Men have got the savings habit

Up to 32 million of us are likely to choose deposit accounts as the place to invest £5,000 for one year, and 13 million people are planning to save more this year, the findings of a major survey in to UK savings habits show today.

Up to 32 million of us are likely to choose deposit accounts as the place to invest £5,000 for one year, and 13 million people are planning to save more this year, the findings of a major survey in to UK savings habits show today.

The survey of 2,000 adults across Britain, was done for Halifax by NOP. It found men are more likely to save than women, with 31 per cent of men saying they would increase their savings in the next few months, although only 26 per cent of women intended to.

Sixteen per cent of people preferred investments linked to house-price movements. Only 12 per cent would turn to the stock market-related investments, and pessimism towards the future market returns is prevailing. About the same number of people, 16 per cent, believe the market will rise within months, but 45 per cent expect further declines. People see the stock market as a long-term bet, with almost a fifth saying they would invest for a 10-year period in equities.

Women are more risk-averse, with 74 per cent preferring a building society/bank savings account, only 9 per cent preferring equities. About 62 per cent of men will plump for a savings account and 15 per cent will go into equities.

Despite the dramatic falls in the stock market, UK households are getting richer, Halifax reckoning household wealth rose by £21bn in 2002. This can largely be attributed to higher house prices, which offset the £485bn fall in equity investments in 2002. Martin Ellis, their chief economist, says: "Savers are clearly switching to cash-based accounts. In an uncertain world, cash is king. UK households are getting richer, despite all the difficulties experienced by the stock market. The rise in house prices has more than outpaced the fall in direct and indirect equity investments up and down the country."

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