Household wealth recovers in June quarter

Media Release
Released
24/09/2020

Average household wealth increased 1.4 per cent (up $5,881) to $433,833 per person in the June quarter in a partial recovery from the 3.0 per cent decrease in the March quarter, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Increases in superannuation balances (5.4 per cent), directly held shares (3.0 per cent) and deposits (2.7 per cent) contributed to the household wealth gain in the June quarter 2020. These increases were partly offset by a real (inflation adjusted) holding loss on residential assets (1.2 per cent), reflecting widespread falls in property prices.

Overall, total household wealth increased 1.5 per cent, a partial reversal of the March quarter 2.5 per cent fall.  A 0.1 per cent increase in the population was the reason total wealth grew marginally more than average wealth.

Head of Finance and Wealth at the ABS, Amanda Seneviratne said "The June quarter 2020 financial accounts reflect the recovery of the Australian and international financial markets as the economic impacts of COVID-19 became more evident, and government and RBA policies took effect." 

Growth in household superannuation accounts and directly held shares was largely due to share price increases linked to the recovery in the Australian and international share markets.

Household deposits increased $33.4 billion as households saved more during the June quarter. Key drivers of the increase in household saving were the government income support packages such as: JobKeeper; economic support payments; and early access to superannuation. 

The holding loss on residential assets reflected widespread falls in property prices due to a combination of social distancing measures (restrictions on auctions and open house inspections) and ongoing economic uncertainty.

Commonwealth and state governments raised significant amounts of funds to finance the COVID-19 policies for the June quarter and beyond, resulting in net borrowing increasing by $75.6 billion to $88.6 billion in the June quarter. This was the largest quarterly borrowing amount on record. The governments financed this borrowing by issuing a net $128.0 billion in debt securities, the highest on record, surpassing the previous high of $41.1 billion recorded in the June quarter 2009.

The ABS has published spotlight articles for this release which examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on household wealth, superannuation, and the financing of government support packages. 

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