Australians are the richest people in the world and were typically worth $410,000 at the end of last year, a new report has revealed.
But 390,000 Aussies reached the lofty heights of millionaire status after assets soared in price in 2021.
This took the number of Australian millionaires up to almost 2.2 million but this is likely to be its peak as the country is hit by plunging house prices.
Globally there has also been an “explosion of wealth” among the ultra high net worth, with the number of individuals that have assets worth more than $50 million, skyrocketing from 46,000 last year to a record 218,200.
The super rich benefited from soaring house prices and booming stock markets, according to the report from investment bank Credit Suisse, including 4630 in Australia in total.
An extra 1350 ultra high worth net adults were added to the list last year with assets worth more than $50 million.
The huge increase in wealth of the richest 0.00004 per cent of the world’s adult population is in stark contrast to billions around the world who are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.
The wealthiest 1 per cent of Australians held 21.8 per cent of the country’s wealth in 2021, up from 19.6 per cent in 2007.
“The strong rise in financial assets resulted in an increase in inequality in 2021,” the report by Credit Suisse, which helps manage the fortunes of many of the world’s richest people, said. “The rise in inequality is probably due to the surge in the value of financial assets during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Global wealth totalled $463.6 trillion at the end of 2021, a rise of $41.4 trillion which was up by 9.8 per cent.
“While some reversal of the exceptional wealth gains of 2021 is likely in 2022/2023 as several countries face slower growth or even recession, our five-year outlook is for wealth to continue growing,” said Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, chief investment officer for the EMEA region and global head of economics and research at Credit Suisse.
“Higher inflation also yields higher forecast values for global wealth when expressed in current US dollars rather than real US dollars. Our forecast is that, by 2024, global wealth per adult should pass the $US100,000 threshold and that the number of millionaires will exceed 87 million individuals over the next five years.”
With Australia taking out the top spot for wealthy individuals with typical wealth pushing up by almost $43,000, the other countries to rank highly were Belgium, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Only seven countries – the US, China, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Canada – had more millionaires than Australia.
Financial assets such as shares made up about 39.5 per cent of Australians’ gross assets in 2021, while more than 95 per cent of the country’s housing is owned by households.
China boasts the second highest number with 10 per cent of the world’s millionaires, ahead of Japan with 5.4 per cent, the UK at 4.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent in France.
The number of US dollar millionaires increased by 5.2 million during 2021 to a total of 62.5 million, with more than a third of the world’s millionaires living in the US.
“On a country basis, the United States added the most household wealth in 2021, followed by China, Canada, India and Australia,” Anthony Shorrocks, economist and report author, said.
“Wealth losses were less common and almost always associated with currency depreciation against the US dollar.
“Analysis of median wealth within countries and across the world shows that global wealth inequality has fallen this century due to faster growth achieved in emerging markets. The average household has thus been able to build up wealth over the last two decades.”