Australian households have lost a quarter of their wealth since the global financial crisis began late last year, with the latest official count putting the carnage at a total $700bn.

And the estimate, from the Bureau of Statistics, is conservative because it only covers wealth lost up until the end of September. Since then the S&P 200 Australian share price index has fallen a further 30 per cent.

In September last year, the average Australian had a net worth of $58,200, excluding property and other non-financial assets. A year later the figure had fallen to $43,000.

The Age