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Swedish households are now richer than ever

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Swedish households are now richer than ever
Both the gross and net worth of Swedish households in creased in the third quarter of 2016. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
14:56 CET+01:00
Swedes are richer than ever before, but household debt in the country continues to grow at the same time, new statistics from one of the country's major banks show.

SEB's latest “Savings Barometer” figures for the third quarter of 2016 show that both the gross and net worth of Swedish households grew to record levels during the period.

"The bulk of the increase came from share-related assets, but house prices also grew in value,” SEB economist Jens Magnusson said in a press release.

The net worth of Swedish households grew to 14 122 billion kronor in the third quarter of 2016, a 4.9 percent increase of 664 billion kronor, and a new record.

The value of their gross assets increased to 17 812 billion kronor meanwhile, the equivalent of four times Sweden's GDP.

Swedish households saved 63 billion kronor during that time, of which occupational pensions and savings deposits made up the biggest proportion.

Household debt also grew by 1.5 percent in the quarter however. That is in line with the same period in 2015, but a reduction compared to the second quarter of 2016.

And Sweden's annual rate of household debt sunk to 7.1 percent, which is the first sign of it slowing since the turn of the year 2012-13.

“Swedes' debt continues to increase: for the third quarter of 2016 it grew by 55 billion kronor. The main cause is growing housing prices, and it is important to follow developments,” Magnusson explained.

“But we can now see for the first time in several years that the yearly rate of debt growth has reduced somewhat. That could be the start of a welcomed shift in trend,” he added.

SEB's figures come in the same week that the Swedish Ministry of Finance announced it will start using a new measure to track gaps in wealth in Sweden as income inequality grows in the country.

“Distribution of income is not just a matter of fairness – it is also important for growth. For this reason we are now further highlighting the results of analysis in this area,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Tuesday.

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