Halifax Savings Barometer: rise of the rural saver

31 May 2014

  • Average rural savings stand at £10,357, 17% more than urban savers at £8,820
  • Average savings as a proportion of gross annual earnings is 44% for rural England and Wales, and 34% for urban savers
  • Rother has the highest average savings balance as a proportion of income at 66%, while urban savers in Tower Hamlets have an average of 10%
  • The areas of Mole Valley (£14,941), South Bucks (£14,536), and Chiltern (£14,512) have the highest savings levels across England and Wales

With an average savings balance of £10,357, rural savers are building deeper reserves than their urban counterparts in all regions of England and Wales, with the difference as much as a third more (31%) in some areas.

The Halifax Savings Barometer reveals that, with the national average savings balance now standing at £9,147, savings in rural England and Wales is on average 17% higher than urban areas. The difference is greatest in the West Midlands (31%), where rural savings balances are typically £10,240 and urban are £7,809.

The highest average savings balances are in Mole Valley (£14,941) for rural savers and Christchurch (£13,845) for urban savers.

Rural savers are also managing to put away an even greater proportion of their earnings, 44% compared to 34% for urban savers.

Richard Fearon, Head of Halifax Savings, comments: “Rural savers are both saving more on average than their urban counterparts, and have higher levels of savings as a proportion of their incomes. In fact, the top three areas in England and Wales for average savings levels – Mole Valley [£14,941], South Bucks [£14,536], and Chiltern [£14,512] – are all in rural and semi-rural areas.

“It can be tough to save, particularly when there are so many calls on our money, and while we’d encourage savings to be made in urban areas, it’s important to be realistic. Several of the areas that come low in terms of savings, such as Tower Hamlets, are among the most deprived areas in England and Wales, which inevitably impacts on the amount that people can save.”

Savings as a proportion of earnings

The disparity between rural and urban savings also remains evident when compared to average earnings at a local authority level.

Savers in rural Rother have the highest proportion in England and Wales with an average savings balance of 66% of their average annual earnings, while the highest average savings balance in urban areas is 62% in Arun.

The lowest proportion of earnings as an average savings balance in rural areas is 28% in Copeland, where the average savings balance is £10,143. However, in urban areas this falls to just 10% in Tower Hamlets (average savings of £6,936), which is well below the next lowest areas of Southwark (16%, £6,184) and Hackney (16%, £5,241).

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