A report by one of the UK’s most popular mortgage lenders Halifax has highlighted the soaring value of property in London and the huge divide between the capital and the rest of the country in terms of stock worth.
The total value of housing in London is estimated at £1.13tn by Halifax, almost double the £582bn figure which the lender attributes to the combined value of homes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Similarly the figure for London also dwarfs the housing stock in the north of England, from Cheshire to Northumberland, which the Guardian newspaper reports to be valued at £810bn.
The Halifax document detailed by the Guardian highlights that the estimated total worth of the United Kingdom’s private housing sector has risen over the £5tn mark, but the surge in value has been far greater in the south than the north.
Northern property value is said to have increased by 36% over the last decade with stock in the south rising by a massive 66% in the same period.
Overall the average property value in the UK is said to be around £205,000 and that figure alone is said to have risen 10% in just the last 12 months. Recent surveys by the UK’s Office for National Statistics have underlined just how much expectation Britons pin on their property investments with 44% of British citizens stating that they believe property will make them money, compared with less than 10% who place their faith in stocks and shares.
However, due to the sharp rise in prices first time buyers find it harder than ever to buy properties and owner-occupation in the UK has declined significantly since lenders made buy-to-let mortgages available. In 2005 70% of homes in the UK were said to be owner occupied, but that figure dipped below 65% this year.
Buying a house is a notoriously inaccessible step for many younger or less wealthy people in the South East of England but the rapid increase in property value means the phenomenon of being trapped in the renting cycle has also spread to other parts of the UK.
House prices have risen far more sharply than inflation and earnings, with housing up 53% on average throughout the UK over the past decade compared to a 35% rise in inflation. That means salaries and savings have not matched property market acceleration, so essentially buyers get less for their money.
For home owners of course, rising value and increased equity in their properties is only a good thing. Increases in combined figures for private equity in British property has far outstripped mortgage debt in recent years.
Martin Ellis, from the Halifax explains: “Aggregate net housing equity held by UK households is in a healthy state with total housing assets worth nearly £4 trillion more than the total value of mortgage debt. Despite the rapid rise in mortgage debt over the past ten year, net housing equity has grown by £1.4 trillion since 2005. The increase in total housing value over the past decade is equivalent to over £76,000 per privately owned property.”