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) Name Worth (£m) Rise/Fall (£m) Source of wealth
1 (5) David and Simon Reuben 13,100.00 3,400 Property, Internet
6 (9) The Duke of Westminster 9,350.00 790 Property
12 (13) Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay 7,000.00 500 Property, Media, Internet retailing
16 (18) Earl Cadogan and family 5,700.00 900 Property
20(new) John Grayken 4,415.00 New Property, Investment
21 (17) Nathan Kirsh 4,370.00 690 Property, Investment, Cash and carry
22(new) Christo Wiese 4,330.00 New Retailing, Property
25 (27) Baroness Howard de Walden and family 3,630.00 400 Property
26 (31=) Ian and Richard Livingstone 3,545.00 545 Property
32 (31=) Eddie and Sol Zakay 3,150.00 150 Property
35 (35) Mark Pears and family 3,000.00 200 Property
36 (25) Sir Henry Keswick and family 2,975.00 300 Property, Retailing, Hotels
44 (39) Teddy Sagi 2,470.00 60 Software, Property
47 (43) John Whittaker and family 2,340.00 30 Property
48 (89=) Richard Desmond 2,250.00 1,100 Property, Media
50= (42) The Swire family 2,150.00 250 Property, Transport, Industry
52 (50) Samuel Tak Lee and family 2,130.00 250 Property
56 (55) Viscount Portman and family 1,890.00 170 Property
61 (65=) The Lazari family 1,720.00 270 Property
64 (85=) Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani 1,600.00 400 Investment, Property
67=(80=) Bernard Lewis and family 1,500.00 250 Property, Fashion
67=(59=) Poju and Anita Zabludowicz 1,500.00 - Property, Hotels
73=(68=) Benzion Freshwater and family 1,430.00 30 Property
73=(59=) Eddie and Malcolm Healey 1,430.00 70 Property, Kitchens
75=(75=) Georg and Emily von Opel 1,400.00 100 Finance, Property
87= (88) Jon Hunt 1,250.00 64 Property, Estate agency
95=(101=) Lord Sugar 1,150.00 110 Property
103=(93=) John Christodoulou 1,100.00 - Property
110=(107) Tony Murray and family 1,050.00 37 Property, Plant hire, Fire protection
113 (120) Simon Nixon 1,026.00 81 Internet, Property
117=(128=) David Sullivan 1,000.00 150 Property, Media
122(108=) David Ross 923.00 77 Mobile phones, Property
130(150=) Steve Morgan 880.00 140 Property
132(128=) Raj Matharu and family 862.00 12 Property, Hotels
134(128=) The Earl of Iveagh and the Guinness family 854.00 4 Property, Brewing
135=(123=) Sir Donald Gordon and family 850.00 50 Property
135=(128=) Jim Mellon 850.00 - Property, Finance
137(new) Henning Conle and family 830.00 New Property
140(154=) Peter Jones and family 791.00 61 Property
143(142) Lev Leviev 775.00 - Diamonds, Property
147=(262=) Manfred Gorvy and family 760.00 360 Property, Food
150=(145=) Luke and Brian Comer 750.00 - Property
158(166=) Trevor Hemmings 725.00 50 Property
164=(137) Richard Caring 700.00 100 Restaurants, Property
172(164) Paul Sykes 690.00 - Property
182=(172=) George and Constantine Logothetis and family 650.00 - Shipping, Property, Aviation
197=(436=) Manny Davidson and family 600.00 380 Property
197=(199=) Tony Gallagher 600.00 50 Property
204(193=) Freddie Linnett and the Murphy family 595.00 15 Property
210=(199=) Lloyd Dorfman 550.00 - Foreign exchange, Property
210=(199=) Sir Jack Petchey 550.00 - Property
215=(234) Lord Edmiston 540.00 68 Property, Car sales
215=(208) Sir Tom Hunter 540.00 11 Retailing, Property
220=(212) Sten Mortstedt and family 530.00 13 Property
220=(209=) The Walker family 530.00 10 Steel, Property, Aviation
228=(369=) Bill Ainscough and family 500.00 225 Property
228=(217=) Kevin Cash 500.00 - Internet, Property
228=(217=) The Clarke family 500.00 - Property
228=(217=) Leo Noé and family 500.00 - Property
242 (244) Fawn and India Rose James 482.00 28 Property
243=(229=) The Bock family 480.00 - Property
243=(249=) Caspar MacDonald-Hall 480.00 40 Property
243=(229=) Roy Richardson and family 480.00 - Property
246=(261) Michael Oglesby and family 475.00 65 Property
248=(238) Sir Ronald Hobson 470.00 6 Property
255=(245=) Anthony Lyons 450.00 - Property
264=(253) Sir Donald Gosling 432.00 5 Property
276 (260) Alastair and Michael Powell 413.00 1 Property, Cables
277=(333=) Aidan Brooks 410.00 100 Property
280=(262=) Guy and Alex Dellal and family 400.00 - Property
295=(275=) David Lewis and family 380.00 - Property, Art
298=(278=) Nick and Peter Gould 375.00 - Property
301= (251) Robert Rayne and family 370.00 68 Property
307=(287=) Bill Ives and family 365.00 15 Steel, Property
313=(287=) Roderick Evans and family 350.00 - Property
313=(333=) Christopher Moran 350.00 40 Property, Finance
313=(371=) Gerald Ronson and family 350.00 80 Property, Fuel distribution
319=(340=) David Gabbay and family 340.00 40 Property
319=(340=) Eli Shahmoon and family 340.00 40 Property
323 (318) Sir Michael and Dermot Smurfit and family 339.00 16 Property, Packaging
328=(319=) The Marquess of Salisbury 330.00 10 Property, Art
333=(319=) Laurence Kirschel 325.00 5 Property
333=(329) Kathy and Bernard Murphy and family 325.00 7 Construction, Property
343=(309=) Eliasz Englander and family 310.00 20 Property
346=(425=) Nick Capstick-Dale 305.00 80 Property
348=(287=) Sir John and Peter Beckwith 302.00 48 Property, Finance
350=(410=) David and Jacqueline Gold 300.00 60 Lingerie, Property, Football
350=(357=) Nick Leslau 300.00 20 Property
350=(410=) Nigel Wray 300.00 60 Property, Food
370=(355) Firoz Kassam 285.00 - Hotels, Property
370=(574=) David Pearl 285.00 113 Property
377=(367=) Stephen Vernon 280.00 3 Property
398(391=) Steve and Clive Boultbee Brooks 265.00 15 Property
403=(380=) John Guthrie and family 260.00 - Property
417(433=) David Clowes 252.00 30 Property
418=(579=) Rashid and Aziz Tayub and family 250.00 80 Property, Discount stores
437=(391=) Viscount Cowdray and the Pearson family 240.00 10 Media, Property
448=(415=) Sir Stanley and Peter Thomas 235.00 - Property, Transport, Food
452=(420=) Neil Taylor and family 230.00 - Property, Games, Investment
457=(436=) Irvine and James Sellar 225.00 5 Property
475(574=) Duncan Sinclair and family 217.00 45 Property
486=(466=) Eric Gadsden 212.00 7 Property
491=(476=) The Astor family 210.00 10 Property
491=(539=) Gary Widdowson 210.00 30 Scrap metal, Property
515=(476=) Terence Cole 200.00 - Property
515=(476=) Heinrich Feldman and family 200.00 - Property
515=(476=) Mark Steinberg 200.00 - Property
515=(637=) Touker Suleyman 200.00 50 Fashion, Property
552 (600) Bill, Tim and Pollyanna Gredley and family 194.00 30 Property, Horseracing
553=(new) Bob Rose and family 192.00 New Property
557=(517=) Alan Murphy 190.00 - Paper products, Property
564=(675=) Tom Martin and family 185.00 38 Property
564=(563=) Stuart Monk and family 185.00 10 Property
575=(506) Danny Hill 183.00 13 Property, Investment
582=(539=) Sir John Ritblat and family 180.00 - Property
582=(791=) David Roberts and family 180.00 60 Property, Art
594=(604=) Michael and Robert Slowe and family 178.00 16 Property
598=(563=) Sir Euan Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe and family 175.00 - Property
598=(579=) John Berkley and family 175.00 5 Property, Mobile homes
598=(924=) Matti and Miriam Kraus 175.00 72 Property
598=(608=) Sir John Mactaggart and family 175.00 15 Property
612=(579=) David Coffer 170.00 - Property
612=(604=) Rodger Dudding 170.00 8 Property
640=(608=) Simon Karimzadeh and family 160.00 - Property
640=(729=) Sir Martin Laing and family 160.00 30 Property, Construction
640=(595=) Brian Scowcroft and Janet Lefton 160.00 5 Property, Insurance
640=(637=) Raj Sehgal and Sanjeev Mehan and family 160.00 10 Fashion, Property
666=(new) Paddy McKillen 156.00 New Property
677=(637=) Michael Hunt and family 154.00 4 Property, Car sales
677=(637=) Sir Robert Ogden 154.00 4 Property
684(675=) Peter and Elizabeth Prowting and family 151.00 4 Property
685=(595=) Tom Cross and family 150.00 15 Oil, Property, Gas
721=(754=) John Marston and family 145.00 20 Property, Hotels
721=(729=) Jeff Smith 145.00 15 Property, Engineering
733 (751=) Douglas Woolf and family 141.00 13 Property
734=(539=) Simon Clarke and family 140.00 40 Property
734=(729=) Pradip and Manish Dhamecha 140.00 10 Property, Cash and carry
734=(845) David Dunsdon and family 140.00 26 Property
734=(723=) Peter Horton and family 140.00 7 Property
754=(707=) Demi Chervak and family 135.00 - Property
754=(754=) Robin Clark and family 135.00 10 Property
754=(707=) Eric Grove 135.00 - Property
754=(754=) Roger Wickens and family 135.00 10 Property
766=(729=) Sir Tom Farmer 130.00 - Property, Car parts
766=(754=) Mohammed Galadari 130.00 5 Property, Hotels
799=(754=) Sir George Meyrick 125.00 - Property, Land
799=(959=) The Simpson family 125.00 24 Property
831=(791=) Elliott Bernerd 120.00 - Property
831=(688=) Anton Bilton and family 120.00 20 Property
831=(935=) Con Folkes and family 120.00 18 Property
831= (968=) Neil Morgan and family 120.00 20 Property, Electronics
831= (791=) Gerard Versteegh and family 120.00 - Property
831= (791=) Kevin Wheatcroft 120.00 - Motor sport, Property
862= (935=) John Elkington 115.00 13 Property
872= (847=) Chris Marshall and family 113.00 1 Property
885= (898=) The Baylis family 110.00 4 Property
885= (856=) Danny Desmond 110.00 - Property
885= (894=) Rupert Mucklow and family 110.00 3 Property
926= (new) Martin Birrane 109.00 New Property, Motor racing
931= (new) Clare Lago and Sarah Mehigan 106.00 New Property
936= (751=) Peter Dawson and family 105.00 23 Property
936= (968=) Judith and Fergus Wilson 105.00 5 Property
978= (935=) Simon and Paul Upward 104.00 2 Property
985= (959=) Kip Bertram and family 103.00 2 Property, Books
985= (935=) Graham Dacre 103.00 1 Property, Car sales
Total combined wealth: £137,826,000,000