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Perth loses top personal net wealth ranking to Sydney

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), 12 months to December 2007, n=54,212.
Base: Australians 14+
In the year to December 2007 just prior to the GFC the average net wealth (personal assets minus debt) per capita for Perth, was the highest in Australia at $338k. This was well ahead of Sydney on $292k and Melbourne on $268k who also trailed ACT ($329k) and Country WA ($303k). By March 2019 Sydney was in top place at $570k followed by Melbourne on $491k, Perth had dropped significantly with average net wealth of $358k, 37% behind top ranked Sydney. Country areas in WA also went from being ranked behind only Perth and the ACT in 2007 to near the bottom in 2019.

These are some of the latest findings from the second edition of the Roy Morgan Wealth Report, just released, which covers the period from just before the GFC (2007) to 2019. The report is drawn from over half a million in-depth face-to-face interviews conducted in Australians’ homes over the period from 2007 to 2019.

Perth ranked highest for average net wealth in 2007

The following chart shows that in 2007 Perth had the highest per capita net wealth of all major Australian cities with $338k, followed by Sydney ($292k), Melbourne ($268k), Brisbane ($264k), Hobart ($242k) and Adelaide ($223k).

Country WA with an average net wealth of $303k was much higher than all other regional areas in 2007, with the closest being country QLD on $256k. Country WA also had a higher average wealth than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide.

Average Personal Net Wealth in Australia – 2007 cf. 2019
Average Personal Net Wealth Australia
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), 12 months to December 2007, n=54,212.
Base: Australians 14+

Sydneysiders now the wealthiest in Australia

The average net wealth of Sydneysiders in the year to March 2019 was $570k, making it the clear leader from second placed Melbourne ($491k) and ACT ($441k). The chart above shows that Perth has fallen well back in the rankings with an average of $358k. Country WA has also gone from being ranked behind only Perth and the ACT in 2007 to being ranked below every capital city in 2019.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says:

“Although overall net wealth per capita in Australia has shown a strong recovery from the GFC, being up 59.7% (or +23.8% CPI adjusted) since 2007, not all capital cities and country areas have benefited equally. The gains in average net wealth across Australia range from a high of 95% for Sydney, down to zero for country WA and 6% for Perth.

“These wide variations in growth rates have a lot to do with real estate prices where Sydney and Melbourne have generally shown the greatest increases. Evidence for the impact of this is that there is a much higher proportion of personal wealth in NSW held in owner occupied homes (52.9%), compared to some other lower value States such as SA where it is only 42.9% and 46.1% in WA.

“The wealth of Perth and Country WA in 2007 was due to increased housing prices and economic activity associated with the mining boom.

“Understanding these major regional differences and long term trends in net wealth levels and asset composition across Australia presents valuable insights into how wealth is distributed in Australia that are in addition to the normal socio-economic factors that impact wealth.
“Further detailed analysis of regional differences and much more can be found in the newly released Roy Morgan Wealth Report July 2019.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%