What is the average net worth of a UK household?

The average net worth of a household in the UK has increased over the past few decades. However, there are significant disparities in wealth across different regions, ages, and incomes in the UK.

What is household net worth?

Household net worth, also known as household wealth, is the total value of assets owned by members of a household minus any debts owed by household members. Assets can include property, cash, investments, cars, pensions and other valuables. Debt includes mortgages, loans, credit card balances and overdrafts.

Net worth provides a snapshot of a household’s financial health. It also indicates the resources a household could draw on in an emergency. Understanding trends in household net worth over time can provide insights into wider economic patterns.

What is the average net worth in the UK?

According to the Office for National Statistics Wealth and Assets Survey, the median net worth of households in Great Britain was £302,500 in the period July 2018 to June 2020.

The median value is the midpoint, meaning 50% of households had a net worth above this figure and 50% below. Using the median guards against skewing from extremely high or low net worth households.

The mean or average household net worth across all households was £547,100 in the same period. The mean is higher than the median due to the small number of households with extremely high net worth.

Average household net worth by region

There are considerable regional variations in household net worth across Great Britain:

  • South East – Mean net worth of £668,100
  • London – Mean net worth of £564,400
  • South West – Mean net worth of £533,900
  • East of England – Mean net worth of £532,500
  • Scotland – Mean net worth of £257,400
  • North West – Mean net worth of £228,300
  • West Midlands – Mean net worth of £226,500
  • Wales – Mean net worth of £222,900
  • East Midlands – Mean net worth of £215,800
  • Yorkshire and The Humber – Mean net worth of £197,500
  • North East – Mean net worth of £183,900

These figures demonstrate a clear divide between the wealthier south of England and the rest of Great Britain. The mean net worth in the poorest region, the North East, is just 28% of the net worth in the richest region, the South East.

Average household net worth by age

Net household wealth also varies considerably by age group:

  • 16-24 years – Mean net worth of £5,900
  • 25-34 years – Mean net worth of £62,600
  • 35-44 years – Mean net worth of £310,100
  • 45-54 years – Mean net worth of £625,900
  • 55-64 years – Mean net worth of £1,004,200
  • 65-74 years – Mean net worth of £1,054,000
  • 75 years and over – Mean net worth of £764,700

Households headed by those aged 45-64 have the highest mean net worth values. Net worth typically peaks around retirement age and then falls in later life as assets are drawn down.

The lowest figures are for the youngest age band. Most households in their early 20s will have only recently entered the housing and labour markets so have had less chance to accumulate assets.

Trends in UK household net worth

Median net household wealth in the UK has increased from around £100,000 in 2006/08 to over £300,000 in 2018/20, after adjusting for inflation. However, these gains have not been shared equally across all households.

Richest households increase net worth the most

While typical household wealth has grown, the richest households have seen the biggest gains. The net worth of households in the top 10% wealthiest grew by 43% between July 2006 to June 2008 and July 2018 to June 2020, after accounting for inflation. Over the same period, the net worth of median households grew by 3%.

This suggests that asset price growth, like rising house prices and stock markets, has disproportionately benefited the already wealthy. Median households relying on savings from income have found it harder to build their net worth at the same pace.

Fall in households with no net worth

On a more positive note, the proportion of households with zero or negative net worth has fallen over time. In 2006/08, 9% of households had either no net worth or negative net worth once debts were taken into account. By 2018/20 this had dropped to just 6% of households.

The fall has coincided with a period of low interest rates making borrowing more affordable. However, interest rate rises in 2022 may begin to reverse this trend if households struggle to service more expensive debts.

What contributes most to UK household net worth?

Property wealth is by far the biggest contributor to household net worth in the UK. This reflects the country’s high rates of home ownership and successive house price booms since the 1970s.

Property wealth

In 2018/20, the average value of property assets held by UK households was £253,000. With 64% of households owning their home, property makes up an important component of wealth for millions of households.

rising prices have driven growth in property wealth. The average house price increased from £187,000 in January 2008 to £281,000 in January 2022, a real terms increase of 33% even after accounting for inflation.

increased mortgage lending has enabled households to own more expensive property. Low interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis have made larger mortgages more affordable.

Older generations have been able to accumulate property assets over many years. Nearly 80% of households headed by someone aged 65-74 own their home outright with no mortgage.

Private pensions

The value of private pensions is the second largest component of household wealth. In 2018/20, the average value of private pension wealth per household was £53,000. This figure is however skewed by the minority of households with very large pension pots.

Growth of workplace pensions like auto-enrolment schemes has increased pension participation. In 2021, 78% of employees were actively participating in a workplace pension, up from 55% in 2012.

Pension wealth is very unequally distributed, with older households holding greater pension savings. The median pension wealth of households aged 55-64 was £212,000 compared to just £4,500 for households aged 25-34.

Financial wealth

Financial wealth makes up a smaller component of overall household net worth. Financial wealth includes the value of any formal and informal savings as well as investments held by a household.

In 2018/20, the average financial wealth per household was £33,000. However, this figure is skewed by a small number of households with very large financial portfolios. Half of households had financial wealth of less than £6,200.

Younger households tend to have lower financial wealth. In 2018/20, the median financial wealth of households headed by 25-34 year olds was just £1,700. Building up savings and investments takes time for most households.

The distribution of financial assets is highly unequal. The top 10% of households ranked by their financial wealth held 43% of all financial wealth in 2018/20.

Factors affecting household net worth

Many factors can influence patterns in household net worth over time. These include:

Economic growth

During periods of economic growth, incomes and employment levels tend to rise. With more disposable income, households can accumulate more assets through saving and investment. Recessions have the opposite effect, reducing saving and asset accumulation.

Interest rates and inflation

Low interest rates since 2008 have enabled households to take on larger mortgages and accumulate property assets. However, higher inflation and rising interest rates in 2022/23 may erode the real value of assets held in cash.

Government policy

Policies like Help to Buy and changes to stamp duty have facilitated house purchases. The introduction of automatic enrolment has increased pension participation. On the other hand, policies like the pensions Lifetime Allowance have reduced incentives to accumulate large pension pots.

Intergenerational transfers

Younger generations have found it harder to get on the housing ladder. Over 55s holding more property and pension wealth may transfer some of this to children or grandchildren, for example through inheritances.

Health and demographic shifts

An ageing population holding greater wealth may start to draw down assets in later life to fund longer retirements and higher care costs. Or increased inheritance could boost wealth among younger generations.


Household wealth in the UK has grown significantly over the past decade, largely driven by rising house prices. However, these gains have been unequal with the richest households benefiting most. Property remains the dominant component of household net worth, far greater than financial or pensions wealth.

Looking ahead, high inflation, rising interest rates and an ageing population pose uncertainties for household wealth. After many years of asset price growth, a period of consolidation or even decline could be ahead for some households.

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