Arcadis Global Built Asset Wealth Index 2015

This report calculates the distribution of the world’s wealth in terms of the physical built assets which contribute to a nation’s productivity. The index estimates the value of the buildings and infrastructure in 32 countries which collectively represent around 87% of global GDP.

A prosperous society is underpinned by a well-developed built environment.

The world's built asset wealth has increased by a net total of $8 trillion since 2013 to stand at over $218 trillion - the equivalent of over $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the world today.

China overtakes USA as global leader in built asset wealth

China now has a built asset wealth of US$47.6 trillion, overtaking the USA which comes in second place with a wealth of US$36.8 trillion. Since 2000 China has invested US$33 trillion in its built assets, a total that exceeds all other economies combined.

The growth is evidence of China’s unprecedented level of investment in its infrastructure – 9% of GDP – which outpaces global competitors like the USA, which currently invests just 2%.

Trillions

SOURCE: PENN WORLD TABLES, IMF, WORLD BANK WDI, NATIONAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES, CEBR ANALYSIS

FIGURE 1: STOCK OF BUILT ASSETS, 2014, US$

Qatar emerges as built asset wealth world leader per capita 

Qataris replace Singaporeans as the richest built asset population, with a built asset wealth of US$198,000 per capita compared to US$192,000 in Singapore.

With investments in infrastructure, residential and non-residential buildings, Qatar’s built asset wealth will continue to grow at double digital levels for the foreseeable future.

US$

SOURCE: PENN WORLD TABLES, IMF, WORLD BANK WDI, NATIONAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES, CEBR ANALYSIS

FIGURE 2: BUILT ASSETS PER CAPITA, US$

Qatar has the fastest growing construction industry in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), rapidly expanding at an annual rate of 18%.

Large developed economies fall back

Many G7 economies have seen a net de-investment through depreciation of their built assets since 2012.

The largest of these was Japan which saw a depreciation in its built asset stock of US$4.6 trillion, however, as a proportion of its stock, Germany’s net loss exceeds Japan – at 21% compared to 20%.

Trillions

SOURCE: PENN WORLD TABLES, IMF, WORLD BANK WDI, NATIONAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES, CEBR ANALYSIS

FIGURE 3: STOCK OF BUILT ASSETS IN 2012-2014, US$

Germany remains the economic powerhouse of Europe but it is facing major problems within its public infrastructure.

Advanced nations show significant de-investment for over a decade

Other developed economies to have undergone significant net de-investment since 2000 include France and Russia, while the US stock has remained largely constant.

Since 2012, Spain saw the largest de-investment of the countries analysed in this report, equal to 3.8% of GDP.

%

SOURCE: PENN WORLD TABLES, IMF, WORLD BANK WDI, NATIONAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES, CEBR ANALYSIS

FIGURE 4: CHANGE IN STOCK OF BUILT ASSETS, 2000–2014, %

In Europe, only Poland, Spain, Belgium and Turkey have managed to increase their stock of built assets.

Investments strongly correlated with economic output

The stock of built assets is closely correlated with a nation’s economic output.

On average, countries analyzed have a built asset stock worth 2.9 times of GDP.

GDP (Trillions)

SOURCE: PENN WORLD TABLES, IMF, WORLD BANK WDI, NATIONAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES, CEBR ANALYSIS

FIGURE 6: STOCK OF BUILT ASSETS BY COUNTRY VERSUS GDP, 2014, US$

Australia is a good example of this, with their investment increasingly steadily in line with their GDP between 2012 and 2014.

What happens in 2025?

The next ten years will see a dramatic shift of built asset wealth from West to East. Countries need to be making a long-term investment in their built assets upon which their prosperous economies and societies are built.

In the race for built asset wealth, the overall winners will be those who consider the full lifecycle of their assets, creating a strategic plan for infrastructure and buildings that are built to last and sustaining economic and social development side by side.

Trillions

SOURCE: PENN WORLD TABLES, IMF, WORLD BANK WDI, NATIONAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES, CEBR ANALYSIS

FIGURE 7: FORECASTED STOCK OF BUILT ASSETS IN 2025, US$

China’s heavily investment-dependent growth model means that by 2025 its built asset stock will be worth over double that of the US, and will exceed in size those of the next four economies combined.

Questions about the Built Asset Wealth Index?

Julien Cayet

Global Leader Business Advisory

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