The Asia-Pacific region is booming and will have the world’s largest number of millionaires within the next year – and property investment is at the heart of the Australian surge.
These are the findings of the latest Asia-Pacific Wealth Report, conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada and Capgemini – and it places Australia among the top growth areas for the rich.
The report shows the number of millionaires grew by 15% during 2011-12, and the overall number of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific grew at three times the rate of the rest of the world.
Lower global volatility and “strong actions” by both the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve helped keep the region strong.
“Combined with positive developments in the region, lower global risk and the effect of reducing volatility in Asia-Pacific during the second half of the year,” it said.
“As a result, Asia-Pacific’s equity markets surged starting mid-year, making up for the moribund first half.”
We’re also a positive bunch, the report claims. Australia had the closest average to the rest of the world in terms of trust of all elements of wealth management.
High net worth individuals (HNWI) here had more confidence than the rest of the world in industry infrastructure, at 45% compared to 40%. As a result, confidence in the ability to generate wealth in the next 12 months was higher than the rest of the world – at 81.9%.
“This positive outlook could be partly a function of Australia’s positive GDP growth rate in 2012 of 3.6%, which was the highest of industrialised Asia and greater than the global GDP growth rate of 2.2%,” the report said.
So where is this growth coming from?
Mostly, real estate. The report shows 40.6% of Australian wealth is tied up in property, which is far more than the next highest figure of 26.5% in India.
Millionaires in the Asia-Pacific are also big art lovers, and in particular, Australians love a good painting. Local wealthy individuals have an allocation of art worth 20.8%, higher than any other nation.
Australia’s wealthy are also more likely to focus on growing their wealth rather than simply preserving it, the report says.
“HNWIs in the country consider their needs to be more straightforward, encompassing the management of cash, credit and growing investments (48.3%), and this sentiment was particularly strong in the higher age and wealth band,” the report says.