Owner occupancy proportion lowest since Thatcher’s era
February 21, 2012 Leave a comment
Government reports show that the proportion of owners to occupants has dropped to 66%, the lowest it has been since Thatcher declared that Britain would become ‘a property-owning democracy’ in 1988. The already static housing market is expected to suffer again later next month as the stamp duty holiday comes to an end. The holiday only produced a small frisson of movement as a 14% increase of mortgages were taken out by first time buyers.
The situation isn’t expected to improve over the coming years. The National Housing Federation has estimated that the average first time buyer age is expected to increase from 37 to 43, whilst back in the 1980’s it was 25. The dream of home ownership for many is becoming unlikely for many, as the proportion of house prices to earnings for first time buyers has almost doubled to 4.4 times salary.
It is not just non-home owners feeling the pinch. Many existent mortgage holders have had to give up their homes as they can no longer afford the mortgage. Existing homeowners are having to slash over £19,000 on average from the asking prices of their properties, in a desperate attempt to sell them.
So once again the UK has found itself in a position where the housing sector has become a political issue once again. David Cameron and housing minister Grant Shapps have been accused of “being out of touch” with the reality of the lives of those who rent homes by the shadow housing minister, Jack Dromey. Many tenants are struggling to save any money to buy a home due to rent increases (last year average rents increased by over 4%) which contradicts assurances made by the housing minister. According to a report carried out by Halifax, 95% of 20-45 year olds felt that they have no prospect of ever owning a home, as they simply have no spare cash to put aside to save.