Friday, December 18, 2015

UK Inequality

The latest Office for National Statistics ONS survey covers 2012-2014 and highlights the gulf between the country’s richest and poorest groups. Britain’s richest households have pulled further ahead of the rest of the population as house prices have accelerated, with the top 10% now owning almost half of the country’s £11.1tn total private wealth.

The ONS found that the top 10% owned at least £1,048,000 in assets, while the bottom 10% owned £12,600 or less. This underlined the gulf that separates the wealthiest, who tend to own their own homes, and the poorest, who have little or no nest egg set aside for the future. The median household private pension wealth for the top tenth of the population was £749,000, compared with £2,800 for households in the least wealthy half of households.

The ONS said average household wealth was £225,100 in 2012-14, when it carried out its latest survey of the nation’s assets. Since the previous survey was carried out two years earlier, the top tenth of households had seen a 21% increase in their wealth, including property. Over the same period, the poorest half of households also saw their wealth rise — but only by 7%.

Total property wealth in Britain, net of mortgages, increased by almost £400bn over the two years between its latest wealth surveys, the ONS found. Mark Posniak, managing director of Dragonfly Property Finance, said: “In 2014, Finland’s GDP was £184bn, which means Britain’s property market is effectively an economy in itself. UK homeowners have been able to sit back while their properties, collectively, generate more cash than entire countries.”

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