Australians are asset rich

Our incomes are not among the highest but we own lots of valuable stuff -- mainly real estate. Poorer Americans tend to live in trailers (caravans). Very few Australians do, mainly a few retirees

AUSTRALIANS are the world's wealthiest people on a median basis and second in the world behind Switzerland on an average basis, according to a new report.

The Credit Suisse report also notes the European sovereign debt crisis is not expected to stop a new generation of millionaires emerging in the next five years, with the greatest wealth growth likely to occur in the booming Asia-Pacific.

On a median measure Australian adults are worth nearly $US221,704 ($217,559), nearly four times the amount of each US adult. The proportion of Australian adults worth more than $US100,000 is eight times the global average.

The high wealth rate in Australia is attributed to the strong Australian dollar, property ownership levels and a robust labour market. Australia also has one of the highest home ownership rates in the world, with property making up about 65 per cent of consumers' wealth.

The Credit Suisse Global Wealth report shows worldwide wealth is estimated at $US231 trillion and is forecast to hit $US314 trillion by 2016, despite the current market upheaval. The report says there are 27.9 million millionaires in the world, of which Australia accounts for 4 per cent.

Credit Suisse forecasts that number will reach 45.6 million in the next five years with the greatest growth to come from China. It is estimated that the world's fastest-growing economy now has 1.01 million millionaires and that could rise to 2.4 million as the nation's industrialisation and urbanisation continues.


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