UK billionaires
David (L) and Simon Reuben, who topped The Sunday Times Rich List 2016

Property investors were among the strongest performers in The Sunday Times Rich List 2016, as their wealth outperformed the index. Sibling property tycoons David and Simon Reuben topped the list of Britain's wealthiest people after seeing their net worth rise by £3.4bn ($4.9bn) to £13.1bn. Included in their property portfolio is the Millbank Tower in the heart of Westminster, home to Conservative Party HQ.

Of those on the 1,000-strong rich list who have significant investments in property, 100 saw their wealth increase over the past year; seven were new entries; 39 saw no growth or loss of wealth; and just 19 saw their wealth drop. The combined wealth of those with investments in property in 2016 is £137.8bn, though many have other assets.

Proportionately, property investors outperformed the whole rich list. Of those with property portfolios, 60.6% saw their wealth increase against 49.6% of the rich list. Moreover, just 11.5% of property investors saw their wealth fall during the year, compared to 16.8% of the rich list.

"A lot of the people with property interests, as part of their portfolio interests, have those investments in commercial rather than residential property," said Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of Glentree Estates, a luxury property agency in London, to IBTimes UK.

"They obviously own lovely homes, I'm sure, in London. And I'm sure those lovely homes have had a correction in value in line with other quality residential properties in London. But that will be a relatively small part of their overall wealth. Their wealth will come from their portfolios that either they own directly, or own in funds, etc.

"In the main, commercial property has done well over the last few years... Commercial property lagged behind residential property for a number of years, particularly after 2008, when there was a contraction... and then, over the past three, four years, it has done remarkably well."

Near the top of the rich list is the Duke of Westminster, owner of Grosvenor Group, whose wealth increased by £790m to £9.35bn, taking him up to sixth place. Grosvenor is invested heavily in London property, owning swathes of commercial and residential space in the city's most expensive postcodes.

The Duke of Westminster
Britain's Duke of Westminster, Gerald Cavendish GrosvenorReuters

Next on the property rich list is the Barclay brothers, owners of Telegraph Media Group, who climbed to twelfth place with a £500m increase in their wealth, making them worth £7bn overall. "The Barclay twins last year sold their stake in the Maybourne Group of luxury hotels, comprising Claridge's, the Berkeley and the Connaught in central London," said The Sunday Times. The deal was worth £2.4bn. They still own the Ritz Hotel.

Earl Cadogan and his family, who rose to sixteenth place, are worth £5.7bn after a £900m rise. They are heavily invested in London property, both residential and commercial in large swathes of Chelsea, through the Cadogan Group company.

Following Cadogan in the property rich list is a new entry, the American financier John Grayken, who at twentieth place is worth £4.4bn. "The British property operation Quintain was bought for £700m in July by the US private equity firm Lone Star," according to The Sunday Times. "Quintain has planning permission for around 5,500 homes in the Wembley area. Lone Star is headed by ex-Morgan Stanley banker Grayken, 59, who was born in Boston and lives in a Surrey mansion. He founded Lone Star in 1995."

However, investors in British property face a torrent of tax rises, including an annual levy on homes owned by offshore entities, an extra 3% levy on top of basic stamp duty rates for purchases of additional properties, and higher stamp duty for more expensive commercial buildings.

Glentree's Abrahamsohn said Osborne's tax increases on high-end property, and his abolition of non-dom tax status, are hurting the market. He said 70% of his wealthy non-dom clients now plan to sell-up and pull out of London, "which is a great pity" because most pay tax in the UK.

"How can we afford to expel — because that's what we're doing — these wealth creators? How can any nation afford to lose these wealth creators? They can't. This is one of the reasons why the chancellor is losing credibility for his financial governance."

Moreover, a weaker global economy caused by falling commodity prices and China's slowdown, is denting demand for luxury property, making it a less attractive investment as potential future returns dwindle. Prime London property prices saw their slowest annual growth rate for six years during March 2016. On average, prime property prices in the city grew by just 0.8% over the year, according to the estate agent Knight Frank in its London Residential Review.

The finance boss of Grosvenor Group, whose owner the Duke of Westminster is sixth on The Sunday Times Rich List, warned of an imminent correction in the property market, after years of sharp price increases in booming London. "The balance of probability has increased quite dramatically that there is going to be a correction of some kind," Nicholas Scarles, finance director at Grosvenor Group, told The Times, adding "it is only a matter of time". He also said Grosvenor was preparing for the eventuality by offloading some of its property assets.

Property investors were in the spotlight amid the Panama Papers leaks. Documents from offshore services firm Mossack Fonseca, which leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), showed the world's political and financial elite using tax havens to purchase property in London. The biggest of those investors was the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who holds swathes of residential and commercial property in Mayfair, thought to be worth billions.

The Sunday Times Rich List 2016 — Property Investors

Rank 2016 (2015)NameWorth (£m)Rise/Fall (£m)Source of wealth
1 (5)David and Simon Reuben13,100.003,400Property, Internet
6 (9)The Duke of Westminster9,350.00790Property
12 (13)Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay7,000.00500Property, Media, Internet retailing
16 (18)Earl Cadogan and family5,700.00900Property
20(new)John Grayken4,415.00NewProperty, Investment
21 (17)Nathan Kirsh4,370.00690Property, Investment, Cash and carry
22(new)Christo Wiese4,330.00NewRetailing, Property
25 (27)Baroness Howard de Walden and family3,630.00400Property
26 (31=)Ian and Richard Livingstone3,545.00545Property
32 (31=)Eddie and Sol Zakay3,150.00150Property
35 (35)Mark Pears and family3,000.00200Property
36 (25)Sir Henry Keswick and family2,975.00300Property, Retailing, Hotels
44 (39)Teddy Sagi2,470.0060Software, Property
47 (43)John Whittaker and family2,340.0030Property
48 (89=)Richard Desmond2,250.001,100Property, Media
50= (42)The Swire family2,150.00250Property, Transport, Industry
52 (50)Samuel Tak Lee and family2,130.00250Property
56 (55)Viscount Portman and family1,890.00170Property
61 (65=)The Lazari family1,720.00270Property
64 (85=)Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani1,600.00400Investment, Property
67=(80=)Bernard Lewis and family1,500.00250Property, Fashion
67=(59=)Poju and Anita Zabludowicz1,500.00-Property, Hotels
73=(68=)Benzion Freshwater and family1,430.0030Property
73=(59=)Eddie and Malcolm Healey1,430.0070Property, Kitchens
75=(75=)Georg and Emily von Opel1,400.00100Finance, Property
87= (88)Jon Hunt1,250.0064Property, Estate agency
95=(101=)Lord Sugar1,150.00110Property
103=(93=)John Christodoulou1,100.00-Property
110=(107)Tony Murray and family1,050.0037Property, Plant hire, Fire protection
113 (120)Simon Nixon1,026.0081Internet, Property
117=(128=)David Sullivan1,000.00150Property, Media
122(108=)David Ross923.0077Mobile phones, Property
130(150=)Steve Morgan880.00140Property
132(128=)Raj Matharu and family862.0012Property, Hotels
134(128=)The Earl of Iveagh and the Guinness family854.004Property, Brewing
135=(123=)Sir Donald Gordon and family850.0050Property
135=(128=)Jim Mellon850.00-Property, Finance
137(new)Henning Conle and family830.00NewProperty
140(154=)Peter Jones and family791.0061Property
143(142)Lev Leviev775.00-Diamonds, Property
147=(262=)Manfred Gorvy and family760.00360Property, Food
150=(145=)Luke and Brian Comer750.00-Property
158(166=)Trevor Hemmings725.0050Property
164=(137)Richard Caring700.00100Restaurants, Property
172(164)Paul Sykes690.00-Property
182=(172=)George and Constantine Logothetis and family650.00-Shipping, Property, Aviation
197=(436=)Manny Davidson and family600.00380Property
197=(199=)Tony Gallagher600.0050Property
204(193=)Freddie Linnett and the Murphy family595.0015Property
210=(199=)Lloyd Dorfman550.00-Foreign exchange, Property
210=(199=)Sir Jack Petchey550.00-Property
215=(234)Lord Edmiston540.0068Property, Car sales
215=(208)Sir Tom Hunter540.0011Retailing, Property
220=(212)Sten Mortstedt and family530.0013Property
220=(209=)The Walker family530.0010Steel, Property, Aviation
228=(369=)Bill Ainscough and family500.00225Property
228=(217=)Kevin Cash500.00-Internet, Property
228=(217=)The Clarke family500.00-Property
228=(217=)Leo Noé and family500.00-Property
242 (244)Fawn and India Rose James482.0028Property
243=(229=)The Bock family480.00-Property
243=(249=)Caspar MacDonald-Hall480.0040Property
243=(229=)Roy Richardson and family480.00-Property
246=(261)Michael Oglesby and family475.0065Property
248=(238)Sir Ronald Hobson470.006Property
255=(245=)Anthony Lyons450.00-Property
264=(253)Sir Donald Gosling432.005Property
276 (260)Alastair and Michael Powell413.001Property, Cables
277=(333=)Aidan Brooks410.00100Property
280=(262=)Guy and Alex Dellal and family400.00-Property
295=(275=)David Lewis and family380.00-Property, Art
298=(278=)Nick and Peter Gould375.00-Property
301= (251)Robert Rayne and family370.0068Property
307=(287=)Bill Ives and family365.0015Steel, Property
313=(287=)Roderick Evans and family350.00-Property
313=(333=)Christopher Moran350.0040Property, Finance
313=(371=)Gerald Ronson and family350.0080Property, Fuel distribution
319=(340=)David Gabbay and family340.0040Property
319=(340=)Eli Shahmoon and family340.0040Property
323 (318)Sir Michael and Dermot Smurfit and family339.0016Property, Packaging
328=(319=)The Marquess of Salisbury330.0010Property, Art
333=(319=)Laurence Kirschel325.005Property
333=(329)Kathy and Bernard Murphy and family325.007Construction, Property
343=(309=)Eliasz Englander and family310.0020Property
346=(425=)Nick Capstick-Dale305.0080Property
348=(287=)Sir John and Peter Beckwith302.0048Property, Finance
350=(410=)David and Jacqueline Gold300.0060Lingerie, Property, Football
350=(357=)Nick Leslau300.0020Property
350=(410=)Nigel Wray300.0060Property, Food
370=(355)Firoz Kassam285.00-Hotels, Property
370=(574=)David Pearl285.00113Property
377=(367=)Stephen Vernon280.003Property
398(391=)Steve and Clive Boultbee Brooks265.0015Property
403=(380=)John Guthrie and family260.00-Property
417(433=)David Clowes252.0030Property
418=(579=)Rashid and Aziz Tayub and family250.0080Property, Discount stores
437=(391=)Viscount Cowdray and the Pearson family240.0010Media, Property
448=(415=)Sir Stanley and Peter Thomas235.00-Property, Transport, Food
452=(420=)Neil Taylor and family230.00-Property, Games, Investment
457=(436=)Irvine and James Sellar225.005Property
475(574=)Duncan Sinclair and family217.0045Property
486=(466=)Eric Gadsden212.007Property
491=(476=)The Astor family210.0010Property
491=(539=)Gary Widdowson210.0030Scrap metal, Property
515=(476=)Terence Cole200.00-Property
515=(476=)Heinrich Feldman and family200.00-Property
515=(476=)Mark Steinberg200.00-Property
515=(637=)Touker Suleyman200.0050Fashion, Property
552 (600)Bill, Tim and Pollyanna Gredley and family194.0030Property, Horseracing
553=(new)Bob Rose and family192.00NewProperty
557=(517=)Alan Murphy190.00-Paper products, Property
564=(675=)Tom Martin and family185.0038Property
564=(563=)Stuart Monk and family185.0010Property
575=(506)Danny Hill183.0013Property, Investment
582=(539=)Sir John Ritblat and family180.00-Property
582=(791=)David Roberts and family180.0060Property, Art
594=(604=)Michael and Robert Slowe and family178.0016Property
598=(563=)Sir Euan Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe and family175.00-Property
598=(579=)John Berkley and family175.005Property, Mobile homes
598=(924=)Matti and Miriam Kraus175.0072Property
598=(608=)Sir John Mactaggart and family175.0015Property
612=(579=)David Coffer170.00-Property
612=(604=)Rodger Dudding170.008Property
640=(608=)Simon Karimzadeh and family160.00-Property
640=(729=)Sir Martin Laing and family160.0030Property, Construction
640=(595=)Brian Scowcroft and Janet Lefton160.005Property, Insurance
640=(637=)Raj Sehgal and Sanjeev Mehan and family160.0010Fashion, Property
666=(new)Paddy McKillen156.00NewProperty
677=(637=)Michael Hunt and family154.004Property, Car sales
677=(637=)Sir Robert Ogden154.004Property
684(675=)Peter and Elizabeth Prowting and family151.004Property
685=(595=)Tom Cross and family150.0015Oil, Property, Gas
721=(754=)John Marston and family145.0020Property, Hotels
721=(729=)Jeff Smith145.0015Property, Engineering
733 (751=)Douglas Woolf and family141.0013Property
734=(539=)Simon Clarke and family140.0040Property
734=(729=)Pradip and Manish Dhamecha140.0010Property, Cash and carry
734=(845)David Dunsdon and family140.0026Property
734=(723=)Peter Horton and family140.007Property
754=(707=)Demi Chervak and family135.00-Property
754=(754=)Robin Clark and family135.0010Property
754=(707=)Eric Grove135.00-Property
754=(754=)Roger Wickens and family135.0010Property
766=(729=)Sir Tom Farmer130.00-Property, Car parts
766=(754=)Mohammed Galadari130.005Property, Hotels
799=(754=)Sir George Meyrick125.00-Property, Land
799=(959=)The Simpson family125.0024Property
831=(791=)Elliott Bernerd120.00-Property
831=(688=)Anton Bilton and family120.0020Property
831=(935=)Con Folkes and family120.0018Property
831= (968=)Neil Morgan and family120.0020Property, Electronics
831= (791=)Gerard Versteegh and family120.00-Property
831= (791=)Kevin Wheatcroft120.00-Motor sport, Property
862= (935=)John Elkington115.0013Property
872= (847=)Chris Marshall and family113.001Property
885= (898=)The Baylis family110.004Property
885= (856=)Danny Desmond110.00-Property
885= (894=)Rupert Mucklow and family110.003Property
926= (new)Martin Birrane109.00NewProperty, Motor racing
931= (new)Clare Lago and Sarah Mehigan106.00NewProperty
936= (751=)Peter Dawson and family105.0023Property
936= (968=)Judith and Fergus Wilson105.005Property
978= (935=)Simon and Paul Upward104.002Property
985= (959=)Kip Bertram and family103.002Property, Books
985= (935=)Graham Dacre103.001Property, Car sales
Total combined wealth: £137,826,000,000