Germans ‘poorer’ than European neighbours

Germans 'poorer' than European neighbours
Photo: DPA
Germany might be touted as the financial powerhouse of Europe, but as a nation of renters Germans are not as asset-rich as their neighbours, a study from the central bank revealed on Friday.

Germany’s Bundesbank asked thousands of households in-depth questions about their financial situations – including their income, property, outgoings and how likely it would be for them to lose their jobs.

The results differed wildly from those in other countries, whose state banks also took part in the EU-wide survey. The French, for example, seemed to have three times more money in assets than the Germans, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.

Average assets of a German household were – in 2010 when the study was carried out – around €220,200 without subtracting debt and €195,000 if debt was taken into account. Still, statisticians said this figure was unrepresentative of the country’s wealth.

In fact, a better indication was to take the median, or middle of the range figure. This was much lower, standing at just €67,900 per household before debts and €51,400 with debts taken into account.

The fact that this number is so low compared to the average figure suggests that a small number of Germans have large assets, said the paper.

In France, the median was double that of Germany’s, standing at €113,500. Spain’s was €178,300 and Italy’s €163,900. Austria’s, however, was only slightly higher than Germany’s at €76,400.

When Germany’s figures were broken down, disparities started to appear, namely between those who owned their home and those who did not, as well as between the east and west of the country.

In the west, the median after taking debt into consideration was €78,000 while in the east it was a fraction of this at just €21,400.

Among those who owned their house, the figure was entirely different. Germans who owned property and had paid off the mortgage had median assets of €255,600. Those who were still paying off their mortgage had €160,200 per household.

Renters, the numbers of which are high in Germany, had median assets of just €10,300.

The study was carried out across Europe between September 2010 and July 2011 in order for the European Central Bank to be able to make decisions with a better insight into how much money its ward had.

In Germany, the Bundesbank asked 3,565 households.

The Local/jcw

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