Mapping housing wealth

concentration of housing wealth in London

Housing in the UK is “worth” around £6 trillion, but that value is very unevenly distributed. This is a map of total housing wealth in London, rather than house prices – a different view that shows just how concentrated the market has become.

House prices in parts of the priciest suburbs, such as Richmond or Kingston, are not so far behind Kensington or Westminster. However in central London there are far more of these expensive houses together in a small area – the total amount of housing wealth is stacked far higher here than anywhere else. This map shows how extreme that has become.

A wider view shows nowhere else in the country comes anywhere close.

housing wealth concentration England and Wales

Housing makes up the large proportion of the country’s net asset value, and it may not be healthy that this value is so concentrated. Housebuilding – creating new housing assets – would be a good way to spread this wealth further and more fairly.

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For those interested in the detail, I’ve used the total housing asset value based on 2013 average house prices (Land Registry) and Census 2011 dwelling numbers (ONS). The 3D height is proportional to the density of value – £ per square inch, as it were – so the volume of a column is proportional to total housing asset value.

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Update, 10/10/14

I’ve had a number of requests for a wider view, below. Unfortunately the 3D rendering can’t cope, but I’ve kept the colour coding the same, and it tells much the same story.

Housing in Inner London is “worth” a third more than all the housing in Wales and Scotland put together. Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea alone have housing valued at £260 billion, more than the total of housing in the 55 “lowest value” local authorities.

UK ppsqm

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6 thoughts on “Mapping housing wealth

  1. Great post Barney – thank you.

    Barnaby Dawnson’s comment is interesting too. Obviously the cities and other densely populated areas will tend to have higher concentrations of housing wealth but as Barnaby points out, and you concede, this is only residential wealth and it’s per inch across the country. So (if I’ve understood this) a million pound mansion in a hundred acres of parkland won’t stand out as much as a similar priced property in an acre of urban gardens.

    Mapping the real per square inch value of land would be a major task – but of huge value if then coupled with a land value tax. Perhaps you need three maps – one for zoned residential, one for industrial and one for agricultural (stripping out public amenity land). You would probably need a large grant to fund such a project too – sorry I can’t help with that.

  2. This is great and I am doing something similarly here with site: capital ratio’s for our Council area in Australia.

  3. It should probably be total house value (market value) per square inch of land zoned as housing. My reading of your post is that it is total house value per square inch of land. That would distort the map in areas where there is little housing.

    • Yes, this map shows “£ per square inch” irrespective of land use, so it shows where the actual housing value is now, which of course isn’t in areas where there is little housing, as you point out. That’s why places that are both expensive, and full of houses (like RBKC) dominate.

      Applying it only to zoned land would be a different question, but also interesting. It would give you something closer to a proxy for land value.

  4. It is an interesting question as to whether the concentration of housing value in prime London represents “the country’s net asset value” or rather the assets of foreigners who have bought it. If that is true, bursting the bubble would be painful for those foreigners, but rather less so for the UK as a country.

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