AUSTRALIANS are richer than ever before as we ride high on a new property-backed wealth boom according to recently released figures by Federal Treasury and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which show that private wealth held through property, shares and other assets has hit a record $6 trillion, up 1.3 per cent in the three months to December.
On a per person basis, this is equivalent to a record $266,600 for every man, woman and child, Commsec chief economist Craig James was a reported as saying in news.com.au
However, lack of confidence meant people focused on doom and gloom.
“Aussie consumers are more focused on perceptions rather than reality,” Mr James said.
“For most, the perception is that they are going backwards – the cost of living is rising, incomes aren’t keeping up and wealth levels are stagnating. But the reality is that incomes continue to grow faster than prices, while balance sheets are improving through record wealth levels and reduced debt levels.
“The fact is Australians have never been wealthier. The average Australian has wealth equivalent to almost $267,000, a level that has largely doubled over the past decade.”
Because share market prices are yet to recover fully from the global financial crisis, home prices have become the backbone of this latest wealth boost.
“Home prices must take much of the credit in driving this wealth to record highs,” Mr James said.
“We have more wrapped up in the family home, which has continued to rise in price and been the key driver.
“But shares, too, have done their part during the past two years.”
Our low confidence, however, has paid off in the debt stakes with Australia’s private debt falling 6.2 per cent during the three months to December – the biggest fall in nine years.