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Property prices drive record household wealth in Australia

Rapidly rising property prices have driven total household wealth to record rates, new data reveals.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show total household wealth climbed 4.4 per cent, or 590 billion, in the September quarter to reach a record $13,918.5 billion.

Wealth per capita also reached new heights at $540,179, the statistics show.

Head of Finance and Wealth at the ABS, Katherine Keenan, said residential property assets contributed 3.5 percentage points to the quarterly growth.

“Residential property prices continued to drive household wealth, with prices increasing by 5 per cent during the quarter,” Ms Keenan said.

“Lockdown restrictions in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory reduced auction volumes and property listings in those markets.  

“Overall, however, property prices continued to grow strongly reflecting continued low interest rates and strength in the housing market.”

Increases in currency and deposits, and superannuation balances, at 0.6 and 0.4 percentage points also contributed to the growth in household wealth.  

Offsetting these was an increase in household loans which detracted 0.3 percentage points from growth.

The $72 billion increase in household deposits is the largest on record, surpassing the $63.8 billion recorded in the September quarter 2020. 

“Household disposable income increased during the quarter due to government support payments to households and unincorporated businesses affected by COVID-19,” Ms Keenan said.

“Dividend payments and tax refunds also increased with some individuals able to claim additional refunds related to the backdating of personal income tax bracket adjustments to 1 July 2020. 

“At the same time, household expenditure fell as households in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory spent more than half the quarter under lockdown restrictions.”

Demand for credit reached $126.3 billion, led by general government (up $46.9 billion), households (up $37.4 billion) and private non-financial business (up $33.1 billion).

”The general government’s funding requirements grew in the September quarter as New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory governments supported their economies through business support payments during lockdowns,” Ms Keenan said.

“The Commonwealth Government also supported household incomes in these jurisdictions through COVID-19 disaster payments.”

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