Young homeownership plummets in two decades

Sarah Davidson

March 9, 2015

Typical homeowners are growing older, as over the same period the percentage of 65-74 year olds who own their own home has risen from 62.3% to 77.1%.

Property values have grown by 58% since 2003, or collectively £1.22 trillion, meaning wealthier older households have been able to purchase additional properties on the buy-to-let market to supplement their pension income.

Gavin Smart, CIH interim chief executive, said: “The UK Housing Review is a stark demonstration of the divides that housing is opening up in our society.

“For decades, we have failed to build enough new homes to keep up with our growing population, and the gap between the haves and have nots is getting bigger all the time.

“For many young people, a home of their own is a distant dream – and in the meantime they find themselves renting in a sector where, in many places, rents are equally unaffordable.

“People on low incomes are being dragged into poverty because rents and mortgage costs are rising, wages are failing to keep pace and benefits are being cut through welfare reform.”

In 2013-14 almost half (48%) of households aged 25-34 in England were living in private rented homes – a proportion which has more than doubled from 21% in 2003-4.

And CIH expects this trend to continue, as 1.5 million people aged 30 or under are expected to be ‘pushed into renting’ by 2020.

Smart wants politicians to put forward a cohesive plan to tackle the UK’s housing crisis once and for all.

He added: “Making housing more affordable means building more homes of all tenures – for ownership, shared ownership, private rent and social rent.

“To do this we need political will, commitment and leadership. We want all political parties to commit to ending the housing crisis within a generation.”

Alex Gosling, chief executive of online estate agents HouseSimple, also blames the lack of housebuilding for the crisis.

He said: “It’s not the housing market that’s broken – rather it’s the promises made by successive governments to ensure enough houses are built.

“The reality is that for the past three decades housebuilding hasn’t kept up with the rising demand from our growing population.

“Young people have suffered more than most.”

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