Australia’s millionaires pour more of their wealth into real estate than the rest of the world’s rich, even though they appear worried about a housing bubble.
Property attracted 33 per cent of their wealth during the first quarter of 2014, well above the global average of 19.5 per cent, a report by global business and technology consultancy Capgemini and Royal Bank of Canada found.
But it was a drop from 41 per cent a year earlier.
“Record low interest rates in the country could be sowing fear of a property bubble, explaining the drop,” the Asia-Pacific wealth report said.
Still, Capgemini’s wealth management specialist Dorus van den Biezenbos said Australian millionaires saw property as a safe investment.
“That is actually a cultural thing,” he said.
“They buy investment properties because they’ve seen it growing over the last few years, in some cases by double digit figures.”
The number of Australian “high net worth individuals” – those with assets worth more than $1 million, outside of the home they live in – increased by 5.8 per cent last year, to 218,700.
That growth was driven mainly by a 6.5 per cent increase in property prices.
Wealthy Australians have placed 22 per cent of their riches in equities, below the world average of 26.5 per cent.
Low interest rates are also turning investors off fixed-income assets, with just 11 per cent of wealth going into bonds, compared with the world average of 17 per cent.