Friday 26th June 2015 - 10:13 am

Our wealth? That $8 trillion

by Alan Thornhill

The good times are already rolling again, for many Australians.

This is shown in new figures, published by the Bureau of Statistics.

They reflect strong – and sustained – growth in private wealth, over recent years.

In fact, the Bureau reports, the net worth of Australian families passed the $8 trillion mark, in the first three months of this financial year.

Strong growth in the value of our financial assets had a lot to do with that.

But the overall growth, in our accumulated net worth, in the March quarter, was also impressive.

After all, that was just $7.859.54 billion in the final three months of last year.

It is now $8.0909 trillion.

So what happened?

The Bureau reports that the rise in household wealth in the March quarter had been driven by gains of $207 billion in holdings, particularly in our shares and superannuation.

And it had occurred despite a fall in the amount we have been saving.

The Bureau said household net saving, in the March quarter, had been $16.4 billion.

That was well down on the $22.8 billion we had saved in the previous quarter.

The Bureau also reported that the value of our holdings of financial assets, including shares and superannuation, rose by $129 billion during the quarter.

It said this was the largest quarterly gain, of its kind, on record.

The value of our superannuation grew by 4.8 per cent in that time.

The Bureau said this was the highest quarterly rise, on a percentage basis, since the rise of 8.4 per cent in the June quarter of 2012.

It said, too, that the value of our shares and other equities had grown by 5.7 per cent in the March quarter.

In fact, the Bureau added, household net worth has now continued to grow over the past eight quarters.

However it also noted that growth in the value of household financial assets – at 4 per cent – had outpaced growth in the value of both residential land and net dwelling assets, in the first three months of this year.

The value of residential land rose by 1.9 per cent in the quarter, while dwelling assets rose by 1.4 per cent, in that time.

But the family home is still a very big item, in accounts of household wealth in Australia.

The Bureau acknowledges that.

In fact, it put the value of our land an dwellings, in the March quarter, at $5,451.8 billion.

That left the family home well and truly ensconced in its traditional place, as the centrepiece of private wealth in Australia.

The Bureau also noted that we held $4,131 billion worth of financial assets, such as superannuation and shares, in the first three months of this year.

But we also had $2,121.6 billion worth of household liabilities -like outstanding mortgage debt – at the end of March.

Australians, who have substantial financial assets, have made some impressive gains, over recent months.

The value of our superannuation holdings grew by $104.9 billion – or 4.8 per cent in the March quarter.

The Bureau said this was the biggest percentage increase seen in this indicator, since the 8.4 per cent rise, chalked p in the June quarter of 2012.

The value of our shares – and other equities – grew by 5.7 per cent – or $37.1 billion – during the quarter.

Percentage-wise, this was the biggest rise seen since the 6.1 per cent growth recorded in the March quarter of 2013.


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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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