Home-owning dream fades the older you become, claims report

Danielle Frost and Luke McAnulty.
Danielle Frost and Luke McAnulty.
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Many twentysomethings dream of owning their own home. However, this dream can become more elusive as they grow older, according to new research.

The study, which has been carried out on behalf of Yorkshire Building Society, found that young Britons rank buying their own home as their number one life ambition, ahead of marriage, children or getting ahead in their careers.

However, many young people have a shock when they try to work out exactly how much cash they will need to take their first steps on the property ladder.

This gap between ambition and reality is causing an ‘early-life crisis’ for many, with just one in three saying they have been able to make a realistic plan to buy in the next five years.

This crisis of confidence is illustrated in a new report, entitled ‘First-time buyers – an early life crisis: Britain’s home ownership aspirations’, which shows that as would-be first-time buyers get older, their hopes of buying a home fade.

Four out of five 18 to 24-year-olds said they believed it was likely they would become homeowners, but just half of 35 to 40-year-olds have the same optimism.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of people questioned aged 25 to 40 said that owning a property was more important to them than getting married, having children or achieving their career aims.

And 69 per cent of young Britons said they believed owning their own home was essential to feeling they had succeeded in life.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many aspiring first-time buyers said the biggest barriers preventing them from buying a home were financial.

Many respondents said that the common hurdles included the need for a large deposit, rising house prices and the fear of not being able to afford monthly repayments.

However, there is still some cause for optimism – almost half of potential first time buyers said they are saving to buy a place of their own.

The survey suggests that many people still believe it’s a smart move to scrimp and save .

Andy Caton, executive director at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “It’s alarming that a relatively small proportion of those who want to buy a home will be in a position to do so within the next two to five years.

“Young adults in the UK clearly perceive home ownership as one of life’s major landmarks, with the next generation of home owners seeing it as more important than getting married or having children.

“For young Britons, home ownership is about more than simply bricks and mortar – it’s intrinsically linked to our identity and feelings of security, maturity and success. Not being able to achieve those ambitions creates an early life crisis for many young people.

“Whilst it’s really encouraging to see that first-time buyers are forming realistic plans to overcome the barriers and achieve their home ownership ambitions, it’s also clear that many young people find themselves in an increasingly difficult place financially when they seek to make that initial step on to the property ladder.”

The survey of 2,000 young adults was conducted by NatCen on behalf of Yorkshire Building Society.

In many parts of the UK, monthly rises in property prices continue to out-pace wage growth, making it ever-more challenging for aspiring homeowners.

Around 45 per cent of respondents said they didn’t think they were earning enough money to be able to buy their own place.

Forty six per cent were worried that they wouldn’t be able to afford mortgage repayments, and 38 per cent said that they weren’t managing to raise the required deposit.

One in ten people said that lack of job security was preventing them from pursuing their dream of home-ownership.

The survey indicates that many young people believe that owning a home is more of a priority than marriage or children.

NatCen Social Research carried out the research on behalf of Yorkshire Building Society, between January 25 and February 4, 2016.

Respondents were sampled in order to recruit roughly equal numbers of owner occupiers and non-owner occupiers.

Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK.

It has 230 branches, 97 agencies and assets of £38.2bn. It employs 4,600 people and has 3.3 million customers

NatCen Social Research is an independent, not for profit organisation.