The past decade has seen a drop in the number of people aged under 45 who live in their own home, according to the English Housing Survey.

The proportion of people aged under 45 who own their own home has fallen by more than 10% during the past decade.

Only 56% of people aged between 35 and 44 in England were owner-occupiers in 2019-2020, down from 67% 10 years earlier, according to the government’s English Housing Survey.

Younger age groups were even less likely to own a property, with only 41% of those aged between 25 and 34 living in their own home.

The drop in homeownership among younger people comes despite a raft of schemes being launched by the government in recent years to help people get on to the property ladder.

Instead, 42% of people aged between 25 and 34, and 27% of those in the 35 and 44 age group lived in the private rented sector, up from just 17% 10 years ago.

Why is this happening?

The fall in the number of younger homeowners during the past decade is likely to have been driven by changes to the mortgage market.

The majority of mortgages for people with small deposits were withdrawn during the financial crisis and were slow to be reintroduced. 

At the same time, new affordability rules also made it harder for younger people on lower salaries to qualify for a mortgage.

Meanwhile, house price growth has outstripped increases to average earnings during much of the past decade, leading to increasingly stretched affordability.

Who does it affect?

Affordability constraints were reflected in the fact that only 19% of people who bought their first home last year did so on their own, with couples accounting for the majority of those who got on to the property ladder.

First-time buyers put down an average deposit of £42,433, while 62% of those buying their first home in 2019-20 had an income that put them in the top 40% of earners nationally.

Despite this fact, just under half of first-time buyers opted for a mortgage repayment term of 30 years or more, with only 4% having a term of 19 years or less.

What’s the background?

Despite the high deposits first-time buyers put down to get on to the property ladder, there was a fall in the level of support they received from the bank of mum and dad.

Around 85% of people used their own savings to fund their home purchase in 2019-20, up from 76% in 2017-18.

By contrast, only 28% received financial help from family or friends, down from 39% two years earlier.

A further 6% said they used money they had inherited for their deposit.

Top three takeaways

  • The proportion of people aged under 45 who own their own home has fallen during the past decade
  • Only 56% of people aged between 35 and 44 were owner-occupiers in 2019-2020, down from 67% 10 years earlier
  • The drop comes despite a raft of schemes being launched by the government in recent years to help people get on to the property ladder.

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