Homeowners outnumber mortgage holders for first time since the 1980s

Posted 17 March 2015 by Keith Osborne

New data has revealed that the number of people in England who own their homes outright is now higher than the number of people buying with mortgages for the first time since the 1980s.

The English Housing Survey has revealed that the balance of ownership in England has tipped in recent years and there are now more owners than mortgage holders. While 7.4million households in England are outright owners, the figure for mortgaged-owners is 6.9million.

Housing groups have warned of a ‘priced-out generation’ as the figures revealed a widening age divide. The majority of outright owners, 4.5million households, have a resident aged 65 or over while the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds who were owner-occupiers has dropped from 59% to 36% over the past 10 years.

Younger people are now increasingly likely to be found in private rented accommodation with just under half of 16- to 34-year-olds now renting from private landlords. The number of people renting has also increased in recent years with the latest figures showing that 19% of households rent privately and 17% live in rented social housing.

Neal Hudson from property consultancy Savills, said the change in tenures was probably “a combination of both market and demographic factors with fewer first-time buyers entering the market and more baby-boomers approaching retirement and paying off their mortgage, helped by low mortgage rates”.

He added: “The recent pick-up in first time buyer numbers will perhaps slightly slow the trend but will not be sufficient to reverse it. While house prices remain high relative to incomes and housing delivery remains below required levels, we will continue to see the private rented sector expand.”

The National Housing Federation said the figures showed how the younger ‘priced-out’ generation had been hit by the rising market. Chief executive, David Orr, said: “As house prices continue to rise we’re in danger of winding back the clock on homeownership, with only the privileged few having any hope of affording it.

“At the moment people who can’t buy a home have little or no choice but to rent privately, going from one short-term let to another at an ever-escalating cost. We believe that everyone should have a home they can afford, which means having more affordable homes to rent or buy through shared ownership and a private rental market that’s fit for purpose.”

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