Home ownership loses appeal

Nia Williams

December 14, 2009

Only 51% of Britons (around 24million) think owning their own home is critical/very important for a reasonable standard of living, a figure which appears to sharply contrast the property boom of the past 15-20 years. This is a decrease of 9% since the last time the “High Wire” report was commissioned in 2003, when 60% saw owning their home as critical/very important to having a reasonable standard of living.

Perhaps reflecting the other demands they now have on their finances, such as supporting children and parents, it is those aged 55-64 whose attitudes have changed the most. Forty four percent see owning their own home as very important for a reasonable standard of living, a drop of 17% from 2003 when the figure stood at nearly two thirds (61%).

The independent research study, which was undertaken by market research specialists Ipsos MORI to investigate the changing lifestyles and attitudes of the UK population, also revealed how the recession has helped people re-evaluate the importance of saving up for the future. Despite record-low interest rate figures over half (60%) of respondents see it as critical/very important to have savings for a reasonable standard of living.

The cumulative effect of large rises in the cost of properties together with people’s fears of taking out huge loans during a recession has meant that many are put off making large purchases such as buying property. For most, entering the housing market will naturally mean taking on substantial debt, and the “High Wire” report appears to show that people would rather ensure they have financial stability for the future, as opposed to entering into large levels of repayments.

Indeed, when planning a purchase of more than £1,000, over 30 million (64%) of respondents will tend to save up to buy, rather than take out finance or credit, a rise of 6% from 2003. This is especially true of the 16-24 year olds, where 65% would try to save up themselves rather than take out finance or credit. With the cost of a mortgage significantly reining in the spending power of homeowners, just 8% of them see going out on a Friday or Saturday night as critical/very important to a reasonable standard of living.


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