The number of high net worth individuals - people with more than $30 million in investable assets – is forecast to rise by 95,000 over the next decade, according to Wealth-X, a wealth intelligence firm. The result is that each year there are more people who want, and more important, can afford, luxury properties.
While demand is ever-rising, the stock of desirable locations remains virtually static, meaning capital inflows concentrate on a few hotspots, pushing prices upward.
Knight Frank found locations in Asia-Pacific tended to be the biggest gainers, but old favorites such as London continue to perform well. Meanwhile, the biggest threat to property markets is their own popularity, as the lack of local affordability can become a political issue, prompting governments to impose cooling measures. Consequently, several areas in the top 10 were subject to new regulations in 2012.
Click ahead to see the world's top five most expensive property markets in 2012, and find out how much prices rose or fell during the year.