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Chapter 3: Property Wealth, Wealth in Great Britain 2010-12 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 15 May 2014 Download PDF

Key Points

  • Aggregate net property wealth for all private households in Great Britain increased by £149 billion (4%) to £3,528 billion in current prices between 2008/10 and 2010/12.

  • However, aggregate net property wealth was still lower than the value seen in 2006/08 (£3,532 billion).

  • In 2010/12, half of all households had net property wealth of £150,000 or more.

  • The highest median value of net property wealth was seen amongst households in London, where half of all households had net property wealth of £239,000 or more.

  • Half of all households with a mortgage on their main residence owed £80,000 or more in 2010/12.

Introduction

This chapter looks at estimates of household property wealth obtained from the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS). Gross property wealth comprises the value of the main residence for a household and the value of any additional property or properties owned by any adults within the household. Estimates of a household’s property wealth do not include business assets owned by household members. The gross value of household property and the value of mortgages (liabilities) are presented at the beginning of this chapter and then combined to report on net property wealth (gross assets minus liabilities). This is followed by an analysis of net property wealth according to both household (e.g. region of residence) and individual level (e.g. age) characteristics.

How is Property Wealth Calculated?

Property wealth estimates are derived from respondents’ own valuations of their property. If a household’s main residence is either owned outright, with a mortgage or part owned/part rented, the person responding to the household questionnaire is asked to estimate the value of their property. For other property, each adult in the household is asked about any property owned other than the main residence and the value of their share in such property. If precise estimates of property value cannot be given, respondents are offered a choice of banded values. The precise values of these banded responses are later imputed, based on the distribution of the precise values obtained from other respondents. Respondents are also asked about any mortgages (including equity release) secured on their properties.

These data have been quality assured and compared against other sources. The quality assurance report is given in Annex 1 to this chapter.

Property Ownership

Home Ownership

Table 3.1 presents estimates of ownership of main residence in each two-year period covered by the separate waves of the survey. Just over two-thirds of households interviewed in each wave owned their main residence (either outright or buying it with a mortgage); a percentage which has seen little change between the three waves of the survey. However, the proportion of households who owned their home outright increased slightly across the waves (rising from 30% in 2006/08 to 31% in 2008/10 to 32% in 2010/12). Around one-third of households did not own their main residence, a consistent percentage across the three waves of the survey.

Table 3.1: Ownership of main residence: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12

Percentage (%)
  2006/08   2008/10   2010/12
Owned 68 67 68
    of which owned outright 30 31 32
    of which owned with mortgage 38 37 36
Not owned (rent or rent free)1  32  31  32
All households2 100 100 100

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Includes squatting.
  2. Includes a small number of households (<1%) who part owned part rent their residence.

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Ownership of other property

Some households own property other than their main residence . There was a small increase in the percentage of households who owned some form of other property, from 10% in 2008/10 to 11% in 2010/12 (Table 3.2).

It should be noted that ‘other property’ includes property types with a wide range of values compared to the values of main residence e.g. timeshares, land plots, garages etc.  The propensity to buy and sell this lower valued property may be higher than that for the higher valued property types, irrespective of the market at the time. Therefore values might be more subject to change between waves.

Table 3.2: Ownership of other property: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12

Percentage (%)
  2006/08       2008/10       2010/12
Other houses/flats in UK1   6 Not available Not available
Second Homes   Not available 3 3
Buy-to-lets   Not available 4 4
Other buildings   1 1 1
Land in the UK   1 1 1
Land or property overseas   3 3 3
All Property2   10 10 11

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. In wave 1, respondents were only offered the category ‘Other houses/flats in the UK’, second homes and buy-to-lets were not separately identified.
  2. Households may own more than one type of other property, resulting in the columns not adding up. This estimate also includes households who owned other property but did not specify the type of other property owned.

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Household Gross Property Wealth

In 2010/12, half of all households who owned their main residence valued their home at £190,000 or more (Table 3.3). Although this value has risen by £10,000 compared to 2008/10, it is the same as the median gross property wealth estimated at wave one of the survey.

Half of all households who owned other property valued this at £140,000 or more in 2010/12, an increase from £130,000 in 2008/10, and from £125,000 in 2006/08. If the values of all property owned, including both main residence and any other property are considered, half of all households owning property had a gross property wealth of £195,000 or more in 2010/12, compared to £190,000 in 2008/10, and £197,000 in 2006/08. 

Table 3.3: Median household gross property wealth: Great Britain, 2006/08 – 2010/12

£
2006/08 2008/10 2010/12
Main Residence 190,000 180,000 190,000
Other Property 125,000 130,000 140,000
All Property 197,000 190,000 195,000

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Results are for property owners only.

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Figure 3.4 presents the distribution of gross values of main residences across five property value bands. In all of the waves, the most common valuation band was “£125,000 but less than £250,000”. In 2010/12, 46% of households owning their main residence valued their property within this band. The value of two in every three main residences in 2010/12 fell into the bottom two bands, i.e. less than £250,000 (67%).

Comparing the data over time provides evidence of a fall, and subsequent rise in the value of main residences across the three waves of the survey. The percentage of property owners, who valued their main residence in the lowest two bands, i.e. less than £250,000, was 67% in 2006/08. This percentage increased by 4 percentage points between 2006/08 and 2008/10 to 71%, but decreased by 4 percentage points between 2008/10 and 2010/12 back to 67%.

In 2006/08, nearly one in every three main residences – or 33%, were valued at £250,000 or more; enough to fall into one of the upper three valuation bands. Between 2006/08 and 2008/10, this percentage decreased by  4 percentage points, as more main residences were valued in the lower bands. In 2010/12, 33% of main residences were valued in the top three bands – an increase of 4 percentage points compared with 2008/10.

Figure 3.4: Gross value of main residence, by property value bands: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12

Figure 3.4: Gross value of main residence, by property value bands: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Based on only those households who own (with or without a mortgage) or part own their main residence.

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Figure 3.5 presents the distribution of gross values of other properties by wave and across five property value bands. It is important to reiterate that ‘other property’ includes property types with a wide range of values.  The propensity to buy and sell other property – notably lower valued property - may be higher and this should be borne in mind when interpreting valuation changes over time.
 
The most common valuation band for households with other property was less than £125,000. In 2010/12, 47% of other properties were valued in the lowest band; lower than the corresponding percentage in 2006/08 (49%).

The percentage of other properties valued in the lowest two bands, i.e. less than £250,000, was 73% in 2006/08. The percentage was the same in 2008/10 at 73%, but decreased by 1 percentage points between 2008/10 and 2010/12. The percentage of other properties valued at ‘£250,000 or more’ varied little between waves one and two of the survey (27% in 2006/08 and 26% in 2008/10). The percentage of households valuing their other property in one of the upper three valuation bands, i.e. ‘£250,000 or more’, rose to 28% in 2010/12.   

Figure 3.5: Gross value of other property, by property value bands: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12

Figure 3.5: Gross value of other property, by property value bands: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Based on only those households that own a property other than their main residence.

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Mortgage Debt

The survey asked households about mortgages (including all-in-one accounts1). The results show that:

  • The percentage of households who had a mortgage on their main residence was 38% in 2006/08, 37% in 2008/10 and 36% in 2010/12. This fall is consistent with table 3.1, which presented a drop in the percentage of households owning their main residence with help from a mortgage.

  • The percentage of households who had a mortgage on another property or properties was 4% across all three waves of the survey.

In WAS, mortgage debt is recorded as the total outstanding on mortgages on a residence. The median value of mortgage debt increased by 14% between wave one and wave three of the survey. In 2010/12, half of households owning their main residence with help from a mortgage owed at least £80,000 (Table 3.6). This value is £5,000 higher than in 2008/10 and £10,000 higher than in 2006/08.

The median value of mortgages on other property also increased between 2006/08 and 2008/10, from £80,000 to £84,000, but remained unchanged for 2010/12.

Table 3.6: Median value of mortgages: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12

£
2006/08 2008/10 2010/12
Households with mortgage on main property 70,000 75,000 80,000
Households with mortgage on other property 80,000 84,000 84,000

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Households may have one or more mortgages.
  2. Results exclude households without a mortgage.

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Notes for Mortgage Debt

  1. There are two types of all-in-one accounts; the 'current account' mortgage and the 'offset' mortgage. Current account mortgages are where all finances are kept together in one pot so the mortgage, current account, any savings, credit card and loans are all combined, resulting in one overall account with one outstanding balance. Offset mortgages are where the different financial elements are held with a single provider, but as separate accounts with individual balances. The different elements are 'linked' so the mortgage amount is reduced ("offset") by the funds in the savings and/or current accounts. Interest is only paid on the net amount owing.

Equity Release Schemes

The survey also asked about equity release schemes. Equity release is a way of getting cash from the value of a home without having to move out. It is usually restricted to people aged 55 and above. There are two main types of equity release scheme – lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured on the home (which is not repayable until the person dies or moves into long-term care). A home reversion plan involves a firm either buying the customer's home or a part of it at a discount to the market price, or arranges for someone else to do so. In return the customer gets a cash lump sum or an income. The home, or the part of it they sell, now belongs to someone else, but the customer is allowed to carry on living in it until they die or move out. Across each of the waves, less than 2% of all households reported involvement in equity release schemes.

Household Net Property Wealth

This section presents summary estimates for total household net property wealth in Great Britain. This is calculated as the sum of the values recorded for each household for the main residence plus any other property, minus the value of mortgage liabilities and equity release.

Table 3.7 shows the median values for total net property wealth for property owners. In 2010/12, half of all property owning households had net property wealth of £150,000 or more. 

Table 3.7: Median household net property wealth: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12

£
2006/08 2008/10 2010/12
Median household net property wealth 150,000 148,000 150,000

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Results for property owners only.

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Table 3.8 shows the aggregate values for property wealth for all private households in Great Britain. Based on respondents’ estimates of their property value, total net property wealth fell 4% from £3,532 billion to £3,379 billion between 2006/08 and 2008/10, but rose to £3,528 billion between 2008/10 and 2010/12 reaching an aggregate total similar to where it was prior to the most recent economic downturn.

Table 3.8: Aggregate estimates of property wealth: Great Britain, 2006/08 - 2010/12

£ billion
2006/08 2008/10 2010/12
Aggregate household gross property wealth 4,492 4,359 4,538
Aggregate mortgage debt 960 980 1,010
Aggregate household net property wealth 3,532 3,379 3,528

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Household Net Property Wealth by Household Characteristics

This section considers household property wealth by region of residence and household type. In tables 3.1 and 3.2, ownership rates were presented separately for a household’s main residence and any other property owned. Property ownership rates from now on combine these into a single property ownership rate. The rate is slightly higher than the ownership rate for a household’s main residence, highlighting the fact that persons living in a household might own other property, despite the household itself not owning the main residence.

Region of residence

Seven in ten households (70%) in Great Britain owned their main residence and/or other property in 2010/12 (Figure 3.9). The lowest ownership rate in each of the waves was amongst households in London, where in 2010/12, 61% of households owned their main residence and/or other property of some kind. Some reasons why London contained fewer owner occupier households include higher house prices (the average house price in London in 2011 was about £353,000, which was 2.5 times that of the North East – the region with the lowest average house price at £139,000)1 and a younger age demographic compared with other regions of Great Britain (about 23% of the population of London was within the age group 16 -29, the highest across the regions). Younger people earning relatively less than older and more experienced people are less likely to be able to afford to buy houses). The region with the highest ownership rate in each of the waves was the South East – where three-quarters (75%) of households were property owners in 2010/12.

Figure 3.9: Property ownership rates, by region of residence: Great Britain, 2010/12

Figure 3.9: Property ownership rates, by region of residence: Great Britain, 2010/12
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Figure 3.10 shows median household property wealth according to the location of the main residence of the household. It shows Scotland, Wales and the nine English regions (with London shown separately; the figures for the South East exclude London).

Median household net property wealth for Great Britain as a whole stood at £150,000 in wave three. In each of the waves, the wealthiest parts of Great Britain in terms of median net household property wealth were London and the South East (Figure 3.10), with values of £239,000 and £200,000 respectively in 2010/12. The regions of Scotland and the North East had the lowest value of net property wealth at £108,000.  

Figure 3.10: Household net property wealth, by region of residence: Great Britain, 2010/12

Map illustrating the geographical distribution of household net property wealth. London has the highest, Scotland and North East have the lowest.
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Results are for property owners only.
 

Apart from Scotland, each region of Great Britain saw a fall in median household net property wealth between 2006/08 and 2008/10. Between 2008/10 and 2010/12, seven out of eleven regions had an increase in the median value of household net property wealth. The median household net property wealth in the North East, North West and the West Midlands were unchanged between 2008/10 and 2010/12. London had the largest increase in median household net property wealth between 2008/10 and 2010/12 (in both monetary and percentage terms), rising from £212,000 to £239,000 (a rise of 13%).

Seven of the eleven regions in 2010/12 still had a lower median household net property wealth value compared to 2006/08. However, the median household net property wealth in London in 2010/12 was 9% higher than in 2006/08 (Figure 3.11). Median household net property wealth was also higher in Scotland, increasing by 7% on the wave one value. The North East region had the largest decrease in household median net property wealth between 2006/08 and 2010/12, decreasing by 10%.    

Figure 3.11: Percentage change in median household net property wealth between 2006/08 and 2010/12, by region of residence: Great Britain

Figure 3.11: Percentage change in median household net property wealth between 2006/08 and 2010/12, by region of residence: Great Britain
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Results are for property owners only.

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Household Type

The household type with the lowest property ownership rate in each of the waves was ‘lone parent, dependent children’ where less than a third of households (31%) owned their main residence and/or other property of some type in 2010/12 (Figure 3.12). The household type with the highest property ownership rate in each of the waves was ‘Couple 1 over/1 under SPA2, no children’, where nearly nine in ten (89%) of such households were property owners.

Figure 3.12: Household ownership rates, by household type: Great Britain, 2010/12

Figure 3.12: Household ownership rates, by household type: Great Britain, 2010/12
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. SPA is State Pension Age (65 for men and 60 for women).

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Older couples with no children had the highest median household net property wealth in each of the waves (Figure 3.13). Half of all property-owning households in the household type ‘Couple 1 over/1 under SPA, no children’ had a net property wealth of £220,000 or more, and half of all property owning households in the household type ‘Couple both over SPA, no children’ had a net property wealth of £210,000 or more in 2010/12.
 
The household types with the lowest median household net property wealth in all waves were ‘Lone parent, dependent children’, with a value of £84,000 in 2010/12. ‘Single household, under SPA’ were the household type with the second lowest median household net property wealth (£100,000 in 2010/12).
 
The most common household type was ‘Couple with dependent children (please see demographic chapter). The median net household property wealth for this household type was £115,000 in 2010/12.    

Figure 3.13: Median household net property wealth, by household type: Great Britain, 2010/12

Figure 3.13: Median household net property wealth, by household type: Great Britain, 2010/12
Source: Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Notes for Household Net Property Wealth by Household Characteristics

  1. Average regional house prices are from the House Price Index – mix-adjusted house prices - http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/hpi/house-price-index/february-2014/index.html
  2. State Pension Age - the age at which an individual can draw their state pension. The same definition of SPA has been used for all waves of WAS, i.e. SPA for men is 65 and SPA for women 60. SPA started to change for women in April 2010, with SPA increasing monthly so that by November 2018 women’s SPA will be the same as that for men, 65. SPA will be increased for both men and women to 66 by October 2020, with further increases announced by the government but not yet approved by parliament.

Household Net Property Wealth by Individual Characteristics

This section looks at some key characteristics of individuals living in households by net property wealth bands. It is important to remember that this analysis presents individual characteristics by the total property wealth of the household that the individual lives within. In certain instances it is possible that this wealth is more likely attributed to other individuals living within that household. Note that the lowest band of household property wealth includes negative property wealth.

Gender and Marital Status

Married individuals were the most likely to live in property-owning households. Just 14% of both married males and married females did not live in households which owned either their main residence or another property (Table 3.14). Living in a household which did not own any property was most common for individuals whose marital status was either separated (47% for men and 45% for women) or divorced (45% for men and 41% for women).

The percentage of individuals living in households in the net property wealth band of £500,000 or more was highest for married individuals (8% of both married males and married females lived in households belonging to the highest net property wealth band). The percentage of cohabiting individuals living in households in the lowest net property wealth band was the highest of all the marital status groups (19% of both cohabiting males and cohabiting females lived in households with net property wealth of £50,000 or less).

Table 3.14: Individuals by gender and marital status, by household net property wealth: Great Britain, 2010/12

Percentage (%)
Gender and Marital Status Do not own property Less than £50,000 £50,000 but < £125,000 £125,000 but < £250,000 £250,000 but < £375,000 £375,000 but < £500,000 £500,000 or more
Men
   - Married2 14 7 17 31 16 7 8
   - Cohabiting3 32 19 19 19 6 2 2
   - Single4 30 13 20 21 8 3 5
   - Widowed 31 2* 18 26 15 4 3
   - Divorced 45 8 19 16 7 2* 3
   - Separated 47 13 15 13 7* 2* 3*
All men  28 12 19 23 10 4 5
Women
   - Married2 14 7 16 31 17 6 8
   - Cohabiting3 32 19 20 17 6 3 2
   - Single4 32 12 20 21 8 3 5
   - Widowed 32 1* 16 30 14 4 4
   - Divorced 41 5 17 25 8 2* 2
   - Separated 45 4* 17 19 8* 3* 3*
All women 29 10 19 23 10 4 5
All persons 28 11 19 23 10 4 5

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Includes all households – including those who rent their main accommodation.
  2. Includes civil partnerships.
  3. Includes same sex couples.
  4. Includes persons of any age.
  5. * = indicates a data point based on a small sample - such data points should be treated with some caution.

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Age

Living in a non-property owning household was nearly twice as common amongst individuals aged 16-24 years as it was for those aged 55-64. Nearly two in every five 16-24 year olds (37%) lived in a household without property wealth; the highest percentage across each of the age bands (Table 3.15). Younger people are likely to be earning less than older and more experienced people, and will have had less time to afford a deposit on a house and enter the property market. Nevertheless, over three in five individuals aged 16-24 (64%) lived in a household with property wealth, and 5% of this age group lived in households with property wealth valued at £500,000 or more. This finding is likely to be attributable to the high percentage of individuals aged between 16 and 24 who still live in their parental home.

The age group 55-64 years had the lowest percentage of individuals living in non-property owning households (19% lived in a household without net property wealth). Nearly one in ten (9%) individuals aged 55-64 lived in households with net property wealth of £500,000 or more; the highest of any age group. Many individuals in this age group could still find themselves in the wealth accumulation phase, and earnings from things such as employment enable opportunities to increase property equity. In contrast, individuals aged 25-34 and 35-44 have the lowest percentage living in households with net property wealth in the highest wealth band, at 3%.

Considering the lowest net property wealth band, 1% of individuals aged 65 or older lived in households with net property wealth less than £50,000. Individuals aged between 25 and 34 years were the most likely to live in households with net property wealth of less than £50,000 (24%). 

Table 3.15: Individuals by age, by household net property wealth: Great Britain, 2010/12

Percentage (%)
Age Do not own property Less than £50,000 £50,000 but < £125,000 £125,000 but < £250,000 £250,000 but < £375,000 £375,000 but < £500,000 £500,000 or more
Under 162 34 16 21 17 6 2 4
16-24 37 9 16 21 9 4 5
25-34 36 24 19 13 4 2 3
35-44 27 16 26 19 7 3 3
45-54 22 8 21 28 11 5 6
55-64 19 3 15 31 16 6 9
65+ 23 1 15 32 17 6 7
All persons3 28 11 19 23 10 4 5

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Includes all households – including those who rent their main accommodation.
  2. Includes children.
  3. Includes persons of any age.

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Education Level

Table 3.16 shows the percentage of individuals living in households with different values of net property wealth by education level.

The percentage of individuals educated at degree level or above living in households with a net property wealth of £500,000 or more was 11% – 8 percentage points higher than individuals reporting no educational qualifications. Almost two in five individuals (39%) without qualifications lived in households that did not own property. This compared with 15% of individuals educated at degree level or above and 26% of individuals who reported other qualifications. 
  

Table 3.16: Individuals by education level, by household net property wealth: Great Britain, 2010/12

Percentage (%)
Education Level Do not own property Less than £50,000 £50,000 but < £125,000 £125,000 but < £250,000 £250,000 but < £375,000 £375,000 but < £500,000 £500,000 or more
Degree level or above 15 13 17 23 14 7 11
Other qualifications 26 11 20 25 10 3 4
No qualifications 39 4 18 25 9 3 3
All persons2 27 10 19 24 11 4 5

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Includes all households – including those who rent their main accommodation.
  2. Includes only eligible adults who gave their education level.

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Economic Activity

Table 3.17 shows the percentage of individuals living in households with different values of net property wealth by economic activity.

Almost one in eight self-employed individuals (13%) lived in households with net property wealth of £500,000 or more. This is 9 percentage points higher than employees and 11 percentage points higher than unemployed individuals living in households within the highest band of net property wealth. One in ten inactive students (10%) lived in households with net property wealth of £500,000 or more, which could be due to students living at home with their parents.

The percentage of individuals living in households without property wealth was highest for those who were economically inactive due to sickness or disability, or who were unemployed (64% and 54% respectively). The percentage of individuals living in non-property owning households was lowest for those who were self-employed (16%). 

Table 3.17: Individuals by economic activity, by household net property wealth: Great Britain, 2010/12

Percentage (%)
Economic Activity Do not own property Less than £50,000 £50,000 but < £125,000 £125,000 but < £250,000 £250,000 but < £375,000 £375,000 but < £500,000 £500,000 or more
Economically Active 24 14 21 23 9 4 5
    In Employment 22 14 22 24 10 4 5
        Employee 22 15 22 24 9 4 4
        Self Employed 16 10 18 24 13 7 13
    Unemployed 54 9 14 13 4 3 2
Economically Inactive 33 3 14 26 13 5 6
    Student 36 8 13 18 11 5 10
    Looking after family/home 47 9 16 15 6 2 5
    Sick/Disabled2 64 5 13 13 3 1* 1*
    Retired 22 1 14 33 18 6 7
     Other Inactive  36  6  13  23  8  6  9
All persons3 27 10 19 24 11 4 5

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Includes all households – including those who rent their main accommodation.
  2. Data for temporarily sick / injured was combined with long term sick and disabled.
  3. Includes only eligible adults who gave their economic activity.
  4. * indicates a data point based on a small sample - such data points should be treated with some caution.

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Socio-economic Group

Over half of individuals who had never worked or who were long term unemployed lived within a household without property assets (55%), compared with fewer than one in ten (9%) of individuals classified as working in large employer and higher managerial positions.

The percentage of individuals living within households in the net property wealth band of £500,000 or more was highest for those individuals classified as working within the large employer and higher managerial socio-economic grouping; 12% of such individuals lived within a household with net property wealth of £500,000 or more. The second highest percentage of individuals within households belonging to the highest net property wealth band were those working within higher professional occupations (11%).

Table 3.18: Individuals by socio-economic classification, by household net property wealth: Great Britain, 2010/12

Percentage (%)
Socio-economic Classification Do not own property Less than £50,000 £50,000 but < £125,000 £125,000 but < £250,000 £250,000 but < £375,000 £375,000 but < £500,000 £500,000 or more
Large employers and higher managerial 9 9 18 29 15 8 12
Higher professional 13 13 19 24 13 7 11
Lower managerial and professional 15 15 22 26 12 5 6
Intermediate occupations 18 14 23 27 11 3 4
Small employers and own account workers 18 10 18 25 13 6 10
Lower supervisory and technical 27 15 24 24 7 2 1
Semi-routine occupations 36 11 20 21 7 2 2
Routine occupations 42 11 21 19 4 1 2
Never worked/long term unemployed 55 5 12 14 7 3* 3
All persons2 23 13 21 24 10 4 5

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Includes all households – including those who rent their main accommodation.
  2. Includes only adults who are 16 years old and above, not in full time education and gave sufficient information to determine socio-economic group.
  3. * indicates a data point based on a small sample - such data points should be treated with some caution.

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Quality Assuring Property Wealth Data

Ownership of Main Residence

The following section examines how the ownership rates for a household’s main residence compare across a number of different sources. Ownership here includes any household who owns their main residence outright, with help from a mortgage or through a shared ownership scheme.
 
Ownership rates for a households main residence were: 64 per cent in the 2011 Census (covering England and Wales only); 65 per cent from Family Resources Survey 2011/12 (covering Great Britain); 65.3 per cent from the English Housing Survey 2011-12 (covering England only); and 67 per cent in the General Lifestyle Survey 2011 (covering Great Britain). WAS is slightly higher than these for 2010/12, indicating an ownership rate of 68 per cent. These are presented in Figure 3.A. 

Figure 3.A: Comparison of main residence ownership rates by source of data

Figure 3.A: Comparison of main residence ownership rates by source of data
Source: Census, Family Resources Survey, English Housing Survey, General Lifestyle Survey, Wealth and Assets Survey - Office for National Statistics

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A notable disparity in ownership rates is that those in London are lower. For London, Family Resources Survey 2011/12 data indicates an ownership rate of 53%, and the 2011 Census indicated an ownership rate of 49.5 per cent.

Property Valuation Comparisons

There are a number of sources of data for the valuation of properties. While it is important to compare the WAS data with these other sources, it has to be remembered that they are derived in very different ways. In particular the WAS estimates of gross value of main residence are based on self-valuation.

Table 3.B shows the average house price values produced from WAS and three other data sources, for the time periods equivalent to wave 1, 2 and wave 3 of WAS. These figures are broken down by type of property.  

Table 3.B: Value of Main Residence by Dwelling Type: Great Britain, 2006/08 – 2010/12

£
2006/08 2008/10 2010/12
Detached
    Land registry 266,000 247,000 255,000
    Halifax 324,000 282,000 277,000
    Nationwide 244,000 224,000 231,000
    WAS 327,000 319,000 335,000
Semi-detached
    Land registry 166,000 151,000 153,000
    Halifax 198,000 166,000 163,000
    Nationwide 174,000 156,000 160,000
    WAS 202,000 196,000 205,000
Terraced
    Land registry 137,000 123,000 123,000
    Halifax 184,000 148,000 147,000
    Nationwide 148,000 131,000 135,000
    WAS 178,000 179,000 189,000
Flat
    Land registry 166,000 149,000 151,000
    Halifax 189,000 154,000 158,000
    Nationwide 135,000 131,000 127,000
    WAS 173,000 166,000 182,000

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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The values derived from these external sources vary considerably, with the Halifax data being consistently higher than both the Land Registry and Nationwide. While, in 2006/08 WAS results are very similar to or lower than the Halifax estimates, WAS is consistently higher than all three sources in 2008/10 and in 2010/12. This indicates that households tend to overestimate the value of their property, and moreover, may not adjust their valuation in line with the market, particularly in times of falling house prices.
 
While the perceived value of property may lead to an over-estimate of property wealth compared with market price indicators, it is nonetheless a useful indicator. It is the perceived value that may be influencing the behaviour of households with respect to their property assets as well as their other assets such as financial, pensions and, to a lesser extent, their physical wealth.

Trends in the GB Housing Market

Figure 3.C presents the long term trend in the housing market in Great Britain using the ONS House Price Index. It then considers these trends in the context of the time period covered by the Wealth and Assets Survey.

Since the 1970s the housing market has been characterised by two sustained periods of rapid increase (in the 1980s, and between the mid 1990s and the late 2000s) and two shorter periods of decrease (beginning in 1990 and in 2008). The data used for figure C are based upon the mix-adjusted house price index (source: ONS).

The GB Housing Market Boom during the 2000s

This increase in house prices, which began around the mid 1990s, continued throughout much of the 2000s. There were several reasons for this prolonged period of price rises in the housing market. Up until 2008, GB experienced strong economic growth and consumer confidence. Mortgages were also readily available as banks offered competitive interest rates and high loan-to-value (95% to 100%) mortgages to their customers. As a result, people from a wide range of income levels were able to obtain a mortgage to purchase their homes. The high demand for housing, coupled with a relatively low housing supply, pushed up house prices.  

Figure 3.C: The Housing market over time: GB, 1970-2012

Figure 3.C: The Housing market over time: GB, 1970-2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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The GB housing market since 2006

The WAS commenced its first wave in Q3 2006. The majority of wave one was characterised by a continued rise in house prices, although this tailed off and began to decline towards the end of the wave. The GB housing market experienced a decline throughout 2008 and including Q1 2009 i.e. the first year of the second wave of the survey, but began to recover in the second half of wave 2. As with the boom, there were several reasons for the housing market decline. One of the most significant factors was the credit crisis, during which banks were unable to lend due to a sudden shortage of funds (see Endnote 1). The reluctance of banks to lend meant that higher-LTV and other higher-risk mortgages were not as readily available. From Q2 2009, house prices started rising again until Q2 2010, since when the market has been a little more volatile.

Background notes

  1. When comparing WAS data with other sources, gross property wealth has been used (ie. including both main residences and other property) as this better reflects the coverage of the other sources. However, it should be noted that the regional split for the WAS is based on the region of residence for a household’s main dwelling. Other properties may be in a different region.
  2. This section provides brief details on the methodology used by the Land Registry, Nationwide and Halifax in producing house prices indicators based on property sales data.

    • The Land Registry has a record of all residential transactions in England and Wales since 1995. This dataset constitutes 16 million sales, of which 6 million are properties that have been resold during this period. The identification of these properties allow for a technique called repeated-sales regression to produce a housing price index which tracks changes in house prices over time. The ‘average prices’ reported by the Land Registry are standardised  by taking a geometric mean price in April 2000 and adjusting it using the index, both backwards to 1995 and forwards to the present day. The average prices are also seasonally adjusted using classical seasonal decomposition methods. The Land Registry collects information on all transactions regardless of method of purchase, and therefore is not only restricted to mortgage purchases. However, the dataset only includes transactions at full market value, and excludes sales from repossessions and auctions as they do not reflect full market price. Also, the data from the Land Registry are only available for England and Wales. For more details, see http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/.

    • Nationwide is the second largest mortgage lender (by stock) in the UK, and using data for mortgages that are at approvals stage, it calculates a housing price index to gives current indications of the housing market. The house price data consist of mix-adjusted prices, which gives an indication of how the price of a typical property changes over time. The prices are also seasonally adjusted. See http://www.nationwide.co.uk/hpi/default.asp for further information.

    • Halifax uses similar methods as those used by Nationwide in standardising house prices, and as such, both of these mortgage lenders produce similar housing price indices over time. Differences between the two indices are primarily due to the differences in their samples. Like Nationwide, Halifax takes into account various attributes associated with each property transacted. These attributes refer to both quantitative (e.g., age, number of rooms) or qualitative (e.g. location, type) characteristics of the property, and are translated into factors in a multivariate regression model to produce a standardised price. As a result, this technique allows the price of a ‘typical’ house to be tracked over time on a like-for-like basis. Both seasonally adjusted, and non-seasonally-adjusted house prices data for UK regions and different dwelling types are available on the Halifax website. For more details see http://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/media1/research/halifax_hpi.asp

  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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