Household wealth lifts above pre-GFC levels

By a staff reporter

Average Australian household wealth fell slightly between 2009-10 and 2011-12, but the difference is not statistically significant, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says.

Mean household net worth was $728,000 in real terms in 2011-12, just down from $759,000 two years earlier.

But the most recent value was nine per cent higher than the 2005-06 figure of $667,000 and 24 per cent above the 2003-04 result of $585,000.

Wealth measures the extent to which the value of household assets exceeds the value of their liabilities, the ABS said.

But a relatively small number of households had high net worth and a relatively large number had low net worth, meaning the median, or mid-point when all households are ranked in ascending order of net worth, was substantially lower at $434,000.

Owner-occupied properties were the largest asset held by households, worth $370,000 on average and accounting for 43 per cent of household assets.

Mortgages were the largest household liability, averaging $204,000 for owner-occupied households with a mortgage. 

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