Aussies the wealthiest in the world

Australians remain the richest people in the world, for the third year in a row.

That’s according to the Credit Suisse 2013 Global Wealth Report. The median wealth of adult Aussies stands at US$219,505 – around $233,000, the highest level in the world.

On the measure of average wealth per person, Australia falls to second place with US$402,578 per person, behind the Swiss with US$513,000. Credit Suisse investment strategist, Australia, David McDonald has told Fairfax Media that the nation’s household wealth per adult grew by 2.5% in the past year, slower than the global average of 4.6%.

“Although we are up there at a high level of wealth per adult we’ve also got a better spread than a lot of the other developed countries including, obviously, the Swiss, but also places like the US,” Mr McDonald has told The Age.

38,000 new Australian millionaires were created during the year, bring the total to 1.123 million millionaires. Australians hold a much higher percentage of their wealth in property and non-financial assets, 58.5% compared to the world average of 45% and just 38% for the US. Millionaires are adjudged to include only the value of their real estate owned outright – which likely excludes many ‘millionaires’ with multiple properties, but mortgages to go with them.

The US was a clear winner over the year, regaining its title as the wealthiest region in the world. Rising house prices and soaring stock markets saw a 12% increase in North American wealth to US$78.9 trillion, putting the US ahead of Asia Pacific and Europe for the first time since the GFC.

Much of Australia’s wealth is likely to be attributed to our compulsory superannuation system, which is estimated to hold $1.5 trillion worth of assets.

Foolish takeaway

So what do we have to complain about? House prices are rising, our stock market is up, with the S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) rising over 14% since October last year, confidence is rising and we appear to have a stable government after three years of struggle. Maybe the future is bright after all?

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.

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