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The areas in Britain where investors are stockpiling gold

The London Borough of Camden is the unlikely capital of storing gold
The London Borough of Camden is the UK's unlikely capital of storing gold - Maremagnum/Corbis Documentary RF

Residents in Camden are buying more gold than anywhere else in Britain, analysis shows.

The precious metal, which has surged in price in recent years, has become an “increasingly popular investment choice” for people in all corners of the country.

Households are purchasing gold bars and coins to store at home as an asset of last resort in a time of economic turmoil.

Research by dealers BullionByPost has found that the London Borough of Camden is the unlikely capital of storing gold.

The average gold investor in Camden bought 369g, which is the equivalent of £22,343 based on current values.

The firm ranked the top 50 areas for household gold reserves by calculating the average number of grams sold per customer cumulatively over the last 10 years.

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Six other London boroughs feature in the top 20 but the investment is by no means limited to the capital, with Dorset (£17,004) fourth on the list and the Highlands of Scotland positioned fifth (£16,658).

Other unlikely areas with high gold values include the Shetland Islands, Bromley and Walsall.

Pete Walden, of BullionByPost, said: “Gold bars and coins are no longer the preserve of the wealthy but are instead an increasingly popular investment choice for many people across the length and breadth of Britain.”

Mr Walden said the trend has not only been driven by past events such as Donald Trump’s presidential victory in 2016 and the pandemic, which rocked stock markets, but also concerns about the future.

“The current demand has been driven by a perfect storm of global economic issues and geopolitical uncertainty, combined with inflation and high interest rates in the UK.

“By buying physical gold and tucking some away in a safe place at home, they know they have more control and can actually get their hands on it, if need be.”

Investment-grade gold, such as bullion bars and coins, are VAT-free, while Royal Mint coins that are legal tender are exempt from capital gains tax.

Gold has typically been seen as an attractive asset throughout the centuries, but has been rising steadily in both price and popularity since the financial crisis in 2008.

Prices have risen more than 17.5pc in the last three months, peaking on April 20 at £1,933 per ounce. It may have since slipped slightly, coming in at £1,901 on Saturday, but the price is almost £900 higher than five years ago.

It is in huge contrast to 1999, when then chancellor Gordon Brown notoriously sold off half of the nation’s gold when the price was at a 20-year low, costing the Exchequer billions of pounds in lost profits.

Gold pays no interest and it can be high risk taking the plunge when prices are near all-time highs. However, a record number of people invested in the metal last year, according to the London Bullion Market Association.

It is a similar story this year, with demand yet to lose its shine. Uncertainty over the conflicts in the Middle East, the Russia-Ukraine war, and upcoming elections in Britain and America are increasing the appeal of gold.

“People are turning to physical gold as the ultimate rainy-day fund,” Mr Walden said. “Holding your gold securely at home or in secure storage gives you true control.”

Mr Walden said the average buyer is ordering a modest £2,000 worth of gold, the equivalent of a 1oz bar or coin.

A 1kg bar, worth around £60,000, is around the size of a small smartphone. The average gold owner in Camden is storing around a third of that size, so the actual physical amount of the precious metal in Britain’s homes remains low.

A little goes a long way, however, as a £10,000 purchase five years ago would now be worth £18,100.

Experts advise those planning on keeping gold at home to invest in a high-security safe and to get insurance cover.