The likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are among the billionaires who have seen their wealth double since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Oxfam said the 10 wealthiest men’s wealth jumped from £500 billion ($700 billion) to £1.1 trillion ($1.5 trillion), at an average rate of £1 billion ($1.3 billion) per day, according to a new report.
And as the pandemic eases and travel restrictions finally relax, the world’s richest are able to enjoy their wealth, with exotic getaways in luxury homes.
So, how to you spend a billion pounds? One superrich buyer used their Covid-accumulated wealth to snap up a £20 million car. Others are spending it on eco-yachts, while some are buying up tickets to go to space with Richard Branson.
Here, FEMAIL reveals how the richest are set to spend their billions in a post-Covid world…
Rolls-Royce sold a record number of cars last year as the pandemic made the super-rich realise ‘life can be short’.
The super-car maker, whose vehicles are priced from £233,000 to £432,000, sold 5,586 vehicles, the most vehicles globally in its 117-year history.
Chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos said: ‘Many people witnessed people in their community dying from Covid and that made them think life can be short and you’d better live now rather than postpone until a later date.
The British luxury car maker announced the highest sales in its 117 year history – up by a dramatic 49% year-on-year to 5,586 vehicles
Record sales were driven by its latest new model, the updated Ghost limousine (pictured)
‘That also has helped quite massively to [encourage people to] invest into what I would call the nice, lovely things in the world.’
The Sussex-based company, owned by BMW, saw sales rise in every region of the world.
German Mr Muller-Otvos explained: ‘It is very much due to Covid that the entire luxury business is booming worldwide.
‘People couldn’t travel a lot, they couldn’t invest a lot into luxury services…and there is quite a lot of money accumulated that is spent on luxury goods.’
Many of their cars were custom, one the £20 million Boat Tail, was created with boot doors that open in a butterfly motion with a parasol popping out for picnics.
Twenty million pound cars aren’t enough for the world’s richest, they’re also splashing out on yacht and planes.
But in a very 2022-twist, billionaires are now asking for them to be eco-friendly – although these can cost 15 per cent more than the regular superyacht.
In fact, sustainability is now the number one request for those buying and building super yachts, says Jamie Edmiston, chief executive of the leading superyacht broker Edmiston, told the Times: ‘Buyers are saying, “If I’m going to do this, how does it look? How do we make it run as green as possible?” They’re looking at hybrid power, biofuels and hydrogen.’
A US-based designer has unveiled plans for a futuristic eco-friendly $811m superyacht powered by retractable solar-panelled ‘sails’
Known as the Florida and fitted with a helipad, the yacht is powered by three enormous 262ft tall carbon fibre sails using either solar energy or wind
In March, a US-based designer has unveiled plans for a futuristic eco-friendly $811m (£593 million) superyacht powered by retractable solar-panelled ‘sails’.
Known as the Florida and fitted with a helipad, the yacht is powered by three enormous 262ft tall carbon fibre ‘sails’ using either solar energy or wind.
The innovative 525ft long design, which would put the vessel in the top five longest superyachts in the world, was dreamed up by Florida-based Norwegian designer Kurt Strand and is set to go on sale in 2026.
On days when there is no wind, the super yacht will be able to transform into ‘solar sail’ mode.
Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, who also owns a private jet, has commissioned a $500 million (£366million) three-mast sailing yacht.
Elsewhere, owners of gas-guzzling super yachts are converting their vessels into hybrids.
HOLIDAYS AND EXPEDITIONS
The Middle East is set to be a hot holiday destination this year – with the super rich heading to Saudi Arabia and Qatar – which will be hosting the Fifa World Cup in December.
A VIP suite at the winter games, with 44 seats will set you back $2.5 million.
That’s for those who are set to stay on earth.
Virgin Galactic has sold around 700 more tickets for its commercial space trips.
Virgin Galactic has sold around 100 more tickets for its commercial space trips since flying its founder Richard Branson to space in the summer (pictured)
Branson’s company hopes to begin its first commercial space flights at the end of next year
The current price of the fare is $450,000 (£331,000) per seat – well above the $200,000-$250,000 (£147,000-£184,000) paid by some 600 customers from 2005 to 2014.
Branson’s company hopes to begin its first commercial space flights at the end of next year.
Other adventurous billionaires will be heading on expeditions across the globe.
Abercrombie & Kent’s Inspiring Expedition: Emperors & South Pole sets adventurers back £187,970 per person for 11-nights, it’s sold out.
Geoffrey Kent, the company’s founder, told the Times: ‘Travellers have had two years to dream about where they want to go, and are planning bigger and more splurge-worthy trips. We’ve been getting many last-minute requests with as little as a one-week lead time.’
LUXURY LONDON HOMES
While the last year has seen many of us scaling back on our spending – the super-rich spent 2021 snapping up super-prime property worth millions in the country’s capital.
The number of multi-millionaire and billionaire buyers in central London doubled in size during 2021 – with the super rich buyer market expected to boom in 2022, according to Beauchamp Estates.
The luxury property agency’s Billionaire Buyers in London survey revealed that 49 properties priced over £15 million sold in the city last year, compared to 17 sales in 2020, with the number of mega mansions sold this year only set to increase.
One buyer is said to have paid £39.5 million to purchase a four bedroom duplex in the Old War Office and a penthouse at the Corinthia Hotel Private Residences. Pictured, the residence’s exterior
The dining room in the main four-bedroom property is served by this large family kitchen complete with an island and a separate pantry and utility room
Built in the 1820s, Eaton Square, is largest private garden square and is encircled by a terrace of grand residences designed in classical style with projecting Doric colonnade and porches
Each of the four bedrooms is individually designed with the expansive master bedroom suite having a walk-in dressing room lined with four separate ranges of built-in cupboards
London’s super-prime housing market was primarily driven by Chinese and Russian buyers this year, with the latter predicted to surpass China as the main market for homes priced above £15 million in the city’s capital in 2022.
The surge in London’s billionaire property deals is thought to be because of an accumulation of wealth in the last 12 months and interest-only ‘billionaire mortgages’, which have triggered a massive ‘buying spree’ of luxury London homes.
In 2021, billionaires became younger, meaning those buying trophy houses and penthouses in London were less concerned about their postcode – with properties in Notting Hill becoming increasingly popular.
When it came to specifications for properties, buyers were after mansions and grand townhouses providing no less than 10,000 sqft of living space, complete with gardens
Prices on super-prime properties priced above £15 million in London are expected to rise by 5 per cent to 7 per cent.
The volume of deals for luxury homes has the potential to double again, with around half a dozen homes valued at up to £100 million scheduled to be listed for sale during 2022.
How ‘billionaires mortgages’ sparked a ‘buying spree’ of luxury London homes
According to the real estate company the UK’s relatively low interest rates have enabled most of London’s super-prime property deals over the last two years to be transacted using asset-backed ‘billionaire mortgages’.
Using other assets or company shares as collateral, these ‘billionaire mortgages’ are typically 30-year term interest-only mortgages, with a preferential 1 per cent to 2.5 per cent interest rate, often up to 100 per cent of the value of the property.
These terms result in the mortgages not having to be paid-off unless the home is sold, or if the property is inherited the next generation can enjoy a comparable loan. The money saved can then be used for other investment opportunities.
Over the last two years the SW1 postcode, specifically Knightsbridge and Belgravia, has remained London’s most popular address for the uber-rich, closely followed by Mayfair. Key SW1 addresses included Eaton Square where an American billionaire purchased a £21 million duplex and Grosvenor Crescent where a Hong Kong billionaire purchased a £45 million townhouse.
For the younger generation of wealthy buyers, Notting Hill has become a key location with prime property being purchased in addresses such as Elgin Crescent, Clarendon Road and Kensington Park Road.
Another emerging location for super-rich buyers is Bayswater overlooking Hyde Park, where a young Russian billionaire recently purchased a £40 million mansion for over £5,000 per sqft.
Whitehall has also had a flurry of deals, with a buyer said to have paid £39.5 million to purchase a four bedroom duplex in the Old War Office and a penthouse at the Corinthia Hotel Private Residences.
Over the last year super-rich buyers were after large houses providing no less than 10,000 sq ft of living space, and in some cases upwards of 30,000 sq ft of accommodation.
Penthouse deals have also risen, with nine £15 million plus deals in 2021, compared to six in 2020 – with the penthouse an average of 6,128 sq ft with four bedrooms and large private balconies and terraces.
A London billionaire’s house was on average 9,384 sqft in size, with seven bedrooms, a private cinema, health spa, swimming pool and generous garden.
The average prime property sold last year cost £3,221 per sqft with the highest hitting a reported record £11,000 per sqft.
One buyer is said to have paid £39.5 million to purchase a four bedroom duplex in the Old War Office.
Having the most sought-after art in the real world isn’t enough for the 1 per cent – who are also after having the top NFTs – or non-fungible tokens.
An NFT is a unique digital asset encrypted with the creator’s signature, which authenticates it as their original work. NFTs created by famous artists and musicians have become coveted collector’s items and have enjoyed an explosion in popularity in recent months.
NFTs, sometimes pronounced ‘nifties’, are similar to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in that they live on blockchain networks – a decentralized, distributed ledger that records transactions of digital assets.
But unlike traditional cryptocurrencies, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning that one cannot be exchanged for another. The digital assets have collectors value, and can represent items including still images, GIFs, videos, music and more.
While NFTs have been around for years, their popularity has grown rapidly in recent weeks thanks to a few sales with very high price tags.
‘Everydays: The First 5,000 Days’ by artist Beeple became the most expensive ever ‘non-fungible token’ on Thursday after being sold at auction for a record $69.3 million, fetching more than physical works by many better-known artists
Over seven days in February NFTs generated $45.2million in sales – while grabbing attention from top investors including Mark Cuban
In March, a digital collage by American artist Beeple which exists only as a JPG file sold for a record $69.3 million (£50M) at Christie’s, fetching more money than physical works by many better-known artists.
It is a collage of 5,000 individual images, which were made one-per-day over more than thirteen years, and was billed by the auction house as ‘a unique work in the history of digital art’.
Christie’s said 39-year-old Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, is now among the top three most valuable living artists in any medium alongside Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
A flurry of more than 180 bids in the final hour of the auction bumped up the price by tens of millions, jumping from $20million with only 15 minutes to go to the almost $70million placed by the final bidder.
Even with only seconds remaining, the piece had been set to go for less than $30 million before a last-minute cascade prompted a two-minute extension on the auction, with 33 active bidders contesting the work.