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UK housing assets double in a decade to £3,755bn

publication date: Aug 10, 2010
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House prices and sales may be a pretty flat at the moment but as a long term investment property is clearly still a good bet. The latest research from Halifax shows that the total value of privately-owned homes in the UK has more than doubled over the past decade, with a 118 per cent surge, from £1,719 billion in 1999 to an estimated £3,755 billion in 2009; the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation rose by only 29 per cent during the same period.
This massive increase of £2,000 billion over the ten year period is equivalent to £33,000 per head of the UK population.

The boom couldn’t last of course and since 2007 the value of housing stock in the UK has declined by eight per cent. This reflects the reduction in house prices between mid 2007 and early 2009. The improvement in house prices in 2009 saw housing value grow by an estimated two per cent during the year.

Narrowing North-South divide
The famous North/South divide in the value of the private housing stock narrowed during the 'noughties'. Between 1999 and 2009, the value of housing in the north increased by 132 per cent compared to 109 per cent in the south. As a result, the north's share of UK housing assets rose from 41 per cent in 1999 to 44 per cent in 2009.

Northern Ireland leads the way
Northern Ireland saw the biggest regional increase in housing value with a 198 per cent rise from £31 billion in 1999 to £92 billion in 2009. The next largest rises were in the North East (147 per cent), Scotland (145 per cent), Yorkshire and the Humber (139 per cent) and East Midlands (133 per cent).

The smallest increases were in the South East (100 per cent) and the East of England and West Midlands (both 107 per cent).

All regions have recorded a decline in the value of their housing stock since 2007: London (-5 per cent), North East (-7 per cent), North West (-8 per cent) and the South East (-8 per cent). In Northern Ireland the value of housing is estimated to have fallen by 19 per cent since 2007, following a dramatic rise in the preceding few years.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, commented, "The past decade has seen a substantial increase in the value of housing assets in the UK, with all regions recording average annual increases of 7-12 per cent. Notably, there are real signs of a narrowing north-south divide as the northern regions recorded bigger increases."