German wealth on the rise uneven distribution remains

Frankfurt am Main/Frankfurt (APA/dpa) – Shares and especially real estate make the difference: according to data from the Bundesbank, the wealth .

Frankfurt am Main/Frankfurt (APA/dpa) – Shares and especially real estate make the difference: according to data from the Bundesbank, the assets of private households in Germany continue to be unevenly distributed – even if they have increased on average. This is according to the Bundesbank study "Private households and their finances" (PHF) published on Monday.

According to the data, the richest ten percent of households own 55 percent of total net assets – that is, assets minus debts. In the previous study in 2014 it was 60 percent. The bottom half of households still have to make do with a meager 3 percent. The rest of the net assets are owned by 40 percent of households.

"In particular, the net assets of real estate owners have increased as a result of higher real estate prices," says the Bundesbank's monthly report. However, only 44 percent of private households in Germany own their own homes. The real estate boom thus passes many people by. In other countries in the euro zone, for example in Italy or Spain, the ratio of property owners is significantly higher, recently at around 70 and around 80 percent respectively.

Overall, thanks to low unemployment and higher incomes, Germans have been able to put more aside in recent years. At the same time, they benefited from rising share prices and real estate prices. Minus debt, households had an average net worth of 232 in 2017.800 euros. That was 18.300 euros more than in the evaluation three years earlier. Respondents were 4.942 representatively selected households.

Because the average values are strongly influenced by extreme values, the Bundesbank experts consider another evaluation to be more meaningful: the so-called median value. It lies in the middle, if one sorts the values according to the size. Households are divided into a richer half and a poorer half.

The median value is significantly lower than the average value: net at 70.800 (2014: 60.400) euros. "In the middle and in the lower range of the distribution one hardly finds households with real estate property and share ownership," explained the Bundesbank.

To be among the top ten percent of wealthiest households in Germany in 2017, a good 555 were reportedly.400 euros needed. That was just under eight times the median. Median wealth in Germany remains lower than in other countries for which comparable data are available. In Italy, it was most recently 126.000 euros, in Austria it was 83.000 euros.

In recent years, however, people living in rented accommodation and households in the less affluent half have also benefited from higher incomes, according to the data. "They enable these households to save more and reduce the need to take out new consumer loans," the survey says.

Regionally, there are significant differences in Germany. For example, the median in the West is 92.500 euros about four times as much as in the East (23.400 euros). The reason, she said, is probably the lower proportion of homeowners in the eastern states. The highest median value is found in Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg and Hesse with 139.800 euros.

The central bank conducted the study for the third time. 9.710 people aged 16 and older gave information about their assets: house and car, valuable collections and jewelry, balances in savings accounts, building society contracts, stocks, life insurance policies. On the debit side: mortgages, consumer loans, credit card debt, Bafog debt.

Although wealth inequality has fallen slightly compared to the previous survey, the study says. However, the Bundesbank concludes that there is no clear trend: "Germany is still a country in which private wealth is unevenly distributed."