Revealed: the savings capital of the UK
In a study of its savings customers, Halifax found that Londoners in general have the lowest balances in the country – suggesting salaries in the capital do not fully compensate for high housing and living costs.
Savers in London have just 22% of their annual earnings tucked away. Those in Wales, the South West and the East Midlands have the highest amounts saved as a proportion of their earnings, all at 34%.
The 10 areas with the highest savings balances were all in southern England, including the districts of Mole Valley in Surrey, Chiltern and St Albans.
But despite the South being associated with relative prosperity, half of the 10 areas with the lowest amounts in savings were in London, with Newham, Barkingham and Dagenham, Lewisham and Southwark making the list.
The findings come at a time when there is still little hope of savers seeing any significant increase in the returns they will get on their nest eggs, with the Bank of England base rate having been held at a historic 0.5% low for more than four and-a-half years.
The Government’s Funding for Lending scheme launched last year to help borrowers has made the plight of savers worse as it has made banks less reliant on having to attract deposits.
According to financial information website Moneyfacts, five years ago the average rate of interest a saver could get on a cash Isa was 4.71%, a year ago it was 2.18% and now it is 1.66%.
Halifax also found there was a significant difference across the sexes in savings rates.
Women living in the South East have the highest average savings balances in the country, while female savers in the North East have the lowest, Halifax has reported.
The research from Halifax’s own deposit savings database found that women in the South East have a typical savings balance of £9,578, equating to 44% of their gross annual earnings, while those living in the North East have an average of £7,297, or 40% of their yearly income put by.
Across England and Wales, women have £8,113 put by on average, which is 7% more than the average balance of men at £7,563.
Women were found to be saving more than men in all regions except the North East and they have around double the amount put away as a proportion of their earnings than men.
Female savers have around 40% of their typical gross annual wage of £20,224 put away, while men have just 22% of their average salary of £33,683 saved.
Richard Fearon, head of Halifax Savings, said: ‘We have seen women consistently out-saving men throughout 2013, both in terms of average balances and in relation to earnings.
‘This suggests a fundamental difference in the attitude towards saving between the sexes, and highlights that even if you’re earning less, it is possible to save more with a positive savings habit in place.’
Halifax used its savings database alongside Office for National Statistics earnings figures.