Millionaires Surge in Md, VA

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Millionaires surge in Md., Va.

By: Hayley Peterson
Examiner Staff
October 4, 2010

Nearly seven Maryland households in every 100 and six of every 100 Virginia households have liquid assets of more than a million dollars as the rising market for stocks and bonds has restored lost wealth.

The number of millionaire households in each state grew by roughly 8.5 percent -- outperforming the 8 percent national average -- from June 2009 to June 2010, according to a survey by independent research firm, Phoenix Marketing International. The rankings are based on assets like stocks, bonds and cash, and don't include equity in homes or other real estate, or 401K retirement accounts or pensions.

Maryland now ranks No. 2 in the country behind Hawaii -- for the fourth straight year -- based on its percentage of millionaire households, which rose slightly to 6.79 percent this year.

Virginia dropped two spots to No. 7, however, finishing fiscal 2010 with a 5.94 percentage of millionaires. The District held steady this year at No. 10, with 5.53 millionaire households per 100.

Economists say a rebound in stock and bond prices coupled with a fall in interest rates are driving the surge in new millionaires.

"As you move up the wealth distribution index, stock and bond prices become more important as a portion of total wealth," said Gary Burtless, an economist with D.C. think tank the Brookings Institution.

Maryland economist Daraius Irani said the nation's wealthiest tend to "bounce back faster," especially in the D.C. region.

"They have higher assets, lower rates of unemployment, higher education," said Irani, vice president of the Towson-based Regional Economic Studies Institute. "There is a much larger trend of the individuals in the top 3 percent growing faster."

The Maryland figures contradict reports that a

2008 personal income tax increase -- from 4.75 percent to 6.25 percent -- on households earning $1 million or more is driving the wealthy out of the state. In 2008, the first year the tax took effect, there was a 30 percent drop in the number of million-dollar earners filing tax returns.

But the tax didn't sunset until July of this year -- and the survey showed that in the 12 months ending in June 2010, Maryland has gained more than 11,000 millionaires.

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Comments (1)

Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

No surprise here * Hello! GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES * Obama Administration officials!

Oct 06, 2010 07:36 AM