Despite the global credit crunch people in the UK still have nearly £2 trillion of wealth tied up in their homes.

British homeowners have property equity worth £1.959 trillion, once outstanding mortgage debts are taken into consideration, according to GE Money Home Lending.

The group said 26 per cent of people owned their home outright, accounting for £1.377 trillion of the total, while a further 36 per cent of people had a mortgage, but had still managed to accumulate £582 billion of equity.

Overall, it said the average homeowner had £127,455 of mortgage-free wealth tied up in their home, offering them a considerable buffer against short-term house price falls.

Gerry Bell, head of mortgage marketing at GE Money Home Lending, said: "Whatever happens to the property market in the short-term, we have had a prolonged period of rising prices which have, importantly, helped many homeowners to build up equity and a reassuring cushion against any downturn.

"However, whilst consumers should take some reassurance from the equity that they currently hold in their homes, they also need to ensure that they are not complacent and continue to make prudent financial decisions - particularly in an environment of economic slowdown which could potentially see house prices falling."

At least a third of housing equity was held by homeowners in London and the South East, where house prices are highest. People in the South East are collectively sitting on £377 billion of equity, the equivalent of 19 per cent of the total for Britain, while those in London hold £276 billion worth, or 14 per cent of the total.

At the other end of the scale people in the North East have housing equity worth only £58 billion.