Australian millionaires are more likely to invest their wealth in property assets than their international counterparts, according to a global study of high net worth individuals by IT firm Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management
The stock of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in Australia grew to 226,000 in 2014, according to the 2015 World Wealth Report, a 4% increase from 2013.
The report defines HNWIs as individuals with more than $US1 million ($1.29 million) to invest over and above the value of their home.
The growth in HNWIs in Australia compares to Canada and Switzerland, which also recorded a 4% growth rate between 2013 and 2014.
The US is home to the most HNWIs—4,351,000 to be exact—with the country’s number of rich people growing by 9% last year. In second place is Japan, with 2,452,000 HNWIs and a growth rate of 5%.
Here’s four insights into the world’s wealthiest people from the 2015 report.
1. Australian millionaires favour property
Perhaps this is based on the Australian dream of owning your own home, but this year’s report shows Australian HNWIs hold a larger share of their wealth in property assets.
Australians included in the data set hold on average 35% of the wealth in property, according to a separate report into the Asia-Pacific region from Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. This compares to a global average of 22%.
Australian HNWIs hold approximately 22% of their wealth in equities, approximately 23% in cash and deposits. The group holds 11% of wealth in fixed income.
2. Australia is in the top 10 locations for wealthy individuals
There was no movement in the top 10 rankings for the country’s with the highest populations of HNWIs between 2013 and 2014, with the US, Japan, Germany, China and the UK retaining the top five spots.
Australia came in at ninth position, behind France, Switzerland and Canada but ahead of 10th placed Italy.
However, the report shows the total population of HNWIs is concentrated in the top four countries, with US, Japan, Germany and China together accounting for 60.3% of the world’s population of HNWIs.
3. The number of millionaires worldwide is growing – but at a slower pace
Nearly 1 million people joined the millionaire club in 2014, according to the report. However, the report’s authors said the population and total wealth of HNWIs expanded at “moderate” rates last year.
The global HNWI population grew by 6.7% in 2014 to 14.6 million, while the group’s total wealth grew by 7.2% to $56.4 trillion. This compares to growth rates in 2013 of 14.7% and 13.8%, respectively.
Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management said this is the second slowest growth rate recorded in the past five years and the Asia-Pacific and North American regions were the only regions in 2014 to outpace their five-year annualised growth rates for HNWI wealth.
4. Growth in Asia-Pacific millionaires is outpacing North America
While North America is still holding on to its top rank as the region that produces the most HNWIs, the rate of growth in the North American HNWI population (8%) was slower than the rate of growth in the Asia-Pacific region (9%).
“Asia-Pacific led the growth in wealth this year and just edged out North America as the new leader in High Net Worth population,” said George Lewis, group head of RBC Wealth Management and RBC Insurance in a statement.
“Looking ahead to the next few years, we expect Europe to be a large driver of HNWI wealth as the region recovers economically.”