Growing the nation’s wealth with property and pensions

 

The household wealth of the UK ballooned by £1.7trn between 2012/2014 and 2014/2016, with property and pension investments making up the lion’s share…

The average British household’s median net wealth was £259,400 in the latest figures for 2014/2016, a 15% increase on 2012/2014, while the number of millionaire households leapt by 800,000 to 3.6 million – which is 14% of the population.

The same proportion of households also had assets of less than £20,000, while the wealth of the top 10% was five times greater than the entire bottom half of all households put together, according to the statistics which were revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In total, the nation’s wealth grew to a record £12.8trn as of June 2016.

The rising value of private pensions and property made up a significant chunk of the boost, after both sectors made impressive gains over the two years. Property assets rose by 17% over the period from a total of £3.9trn up to £4.6trn, while private pension wealth rose by 20% to £5.3trn, which the ONS said was more due to favourable market conditions than people investing more into their pension pots.

Remaining inequality

In London, the rise in property wealth was almost double that of the country as a whole – which isn’t much of a surprise as the property market there has spiralled in recent years. The capital’s median net property wealth per household was £351,000, which was 33% more than in 2012/2014. Meanwhile, the north-east of England possessed the least wealth with just £370bn in total, compared to the south-east’s £2.5trn.

At the lower end of the scale, the 10% of British households with the least wealth had more liabilities than assets, with negative property wealth. Household debts rose by 7% between 2012/2014 and 2014/2016, hitting £1.23trn – of which £1.12trn was made up of mortgage borrowing, which could be down to the very low interest rates making mortgages more affordable.

Conor D’Arcy, of the Resolution Foundation thinktank, said: “Britain is very good at generating wealth, but terrible at spreading it around the country and even worse at taxing it properly. As a result, we have unacceptably high levels of wealth inequality.”

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Growing the nation’s wealth with property and pensions

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