Total household wealth in the UK has soared past the £7 trillion mark for the first time but society is becoming more divided, according to new research.
The surprise findings, which suggest that the UK is gradually emerging from the downturn, show household wealth has surged 62 per cent over the last decade thanks to the ballooning value of deposits and pensions, sending the estimated value of UK household net wealth to £7.05 trillion for the end of 2012.
Despite the economic downturn, there has been a £2.71 trillion increase in household wealth over the past decade, equivalent to an extra £86,000 per household since 2003. UK households are now worth £255,502 on average each.
The findings come from research by Lloyds TSB Private Banking, who suggested that a rise in financial assets was responsible for boosting household wealth, comprising £1.7tn of the rise.
Lloyds TSB Private Banking Economist Nitesh Patel warned that a gap was opening up between the wealthiest households in Britain and the rest.
"The wealthiest 10% of households hold 22 times more wealth, on average, than those in the bottom half...although many of the wealthiest are older individuals who have had a much longer time to accumulate their wealth holdings, as well as to reduce their debts," he said.
Despite a rebound since the crisis - wealth grew £479 billion between 2007 and 2012 - this was a sharp slowdown compared to the growth between 2002 and 2007, when wealth grew £2.23 trillion in just five years, with slower increases in the value of financial assets and almost no expansion in housing wealth.
Financial assets include bank and building society deposits, government bonds, shares in listed companies, life assurance and pensions.