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Top 10 percent of households have half of total net worth
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  28 June 2016

Household Net Worth Statistics: Year ended June 2015  –  Media Release

Household net worth

The average New Zealand household was worth $289,000 in the year to June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. However wealth was not evenly distributed, with the top 10 percent accounting for around half of total wealth. In contrast, the bottom 40 percent held 3 percent of total wealth. 

Graph, Distribution of household net worth, by net worth bands, year ended June 2015.

“While some people have high net worth, around 5 percent of households had negative net worth, which means they owe more than they own,” labour market and households statistics senior manager Diane Ramsay said. Overall, New Zealand households owned $400,000 in assets and owed $51,000 in debt, on average.

The most-valuable asset was the house the household lived in, which made up 59 percent of all non-financial assets. One in two households owned the house they lived in. Housing also contributed the most to debt levels – mortgage debt was over 60 percent of household liabilities.

“Nearly three in five New Zealand households living in their own home had a mortgage, with a median mortgage value of $172,000,” Ms Ramsay said. “Overall, for every $1 of assets they have, New Zealand households have 12 cents of debt.”

Individual net worth

Median net wealth differs across ethnic groups. European people had an individual median net worth of $114,000; Asian people $33,000; Māori people $23,000; and Pacific people $12,000. This difference exists even when accounting for the younger population of Asian, Māori, and Pacific peoples.

Young people (aged 15–24) had the lowest individual median net worth of any age group – just $1,000. Most young people have not yet accumulated assets, but do have debt. The most-common debt for young people was education loans.

The concentration of wealth in the top 10 percent of individuals has increased slightly since 2005. Between 2003 and 2010, the Survey of Family, Income and Employment found that the top 10 percent had an average 55 percent of total net worth over this time. For the year ended June 2015, the top 10 percent owned around 60 percent of total net worth.


For media enquiries contact: Diane Ramsay, Wellington 04 931 4600,
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 28 June 2016

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