Housing crisis worsens with home ownership in England falling

Tue, 02 Aug 2016

Housing crisis worsens with home ownership in England falling
New research has indicated that home ownership in England has dropped to its lowest level in three decades, with Manchester experiencing the sharpest fall of all major cities.

In April 2003, a record-high 71 per cent of households owned their home, either with a mortgage or outright, in England. However, the analysis conducted by the Resolution Foundation found that this figure had dropped to 64 per cent by February this year, after the think tank used data from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Labour Force Survey (LFS).

This is the lowest level of home ownership recorded in England since 1986, when the housing market was experiencing a boom and rising during Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister.

In Greater Manchester, the figure recorded for February was 58 per cent, having been 72 per cent in April 2003. Even inner London did not experience a fall this sharp, seeing ownership fall by 6.2 per cent for the same period.

Stephen Clarke, from the Resolution Foundation, said: "London has a well-known and fully blown housing crisis, but the struggle to buy a home is just as big a problem in cities across the north of England.

"The chances of owning a home have fallen fastest in Greater Manchester over the last decade, though the Leeds and Sheffield city areas have also experienced sharp drops."

Many prospective home buyers find themselves unable to afford the deposit on their first property, despite being able to afford a mortgage. A lack of affordable housing has contributed to ‘generation rent’, which means that many families, and singles, face the risk of having to move out at short notice.

Those who do not rent will likely find themselves living at home with their parents as they attempt to save money for a deposit, and almost four million young people are predicted to still live at home by 2025.

The government has launched a number of Help-to-Buy schemes to try and get first-time buyers onto the property ladder, such as the Help-to-Buy ISA and the Help-to-Buy Equity Loan.

"Sky-high rents are leaving many families struggling to make ends meet each month, let alone save up enough for the deposit on a home," said Anne Baxendale of Shelter, the housing charity.

"Far from being the stepping stone it once was, many young people and families are now facing a lifetime stuck in expensive and unstable private renting.

"The new government has a real chance to give hope back to these families by tackling the root cause of the housing crisis and building genuinely affordable homes that people on ordinary incomes can actually afford to rent or buy."
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