Number of Aussie millionaires soars by 34%

The total number of Australian millionaires has gone up by an impressive 34 per cent since the depths of the global financial crisis, new research shows.

According to the latest World Wealth Report by investment bank Merrill Lynch and consultancy Capgemini, there were 173,600 Australian millionaires at the end of 2009, up from 129,200 at the end of 2008.

The report also found that the total wealth of "high net worth individuals’’ – defined as people with net assets of at least US$1 million ($1.15 million) excluding their home – was $US519.4 billion ($596.6 billion) in Australia in 2009, a 37 per cent increase on the US$379.8 billion recorded in 2008.

Rising wealth levels may encourage more Australians to compare savings accounts in search of the best returns. The report’s recorded increase means that Australia is now ranked tenth in the world in terms of the number of millionaires.

Chris Selby, managing director of Merrill Lynch’s global wealth management division in Australia and New Zealand, claimed the rebounding share market had been the main driver of such increasing wealth.

Meanwhile, the Herald Sun reported earlier this week that, according to data from weekend auctions, homes with $1 million-plus price tags are currently selling at a rate of one every two hours.

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