Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Britain’s Home Ownership Declining as Young People Grow Poorer

  • Share of young people owning a home falls by 20%, study finds
  • Short-term building boost would not dramatically lower prices

Rates of home ownership in the U.K. are falling as young people grow comparatively poorer and find mortgages harder to obtain, according to a report to be published Wednesday.

Between 2002 and 2014, the share of young people who owned property fell by 20 percent, far outstripping the overall 6.2 percent drop in home-ownership rates, according to the Redfern Review. Fewer young adults are able to afford homes due to tighter mortgage constraints and a drop in relative incomes since the 2008 financial crisis, it said.

“The shrinking opportunity for young people on ordinary incomes to own a home is at the center of the growing gulf between housing haves and housing have-nots,” said John Healey, the opposition lawmaker who commissioned the review. “Housing is at the heart of widening wealth inequality in our country.”

The British government has struggled to build enough houses to meet demand, resulting in steadily increasing in prices. Even if the government were to meet its aim of building 300,000 new homes for one year, prices would only fall by 0.6 percent, the Redfern Review said. A “sustained” house-building project over 20 years would be needed to reduce overall market pressure.

We must focus on “creating a genuine long-term housing strategy independent of short-term party politics if we are to improve the position in a sustainable way for future generations,” said Taylor Wimpey Plc Chief Executive Officer Peter Redfern, who led the review.

Britain has historically had high home-ownership levels in comparison to many of its European peers, with 63.3 percent of people owning property in 2014-15.

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