Superannuation grows as proportion of personal wealth

12 July 2019

Owner-occupied housing continues to dominate Australian personal net wealth but superannuation is becoming an increasingly important factor, according to new research released by Roy Morgan.

The Roy Morgan Wealth Report has revealed that roughly half (49.8 per cent) of Australia’s personal wealth continues to be held in the form of owner-occupied housing, down slightly from 2007, where superannuation accounts for 24.4 per cent up from 19.2 per cent over the same period.

Importantly, the Roy Morgan data showed that the value of assets held by Australians had almost doubled from 2007 to 2019, while debt increased by 78.6 per cent over the same period.

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“As a result, net wealth is now 98.7 per cent higher in 2019 than it was in 2007,” the Roy Morgan analysis said.

It said that average per capita net wealth in real (inflation adjusted) terms was 28 per cent higher than it was in 2007 just before the onset of the global financial crisis (GFC).

Commenting on the research, Roy Morgan chief executive, Michele Levine said that while daily headlines pointed to the risks posed by high levels of debt and falling property prices, drilling down on the data produced a more balanced long-term picture.

“Although the last 12 months has seen a marginal decline in household net worth, it is important to understand it in the context of the long-term trend,” she said. “What we have seen here is a very positive long-term trend.”

“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,” Levine said.

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