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New Zealand’s net wealth tops $1.3 trillion

Rising property values helped lift New Zealand’s net worth to just over $1.39 trillion at 31 March 2015, up 9 percent on 2014, said Stats NZ.

“Net worth reflects the balance of what New Zealanders own and what they owe—that is, assets minus debts held by households and government,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said.

Except for a 3 percent decline in 2009, net worth has grown steadily since 2007—from just over $1 trillion in 2007 to $1.39 trillion in 2015.

From 2007 to 2015, household net worth increased $319 billion (35 percent), to about $1,236 billion. Investment in land and buildings (non-financial assets) was a significant contributor to this increase, although this was partly offset by increased mortgage debt (loans liabilities).

Households also built up wealth through increased bank deposits (up 58 percent), investment in business shares (up 28 percent), and insurance and superannuation funds (up 90 percent).

The value of all assets owned by New Zealanders was nearly $4.0 trillion ($3,953 billion) in 2015. This figure consisted of financial assets (cash and deposits, loans, and investments) and non-financial assets (land and buildings; plant, machinery and equipment; and business inventories) valued at $2,404 billion and $1,549 billion, respectively.

All financial liabilities totalled $2,557 billion in 2015, with the largest contributions coming from equity (37 percent), and loans (30 percent).

Over the 2007–15 period, the net amount New Zealanders owed to the rest of the world rose from $130 billion to $153 billion.

“This first release of balance sheet statistics marks a significant milestone in our ongoing work to achieve a full set of national accounts,” Mr Dunnet said.

“Balance sheets help to relate economic growth to the accumulation of wealth, and to understand how financial shocks affect the productive economy. By filling these gaps, government, businesses, and households will have more economic information to make better decisions.”

Balance sheets are used to provide estimates of assets, liabilities, and net worth held by New Zealand businesses, households, and the NZ Government.

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