The total value of Britain's housing stock jumped 9% to a record £4tn last year and has trebled over the past decade, according to Halifax. The Guardian

This puts all private houses and flats at a combined value of three times the annual output of the British economy. That value rose by £320bn last year - three times the National Health Service budget.

The Halifax's annual report presents the other side of the relentless rise in household debt in Britain, which has increased to record levels of more than £1.3tn.

In fact, housing equity - the value of housing assets less outstanding mortgage balances - has increased by nearly £2tn over the past 10 years, from £870bn in 1997 to £2.8tn in 2007.

The lender said the new £4tn value of private housing stock was 3.4 times the value of outstanding mortgage debt, which was £1.2tn at the end of 2007. Housing assets have increased by more than mortgage debt in each year since 1995.