After inflation, Australia’s wealth increased by 7.0 per cent between March 2020 (pre-COVID) and March 2023 driven largely by the soaring value of owner-occupied homes – up 43.2 per cent from $4.16 trillion to $5.95 trillion.
The value of debt increased more quickly than the value of assets (53.0 per cent vs. 22.2 per cent), but not enough to stop the growth in overall wealth – the value of assets is now six times higher than the value of debt.
Half the population now accounts for 95.4 per cent of the nation’s net wealth, and the other half accounts for only 4.6 per cent of net wealth.
However, the wealth held by the richest 10 per cent of the population fell from 47.6 per cent to 42.1 per cent of the nation’s wealth. The share of wealth held by the next wealthiest 40 per cent increased the most, from 48.9 per cent to 53.3 per cent. The poorest half of the population, dominated by renters, saw their share of wealth increase – but only from 3.6 per cent to 4.6 per cent.
The lowest 10 per cent of the population has had the toughest period during the pandemic with net wealth for this decile going backwards at a rapid rate. The average amount of net wealth held by this decile is in negative territory and going backwards – down by over 400 per cent from March 2020. The lowest 10 per cent of the population is the only decile to lose wealth over the last three years.
The importance of home ownership in generating wealth is illustrated by the fact that the wealthiest 10 per cent of Australians is dominated by those who have paid off, or are paying off, their home loans. Only 1 per cent of the wealthiest decile are renters.
The Sixth Edition of the Roy Morgan Wealth Report 2023, released today, provides the full picture of individual Australians’ wealth and how that has changed during COVID. The report offers fully detailed data on Australians’ Net Wealth by calculating total personal assets (owner/ occupier home, superannuation/ pensions & annuities, deposit & transaction accounts, property investments, other direct investments & managed funds) and subtracting total personal debt (owner occupied mortgages, mortgage or investment property, personal loans, other loans & total cards).
Roy Morgan is able to deliver this information thanks to Australia’s most extensive and longest-running study of consumer financial behaviour. The study, which has been running continuously for more than 20 years, involves over 50,000 in-depth, multi-mode interviews each year. This provides privileged access to every aspect of Australians’ lives, including fully detailed financial positions, providing data of unmatched depth and breadth.
It enables analysis of genuine gross wealth by age, gender, location, home ownership status and more, showing precisely what form that wealth takes, how evenly or otherwise it is distributed, how it has grown, and what further shifts are likely in coming years.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said:
“As a country, we have done pretty well since March 2020, and remember that’s not just since COVID, over that period we’ve also had 13 interest rate increases, crushing cost-of-living pressures and alarming inflation.
“So to find ourselves 7.0 per cent wealthier now than back then, even after accounting for inflation, is a very good result.
“The other exceptional finding in the latest Wealth Report is that so much wealth is in the hands of the top half of the population. To see that the bottom half holds less than 5 per cent of the wealth speaks to a wealth divide in Australia. And the finding that the poorest 10 per cent of our nation has gone backwards, and is further in debt, is extremely worrying. This is the kind of critical insight that is only available through deep data that begins with a holistic view of individual Australians.
“There are well-established links connecting overall wealth and wealth distribution to national wellbeing in the broadest sense, and we are committed to continuing to provide this kind of crucial data.
“The Roy Morgan Wealth Report is part of our long history of mapping the trends and changes in Australian society. It provides political and business leaders and those heading vital NGOs with solid evidence-based data to optimise the decisions they make for the benefit of all Australians.”
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