Property

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Wealthy individuals' interest in property owes something to its tangible "bricks and mortar" appeal. Moreover, accumulation of property can be directly useful to wealthy individuals' families and other relations, whether or not its value as an investment rises. (See Wealth Insights Volume 10: Prospects for Property; On Solid Foundations?)

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Almost half of respondents thought that property would do quite or very well on a one-year horizon. On a five-year horizon this share rises to two-thirds - a rather more optimistic outlook than revealed by the previous Wealth Insights report (December 2009). It is also worth noting that there is a rather high correlation between short and long-term forecasts for this asset class, perhaps due to a natural tendency for people to be too pessimistic after a bust, and too optimistic at the peak of a bubble.

Again, recent experience has inspired some caution. Less than 9% of respondents in Spain think that property will do well on a one-year horizon, for example. And in Ireland the percentage is even less. Respondents in Japan (which has experienced several decades of falling property prices) are also less keen on property. Those surveyed in emerging market economies - for example India and South Africa - are enthusiastic, but (as with equities) this is not a simple emerging markets/developed economy split. Respondents in Switzerland and the UK are also enthusiastic about property on a one-year horizon, partly due, in the latter case, to the fall of sterling. On a five-year horizon, this enthusiasm becomes even more marked.