Property at the heart of the world’s ‘richest’ nation

Property Prices

Australians have just been rated the richest people in the world and it’s because of one thing – houses.

The study is from Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse and tracks global wealth trends, and it found that the median Australian adult is worth more than $US225,000. 

This was way ahead of the next wealthiest country which was Belgium where the median adult was worth $US173,000, and then came Italy, Britain and France all around the $US111,000 mark. 

Interestingly, only 6 per cent of Australians have wealth below $US10,000 whereas in America, that figure is 29 per cent and a whopping 70 per cent of the world as a whole. 

So why are we considered so wealthy? 

Household wealth in Australia is heavily tied to real assets which is mainly property, and it averages $US319,000 per household. This represents 60 per cent of individuals’ gross assets. 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief economist Saul Eslake told The Age that Australia’s relatively even spread of wealth was due in part to its love of property. 

“Rising house prices tend to reduce inequality, as they make up a greater part of middle class wealth,” he said.

Credit Suisse’s 2014 Global Wealth Report shows increased wealth around the world, with a global rating 40 per cent higher than the lows recorded in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis. 

In Australia, the net wealth of the average adult has quadrupled since 2000 from $US103,151 to $US431,000, and it has grown 5 per cent in just the last year. 

David McDonald from Credit Suisse said they were remarkable figures for Australia. 

“We are well positioned globally in terms of wealth, as well as the spread of wealth.” 

Mr McDonald said however that growth in net wealth could be expected to be slower over the coming years with the share market and property market expected to experience muted growth.


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