Australians rapidly gaining wealth: Roy Morgan

The value of assets held by Australians has almost doubled from 2007 to 2019, up 96%.

During the same period, debt held by Australians increased by just 78.6% resulting in net wealth now being 98.7% higher in 2019 than it was in 2007.

These are the key findings from the Roy Morgan Wealth Report, this means that even allowing for population growth and inflation the average Australian is better off.

The report covers the period from just before the Global Financial Crisis until 2019 and draws on over half a million face-to-face interviews conducted with Australians.

The researchers found per capita net wealth in real terms (adjusted for inflation) is 28% higher now than it was just before the GFC.

Over the period, Australia performed very strongly - particularly in comparison to European nations during the same period.

Women have improved their average net wealth position relative to men. Men now hold 12.3% more wealth than women; in 2007 they held 27.4% more.

Roughly half of Australians' personal wealth is held in owner occupied housing in 2019 at 49.8%, that's only slightly down from the pre-GFC rate of 51.6%.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said: "We see daily headlines about the risks posed by high levels of debt and falling property values, but when we drill down into the data, a more balanced long term picture emerges."

She explained the long-term trend is positive despite a marginal decline in household net worth over the past 12 months.

"Housing debt has grown considerably since 2007, but not uniformly - Roy Morgan's data shows wealthier cohorts have shown a much greater propensity to take on debt and those investors have more ability to handle downturns than more marginal borrowers in lower-wealth segments," she said.

"A more detailed understanding of how debt and personal wealth are distributed can help dispel some of the more simplistic fears over debt, and give a more balanced view of its relationship to wealth creation in Australia over the long term."

Read more: Roy Morgan Wealth ReportMichele Levine
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