SCOTLAND has scored higher than Monaco, the playground of the rich and famous, in research on property owned by the monied elite.

Estate agent Savills said Scotland comes first in terms of the average value of property portfolios but Monaco is still most attractive to the richest people in the world.

Scotland led its category with the average value of what Savills described as ultra high net worth individuals' holdings of £27 million while Monaco's was £21m.

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It found buyers are investing predominantly in private houses and estates.

The significance of private wealth in large real estate transactions has grown threefold since 2009, and has filled the gap left by shrinking debt funding, the researchers said.

Savills analysed the direct real estate holdings of the top tier of the ultra-rich from across the globe.

Scotland is also a place where the rich go to entertain and network, but with an eye on business, it found.

The research also found that there are 199,235 individuals who are classed as ultra rich, or who have net holdings worth £18m or more.

Charles Dudgeon, Savills Head of Rural Agency, said: "Scottish estates, particularly grouse moors and deer forests, attract a wide range of international buyers seeking this niche, rarity item for their property collection.

"For the ultra-rich, steep upkeep and management costs can be inconsequential; owners have been known to helicopter in all the requisite resources in preparation for just a short stay. The key is privacy and speed of access."