Space travel may help globe-trotting wealthy investors buy property

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 5:16am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 5:16am

The world's wealthiest people may start using sub-orbital space travel, pioneered by investors such as Richard Branson, to cut travel times and expand their property empires, according to Knight Frank.

More than 70 individuals with a combined wealth of US$200 billion are investing in space projects including travel, Knight Frank said in a statement before its release of The Wealth Report 2014 today.

A sub-orbital trip from London to Sydney, covering 16,947 kilometres, will take about two hours and 12 minutes or one-tenth the time of flying by conventional plane.

"New commercial space will be one of the most exciting investment sectors in the next 20 years," Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, was cited as saying in the statement.

Ticket price will be critical, Knight Frank said, adding: "If this is a technology for billionaires only, then property market disruption might be limited to a wider choice of global lunch options."

Reduced travel time may encourage investors from China and India to buy their second homes in Europe, the property consultancy said.

"By travelling outside the earth's atmosphere, gravitational forces will allow spacecraft to travel at over 4,000 miles per hour," Liam Bailey, Knight Frank's head of residential research, said in the statement. "So breakfast in Mayfair could easily be followed by lunch overlooking Sydney Opera House."

Other areas of investment include asteroid mining for precious metals. Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are taking investment beyond sub-orbital flights to possible asteroid mining.