The new statistics cover a wider range of household assets including households’ currency holdings, the equity owned in unlisted businesses and some unfunded superannuation benefits.
“As a result of these changes, we now estimate the value of New Zealand household wealth, including housing and land, to have been more than $1.0 trillion at the end of the September 2014 quarter,” said Rochelle Barrow, Manager of the Bank’s Statistics Unit.
“The inclusion of the equity that households own in small- and medium-sized businesses in New Zealand addresses a significant coverage gap in the previously published statistics.
“Consistent with international standards, which treat rental property activity as a business, rental property assets and liabilities no longer directly appear on the balance sheet. Instead, an estimate of the net equity households own in these businesses is included as an asset.”
The Bank has worked in collaboration with Statistics New Zealand to develop the statistics.
“We believe these changes will significantly enhance the value of the household balance sheet statistics for users,” Ms Barrow said.
“The Bank has been aware of the limitations of the previously published household balance sheet statistics and has taken these into account in its analysis. Thus the new statistics do not materially change our view of the household sector or its vulnerabilities.”
The household balance sheet statistics are published on a quarterly basis, and further small enhancements are likely to be made in the new financial year.
For more information, please read the background paper.