Homeownership in UK falls for the first time in 100 years

Monday, April 22, 2013. Ivan Radford @themovechannel

Homeownership in the UK has fallen for the first time in almost a century, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics, which analyse the history of homeownership.

In 1918, just 23 per cent of households in England and Wales owned their own home. From 1953 that started to increase at a faster rate than in previous decade and by 1971 there was an equal percentage of households owning and renting.

Ownership continued to increase, reaching a peak of 69 per cent in 2001.

But in the last decade, the proportion of Brits who own their own home has fallen to 64 per cent, the first drop recorded in almost 100 years.

Between 2001 and 2011, the number of households buying their homes through a mortgage fell by 749,000. Some factors that might have impacted on mortgage buyers are: high house prices, low wage growth and tighter lending requirements.

Within the rental sector policies following the World Wars impacted on the percentage of those socially renting. In 1918 just 1% of households socially rented and this reached a peak of 31% in 1981.

The percentage of households renting increased in all English regions and in Wales in the decade to 2011. London had the highest percentage of renters, accounting for 50.4% of households in the region.

Matt Hutchinson, director of flatshare website SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “The dream of home ownership has always been part of the nation's DNA, but that dream is looking more and more out of reach.

"In truth, home ownership is no longer attainable for many and won't be for future generations either. Our attitudes towards renting long-term need to change. Renting for life is the norm in parts of Continental Europe, and may eventually be the norm here too.

“Soaring living costs mean it’s a struggle for many households just to keep their heads above water each month, let alone have enough spare cash to put aside towards a deposit. Many of those who are squirrelling away funds have not managed to save anywhere near enough to buy the property they want.

“What’s clear is that if people are to get onto the property ladder, something has to change. Quite simply, more houses must be built. Lack of supply continues to drive prices up to unattainable levels.

"Also, house prices need to fall and mortgage lenders need to offer more assistance to first time buyers with higher loan to value mortgages. The Government has to accept there is a need for more affordable housing to purchase and affordable rental properties available privately or through housing associations.

"That won't happen overnight so, in the meantime, it's vital we do more to support the private rented sector and make renting a desirable option, not just the only option."

Author - Dan Johnson


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