The Wealth Report 2023: Dubai Cements Status as Global Hub for UHNWIs

According to The Wealth Report, Douglas Elliman and Knight Frank’s flagship research report – prime residential prices in Dubai accelerated 44.2% in 2022, maintaining its position at the top of Douglas Elliman and Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100) and cementing its status as a global hub for ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs), assisted by numerous visa incentives.

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Of the 100 markets tracked in PIRI, which analyses prime price performance in 100 city, sun and ski locations globally, 85 recorded positive or flat price growth in 2022. The Americas (7%) narrowly pipped Europe, the Middle East and Africa (6.5%) to the title of the top-performing region, with Asia-Pacific trailing on 0.4%.

Resorts outperformed. Coastal and rural locations in sunnier climes saw average price growth of 8.4%, marginally ahead of ski resorts which were up 8.3%, on average, eclipsing their 2021 record. Weaker price growth was seen in key city markets tracked with prices rising, on average half as much as in coastal and rural locations (4.2%).

Kate Everett-Allen, partner, residential research at Knight Frank said: “Last year we referred to 2021 as “an anomaly”; a year characterised by stellar price growth as markets reopened post-Covid-19, and revenge spending took hold. Off the back of such a boom, you might be forgiven for thinking 2022 would see a return to business as usual. Far from it. Omit 2021, and 2022 posted the highest level of prime price growth on an annual basis (5.2%) since the global financial crisis.

“Wealth preservation, safe-haven capital flight and supply constraints played their part in driving prime price growth, but it was the post-pandemic surge that continued to push prices higher. For the world’s wealthy, this increased their appetite to buy, with 17% of UHNWIs adding to their portfolios in 2022.”

Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s global head of research said “The post-Covid boom in global housing markets provided the impetus for even more price growth over the past 12-months, but even luxury markets aren’t immune from the biggest pivot in interest rates in history. Price growth will slow in 2023 but markets will deflate rather than collapse – this isn’t 2008.” 

Slower price growth is not a uniform picture, as Knight Frank’s analysis reveals. Some prime markets are feeling the effects of the changing macroeconomic landscape more than others. Fifteen saw prime prices decline in 2022, up from seven in 2021. Almost half of those falling in 2022 were in Asia-Pacific.

Markets registering the strongest price growth during the pandemic are amongst the biggest fallers: Wellington (-24%); Auckland (-19%); Stockholm (-8%); Vancouver (-7%); and Seoul (-5%). Cities are feeling the brunt more than resorts.

Nonetheless, the transition from a sellers’ to a buyers’ market is well under way, though limited prime stock in several major cities exacerbated by the pandemic, is putting a floor under luxury prices. With several economies potentially past their inflation peak – and hence nearing the end of their monetary tightening phase – all eyes will turn to the resilience of labour markets. As yet, forced sellers have been notable by their absence.

Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100)

Annual change in luxury residential prices in 2022: Global top five

No. Location

Annual % change


Dubai 44.2





Riyadh 25.0
4 Tokyo


5 Miami



Average annual change by market type: Global top five

City +4.2% Sun +8.4%

Ski + 8.3%





Miami St Moritz
Tokyo Algarve



Bahamas Gstaad
Prague Athens

Val d’Isere


Average annual change by world region: Global top five

Americas +7.0%

EMEA +6.5%

Asia-Pacific +0.4%


Dubai Tokyo


Riyadh Mumbai




Hamptons Algarve


Mustique Athens

Gold Coast

Measuring the slowdown

Average annual % change by property type

Property Type







10.2% 8.4%
Ski 7.2%


Average annual % change by world region

World Region 2021








Asia-Pacific 7.5%



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