Household wealth up 3.0% in the September quarter


Total household wealth increased 3.0 per cent in the September quarter 2019 to a record high of $10,912.4 billion, driven by real (inflation adjusted) holding gains on residential real estate, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This follows a 2.6 per cent rise in the previous quarter.

ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman, said: "Although growth in the share market moderated, it continued to build on gains seen earlier in the year, boosting the value of household shares held directly and through superannuation funds. Residential real estate recorded its first real holding gain since December 2017."

The ratio of mortgage debt to residential real estate assets declined to 28.6 per cent from 29.2 per cent in the previous quarter, indicating that the value of residential real estate owned by households grew faster than their mortgage debt. The decline reflects the strongest increase in the value of residential land and dwellings (2.9 per cent) since December quarter 2016, combined with the weakest growth in mortgage debt (1.1 per cent) since September quarter 2013.

Average household wealth increased by $10,698 to $428,573.5 per person this quarter which is the highest on record. Household wealth grew 4.3 per cent through the year, driven by population growth of 1.9 per cent, and household wealth per person increasing 2.4 per cent through the year.

The numbers also show that Australia was a net lender to the rest of the world, lending $7.7 billion in the September quarter 2019. National saving exceeded national investment for the second consecutive quarter, as the surplus of funds through Australia's financial system was mainly used to repay debts with non-residents and acquire equity issued by non-residents.

"The boost to national saving from a record trade surplus this quarter has allowed Australia to fund investment internally," Mr Hockman said.

The publication includes for the first time data based on new and improved data from the Economic and Financial Statistics collection.

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