Mehdi Kadiri is Managing Partner and Head of North America at Henley & Partners
Demand for residence and citizenship by investment programs continues to grow in the Americas. In the USA, this has been spurred in recent months by concerns over the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade ending the constitutional right to abortion, gun legislation after several mass shootings, and the revelations of the House Select Committee hearings regarding the 6 January 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. There have also been increasing signs of the economy slowing down, as weaker real spending indicates that consumers are losing purchasing power, housing activity is faltering due to rising interest rates, and business investment is declining as recession looms.
Despite the economic slump, New World Wealth’s millionaire population data in this report reveals that five of the top 10 cities with the most millionaires are in the USA, with New York at the top of the ranking. San Francisco is 3rd, Los Angeles and Malibu 6th, and Chicago and Houston are 7th and 8th, respectively.
On the other hand, in terms of high-net-worth-individual population growth, a different picture emerges for New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, which have negative growth of -12%, -6%, and -4%, respectively. Toronto is ranked 17th globally in terms of its millionaire population but has also seen negative growth of -2% in 2022.
Interestingly, some of the cities with fast-growing millionaire populations are in the USA — Austin with growth of 14%, Houston 6%, West Palm Beach 6%, Greenwich 5%, and Miami 5%.
In tandem with its significant high-net-worth population, the USA remains by far our largest source market in the Americas. In 2022, for the first time America is top of the list in terms of web enquiries received by Henley & Partners, and one of the world’s largest consumers of investment migration programs in terms of applications.
Canada is the second-largest source market, with impressive growth in 2022. By the end of June, Henley & Partners had already received 76% of the enquiries we received from Canadian investors in the whole of 2021. Brazil is the third-largest market, and interest is rising in Brazil and Chile as by mid-2022 we had already exceeded the full 2021 enquiries from Brazilians and Chileans.
Portugal’s Golden Resident Permit Program continues to top the list of new enquiries from the Americas in 2022, with enquiries for Portugal tallying in six months what we accounted for in the full 2021 year. The reasons our clients continue to favor Portugal typically revolve around the cost-effective real estate investment option starting from EUR 280,000, the very low physical presence required of seven days per year, the possibility to apply for citizenship after five years, and the climate-friendly, safe, and secure environment that the country has to offer.
Caribbean citizenship by investment options are also popular, particularly St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda. Most clients considering the Caribbean are attracted by the proximity to their home countries that makes their new island nation a family hub that also provides visa-free travel benefits to Europe’s Schengen Area. With the minimum investment for several programs an affordable USD 100,000, many wealthy individuals are easily convinced of the benefits of adding a Caribbean citizenship program into the mix of their alternative residence and citizenship portfolios.
Whatever their countries of origin, all our clients are looking for protection against domestic and global uncertainty as they turn to domicile diversification as a hedging tool that provides peace of mind for their families and their wealth. As doubts about the economy are expected to continue to dominate the minds of many high-net-worth individuals in the USA and beyond for the remainder of the year we expect to see the growth trajectory persist.