Generation rent: Owning a home in Britain out of reach for many

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Only half of all families across Britain own their own home, according to latest research. Generation rent now fears never being able to get a foot on the property ladder amid economic uncertainty.

The report, from the Resolution Foundation, shows that home ownership has been declining for the past 14 years. According to the Office for National Statistics, the rate of UK owner occupation rose dramatically for two decades following the introduction of Margaret Thatcher’s policy to allow council tenants to purchase their homes at discounted rates.

However, since the Millennium, rising home costs, poor income growth and tougher lending policies mean that home ownership is much harder. Generation rent is now facing struggles to purchase a first property, despite government policies designed to provide help for first time buyers, combined with lenders offering very low interest rates.

True picture of home ownership

Senior analyst Lindsay Judge said that official figures had overstated the true picture of home ownership because they did not take into account such occupiers as lodgers. For instance, five people who were not related at all but were sharing a home so they could afford to rent would be counted as one household. Similarly, an adult living with their parents because they could not afford to live anywhere else would fall through the statistics.

Instead, the thinktank took a fresh look at the figures by looking at the proportion of families owning their home. That found that owner occupation had fallen to a rate of just 51 per cent. However, a more traditional method of analysis would show that owner occupation was now standing at 64 per cent.

The report also showed there had been a huge rise in the number of people renting from private landlords. The thinktank said the rise was down to both people in their early twenties renting together and families privately renting.

 

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