How one in every ten households is worth at least 1m: Property and pension pots push wealth higher
Most millionaire households are in the Home CountiesRichest 10 per cent of homes each have assets ‘greater than 967,000But one in every two families have almost nothing, with few assets and little chance of a comfortable retirement as a result
23:04 GMT, 3 December 2012
One in ten families are millionaires if they include assets such as their homes and their pension pots, official figures revealed yesterday.
The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show the huge wealth of the top 10 per cent in this country at a time when millions are struggling to get by.
They also reveal the extent of the North-South divide, with the highest concentration of millionaire households in the Home Counties.
This graphic, showing the distribution of the wealthiest households in Britain, reveals that the highest concentration of millionaire households is in the Home Counties
The ONS said the rich 10 per cent, equal to around 2.5million families, each have assets which are ‘greater than 967,000’.
In fact, the average wealth among this group is 1.3million – meaning that the wealthiest of all are worth many millions more than this.
Meanwhile, one in every two families in Britain have almost nothing, with few assets and little chance of a comfortable retirement as a result.
At the very bottom, there are 10 per cent of families with total assets of less than 13,000.
The study, called the Wealth and Assets survey, is one of the largest investigations into the nation’s wealth. It was based on the assets of 20,170 households and carried out between 2008 and 2010.
Householders were asked about the value of their home, minus the value of any mortgage. Second homes, such as a country cottage in the Cotswolds, a buy-to-let investment or a holiday home in another country, were included.
On average, the richest 10 per cent of households have pension wealth of 742,000, property wealth of 340,000, physical wealth of 68,000 and net financial wealth of 123,200
Their pension pot is also taken into account, as well as their ‘net financial wealth’ – their savings and investments – excluding any debts.
Finally, their ‘physical wealth’, which is the value of the contents of their home – or homes – was estimated.
In total, the ONS said the net wealth of all private households in Britain is 10.3trillion.
The rich 10 per cent have assets worth a total 4.5trillion, nearly 45 per cent of the total.
On average, these households have pension wealth of 742,000, property wealth of 340,000, physical wealth of 68,000 and net financial wealth of 123,200.
The bottom 50 per cent have an average pension pot of 4,000, savings and investments of 400 and no property wealth at all, according to the ONS.
However, 2.5 per cent of households in this group have still splashed out on a personalised numberplate.
The study, called the Wealth and Assets survey, asked householders about the value of their home, minus the value of any mortgage
The study showed that a typical family has total household wealth of 232,000 – although many of them feel far from wealthy and regularly face a struggle to make ends meet.
While they have significant assets, much of it is tied up in something which they cannot actually use to pay for the weekly food shop or their rising energy bill, such as their pension pot or their home.
The ONS said there was a huge regional variations in the number of millionaire households.
The South East is the biggest winner, with 15.5 per cent – or more than one in six – of households in the richest 10 per cent, compared to only 6.9 per cent in Scotland and 7.6 per cent in the North East and North West.
The research shows the effect of the house price boom. Many of the millionaire households bought their properties decades ago and have seen their value soar.
There are 668,500 households between the age of 45 and 54 and 929,600 households between the age of 55 and 64 who are in the richest top 10 per cent of Britons. Because they are nearing retirement, they often have very large pension pots.
This group are also three times more likely to hold a degree or an even higher academic qualification than those in the least wealthy half of households.
A spokesman for StepChange, the debt charity, said: ‘The wealth of the top 10 per cent stands in marked contrast to the dire financial situation many households in Britain find themselves in today.’