Researchers combined detailed salary and cost of living data to establish the actual value of disposable incomes across the regions. According to this Tatton in Cheshire, home to David and Victoria Beckham, is the 'real wealthiest' place in England and Wales.
Tatton tops the table with an average salary of ¯¿½29,303, which is worth ¯¿½41,506 when the cost of living in the area is taken into account. This beats Kensington and Chelsea, which boasts the highest average salary in the country (¯¿½40,951), into third place behind Sheffield Hallam (¯¿½29,150 and ¯¿½41,289), as the cost of living in the Capital gives no boost to the cash in residents' pockets. Leeds North-East is fourth at ¯¿½40,085 (actual ¯¿½28,300).
Of the top 50 'real' wealthiest places in England and Wales the North-West has twelve, the South-West nine, Yorkshire seven, the West Midlands six, the East Midlands five, London just four, the South-East three, Wales two and the North-East and East one each. These results indicate that the distribution of disposable wealth across England and Wales is much broader than typically believed.
Commenting on the results, Gordon Rankin, marketing director of Barclays Private Clients, said: "We have carried out a series of research projects in recent years which have focused on income as the primary measure of wealth. Unsurprisingly the results showed the major concentrations of wealth to be in London and the South-East. "It is clear, however, that this is not the only factor which determines how wealthy any individual actually feels, something which may impact their behaviour. When the cost of living is factored into the equation to give a more realistic measure of purchasing power, the wealth map of England and Wales changes dramatically with the North moving into pole position. Much of this is likely to be related to the disparity in housing costs which take up a much larger proportion of an individual's salary in the South-East than in the North, giving northerners greater real disposable income."
Mr. Rankin concluded: "The reversal in relative fortunes when cost of living is taken into account could well be a major factor behind the changes we are currently witnessing in the housing market. Housing costs in London and the south-east are leveling off and even falling in some areas, as consumers simply cannot afford to chase house prices higher. In the north, the real value of disposable incomes give some headroom for continued house price growth."
Barclays Private Clients (BPC) is the wealth management arm of Barclays Bank. Click here to see the wealthiest places in England and Wales.