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Housing Downturn Hits Australian Wealth: Credit Suisse

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Australia lost 124,000 millionaires following a fall in average wealth, largely due to the weakening dollar and the nation’s housing market slump, according to Credit Suisse.

Australia now ranks fourth in the world for average wealth per adult, around $US386,060, compared with last year when it came in second place, reveals the tenth edition of Credit Suisse global’s wealth report.

Source Figures 2 and 3: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Global wealth databook 2019
Source Figures 2 and 3: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Global wealth databook 2019


Viewed in terms of wealth per adult, figure 2 shows Switzerland tops the list, with an increase of US$17,790.

The report's table shows Australia's wealth per adult dropped US$28,670 on last year's findings.

While losses were also recorded in Norway (down US$7,520), Turkey (down US$5,230) and Belgium (down US$4,330).

Source Figures 2 and 3: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Global wealth databook 2019
Source Figures 2 and 3: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Global wealth databook 2019


Australia recorded a decline in US dollar-denominated terms of 6 per cent.

“House price declines did not happen in the ten countries listed in Figure 3, and were also rare elsewhere in the world,” the wealth report notes.

But that “Australia (-6 per cent) was the only recorded instance of a drop of more than 2 per cent” for the year.

The world's millionaires, and rising China

The number of millionaires for any given country depends on three factors: the size of the adult population, average wealth and wealth inequality.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States scores highly on all three.

It's also home to the greatest number of millionaires, tallying at 18.6 million, or 40 per cent of the world's total.

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And while Japan ranked at second place by a comfortable margin for many years it is now in third place in the millionaire rankings at 6 per cent, surpassed by China.

China, one of the few countries to avoid the impact of the global financial crisis, overtook the United States this year to become the country with most people in the top 10 per cent of global wealth distribution.

While Australia, Italy and Canada are each home to 3 per cent of the world's millionaires.

“The United States added 675,000 newcomers, more than half of the global total,” the global wealth report notes.

“Japan and China each contributed more than 150,000, but Australia lost 124,000 millionaires following a fall in average wealth.”

But the report found that high average wealth is combined with relatively low wealth inequality in Australia.

The Gini coefficient, a statistical measure of distribution, showed 66 per cent of Australians have wealth above US$100,000 and 7 per cent of Australians have net worth below US$10,000.

“The proportion of Australians with wealth above US$100,000 is one of the highest in any country and about six times the world average,” the report notes.

“With 1.3 million people in the top 1 per cent of global wealth holders, Australia accounts for 2.6 per cent of this top slice, although it is home to just 0.4 per cent of the world’s adult population.”

▲ During the past year, the total number of UHNW adults increased by 6,870 (4 per cent). Losses occurred in Korea (down 140), Turkey (down 230), Italy (down 270) and Australia (down 280).
▲ The total number of UHNW adults increased by 6,870 (4 per cent) during the past year. Losses occurred in Korea (down 140), Turkey (down 230), Italy (down 270) and Australia (down 280).

Millionaire trends

The report says it estimates there are around 46.8 million millionaires across the globe at mid-2019, up 1.1 million on mid 2018.

As it monitors wealth growth across countries and widening or narrowing wealth inequalities, it noted that more than half of all adults worldwide have a net worth below US$10,000.

While, nearly 1 per cent of adults are millionaires who collectively own 44 per cent of global wealth.

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Article originally posted at: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/housing-downturn-hits-australian-wealth-creditsuisse