Combined wealth of UK property investors rises 40 per cent in a year, hitting a record over £300bn

That’s according to the Estates Gazette Rich List reported by CityAm, which said this was the first year the figure had risen above £300bn.

It’s a 40 per cent jump since 2014, when the total figure was £218.3bn.

What’s surprising is that the biggest investors aren’t all property tycoons – they span retail, pharmaceuticals and even the art world.

The list included 109 British and 16 Irish entrepreneurs, with the remainder hailing from Spain, China, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

None of the top three spots are taken up by Britons, either: Amancio Ortega, the Spanish billionaire who founded Zara owner Inditex, topped the list, with a fortune of £45.7bn. Next up was Chinese developer Wang Jianlin, with £22.6bn, while Italian moguls the Bertarelli family took the third spot, with a fortune of £10bn.

Among the prominent Britons on the list were artist Damien Hirst, who owns 18 properties in the UK, as well as Steve Morgan, founder of housebuilder Redrow, and Heron developer Gerald Ronson.

It also suggested property tycoons have a generous side: between them, 40 names on the list gave away more than £400m to charity this year.

Ernesto Bertarelli was the most philanthropic, giving away £67m, while Sir Martin Laing donated £24m, 18 per cent of his total wealth.

However, one thing stood out: there were disappointingly few women – just 16 out of 250 names.

Noella Pio-Kivlehan, the list’s editor, said: “Throughout the Rich List’s 13 years, women have been under-represented.

“It shows that it is still difficult for women to be more entrepreneurial. We can only hope that this will change in the coming years.”

The news came the day after figures from UBS showed the UK’s property sector housing market was teetering on the brink of a crash, after two years of “explosive” growth.

Economists at UBS warned of a bubble, suggesting market fundamentals don’t justify the extent of rocketing house prices.

On Wednesday, figures by the Office for National Statistics showed average London house prices hit £500,000 for the first time in October.