A new poll of British attitudes to housing trends has revealed that growing intergenerational tension and long-term social problems will be the likely outcome if young people continue to be locked out of homeownership.
Young adults are more attached to the idea of owning their own home than any other age group, with 86% of under-30s identifying it as a key priority in life. This was higher than the percentage rating job satisfaction (76%) or the amount of their disposable income (57%) as such an important life goal.
But young people are often unable to take their first step on the property ladder and the average age of an unassisted first-time buyer is now 37.
According to the findings from the Barratt HomeBuyers’ Panel, 65% of people under the age of 30 believe that they cannot afford to buy a home as big as the one which their parents lived in at the same age. This figure rises to 75% in the South East. Young adults increasingly resent the housing wealth acquired by the over-40s.
Some 44% of respondents aged between 18 and 29 describe the housing wealth which the generation over 40 has accumulated because of rising house prices as ‘unfair’. By contrast, only 10% of respondents aged between 40 and 65 agreed. People under the age of 30 are more opposed than any other age group to ‘Continental’ models of tenure in which families routinely rent for the duration of their adult lives.
Some 90% of respondents aged between 18 and 29 would not be happy if they had to live in rented accommodation for the rest of their working lives. 64% say that they would not be happy to start a family while they were renting and 43% would not be happy to get married until they owned their own home.
A majority across all age groups think the housing crisis will get worse rather than better. 61% agreed with the statement ‘In 20 years’ time it will be even more difficult for people to get on the housing ladder than it is today’. Only nine per cent disagreed.
Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt Developments, said: “The findings from this nationwide poll illustrate the extent of the housing crisis facing Britain and the depth of the public policy challenges we now have to tackle as a result.
“Signs of friction between the generations are now starting to emerge as a direct consequence of relative housing wealth. Significant numbers of people – especially those under the age of 30 – appear to be delaying key life decisions such as starting a family because they cannot take that all-important first step on the housing ladder.”