UK homeowners £50,000 better off?

New data from the Bank of England shows how mortgage holders continue to gain at the expense of savers. The Telegraph says British mortgage holders paid out £1,328bn in interest in the three years to December 2011.

Compare that with £1,897bn paid in the three preceding years. An average £50,820 saving per mortgage holder. But are property owners really that much better off?

Race to the bottom

They are certainly in a better position than many savers who have lost out heavily since the Bank of England slashed rates to 0.5%, especially those with cash Isa accounts. Before the credit crisis, it wasn't hard to find savings accounts paying out rates of 5% plus.

Yet UK savers vastly outnumber mortgage borrowers. However not all property owners will have gained, as the current data taken by the Telegraph assumes all mortgage holders are on rock-bottom tracker rates. Many though will be on fixed or capped rates.

These "savings" have also been handed at a time of strong inflation - though inflation is falling currently - eroding the effect of any cash surplus.

Debt slavery

Also, though interest rates are far, far lower than in the past, current mortgage rate "savings" - even with rates pegged at a typical 2.5% tracker rate - have to be set against the very high cost of property in many parts of the country. Price to income ratios remain wide.

Especially when UK wage inflation remains stagnant. Meanwhile UK savers will be sitting on properties worth substantial sums, properties bought at a time when prices were more reasonable, allowing for more disposable income spend. Even despite far higher interest rates, in many cases.

The issue, then, isn't cut and dried. When interest rates rise - as surely they must - then the situation will gradually re-align. But with the UK economy and the eurozone both struggling to grow, that re-alignment may be a long time arriving. UK debt slavery affects those with debt and those - and there are many - without it.

In the meantime, if you do reckon you are £50k richer, let us know.
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