of his total wealth to charitable causes.

Women continue to languish in the Rich List, appearing just 16 times in EG’s list of 250.

EG Rich List editor Noella Pio-Kivlehan, said: “Throughout the Rich List’s 13 years, women have been under-represented. It shows that it is still difficult for women to be more entrepreneurial. We can only hope that this will change in the coming years.”

Capricorns were the wealthiest star signs, followed by Aries, Sagittarius, Gemini and Libra.