Net wealth back to 2005 levels as housing recovers

BRITONS’ net wealth climbed back to 2005 levels last year, largely because of a mini revival in the housing market, according to official statistics released yesterday.

Household net wealth rose 7.3 per cent to £117,000 per person in 2009 – the same as in 2005 – but still below a peak of £128,000 in 2007. This is as a result of the drop in house prices during the recession, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said yesterday.

Most families’ biggest asset is their home, followed by life assurance, pension funds and savings accounts, the ONS added.

The official data highlighted the scale of the recession however, showing that GAP per head – a measure of the economic wealth of a country plunged by 5.5 per cent in 2008-09, the biggest margin in 60 years.

Despite the economic strain, Britons’ disposable incomes continued to climb, increasing by 1.2 per cent between 2008 and 2009 as consumers benefited from lower mortgage rates and rises in benefit payments.