Income and wealth distribution by state

Monday, September 12, 2016

High wealth, high income

What are the high wealth, high income states? Western Australia is leading in terms of both income and wealth, with $133,224 and $952,500 respectively, which is well above the average household annual gross income of $107,276 and average household net worth of $809,900.

However, over the last year particularly, the impact of the mining slowdown has affected earnings and also wealth. The reliance on the mining sector and the fluctuation of income and wealth based on the fortunes of this one sector are highlighted in the fact that between 2012 and 2014, the household incomes of those in Western Australia rose by 21% which was almost double that seen in the leading east coast state of New South Wales, and the wealth in this 2 year period increased by 24%, again almost double on what we saw from the best performing east coast states.

Top performing states

New South Wales is the most consistent performer in wealth and income, and the only other state to have both income and wealth about the national average (12% on income and 13% on wealth). It has a stable economy, with the largest infrastructure investments in the nation, a broad base of industries and consequently solid forward forecasts.

The Northern Territory, like Western Australia has been fluctuating, and while it has average income above the national average, its wealth is below the national average. Queensland, while improving in both income and wealth is below the national average on both as well. And Victoria while seeing solid gains in both income and wealth, with wealth largely due to the housing market above the national average, its income has still not quite reached the national average.

Worst performing states

The worst performing states are Tasmania, with incomes 26% below the national income and wealth average, as well as South Australia which is 19% below the average household income and 20% below the national net wealth.

While household income gains have been low in some states (a total of 6% gain since 2012 in South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory over the last 2 years), at least all of the states have had an increase in incomes, but such has been the change in property prices and the rise in living costs, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have all seen a slight fall in average household wealth since 2012.

The New Australian Dream

Thursday, September 01, 2016


Owning your own four bedroom house on a decent block of land with a big backyard and outdoor swimming pool used to be the quintessential 'Great Australian Dream'. But with rising property prices and increased living costs, that dream is being redefined.

what is the Average Australian Profile?

The average full time annual income in Australia is $80,000, which is bumped up a bit because of high income earners. Even though we are living longer now than a generation ago, the average retirement age is little changed, at 61.5 years.

The cost of housing is up with average rent prices per week at $485/week and the average house price (capital city) is $765,730. In Melbourne it is well above this and in Sydney it is around $1 million. This is where the challenge is for Australians: 40 years ago the average house price was around 5 time’s average earnings and now you can see it is almost 10 times the average annual fulltime earnings.

Other than affordability, what else are Aussies looking for?

Lifestyle is key. People are opting to live in higher density areas for the sake of convenience and location- within close proximity to transport, restaurants – the café culture as it has been called. Our Urban Living Index shows a strong correlation between the most urban/densified suburbs and those with the highest liability ratings.

Australians are opting for a lifestyle of Minimalism - we are 'decluttering' our lives and putting more value on the intangibles like travel. Generation Y aren’t opting for a big home with garages to store all their stuff but more of a focus on the easy-livability of apartment living. Indeed many baby boomers are downsizing from their larger homes in the suburbs to this style of living too.

Renting, as opposed to buying, what some of the benefits?

The ability to change locations easily is well regarded – the average Australian renter stays just 1.8 years per home. Our research shows that 1 in 3 renters are actually 'choice renters' and they choose to rent for lifestyle reasons, not primarily for affordability reasons. These choice renters are twice more likely to be living in medium and high density housing than the average Australian and they are almost 10 years younger than the average Australian. The ability to upsize and downsize easily and the flexibility to travel for extended periods of time is a driver for them. ‘Rentvesting’ is also becoming a ‘thing’. This is where people choose to rent in an area they like, but buy somewhere more affordable and use this as an investment

Generation Y are struggling to attain the Great Australian Dream – are they going to be ok?

There is a challenge emerging of "generational inequity" as shown by this infographic:

Gen Y’s have the least wealth of the working generations and their proportion of Australia’s wealth is less than half their demographic share, while the Baby Boomers who are a quarter of the population, own more than half of Australia’s wealth. (More information on this topic can be found here)

This is why Gen Y is reinventing the Aussie Dream and while they do still like the idea of owning something of their own, it is not just the big home with the back yard in the suburbs. But many in this generation will be absolutely fine thanks to the massive intergenerational wealth transfer set to happen in the next 20 years as those aged over 65 transfer much of their total wealth of $2.5 trillion.

Wealth and Income Distribution State V State

Monday, July 25, 2016


Australia has long been considered the land of the middle class, but in recent years the gap has been widening between the rich and the poor. When it comes to the battle of the states, which corner of Australia scores the highest and the lowest on the income and wealth report? Will the Baby Boomer generation continue their stronghold on our national wealth?

Is Australia still the land of the middle class?

It is hanging in there, but it’s under pressure. We have seen some hollowing out in the middle of the earnings and a bit of spread to either end. The average annual household earnings are around $107,000 however the lowest fifth of households earn 20% of this while the top fifth average almost three times this. That means that the top fifth of households are taking home about 12 times what the bottom fifth of households are earning.

Most Aussies have their wealth tied up in their homes, how does ownership compare with the top, middle and lower classes?

The average wealth (if you liquidate everything and pay off all your debts, what are you left with) is about $800,000. The bottom 1 in 5 have a net worth of just $35,000, the top 20% of all household have a net worth of about $2,500,000. That means that the top fifth of households have about 62% of Australia’s wealth, and the bottom fifth take less than 1% of Australia’s national private wealth. So that's a big difference in wealth across these households.

Which states are best and worst performers when we are looking just at income?

The mining boom in WA has really done a great thing over there and so they are leading the earnings chart, with the ACT not too far behind with public servant wages doing pretty well. At the bottom of the tree you have Tasmania, earning about $50,000 less per annum, per household, than what we have in the west.

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