The Rich Get Richer. But Will They Buy Houses?


In case you are worried about America's millionaires and billionaires and how they are faring in the recession, fear not. All is well with the rich, who are doing what they do best -- getting richer.

Two reports - from Forbes and the Spectrem Group, which tracks High Net Worth Individuals - suggest that the wealthy bounced back in 2009 from some short term reversals the year before.

The number of millionaires in the U.S. rose 16 percent to 7.8 million in a year of wrenching economic misery for most of the population. And Americans still dominate the list of global billionaires at 40 percent. True, that has slipped from 45 percent a year ago, Forbes estimates, but they do control 38 percent of the $3.6 trillion global net worth of all the billionaires.

So what are they doing with their riches? Trickle down theory has it that they are helping us by... well, I guess by buying yachts and luxury baubles and such. What about pumping some money into the jittery real estate market?

Originally published