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ACT households 28 per cent richer than national average

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ACT households have an average net worth of $930,000, a whopping 28 per cent greater than the national average, new data shows.

Australian households are no richer than they were during the global financial crisis, but Canberrans are certainly on top of the wealth tree, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau Statistics on Wednesday.

The ABS said there was no statistical difference between the 2011-12 average household net worth – assets minus liabilities –  of $728,000, and the $759,000 figure from 2009-10.

Average household wealth was higher in capital cities, valued at $144,000 more than households outside the capitals, but Canberrans’ net worth was still 19 per cent higher than the eight-capital average.

As expected, homes were the greatest assets held and ownership the biggest indicator of wealth level.

ABS Living Conditions director Caroline Daley said two-thirds of Australian households owned their home outright or with a mortgage.


"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. 

"Households that owned their home outright (2.7 million households) had an average net worth of $1,237,000.

“Households with a mortgage on their home (3.1 million households) had an average net worth of $790,000, and the average net worth for households that rent their home was $160,000.”

Nationally, household wealth has increased by 9 per cent or $61,000 since 2005-06. 

Superannuation was the biggest financial asset held, while households had an average credit card debt of $2700.

The ACT household net worth reflected average assets of $1.12 million and liabilities of $182,000.

The wealthiest households were those referred to as “couple only” which included a person aged 55 to 64 years.

Their net wealth of $1.266 million dwarfed the lowest category of a single under 35 years old, who had an average net worth of $160,000.  

The unequal distribution of wealth meant the median net worth nationally – with half of households valued more, half less – was $434,234.

The top 20 per cent of households had an average net worth of $2.2 million, 71 times that of the bottom one-fifth.

South Australian, Queensland and Tasmanian households had levels of wealth below the national average, with Tasmanians’ $600,000 net value the lowest in the nation.