Hope to buy

The decline of youth home ownership

This briefing note explores how the home ownership fortunes of those aged 25 to 34 have changed over time. Owning one’s home is an enduring preference for the majority of families in the UK, but today’s young people face a more serious set of hurdles to overcome than previous generations if they want to turn that desire into reality.

Although lower youth home ownership is a majoritarian concern (this is very far from being simply a London or South East phenomenon for example), the downward trend has sharpened relative differences between, for example, higher- and lower-income young people, couples and singles and public and private sector workers.

This leaves many young people today a significant distance from the point they can buy their own home. We show that just 4 per cent of young non-owners have both the savings and earnings required to buy a typical first-time buyer (FTB) home in their region, a figure that rises to 10 per cent if they settle for a flat in a cheaper area. As a result, young people are more dependent on substantial windfalls (in the form of the Bank of Mum and Dad, partnering or government support) to access home ownership than in the past.