Young homeowners catch up with private renters again

Homeowners aged 25 to 34 outnumbered private renters of the same age group in England for the first time in seven years in 2018-19, as the decline in home ownership among millennials appeared to reach a halt.

Some 41.2 per cent of households headed by a person aged 25 to 34 owned their homes in the financial year to 2019, according to the government’s English housing survey released on Thursday, while 40.9 per cent were tenants in privately owned properties.

The result reverses a trend in which renters have exceeded homeowners in this age group every year since 2011-12, as the high cost of buying a house has pushed younger adults into renting. The 1.37m homeowning households in this age group, up 11 per cent from a year earlier, narrowly exceeded the 1.36m tenants.

Lucian Cook, head of UK residential research at estate agent Savills, said: “There may be a new equilibrium being reached between owner-occupiers and private renting [in this age group] — not one that many people would have envisaged.”

But he cautioned: “The barriers to home ownership have not miraculously gone away. We still have a very high deposit requirement for people to get on the housing ladder.”

The proportion of 25 to 34-year-olds in owner-occupied housing fell from 58.6 per cent to 35.8 per cent in the decade to 2013-14, while the proportion renting more than doubled to 48.2 per cent. English house prices rose by about a third in that time, while those in London rose by more than half.

Mr Cook said the latest levelling-out was likely to be down to a series of factors, including “a cultural shift where the older generation was increasingly resigned to having to be the Bank of Mum and Dad to help people get on the housing ladder”.

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Other factors included a tougher tax regime for landlords deterring investor-buyers, he said. There had also been a rise in younger adults living at home with their parents, rather than moving into rented accommodation.

Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said: “We’re doing everything we can to make the dream of home ownership a reality for more people, and it’s great to see this is happening for more young people who have taken that first step on to the housing ladder.”

However, Mr Cook said government policies such as the Help to Buy scheme — which offers government-backed equity loans to enable purchases of newly built homes with deposits of only 5 per cent — had affected the figures “to a lesser degree” than broader trends.

“The next natural stage is that we will see an increase in the levels of downsizing. People will look at the house they are living in, with two or more spare bedrooms and think about how their children need help to get somewhere that better fits their needs,” he said.

Overall, private renters account for 19.3 per cent of households, while 63.8 per cent are owner-occupiers and 16.8 per cent live in social housing.

The data is calculated using the age of the person in whose name each home is owned or rented.



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