The relentless growth of the ultra rich in Australia

Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images

The number of millionaires grew by 200,000 to 1.16 million in Australia over the 12 months to mid-2017, according to research by Credit Suisse.

And the number of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals in Australia — those with a net worth of $US50 million ($A65.5 million) — jumped by 30% to almost 3,000, according to the latest edition the Global Wealth Report.

“No other part of the wealth pyramid has been transformed as much since 2000 as the millionaire and ultra-high net worth individual segments,” says Alex Wade, the Head of Australia, and Developed and Emerging Asia, Private Banking, Credit Suisse.

Calculations by Credit Suisse suggest that 148,200 worldwide can be classed as UHNW individuals. Of these, 54,800 are worth at least $US100 million ($A130 million), and 5,700 have assets above $US500 million ($A655 million).

The total number of UHNW adults has risen by 13% or 19,600 adults over the past year.

Here’s how Australia compares to the rest of the world when it comes to ultra rich:

Source:Credit Suisse

Generally Australians have increased their wealth over the last 12 months, despite weak wage growth of about 2%.

Most of that rise has been in the value of assets, mainly the family home, after a property boom centred on the two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

Between 2000 and 2012, the average annual growth rate of wealth per adult was 12%, with about half the rise due to exchange-rate appreciation against the US dollar.

“The high level of real assets partly a large endowment of land and natural resources relative to population, but also results from high property prices in the largest cities,” says Credit Suisse.

Australia’s wealth per adult in 2017 is $US402,600 ($A528000), the second highest in the world after Switzerland.

Here’s how wealth has grown in Australia:

Source: Credit Suisse

Wealth inequality is low compared to the rest of the world. Only 5% of Australians have a net worth below $US10,000 compared to 19% in the UK and 29% in the US.

The proportion of those with wealth above $US100,000 ($A130,000), at 68%, is the fourth highest of any country, and almost eight times the world average.

The composition of household wealth in Australia is heavily skewed to non financial assets at an average of $US303,200 (almost $A400,000) which represents 60% of gross assets, as this chart shows:

Australia’s wealth numbers at a glance:

Source: Credit Suissse

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