South Africa is home to over twice as many dollar millionaires (HNWIs) as any other African country, data from New World Wealth (NWW) shows.
The country ranks 30th in the world by this measure, ahead of major economies such as Greece, Portugal and Turkey.
HNWIs are defined as those who have a net worth of $1 million or more (net assets less net liabilities). Currently, there are just over 35,000 HNWIs living in South Africa, NWW said.
Most of these HNWIs are based in Johannesburg (Sandton especially), Cape Town, Umhlanga and Pretoria.
There are approximately 1,800 multi-millionaires living in the country, each with net assets of $10 million or more; 86 centi-millionaires living in SA, each with net assets of $100 million or more; and there are 5 billionaires living in SA, each with net assets of $1 billion or more.
As at September 2020, NWW estimates that South Africa is also home to approximately 680,000 ‘mass affluent individuals’, each with net assets of US$100,000 or more.
New World Wealth investigated what factors draw these wealthy individuals to South Africa.
From physical properties, like a sunny climate and beautiful scenery, to more business-focused aspects like a developed financial services sector and necessary infrastructure to keep developing wealth – South Africa still emerges as a top destination for the super rich.
According to New World Wealth, things that attract HNWIs to SA include:
- Lifestyle aspects: weather, beaches and scenery;
- A large free media which helps disseminate reliable information to investors. This sets South Africa apart from most other emerging markets worldwide;
- One of the 20 biggest stock exchanges in the world (by market cap);
- A well-developed banking system and large fund management sector;
- Hub for doing business in the rest of Africa;
- Luxury food stores such as Woolworths, which appeal to wealthy consumers;
- Exclusive areas such as Umhlanga Rocks and the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town;
- Top-end estates and apartments;
- Good transport infrastructure;
- World-class shopping centres such as: Gateway, Sandton City and the V&A Waterfront.
Notably, South Africa is a global pioneer in estate living and is home to many of the world’s best lifestyle estates, New World Wealth said, highlighting developments such as Steyn City – an upmarket lifestyle estate in Fourways.
The group estimates that over 45% of South African HNWIs either live or have homes on estates. An additional 30% have homes in luxury apartment blocks, which have been the fastest growing residential segment in the country over the past 20 years in terms of price growth.