Household wealth edged higher in the March quarter as a resurgent share market offset the continued downturn in real estate values.
Australians’ wealth lifted 0.2 per cent to $10.24 trillion during the first three months of 2019, having dipped by 2.1 per cent the previous quarter, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.
The ABS said residential real estate experienced its fifth consecutive quarter of real holding losses as household wealth per person fell $1,500 to $404,566.
But ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said company shares had softened the blow by boosting household superannuation reserves.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 9.46 per cent in the three months to March, having dipped by 9.04 per cent in the December quarter.
The ratio of Australians’ mortgage debt to residential real estate assets rose from 28.1 to 29.0 from the previous quarter – matching the all-time peak reached in July 2013 – indicating that mortgage debt grew faster than the value of residential real estate owned by households.
But the ABS said the increasing ratio reflected falling property prices rather than strong growth in mortgage debt.