Thomas Bridge 26 February 2015

Outrage as homeownership hits 29-year low

Homeownership in England has crashed to its lowest level in almost three decades, figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have revealed.

Official data from the English Housing Survey shows home ownership has declined for the 11th year in a row, with only 63% of the country’s 22.6m households owner occupied in 2012/13.

This marked a fall from 64% in 2012/13 and the lowest level of home ownership in 29 years.

The proportion of 25 – 34 year olds that own a house has also fallen from 59% to 36% over the past decade, sparking fears a younger ‘priced out generation’ has been hit hardest in recent years.

In 2013/14, 19% of households were renting privately – up from 18% in 2012/13 – while the proportion renting social housing remained at 17%. Fears were also raised over housing affordability, after figures revealed the number of working households receiving housing benefit has almost doubled since 2008/9 to 32% of social renters.

Gavin Smart, interim chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said the housing benefit bill was likely to continue to grow without ‘radical action’.

‘Making housing more affordable means building more homes of all tenures – for ownership, shared ownership, private rent and social rent. To do this we need political will, commitment and leadership. We want all political parties to commit to ending the housing crisis within a generation, and we think the Government should take a more active role in boosting housing supply,’ he added.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘We’ve had enough of short-term, gimmicky housing policies. The failure to build the homes we need is snatching away any hope of our younger generations having a home they can afford.

‘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.’

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said government backed schemes had seen almost 192,000 people buying or reserving a new home.

‘Getting the country building is a key part of our long-term economic plan – but if buyers can’t buy, builders can’t build,’ Lewis said.

‘Our new Starter Homes scheme will deliver up to 100,000 new homes for first-time buyers, at 20% off the market price.’

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