Gap between households' average wealth is 'huge'

A NEW report has highlighted the extent of the gap between Australia's richest and poorest households.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released a report on Wednesday showing the average wealth of Australian households - derived by assessing the value of a household's assets against its liabilities - was $728,000 in 2011/12.

Australian households' average wealth changed little since 2009-10, the report found.

Caroline Daley, director of the Living Conditions section at the ABS, said the difference between Australia's rich and poor was huge.

"The level of wealth varied greatly between households with the average wealth for the wealthiest 20% of households at $2.2 million," Ms Daley said.

"The average wealth for households in the lowest 20% was $31,000."

Regional Australia continued to lag behind in terms of net worth, with household wealth more concentrated in capital cities ($781,000 average) compared to $637,000 elsewhere.

The ACT, home to the bulk of the nation's public servants, had the highest level of wealth at $930,000 - 28% higher than the national average.

Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory all came in close to the Australian average, while South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania were below.

"Owner-occupied homes were the largest asset held by Australians and the mortgages on owner-occupied property was also the largest liability," Ms Daley said.

"Over two-thirds of Australian households own their own home outright or with a mortgage."

Households that owned their home outright (2.7 million households) had an average net worth of $1.2 million, while households with a mortgage on their home (3.1 million households) had an average net worth of $790,000.

The average net worth for households that rent their home was $160,000.

Superannuation was found to be the main financial asset held by households, held by 80% of all households, with the average value of superannuation for Australian households coming in at $132,000.



  • Average household net worth in Australia was $728,000
  • Most Australian households assets were held in: property assets $499,000 and superannuation $132,300
  • Most Australian households liabilities were held in: property loans $116,900