Number of Irish millionaires rises by 3,000 to nearly 78,000

Wealth report reveals the Irish are still getting richer but the pace of growth is slowing

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for $48.4 million last year.

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for $48.4 million last year.


Almost 3,000 Irish people became millionaires last year – and one became a billionaire – on the back of rising asset and property values.

According to the Wealth Report 2019 from estate agent Knight Frank, the rich are going to continue to get even richer, with a further 17,000 Irish people set to become millionaires by 2023. The report says there are currently 77,984 millionaires in Ireland.

However, the rate of growth in wealth generation appears to have slowed, having picked up sharply as the economy started to recover around 2013. The survey shows that the numbers joining the millionaire gang grew by 32 per cent between 2013 and 2018 but are forecast to grow by just 23 per cent between 2018 and 2023.

The report shows there was also a jump in Irish “ultra-high net worth individuals”, or UHNWIs, last year, with some 1,029 people in this group of the super wealthy, with assets of some $30 million or more. This is up by 4 per cent on 2017, in line with global trends, and is forecast to grow by a further 25 per cent between now and 2023. Dublin is home to about 43 per cent, or some 444, of these UHNWIs.

On the billionaire side, Ireland had nine billionaires last year – up from eight in 2017. But this number is not expected to grow, as the survey forecasts zero growth among billionaires between now and 2023. This is in sharp contrast to China, where growth of 29 per cent is forecast, and India (+37 per cent).

In total, the survey reveals that across the world there are now 19.6 million millionaires, up by 3 per cent on 2017. Despite strong growth in Asia, the US remains home to the greatest number of millionaires, at some 5.9 million. This compares with 1.5 million in China, 1.5 million in Germany and 759,000 in the UK.

Prime properties

The survey also ranks the world’s luxury residential markets in terms of price growth. Dublin slipped own the rankings into 85th place, on the back of a 2.8 per cent decline in the price of “prime”, or properties typically priced at about €1 million and above, in the year to December 2018. It joins London (-4.4 per cent); Rio de Janeiro (-3.8 per cent) and Vancouver (-11.5 per cent) as cities where prime property prices are falling.

Going in the other direction are the index leader, Manilla, where prices rose by 11.1 per cent in the period under review, Edinburgh (+10.6 per cent) and Berlin (+10.5 per cent).

When it comes to so-called passion investments, rare whiskey was the top performer over the past year, with asset values advancing by 40 per cent, or by 582 per cent over a 10-year period. This is far in excess of the next best performer, coins, which increased by 12 per cent, followed by wine, which was up by 9 per cent.

The biggest whiskey seller was a bottle of The Macallan 1926, which was sold by Christies for $1.5 million.

Classic cars had more of a mixed fortune. Overall, the HAGI Top Index for rare classic cars rose by almost 2.5 per cent in 2018. However, some brands actually fell; prices of Porsche cars, for example, slid by an average of 6.5 per cent. The most expensive car sold at auction was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold for $48.4 million.