The UK is lagging behind several other countries in terms of the total value of its built assets, suggesting that Britain has significantly underinvested in them over many years, according to a study by EC Harris.
The study, conducted jointly with the Centre for Economic and Business Research, has placed UK eleventh in the rankings with a total of $5.5 trillion and average wealth per person of $88,000, which is 29% lower than that of other developed nations.
According to the study, the US had the largest stock of built assets in 2012 at $39.7 trillion, while China stood in second place with $35.4 trillion.
EC Harris said that China will surpass the US as the world’s wealthiest built asset nation by as early as 2014.
The study revealed that in ten of the economies, including Japan, France, Germany and the UK, the stock of built assets per person is projected to have fallen in 2012 compared to 2011, with the most severe decline of -2.1% recorded in Japan.
EC Harris head of strategic research and insight Simon Rawlinson said these nations need to continue to invest in new and existing built assets to improve mobility, productivity and standard of living, but do not have the available finance to do so.
"They need to make best use of their existing asset base to develop new sources of competitive advantage," Rawlinson added.
Built asset growth in the UK and Europe is anticipated to be subdued at about 2.7% over the next ten years.
EC Harris said in some struggling Eurozone economies, investment is forecast to fall short of asset depreciation, leading to a fall in the built asset stock.
Rawlinson said built assets are the literally the building blocks of an economy.
"Those nations that make the most from investing, developing, operating and reinventing their built environments are the best placed to succeed in the changing world economy."