Debt defies household wealth surge

By Ericka Pingol | 01 Jul 2019

Household wealth rose in the March quarter, but falling market prices meant mortgage debt outpaced housing values, new data said.

Household wealth in the country increased by 0.2% to $10.24trn for the March quarter, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This followed a 2.1% decline during the December quarter.

However, real estate losses offset the rise in household wealth. Figures showed a fifth consecutive residential real estate decline, resulting to weakened household wealth per person by $1,500 to $404,566.

The ratio of mortgage debt to residential assets also increased from 28.1% in the previous quarter, to 29%. This meant mortgage debt outgrew the value of household-owned residential real estate.

The ABS figures also showed that Australia’s national investment fell from $22.2bn during the quarter to $100.9bn, following a record high of $123.1bn in the December quarter.

Australia continued to borrow from overseas to fund investment, borrowing $1.0 billion from non-residents during the March quarter as national investment exceeded national saving.

In seasonally adjusted terms, Australia has been a net borrower from overseas since the September quarter of 1975.


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