Home ownership ticks up – but it’s coming later in life

Published on Housing, Wealth and Debt

Home ownership rates rose across England (up 1 percentage point to 64 per cent), and even in London (up slightly to 48 per cent), last year (2017/18) – the Resolution Foundation said today (Thursday) in response to the English Housing Survey headline report.

Despite the uptick, ownership rates remain well below their 2003 peak of 71 per cent. The recent rise has been driven by older buyers aged 35-44 as home ownership is pushed to later in life. First-time buyers are also becoming increasingly reliant on the Bank of Mum and Dad, with two in five using a gift or loan from family or friends in order to get onto the property ladder last year.

This uptick in home ownership is mirrored by a fall in the share of people living in private rental sector (down to 19.5 per cent). However, there were still more than twice as many households privately renting last year as there were in the early 1990s. The figures also show that the number of households with dependent children renting privately fell for the first time since 2003 to 1.6 million.

However, the Foundation warns that housing pressures are here to stay with today’s figure showing overcrowding increasing in both the private rental sector and in social housing.

Lindsay Judge, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“We saw a welcome rise in home ownership across the country last year, as more young people were able to own their first home. However, one uptick can’t undo decades of falling home ownership and the rapid rise in the private rental sector.

“This rise is being driven by factors including improving credit conditions and the growing importance of the bank of Mum and Dad. However, the underlying drivers of lower home ownership rates, including high prices, are here to stay. As a result politicians should continue to focus on widespread dissatisfaction with renting and worrying increases in overcrowding.”