Page last updated at 23:00 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 00:00 UK

Millionaire numbers 'have halved'

Recent National Lottery winners Martyn and Sandra White
Winning the lottery is still a good way to become a millionaire

The number of UK millionaires has more than halved as the recession has bitten into the earnings of the super-wealthy, a report has claimed.

There are now 242,000 millionaires across the country, down from a peak of 489,000 in 2007, said the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The CEBR said the big decline had been caused by the collapse in the property market and stock market falls.

This year's 70% drop in City bonuses was another factor, it said.

'Only just millionaires'

The report added that another factor that explained the sharp decline was that "a very large number" of previous millionaires had only just crept above the £1m wealth threshold because of the rising property prices of recent years, which have now fallen back sharply.

"Having just crept over the threshold, most of these people have crept back under it again - many, perhaps, without ever knowing that they had become millionaires for a temporary period," it said.

The CEBR said the decline in the number of millionaires could be seen in the recent reduction in the sale of luxury items, such as Bentley cars, sales of which have fallen 66% so far this year.

However, the CEBR concludes that the number of UK millionaires will start to rise again from 2011 as the property market recovers.

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