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Is Britain becoming a nation of ‘homillionaires’?

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Tue 03 Feb 2015

Is Britain becoming a nation of ‘homillionaires’?

Name: Homillionaires.

Age: All sorts.

Appearance: Rather pleased with themselves.

How come? Are these people who became rich by delivering homilies? In almost every case, no. They are rich, however.

Why? Because they own homes worth £1m or more.

House prices! A subject too often ignored by British newspapers. Um, yes, maybe. Anyway, some skivvy at the Sunday Times has done a lot of Googling and found out that there are about 400,000 “homillionaire households” in the UK.

Does that mean they are counting a £1m house owned jointly by one couple as one “homillionaire household”? I think it does mean that, yes.

So, really, they are two semihomillionaires? I suppose they are. Although a £2m house owned jointly would also be one “homillionaire household” but might contain two homillionaires.

I see. And the number of property sales worth more than £1m that go through each year has tripled to 18,000 in the past decade.

Although some of the people buying those will already have been homillionaires and thus won’t have added to the country’s total? Yes. In fact, the paper thinks that most homillionaires have earned the status simply by staying in a house that has gained value. Hackney in east London, for instance, has gone completely homillionoopla, with the number of properties in the borough that sell each year for more than £1m rising more than eight-fold since 2006-7.

So gritty Hackney is now a homillionairea? You could say that. But don’t. And, in fact, those kinds of prices are not uncommon now. Apparently there are 10,613 streets where properties have an average value of more than a £1m. Although, obviously, there are more homillionaire households in London than in the rest of the UK combined.

What about mortgages? How many homillionaires haven’t paid for their houses yet? I don’t know. Probably a lot of them. Although some will be millionaires anyway, if you take into account their other assets. After all, London is home to more dollar millionaires (not including property wealth) than any other city in the world.

So how many homillionaires are there in Britain? I don’t know.

Do say: “Statistics are complicated, aren’t they?”

Don’t say: “Only when they’re accurate.”