Australia's economic growth is " no guarantee of rising riches for Australian families," as the latest official data on average household wealth has broken a decade of expansion by going into reverse from 2009, local media reported on Thursday.
Figures of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released Wednesday show the average wealth of Australian households in 2011- 12 was 728,000 AU dollars (almost 657,260 U.S. dollars), which indicated the first decline since the ABS began its biennial wealth and income survey in 2003, according to an analysis of The Australian newspaper.
"Thanks to sagging house and share prices the average net wealth of households, including financial and non-financial assets, fell from 759,000 AU dollars in 2009-10 to 728,000 AU dollars in 2011-12," the newspaper said.
The ABS report, Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution 2010- 12, also showed that poorer households bore the relative brunt of the fall; the average net wealth of households in the bottom fifth of Australia's wealth distribution slumping 7 percent over the period to 31,200 AU dollars while those in the top fifth fell 6 percent to 2.22 million AU dollars.
However, Australia had done well compared with other countries over this period, said Peter Whiteford, a professor of economics at Australian National University. "Median household wealth in the U.S. fell 35 percent between 2005 and 2010 to 67,000 U.S. dollars, " he said.
Property remained the biggest component of Australians' household wealth, making up almost 70 percent of the median household's total assets. Superannuation was next, making up a little more than 10 percent.
The richest group of households was couples aged over 55 with average net wealth above 1.1 million AU dollars. But couples in their early 30s without children had larger gross weekly incomes.